With March gone the time has come once again to take a quick look at my portfolio and its performance over the past few weeks. The size of my portfolio and the dividends it generates, determine my progress towards financial freedom. Because your net worth directly influences your freedom and flexibility, it should come as no surprise that I like to keep close tabs on my net worth growth.
Apart from a minor stock market dip in Otober, my financial independence fund enjoyed a strong upward momentum the past few months, mainly due to the stock market’s performance and the Euro’s almost Icarian drop. For that I am more than grateful.
However, none of that would have mattered if I hadn’t saved a large percentage of my paycheck every single month. A rapidly growing portfolio should therefore be viewed as a testimony to how patient and diligent saving can and will make you a millionaire yet.
While the past few months showed bigger increases than my monthly paycheck, March and early April blew every single previous month out of the watter. A gargantuan €5,028 jump firmly pushed my nest egg above the €60,000 threshold for the very first time. The large majority of that growth came from a one-time insurance bonus, with the stock market’s relentless march upward and my March savings putting in some legwork too.
As a result, the tail of the graph above is starting to show exponential tendencies. At this rate I won’t just blow past my goal of €70,000 by the end of the year, I’ll simply nuke the thing to bits. This is one of the reasons why I’d rather compare portfolio performance to my own goals rather than an index – at least this way you know if you’re making good progress.
An 8.57% increase is massive, there’s simply no denying that. Even more impressive than that number are the amount of financially free hours I’ve stashed away. When you earn €12 an hour after taxes like I do, that’s almost 420 hours of work-free capital in the bank. That’s 55 days less at the office to become financially independent. Compound interest at its finest!
As usual, you’ll find a detailed description of my portfolio below. I list my dividend growth stocks and highlight important changes to them before moving on to my three exchange-traded funds and some cash holdings. Foreign securities were converted to Euros using the last-known exchange rate.
Dividend growth stocks
Quantitative Easing remains the European Central Bank’s biggest policy push to date and it continues to show in my own portfolio. On the one hand there’s the strongly inflated non-domestic stocks, while on the other my European holdings have experienced a strong capital gain too. All of this should come as no surprise as the ECB continues to buy Euro government bonds in bulk.
That’s why the list below is greener than a Welsh meadow. However, Royal Dutch Shell (AMS:RDSB) is still trading below my cost basis, even after adding more capital, while newcomer Home Invest Belgium (EBR:HOMI) experienced a slight decrease too. Overall though, performance has been excellent.
Emboldened by these results I continue to add as much capital as possible to high-quality dividend paying companies. Together with REIT Home Invest Belgium, the world’s largest insurer Münchener Rückversicherungs-Gesellschaft (ETR:MUV2) now forms a firm financials cornerstone to my portfolio with both stocks yielding a little under 4%.
The cost basis for each position includes the price of the shares, a 0.27% stock market tax and brokerage fees.
|Ticker||Company||Shares||Cost basis||Mkt. value||Gain|
|BLT||BHP Billiton plc||48||928.94||943.72||+1.59%|
|DE||Deere & Company||7||452.61||582.90||+28.79%|
|HOME||Home Invest Belgium||15||1,396.25||1,386.00||-0.73%|
|JNJ||Johnson & Johnson||6||473.79||570.75||+20.47%|
|PG||Procter & Gamble||9||575.36||710.36||+23.46%|
|RB||Reckitt Benckiser plc||10||630.34||844.46||+33.97%|
|ROG||Roche Holding AG||5||1,233.71||1,344.89||+9.01%|
|RDSB||Royal Dutch Shell||60||1,745.65||1,734.00||-0.67%|
|KO||The Coca Cola Company||17||540.05||654.56||+21.20%|
|VZ||Verizon Communications Inc.||20||785.07||927.87||+18.19%|
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the ETFs below have been doing exactly what they were designed to do. By tracking the MSCI World, emerging markets and Europe indices rigorously, these exchange-traded funds have experienced enormous growth in the past ten months. If you’re a new investor looking for a long-term set-it and forget-it approach, I can’t recommend index funds enough.
