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Casting Shadows Before | Monthly FIRE Portfolio Update - October 2019
And coming events cast their shadows before. Thomas Campbell, Loichiel’s Warning (1802) This is my thirty-fifth portfolio update. I complete this update monthly to check my progress against my goals. Portfolio goals My objectives are to reach a portfolio of:
$1 598 000 by 31 December 2020. This should produce a passive income of about $67 000 (Objective #1) - Achieved
$1 980 000 by 31 July 2023, to produce a passive income equivalent to $83 000 (Objective #2)
Both of these are based on an expected average real return of 4.19 per cent, or a nominal return of 7.19 per cent, and are expressed in 2018 dollars. Portfolio summary Vanguard Lifestrategy High Growth Fund – $773 028 Vanguard Lifestrategy Growth Fund – $44 094 Vanguard Lifestrategy Balanced Fund – $80 383 Vanguard Diversified Bonds Fund – $108 964 Vanguard Australian Shares ETF (VAS) – $139 698 Vanguard International Shares ETF (VGS) – $27 138 Betashares Australia 200 ETF (A200) – $259 380 Telstra shares (TLS) – $1 860 Insurance Australia Group shares (IAG) – $13 847 NIB Holdings shares (NHF) – $8 412 Gold ETF (GOLD.ASX) – $98 755 Secured physical gold – $15 979 Ratesetter* (P2P lending) – $17 791 Bitcoin – $147 130 Raiz* app (Aggressive portfolio) – $16 931 Spaceship Voyager* app (Index portfolio) – $2 240 BrickX (P2P rental real estate) – $4 410 Total value: $1 760 040 (+$30 378) Asset allocation Australian shares – 42.0% (3.0% under) Global shares – 22.6% Emerging markets shares – 2.4% International small companies – 3.1% Total international shares – 28.1% (1.9% under) Total shares – 70.1% (4.9% under) Total property securities – 0.3% (0.3% over) Australian bonds – 4.8% International bonds – 9.9% Total bonds – 14.7% (0.3% under) Gold – 6.5% Bitcoin – 8.4% Gold and alternatives – 14.9% (4.9% over) Presented visually, below is a high-level view of the current asset allocation of the portfolio. [Chart] Comments This month the portfolio grew by just over $30 000 in total, building on the previous month of growth. [Chart] The equity component of the portfolio has grown, including through new contributions and another part of the June distributions being 'averaged into' equity markets. The only other major changes in the monthly value of the portfolio have been the result of gains in the value of equity holdings and a sharp upward movement in the price of Bitcoin. [Chart] This month marks the notional passing of one of the additional FI benchmarks set at the beginning of the year - 'Credit card FI'. This benchmark is estimated on the basis of reaching a portfolio value where the annual assumed real return of 4.19 per cent could in theory fully meet average annual credit card expenses of $73 000. This benchmark is notionally met in that sense, and it is also close to being met on a far more practical and tangible basis also. The actual gap between a trailing average of distributions paid and card expenses has now fallen to less than $300 per month. [Chart] Even so, it is important to note that this narrow gap could stabilise or modestly rise once forthcoming December distributions form part of the average, replacing a higher placeholder assumption based on June's figures. Quarterly distributions from Betashare's A200 ETF and Vanguard's Australian shares ETF (VAS) were paid this month. These distributions, in addition to another staggered reinvestment of June distributions were invested in the market. They have been mostly placed into VAS, to obtain the benefit of accessing a slightly wider range of holdings at a comparable fee, as well as to reduce any (admittedly small) risk and volatility in future returns and payout levels between A200 and VAS. To maintain the target balance for international (40 per cent) and domestic equities (40 per cent), a smaller additional investment was also made into Vanguard's International shares ETF (VGS). Sighting harbours and early arrivals - revising the FI target date A focus of thought in the two months ahead will be the expected timing of reaching my FI Objective #2. This goal is current set to July 2023. In setting this original target timeframe I used approximate and conservative estimates, based on previous average total portfolio increases over the past five years. This method effectively ignored extra contributions arising from any above average portfolio distributions, or any return impacts, given the relatively short time until both targets. As such, it represented a clear simplification of reality. Achievement of the target - I reasoned at the time - would inevitably be impacted by market fluctuations and this meant constructing spuriously exact yearly forecasts of the impacts of average returns would not be worthwhile. What has become clear since meeting Objective #1 more than 18 months earlier than expected is that more rapid progress was also being made towards Objective #2. To understand and explore this progress further I have applied a few estimation techniques to start understanding possible revised trajectories. These estimate approaches included:
simple extrapolation from past progress over a long time period
using the median monthly progress since 2017; and
assuming no investment returns at all, and reliance just on contributions.
