Holy hell, where have I been!? It’s been fifteen days since my last post and I have hardly visited any of you guys’ websites – the longest I’ve ever been MIA. Busy times at the office, great cycling weather, and a general break from the internet forced my hand in the matter, but from now on you can expect regular updates again, like this one. It’s time to update the value of my financial independence portfolio once again, so let’s get to it.
Even though the name of the game still is dividend growth investing, it’s important to review my portfolio and overall net worth from time to time. After all, there’s nothing that gets me to accumulate and invest more of my hard-earned cash than seeing my pile of savings grow all by itself.
Just like last month progress is relatively slow, mostly because I bought a brand-new road bike, which I’ll also be using to cycle to work. On top of that European stock markets have taken a serious beating the past few weeks due to the situation in Greece. All in all, my net worth increased by a solid €1,323, which I’m happy about.
As you can see the graph displayed above still trends upward nicely. The 2.05% gain this month simply continues that progress and pushes me closer to my €70,000 goal by the end of the year. Even though progress has slowed down the past two months, I’m relatively certain I’ll crush that threshold.
You can find a detailed overview of my portfolio below. Individual dividend growth stocks, exchange-traded funds tracking broad indices, and cash reserves are all listed seperately. Foreign securities were converted to Euros using the last-known exchange rate.
Dividend growth stocks
It’s been at the centre of every news outlet for the past few weeks, at least this side of the Atlantic, so it should come as no surprise that the financial and debt crisis in Greece has cast a dark shadow over many of my European investments. As you can see in the table below, many of my recent additions in high quality companies like Anheuser-Busch InBev (EBR:ABI or NYSE:BUD) and Münchener Rückversicherungs-Gesellschaft (ETR:MUV2) still hover below their cost basis.
However, a slump in the market opens up buying opportunities, so that’s why, after picking up British utility National Grid plc (LON:NG) last month, I decided to further increase my exposure to the utilities sector. Spanish giant Enagas SA (BME:ENG) now takes a prime spot in my European selection of stocks. Whenever Greece shares take a hit, you can be sure that Spanish and Italian stocks follow suit, so I scooped up 50 shares at a yield over 5% – excellent.
You can find the gains in absolute and relative numbers for each company in the table below. 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||901.17||-2.99%|
|DE||Deere & Company||7||452.61||576.46||+27.36%|
|HOME||Home Invest Belgium||15||1,396.25||1,294.65||-7.28%|
|JNJ||Johnson & Johnson||6||473.79||529.42||+11.74%|
|PG||Procter & Gamble||9||575.36||638.46||+10.97%|
|RB||Reckitt Benckiser plc||10||630.34||795.87||+26.26%|
|ROG||Roche Holding AG||5||1,233.71||1,287.42||+4.35%|
|RDSB||Royal Dutch Shell||60||1,745.65||1,588.80||-8.99%|
|S32||South 32 Ltd.||48||20.04||60.90||203.91%|
|KO||The Coca Cola Company||17||540.05||607.71||+12.53%|
|VZ||Verizon Communications Inc.||20||785.07||838.49||+6.80%|
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, but 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||6,267.78||+25.78%|
|IEMA||iShares MSCI Emerging Markets||1,214.59||1,391.04||+14.53%|
|IMAE||iShares MSCI Europe||3,561.94||4,168.56||+17.03%|
While the previous categories contained my stock market related investments, the other category is a lot less exciting. The savings account and emergency fund only contain cash savings, while the pension fund also contains quite a lot of bonds and fixed-interest rate investments. As such, they all provide a solid foundation to an otherwise relatively volatile portfolio.
|Name||Cost basis||Current value||Gain|
|Pension fund||1,337.50||1,457.36||+8.96% and 30% tax break|
I hardly followed my investments the past two weeks, although they’ve been all over the place apparently, but still my financial independence fund managed to get ahead. That’s largely due to my May savings, which goes to show once again how important it is to remain disciplined and maintain a high savings rate.
To everyone who sent me a message the past couple of days wondering how I am and what I’m up to, thank you for your kind words. I appreciate the e-mails, even though I still have a metric ton of them to get through. Additionally, I have a lot of reading-up to do because I’ve missed quite a lot of updates on my favourite blogs, so I better get to reading them.
Thank you for your support!