|Ticker||ETF||Cost basis||Mkt. value||Gain|
|IWDA||iShares Core MSCI World||4,982.96||6,625.80||+32.97%|
|IEMA||iShares MSCI Emerging Markets||1,214.59||1,568.16||+29.11%|
|IMAE||iShares MSCI Europe||3,561.94||4,330.48||+17.75%|
Next to the stock market’s upward bursts, this category remains relatively stable. As usual I added another €77.5 towards the yearly maximum of €930 in my personal pension fund, while my emergency fund and savings accounts remained untouched. Because of the aforementioned insurance bonus I no longer enjoy the 3.15% guaranteed interest rate on the savings account, however.
|Name||Cost basis||Current value||Gain|
|Pension fund||1,182.50||1,328.41||+10.98% and 30% tax break|
Living frugally, saving as much as possible, and investing those savings remains the holy trifecta of financial independence. Without putting in much effort myself, my net worth continues to make big strides forward, as this update clearly shows. It’s incredible to see how fast you can get a snowball rolling as long as you remain focussed and stick to your strategy.
Of course, the time frame we’re talking about here is relatively short. I only joined the financial freedom community a little under ten months ago, so it’ll be interesting to see how things progress into the future. Dividend growth investing, my favourite strategy to become financially independent, is no get-rich-quick scheme, but rather a long-term approach.
That’s why I don’t want to overstate the importance of these updates – things can turn around in the blink of an eye. Building and maintaining a passive income stream remains my primary goal, so that’s where I’ll continue to focus my attention, irrespective of what the underlying value of my portfolio does in the mean time.
Thank you for reading and for your support.
Seems like you had a great month. I picked up some stocks of Home Invest today. I have some cash left so I will probably pick up Shell, but I will wait till the Q1 results are released. I hope they drop a little further. And the ex-dividend date is in may so I have some time left.
Glad to have you as a fellow shareholder! Have you also invested in Care Property Invest like you said a while ago, because that REIT is also on my radar.
Let me know when you pull the trigger on Shell!
What a great month for you! Are you going to do another goal if you reach it before the year is half through? I think you should 🙂
I’ve been thinking of doing something like that, but I find it difficult to pinpoint a new target. Reaching €70,000 before the end of june will be a stretch, but if I make it I’ll definitely try and aim for €80,000 by the end of the year.
Who knows what the stock markets have in store for us!
Thank you for dropping by,
Hello Belgium friend,
Congrats on a great month! What an exceptional growth. If you can keep this up… the sky will be your limit.
Great buy Munich Re. It is high on my watch list also.
Keep up the good work!
Thanks, neighbour! Growth has been phenomenal the past few weeks. I’m sure you experienced something similar?
Glad to hear that you’re also keeping a close eye on Munich RE. Even though it’s a little expensive at this point in time, I believe it’ll be good to dividend growth investors in the long-run.
Great job on increasing that net worth. All that hardwork, living frugally and investing surely pays off!
Your portfolio is solid and I’m looking forward for you to nuke your goal for the year! Reminds me of Starcraft heheh.
Thanks for sharing!
Thank you for the kind words! As long as you save a large enough percentage of your paycheck you’ll find that growth comes naturally after a while.
Haven’t played Starcraft in a while. Don’t give me any ideas! 😉
Just think how many waffles you could buy with that stash of money! But that wouldn’t be very good value to waste your FI fund on wakes now would it 😉
Here’s to a successful April, and a successful Q2,
M from There’s Value
That’s a whole lot of waffles! I could probably eat waffles for the rest of my life. 😀
Thank you for your continued support. Keep it up on your end too!
Solid net worth as always, and woah nice increase way to break another milestone. Without counting my car, I think you have me beat and I have 5 years on you.
Keep it up,
Thanks, buddy! Things are starting to move all on their own already without me putting in too much effort anymore. Money truly multiplies at an exponential rate over time.
