David Loses Money Tracking my adventures in making money without earning it

The Story So Far

T

Okay, so some backstory. But not like, heaps, that can go in another post. This is just the past few years so you know where I’m currently at. I’ve been trading on and off since 2009, but never really started investing seriously until 2018. In those 9 years I managed to get my head a bit more above water financially, so these days I usually have money left over each pay, which I then throw into investments and see what happens. You can find out more about me on this About Me page.

This current stretch started in 2018. I got an unexpected bonus at work – nothing huge, but I suddenly had some money and no real idea what to do with it. I opted to put some of it into Afterpay as women around me kept using it as a verb, then threw the rest of it into AMD, Microsoft, Visa and Take Two. The rationale for these was:

  • AMD: they seemed to be doing deals for embedded components everywhere in videogame consoles etc.
  • Microsoft: felt like a safe bet and I thought a lot of growth would come from Office 365.
  • Visa: I thought there’d be a bunch of growth as hopefully them being super involved with the Olympics would make PayWave and cashless transactions become mainstream in Japan, which could cause a domino effect leading to a bunch of growth in Asia. That didn’t quite go to plan.
  • Take Two: because “surely there’ll be another Grand Theft Auto game soon.” Ha. 🙄

Everything immediately tanked, but I held anyway, mainly because I learned from experience over the past decade where being paper-handed gets you.

Things eventually turned around and I regularly started throwing in leftover parts of my pay into shares. My aim was to keep 50% in ETFs and 50% in individual companies. Somehow it turned into a hobby for me, to the point where now I started this blog to write about it. I’ve tried micro-investing, P2P lending, crowdfunding, high-interest savings accounts, the stock market, cryptocurrencies and in among that I’ve spent forever comparing electricity bills, superannuation accounts, health insurance, gambling, learning to budget, and a whole other raft of things that I would like to write about my experiences with. I am more irresponsible than I probably should be, but I’m not completely stupid.

Maybe you will find it interesting, maybe you won’t. I don’t really care, I’m just writing because I find this stuff somehow fun.

So after doing this for a while, in June 2020 I started thinking maybe I should have a plan for the future. I’m in my late 30s, live in Sydney, and I’m still forever renting. My enthusiasm for buying property is extremely low, but I feel like it is something I should do. So I decided that I’d either sell off all of my investments once I hit enough for a 30% deposit on a house, or I’d just keep investing and try to hit FIRE, depending on how well I performed over the year.

In January 2021 I hit the house deposit target about 6 months ahead of schedule, but I was reluctant to actually take the money out and things started to go to hell after that. In my hubris at profiting off riskier assets instead of the big anchor that my ETFs were, I started selling them off to YOLO into other things. This came to a head in the whole GameStop saga early in the year, where I sold off a bunch of my “safe” stuff and put it into a short-term gamble on GME (IMO the math made sense at the time). Over the course of a few days it went up 400% and hit my target sale price… but I got greedy and held on to see if it’d go higher. It did not and I overall ended up losing 30%. That was a learning experience.

One weekend in late January/early February I decided I would start pulling my money out and shake my life up by moving to Melbourne, given I’d hit my deposit target and things were looking wonky. So Monday I went to put in orders only to find that all my stuff had begun to tank. The “transition from growth to value stocks” that boomers in the financial media were jerking off over was a thing, and given that I was almost entirely invested in growth stuff (especially tech) things were not looking good. Unfortunately I have a strong bias toward tech in my investments due to working in that industry and pretty much living/breathing it my entire life, so I continued losing money.

I decided to give it a month to sort itself out, but it kept getting worse. I ended up pulling out the majority of my stuff and stuck it into a HISA to use as a deposit, then started house hunting. Unfortunately, lockdowns and border closures kept happening all throughout the rest of the year, which led to me only being able to get down to Melbourne once to check out places. As of June this year I’ve been stuck in lockdown in Sydney, and have decided to give up on the whole “buying a place” idea for the next year as it’s impossible to go inspect anything interstate and likely won’t be until Christmas at the earliest. I pulled my money back out of the HISA and dumped it back onto the market, and now here we are!

My short-to-medium goal is to beat the ASX200 index (research suggests it is almost impossible for fund managers to consistently pull this off), which would justify me making all my stupid investment decisions instead of just setting and forgetting. My long-term goal is still to buy into the horribly broken and overpriced Australian housing market (more on this in a future post) or FIRE – whichever seems more achievable and better value. If that ever happens who knows, but in the meantime I’m having fun. You can see how I’m going with this on the Portfolio pages.

As of January 2021 I was comfortably beating the index for the FY, but then all the aforementioned few paragraphs happened and I closed out the financial year up 17%. That beats putting it in savings or a term deposit, but the ASX200 went up 28% in the same period. So that went wrong there, but I did have my money out of the market for a large chunk of the year. It’s a new FY though so time to try again!

Add Comment

David Loses Money Tracking my adventures in making money without earning it

Categories