Another month, another upwards trend – well done you! I was wondering the other day how you were getting on as you’d not posted 🙂 glad to see you’re still plodding along. Will you revise your goal for your end-of-year target if you hit it early?
Thank you! Been busy the past few weeks, so not a lot of time to keep uw with the blog and everyone else. Hope to change this soon though.
I probably won’t revise my year-end goal, but of course I’ll try my best to maximize my net worth because that means a major head start for next year already! 🙂
Could it be there’s an error in the stock list? You mentioned a position in National Grid but it does not appear in the overview.
I assume the error entered in the previous (May) Net Worth update.
This could smoothen the big dip in your net worth and make you smile…
Congrats with the ongoing updates!
You’re right! Apparently I forgot to add National Grid to the list. I’ve corrected this in the next update and on the portfolio page up top.
Thank you for pointing out the error!
Awesome NMW. Glad to see a post. Keep hustling hard and enjoying the journey at the same time. Always a pleasure my friend. Cheers.
Thanks, Tyler! I’ll keep giving it my all! 🙂
Glad to see you’re back man, I was starting to think you’d overdosed on waffles ;P
Portfolio is looking great, and as a long-term investor you definitely shouldn’t feel anxious about stocks being down or the time being. As you said it yourself, it allows you to buy up equity at a discount.
Keep it up, 70k is easily right around the corner for you!
Ha, no chance of waffle overdose here! Wouldn’t want to lose out on my awesome savings rate. 😉
The portfolio has been doing great, in my honest opinion. I’m really glad about the shares I own – all high quality companies in my book. Even though some of them are way down, they’ll still continue to pay me dividends and that’s what it’s all about after all.
I am a proud owner of Enagas too, shame that I have got it when it was at a much higher price, still is a solid company that has holdings in South America too, one of the best stocks on IBEX in my opinion (for the long term investor that is). Net worth increase is due mostly to savings and dividends correct?
How are ETFs taxed in Belgium? Here in Italy they are taxed in a stupid way, and the government doesn’t allow to claim back eventual losses from the gains that you make from other sources. I am still looking for some other investments that offer little but “certain” return for the “sacred money”, not had any luck so far…
Keep up the good work, ciao ciao
Enagas took quite a nose dive the past month – did you manage to purchase any additional shares to lower your cost of purchase?
Most of June’s net worth increase is indeed due to savings and dividends. Can’t wait for my portfolio to generate larger swings than my own savings potential!
ETFs aren’t taxed at all in Belgium apart from the mandatory stock market tax of 0.27% when you purchase or sell shares (applies to all listed shares). All in all, it’s one of the best ways to quickly accumulate wealth.
Killing it NMW ! That graph sure is an awesome sight, keep it up! 😀
Thanks, buddy! Will do!
You should learn how to maintain your new road bike yourself! Otherwise you will pay a shop €100-150 per year in my experience. It’s not too hard with a bit of time and patience…. sort of like investing.
I have taken a hit of 15% on Munich Re since I bought. I am tempted to go again. Well done on Enagas. Your timing looks very good….
Basic maintenance won’t be a problem, but changing braking cables and the like will take a bit of practice. I’m going to try and do it myself since there’s always the option to run to the shop to save my sorry butt! 🙂
Still, even if I do all maintenance myself I have to take into account new tires, gears, chainset, breaks every three to four thousand miles. Since I’m cycling to work often, I’ll most likely hit those numbers soon rather than later.
Munich RE is back on my radar since I took a massive hit aswell. At the moment the stock is back up, but I’m still tempted to purchase some additional shares. Did you take the plunge?
Welcome back, NMW! Glad you were quiet for nice reasons!
Pretty solid net worth figures considering the impact the potential Grexit has had on equity values (especially on the continent). We were hit quite a bit this side of the Channel but not–it seems–as much as the Eurozone more specifically (obviously). A nice positive push at the moment though.
I wish the depressed prices had remained until I had new capital to invest though!
Enagas looks a solid buy to me. I have been considering topping up my utilities exposure at some point. It represents a relatively small 5% of my portfolio at present. Although I am not sure whether I would want it to get too much bigger than that!
Look forward to the new posts!
Ha, only got around to replying to your comment one month later… Guess I haven’t stopped being rather quiet! 😉
With the agreement on another monetary programme for Greece we’ve both experienced a massive push in the market. Most of my losses from the past month have been cleared – I guess the same holds for you?