Keep it up over there too!
Man, that is an incredible net worth to have at such a young age, you’re killing it!
You’re starting to inch closer and closer to that first 100k, which they say is the hardest. Keep it up, I’m excited to see where you’ll be by the end of 2015! 😀
By the time you’re my age, you won’t be far behind – or maybe even ahead already! 😉
The early beginnings are definitely the hardest, but after a while your net worth will start te lead a life of its own. Up, down, … You’ll be hardpressed to influence it at all after a while. I can see how things really start to snowball after €100,000!
Once more stunning results NMW! Impressive.
Since your focus is on sustainable income. Why not trending the monthly dividend income together with the net worth? It would be most interesting to see if you develop the same curve with dividend income as your net worth growth.
Cheers – Mark
Thank you for the kind words, much appreciated!
Pretty good idea, I’ll see if I can incorporate the results from my dividend income reports with my net worth. It should show the same upward progression, although at a slower pace since a large part of my portfolio remains cash only.
Congrats on the great net worth increase! $100k isn’t that far off!
Thanks, Henry! Just a little while longer now! 🙂
Hey NMW. Congratulations bud. You’re doing wonderful 10 months into the road to Financial Freedom and you’re making big progress. I’m proud of you. I know you’ll reach your goals and just succeed on this journey. I’ll be traveling with you and I wish us continued Health and happiness. Cheers my friend.
Glad to have you alongside me for the journey! Your support is what keeps me – and by extension everyone else in our community – going.
Keep showing us how it’s done over there!
Nice move to the upside. Keep plugging at it. Always nice to see month over month gains. Nice job.
Robert the DividendDreamer
Thank you for your support and for checking back in once in a while!
Hope you’re well over there,
Well done and congratulations on getting past the €60,000 threshold! There is no doubt that you will absolutely annihilate your 2015 goal!
You make it look so easy! 🙂
Instead of barely making the €70,000 this year, I’ll make total annihilation my new goal! 😉
The weird thing is that I hardly have to do anything. At this point in time my portfolio is leading a life of its own, without me having a lot of influence on its upward (or downward!) trend. The only thing I can do is continue to invest a large chunk of my paycheck.
Hope you’re doing great,
Strong performance! Well done. Hope you can keep this going and indeed blast past your target for this year.
Strong stock market performance definitely boosted my portfolio to new heights. The insurance bonus didn’t hurt either, of course. Let’s hope we can keep the momentum going for the foreseeable future.
“Living frugally, saving as much as possible, and investing those savings remains the holy trifecta of financial independence.”
Absolutely. And you’re reaping the rewards of sticking to the plan. It’s simple, but not easy.
Keep it up!
It’s simple, but not easy – probably the best explanation of financial independence I’ve ever heard. At this moment I’m hardly putting in any effort anymore with my portfolio doing all of the heavy lifting. Once you’ve reached critical mass there’s no other way than up!
Thank you for checking in,
Keep it up! When the EU turn around and the Euro is back to where it was $1 = 1.45 Euro … you’ll stand to have 50% upside just from currency evaluation.
To me an appreciating Euro would mean a serious downside towards my overseas investments though. But if that were to happen, I’ll be in a good position to increase my US positions and reap the rewards over the long term.
I like reading your blog, and the math “minus 55 days…”
Thanks, Nuno! I appreciate the kind words.
Congrats on the huge net worth increase! That’s very impressive. You’re a great example of frugal living and invest whatever you have saved up. Keep up the great stuff.
Thanks, buddy! Dividend Mantra said it all with “it’s simple, but not easy”. Once you get the easy part down the only way is forward.
Nice update! Glad to see such a strong monthly growth!
Amazing to see only two companies with a negative capital value. Annoying for buyers though! All those companies higher in price than before!
Keep up the great work.