The results of the different estimation approaches being applied were broadly consistent, with projections of Objective #2 being reached at least two years ahead of schedule. A further interesting fact was that average assumed investment returns alone would be sufficient to carry the portfolio to the original target level by mid-2023. Indeed, even if the portfolio suffered a one-off 33 per cent fall in equity values tomorrow - as is quite possible - modelling suggested the target would still be likely to be met early. With two months to go until a full portfolio review, this indicates that it may be useful to reset this target to an estimate that more closely aligns with progress to date, whilst still retaining a respectful regard for the critical role that market variations can have in this phase of the journey. Casting the shadow before - a better approach for estimating distributions? At this time of year December distributions begin to cast their shadow forward, as the previous July distributions recede. Seeking to estimate the approximate level of future distributions has been an ongoing interest, and has been looked at previously in both the Set and Drift and Wind in the Sails posts. The level of distributions is a solid and important marker of how far the journey has progressed. This month I found time to fully develop an expanded data set to allow a better estimate of likely distributions. From the website of the relevant Vanguard retail funds, as well as the sites for the ETFs VAS, VGS and A200 I was able to download the available histories of distributions. These stretched back a decade for some funds, and five years for VAS and VGS, but substantially shorter for A200. This enables the estimation of average payouts (in cents per unit) to be reached. In turn, this allows an estimate to be made of the level and components of the December distributions, using average values. This is set out below. [Chart] There are significant boundaries of uncertainty around this estimate, and some simplifications. For example, it excludes Ratesetter and smaller individual shareholdings (which represent about 10 per cent of the holdings). It also assumes for simplicity equal ETF payments through the year. With these caveats and using this approach, the total December distributions are estimated to be around $19 500, out of an annual forecast distributions of $49 800. Progress Progress against the objectives, and the additional measures I have reached is set out below. Measure Portfolio All Assets Objective #1 – $1 598 000 (or $67 000 pa) 110.1% 150.0% Objective #2 – $1 980 000 (or $83 000 pa) 88.9% 121.1% Credit card purchases - $73 000 pa 101.1% 137.7% Total expenses - $89 000 pa 82.9% 112.9% Summary Coming events do cast their shadows before them. Even an initial review of progress towards my remaining financial objective has left me with a sense of time foreshortening, and the shadow reaching out towards the present. At some point this shadow will start inevitably and undeniably reaching into and touching my daily life. At the same time as this sense grows, markets feel delicately poised, with risks of bubbles, and unusual events such as required US Federal Reserve support for the inter-bank market, and a rare failure of a recent tender of short term Australian Treasury notes to reach its target issuance. Despite these types of events and historically low bond rates globally surveyed investor equity expectations remain at elevated levels. It often pays dividends at times such as this to look to the past. This is an opportunity provided by listening to Yale University's Robert Shiller in this recent podcast as well as by reading his new work Narrative Economics focused around the historical and continuing role of stories in markets and finance. Stories - such as a 'clear' link between a countries' economic growth and share market performance - can often be plausible, commonly held, and incorrect. Another informative podcast was an interview with the Head of Product Strategy for Vanguard Australia by Equity Mates. Further interesting insights into the development of modern portfolio theory and efficient markets theory can be accessed in these Youtube videos with interviews of Markowitz and Eugene Fama. The latter makes the point that the growth in indexing is likely to lead to active managers facing higher competition from more skilled investors, as the less skilled depart, making outperformance tougher rather than easier. This month I was pleased to be mentioned in this short but practical piece on Australian FI seekers, alongside Aussie HIFIRE and Aussie Firebug. For a striking visual tool around planning for FI and safe withdrawal rates, this US-based calculator also occupied some of my time. It gives a unique and simple demonstration of the different probabilities and tradeoffs that can be embedded in reaching FI. Ordinary Dollar here in Australia has some similar calculators. Without seeing coming events, they represent a useful way to look further over the horizon. The post, links and full charts can be seen here.