Still a decent month, given the markt Swings.
Welcome back, i look forward to read more stories
Thanks, AT! I’m trying to get my regular posting schedule back on track.
I am the same way NMW. Summer tends to keep me outdoors. Haven’t even posted my May results yet!
There are worse things than spending your summer outside, so don’t worry about not posting as often as you’d like. I’d pick cycling over blogging any day of the week, even though I really like writing too.
Hi NMW! Excellent progress! Nice to see that your funds are doing extremely well. 🙂
I’ve also been MIA lately, I guess some times life just gets in the way. The hardest part is actually coming back to routine!
Exactly! The longer I put off working on my blog, the more the work seems to pile up. I’ve still got over 100 comments and an equally high amount of e-mails to sift through. I think I’m going to have to take a day off work to reply to every single person, ha! 🙂
Glad to hear from you, no reason to up date all the time, except when you want! Sounds like your accounts are doing pretty well, and all that talk going on just presents opportunity. Continue enjoying that and this summer, and you’re in for a good year.
You’re right, but the problem is I really want to write too… Guess you can’t have it all! If only I didn’t need any sleep. 😉
Hope you’re enjoying life and summer over there too!
Nice progress considering the misery we have in europe with Greece. Altough I don’ mind lower stock prices, in fact I love it. It means we are getting more bang for our bucks. I used the opportunity to average down on some stocks.
Will you average down on some of yours? Munich Re look intressting to average down.
Munich RE definitely is on my purchase list again. The stock is up again, but still well below my initial purchase price, so a good moment to bump up those big fat insurance dividends. Did you add any stocks that you were down on?
Good to see you back and that is another good month.
Thanks, Independentbunny! Hope to get back to my regular posting schedule.
Are you going to hold onto your South32 spinoff shares? Just curious, thanks.
I probably will because it’ll cost me more to sell the shares than to simply hold on to them. Besides, the company stated that its going pay a dividend at 40% of profits in the first year with a maintain and increase policy for the next years.
Welcome back! Even you are not doing anything and your account increase >2% is awesome. Keep up the good work, looking forward to future analysis.
I wouldn’t call saving a lot each month nothing, but a 2% increase definitely is a nice uptick considering the size of my portfolio. 😉
I am on the same situation than you not been able to touch to much internet to post and read my best blog, which you are part of.
Great month, I love the graphic it’s just beautiful to see it growing at a steady pace.
Cheers and enjoy the cycling!
During the colder winter months there’ll be plenty of time to read other blogs and write your own articles, don’t worry about that!
The graph keeps trending upward nicely – I’m really happy with the progress so far. I hope you have continued your great results from the past few months too.
Nice progress. Barring a big correction in the stock market, you look well on your way to 70k!
Most certainly am! Let’s hope I make that number in the next month or two.
Excellent work on that net worth number!
Since you’re obviously going to crush that 70K number before Q4 of 2015, are you going to be setting a new goal in that area?
I probably won’t change my year-end-goal, but I will obviously maximize my effort to increase my net worth as much as possible. That just means a jump start towards next year goal and faster progress than I initially expected.
Very interesting purchase of Enagas… i was born in south america and it seems that this company has huge investments and resources there…
Indeed, Enagas owns a lot of facilities in south America too. It’s its second largest market after Spain if I remember correctly. Overall great European company with international exposure to a lot of growth (emerging) markets.
Awesome update with some great gains from your stock portfolio too. Look forward to reading about your bike commute to work in your next post. Great way to save some money too.
Commuting to work by bike has been a blast. Not only am I wide awake when I finally sit down behind my desk, I haven’t felt this strong physically in years. I recommend everyone to try and cycle to work if they can – great fun and of course there’s the financial part of the equation.
Hey, congrats for the outstanding blog. Just discovered but a pleasant surprise. Please go on. A simple question: are you interested in italian stocks?
At the moment I have only one Italian stock on my watchlist: Recordatti. To my knowledge there aren’t a lot of steady dividend growth stocks on the Italian market, but please correct me if I’m wrong?
Furthermore, I’m still uncertain on the Italian taxation of dividends. I’ve contacted my broker, but it seems rather complicated to set up a reduced foreign withholding tax.
Thank you for your kind words!