Most of the capital gains come from Euro depreciation, but the fact that many of my holdings are at all-time highs doesn’t hurt either. Sometimes I wish a couple of the stocks mentioned above were a litle cheaper so I could increase my exposure and enjoy a higher dividend yield though! 😉
I know what you mean. I have been itching for some of my holdings to drop in price for some time. So many are just above what price I am comfortable paying for them at the moment. Diageo in particular is in that list!
Yes, I can imagine Euro depreciation has a large effect on your portfolio’s performance. It is something I have been increasingly thinking about with any foreign investments I make.
Wow! What an impressive month. Great job. You’re in the green in almost all of your investments, and your net worth has increased greatly. I have also had a great week because I am heavily invested in energy.
I’m excited to continue to read what you invest in!
I can imagine your net worth and portfolio receiving a boost if you have strong exposure to energy stocks! Many of them rebounded after oil prices picked up again.
Thanks for dropping by!
I wish I could save at the rate you currently save. Fantastic. If you keep saving at that clip, your wealth is sure to grow to FI.
Robert the DividendDreamer
Thanks again, Robert! Much appreciated.
Well done on Swiss equities (Novartis and Roche) already 10% increase after a couple weeks and the dividends will return you a nice pay check!!!
Insane right? The Euro depreciated a little more against the CHF and both stocks enjoyed strong upward momentum, that’s why.
Thank you for dropping by and hope things are well over there “in der Schweiz”! 😉
Everything is fine here, looking forward the next market drop, that I feel is coming.
“As a result, the tail of the graph above is starting to show exponential tendencies” – it sure is buddy!
Looks like you’ve really got momentum behind you, not just in terms of NW growth, but you’ve been saving a huge portion of your income for such a time now that this is just habit for you! Awesome stuff. Keep it up mate!
When people complain about how hard it is to save in this economy I point them your way 😀
All the best,
My portfolio really is starting to live a life of its own, as I’ve previously said. Even though I continue to save a large chunk of my paycheck, the influence that has on my net worth dwindless every month that passes by.
It’s like Dividend Mantra said, “it’s simple, but not easy”. Once you get the easy part down, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy! 🙂 Saving has nothing to do with the economy as long as you’ve got an income. It’s all about balancing your income and expenses.
Love your portfolio, its growth, and stocks you are invested in. Also I like your ETFs. How long have you been invested in them? That return is great.
Glad you like what you’re seeing! In the coming months I’d like to diversify a little more, but overall I’m really glad with where I’m currently at.
I bought my ETFs between May and July of last year, so their growth has been rather remarkable. That’s mostly due to the depressed Euro though.
Thank you for dropping by,
WOW, that is truly remarkable return…
About 20% of the ETF growth comes from currency depreciation. Especially the World ETF made immense leaps forward due to a rapidly dropping Euro. When I bought my ETFs €1 was worth about $1.40, now we’re down to $1.07.
I see, that makes sense. Will you be selling them when and if Euro goes back up? Or do you think the ETFs would go up too? (a risk-less investment?)
I’m not planning on selling these ETFs just yet, even if the Euro goes back up (which won’t happen anytime soon with the ECB buying Euro area bonds for the foreseeable future). These are long-term investments, so no reason to sell them when they drop a little.
congrats for the milestone reached.
How do you track the added capital in your chart?
Thank you – it’s always fun to reach another milestone and round figure.
I don’t really track the added capital seperately as it closely relates to my savings rate. Income minus expenses amounts to the added capital as I add that money to either my dividend portfolio, ETFs or savings accounts.
From next month onward I’ll try to include that in the graphs so you can see how much of the growth is due to stock market appreciation and my own efforts.
You’re an absolute inspiration NMW, hope you’re able to keep up this fantastic momentum. I agree it will be interesting to see how you go over the longer-term, but I have a pretty good feeling about where you’re going to end up 🙂
Too much praise, my friend! It’s my savings that put in all the work, I hardly do anything at this point in time. 😉
Even though it would be fantastic to keep this growth rate up over the longer-term, it’ll probably drop month after month as my nest egg continues to increase. I don’t mind though, because that means the pile of money keeps getting bigger.
Best wishes down under,