Keeping a Reckoning | Monthly FIRE Portfolio Update – September 2019
We may by care and skill be able to trim our ship, to steer our course, or to keep our reckoning; but we cannot control the winds, or subdue deceitful currents, or prevent disasters. The Sailors’ Prayer Book: A Manual of Devotion for Sailors at Sea (1852)
This is my thirty-fourth portfolio update. I complete this update monthly to check my progress against my goals.
My objectives are to reach a portfolio of:
$1 598 000 by 31 December 2020. This should produce a passive income of about $67 000 (Objective #1) - Achieved
$1 980 000 by 31 July 2023, to produce a passive income equivalent to $83 000 (Objective #2)
Both of these are based on an expected average real return of 4.19 per cent, or a nominal return of 7.19 per cent, and are expressed in 2018 dollars.
Vanguard Lifestrategy High Growth Fund – $767 282
Vanguard Lifestrategy Growth Fund – $43 936
Vanguard Lifestrategy Balanced Fund – $80 318
Vanguard Diversified Bonds Fund – $109 802
Vanguard Australian Shares ETF (VAS) – $124 643
Vanguard International Shares ETF (VGS) – $24 276
Betashares Australia 200 ETF (A200) – $263 829
Telstra shares (TLS) – $1 870
Insurance Australia Group shares (IAG) – $13 777
NIB Holdings shares (NHF) – $8 760
Gold ETF (GOLD.ASX) – $101 214
Secured physical gold – $16 292
Ratesetter* (P2P lending) – $19 140
Bitcoin – $131 280
Raiz* app (Aggressive portfolio) – $16 657
Spaceship Voyager* app (Index portfolio) – $2 184
BrickX (P2P rental real estate) – $4 402
Total value: $1 729 662 (+$17 325)
Australian shares – 42.0% (3.0% under)
Global shares – 22.6%
Emerging markets shares – 2.5%
International small companies – 3.2%
Total international shares – 28.3% (1.7% under)
Total shares – 70.3% (4.7% under)
Total property securities – 0.3% (0.3% over)
Australian bonds – 5.0%
International bonds – 10.1%
Total bonds – 15.0%
Gold – 6.8%
Bitcoin – 7.6%
Gold and alternatives – 14.4% (4.4% over)
Presented visually, below is a high-level view of the current asset allocation of the portfolio.[Chart]
This month the portfolio grew by just over $17 000 in total, following two consecutive months of small declines.[Chart] The total equity component of the portfolio has grown, including through new contributions and another part of the June distributions being 'averaged into' equity markets. The only major reductions in the portfolio has been the result of a sharp downward movement in the price of Bitcoin. [Chart] Lower credit card expenditure and the gradual increase of the trailing three year average of distributions paid has helped sustain a sense of momentum this month. Together they have continued to narrow the gap between distributions paid and credit card spending to less than $500 per month. [Chart] The complete closure of the remaining gap is within sight. Assuming no sustained reversals in the absolute level of distributions through time, this could happen in the next 12 months. Some added progress towards this goal should come from pending quarterly distributions from the Betashares A200 ETF and Vanguard's Australian shares ETF (VAS). These are currently being finalised. The draft distributions guidance indicates that for A200 and VAS these quarterly distribution should total around $4 700, approximately double the absolute level of the same quarterly distributions a year ago. New investments this month have been higher than normal due to a work bonus and the staggered reinvestment of June distributions. They have been directed predominantly to Vanguard's Australian Shares ETF (VAS), with a small recent allocation to Vanguard's international shares ETF (VGS). Following the recent fee reduction in VAS, I have directed Australian purchases through to this ETF, preferring the (slightly) wider exposure it delivers through following the ASX300, compared to the Betashares A200's slightly narrower holdings. The end of 'the big rebalance' into Australian equities The reason for the split between Australian and international equity purchases is that this month has seen the effective end of 'the big rebalance' - that is, the gradual movement to a 60/40 split between Australian and international shares. This was first targeted in my January 2019 review of portfolio targets and allocations. Previously my Australian and international equity allocation was largely just an unconscious and purely mechanical outcome of the splits in various Vanguard retail funds, and a number of smaller side Australian shareholdings. The last nine months - by contrast - has seen a concentrated direction of new funds and distributions into Australian shares to achieve the targeted balance. The shift has been significant, with the value of Australian shares only overtaking international holdings in the second half of 2018. International shares have fallen from more than a third of total portfolio assets at this start of this record to closer to a quarter. [Chart] At the same time Australian equities now make up 42 per cent of total portfolio, and have just reached 60 per cent of the equity portfolio. All this has occurred as the total equity portfolio has grown from $630 000 at the start of this journey, to over $1.2 million this month. [Chart] The main vehicles for this expansion over the past two years has been Betashares A200 and Vanguard's VAS ETFs. More recently, as mentioned, I have added Vanguard's global share ETF (VGS) to allow an avenue to keep within the targeted split with future contributions. Measuring investment income from tax returns This month also saw completion of my tax return, including explaining my tax position to a brand new tax agent. The tax assessment from this past financial year provides an additional data point about the taxable investment income being generated by the portfolio. The graph set out below updates the series published last year on taxable investment income. It is taken from the return items for partnerships and trusts, foreign source income and franking credits (i.e. items 13, 20 and 24 on the return, and not including capital gains) over the past nine years. [Chart] This shows that taxable investment income has risen only around five per cent over the past financial year. This likely reflects the decline in higher interest payments from a slow rebalance away from Ratesetter towards equities. Taxable investment income is still well short of both the original objective, and even further short of Objective #2. [Chart] As previously outlined, there are a range of factors that likely account for the mismatch between tax return income and received distributions. These could include timing differences, capital gains realisations, and potentially even small errors in how I have added in individual return items in past years. I have also continued to seek to avoid double counting and so understatement is also a possibility, given the formats and labelling of tax returns are not always particularly clear.
Progress against the objectives, and the additional measures I have reached is set out below. MeasurePortfolio All Assets Objective #1 – $1 598 000 (or $67 000 pa) 108.2% 147.5% Objective #2 – $1 980 000 (or $83 000 pa) 87.4% 119.1% Credit card purchases - $73 000 pa 99.3% 135.4%T otal expenses - $89 000 pa 81.5% 111.1%
Forward progress has resumed, with the growing warmth and life of spring. The last few months has been a continual reminder that the fickle direction of market winds may play a greater role than sheer saving and investing efforts at this point in the journey. Focusing on the process, rather than the short-term outcome is therefore almost forced upon one - which perhaps is no bad thing after all. Indeed, increasingly I have wondered whether these now ingrained habits and processes will themselves be difficult to break out of, even as I definitively pass some FI benchmarks in future months and years. The varying winds will also increasingly dictate where additional contributions are to be made. This is the automatic result of targeting an asset allocation with new contributions rather than active rebalancing through selling existing holdings. In fact, it probably constitutes one of the more difficult tests for a chosen risk allocation, as it will tend to result in buying unspectacular portfolio 'laggards', rather than assets that have recently moved up, without the consolation of taking these new funds from locked in profits elsewhere in the portfolio. This can lead to signals that are easier to follow in theory than in practice. As an example, currently Australian government bond yields are close to historical lows, and potentially heading lower. This is highly relevant to FI planning, as there is some academic evidence that the 'four percent rule' has a higher failure rate in low bond rate environments. There is also a strong possibility that bonds are close to the end of a forty year decline in yield - and have nowhere to go. The increasing spread of negative yielding government and corporate bonds around the world, however, also holds out equally plausible but very different possibilities, at least in the short term. This is more than a hypothetical issue and uncertainty. Through the next 12 months it is possible that my target asset allocation will start signalling a need to buy bonds. This would involve a need to find the right investment vehicle to access this asset at least cost. On the same topic, this month saw an excellent explainer piece from Aussie HiFIRE on bonds, and also a good discussion from Kurt at Pearler on how to put the modern portfolio theory to practical work in FI portfolio design. Youtube content on FI and portfolio issues seems to be improving all the time as well, including this short video on thinking about the role and value of dividends.All such guidance represents a way of keeping a reckoning on the unfolding horizon, its dangers and subtle deceits .The post and full charts can be seen here.
A chart on the halvening- Right now, over $100,000 dollars worth of brand new bitcoin is awarded every 10 minutes, and the market has to absorb that. Soon, it will be $50,000 given the current price. No projections, just math.
06-24 06:34 - 'BITCOIN'S BIGGEST MUSICAL PRODUCTIONS: "Once in a rare while a creator of Bitcoin music feels that a quick video made out of stock footage, price chart screenshots, and a meme or two just isn’t enough...' (citadel21.com) by /u/therealhodlonaut removed from /r/Bitcoin within 631-641min
Cost to mine 1 Bitcoin is now $14,000 USD. "Bitcoin Price Chart Fractal Seen in 2019 Hints at $14K Within Months". I bet BTC price ascends to $14,000 in next 30 days! NewYorkCoin (NYC) is a faster, no fee version of Litecoin since 2014! Official New York Coin nycoin.net | newyorkcoin.net
Bitcoin Price Charts Hint at the Most Exciting Breakout in Over a Year 🥰 "If Bitcoin closes above $9200 this week, it's an incredibly bullish sign — and perhaps the biggest since the 2017 bull run — for the coming weeks and months." New York Coin is a lightning-fast, no fee version of Litecoin.
03-19 17:15 - 'Take a look, if you want I can ping you over a couple of charts that Nouriel Roubini put together showing definitive proof the BTC price jumps every time tethers are printed.' by /u/CreepyCranfield10 removed from /r/Bitcoin within 0-6min
🔹 BITCOIN PRICE ANALYSIS NOVEMBER 15 2019🔹 🚦 As fast as BTC rose to $ 8,773, it collapsed again as can be seen in the one-day chart. 📡 The daily range of BTC is $ 8,517 - $ 8,790. 🔥 Support levels are $ 8,558 and $ 8,460.
Bitcoin Price Chart BTC / USD. Bitcoin Price Candlesticks. Bitcoin Price Converter Convert. 24 Hour Bitcoin Value. Bitcoin (BTC) 1.06% $ 9,125.07 $ 96.73 ⇣ 9,125.07. 16 Jul ⇡ 9,242.90. About Bitcoin. Bitcoin is the original cryptocurrency released in 2009 as open-source software. It is a digital currency predicated on cryptographically Bitcoin USD price, real-time charts, bitcoin news and videos. Learn about BTC, crypto trading and more. Bitcoin climbed higher on Tuesday following two weeks of flat price action. The jump led its price closer to retesting a classic resistance trendline with origins dating back to December 2017. A recent fractal shows the tendency of traders to test $10,000-$10,5000 following a close above the said BTC Price Chart. 1h +0.11%. 24h-0.12%. 7d-0.59%. What is Bitcoin? Bitcoin is a consensus network that enables a new payment system and completely digital money. It is the first decentralized peer-to-peer payment network that is powered by its users with no central authority or middlemen. From a user perspective, Bitcoin is pretty much like cash Bitcoin (BTC) prices - Nasdaq offers cryptocurrency prices & market activity data for US and global markets.
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