2019 is drawing to a close, and as is the norm on the Total Balance blog (easy now hot shot, this is only the first full year of blogging!) it’s thus time to take a gander back at this years major events – good or bad!
My wife asked me yesterday, if I had a “highlight reel” ready for the year of 2019. I didn’t/don’t. I actually had to read through some of my old posts, just to remember WTF had actually happened this year – this is EXACTLY why I started blogging; To help me remember shit!
I fell over a post from December 2018 in which I highlight 3 events/problems that had occurred to me/us (because all bad things come in 3’s?!), and it dawned on me that all 3 “problems” actually resolved itself since! This just goes to show you that sometimes the best action you can take, is NO action!
Problem #1 of 2018
was in regards to my new pension provider (that came with my new job), who was since replaced with a new provider who I really like (unlike the old one). Also, the “loss” that I was bitching about in December 2018 more than recovered during the first three months of 2019.
In my infinite wisdom, I since decided to move all my pension funds into a more conservative investment strategy. – Which turned out to be a BIG mistake! Well, I made a decent profit on my pension in 2019, but it was nothing near the market average of close to 30%! (WTF IS GOING ON!?). Don’t take any investment advice from this guy, he clearly doesn’t know what he’s doing! 😛
Boy am I glad I didn’t invest in that broad World Index that I was considering at one point! – SAID NOBODY THIS YEAR!
I know quite a few in the FIRE community, who are very committed to the passive index investing strategy, and they are laughing all the way to the bank this year (they were not laughing so much last year though 😛 ).
Anywho, 2019 has been an interesting lesson for me in that regard. Nobody believed, going into 2019 that the year would end in (yet another) all time high for the stock market. It’s a great example of how nobody can predict the future, and it’s exactly why you need to pick an investment strategy that works for you (and stick to it), both when the markets go up and when they go down.
Granted, my conservative approach to investing this year saw my portfolio “forfeit” a pretty big gain. Such is life – at least I managed to grow both my Total Balance and my Pension portfolio significantly anyway, so I really shouldn’t be complaining (I am a little bit though, aren’t I?!). Had the market gone down, I would have probably been pretty thrilled at my “limited” gains after all. – But psychology just doesn’t work that way, does it?! I LOST something (by not gaining it). It’s stupid, I know – but even Mr. RIP himself did something he wasn’t proud of this year (he “timed the market” by cashing in some of his gains. BUT MR. RIP, YOU CAN’T TIME THE MARKET!?!…), and I really can’t blame him. He’s near the end of his FIRE journey, so I would have done exactly the same.
The problem is, I’m not near the end of my FIRE journey – I’m still in the beginning, so I know it’s illogical to be this “protective” of my assets, but I just can’t help it! It’s in my nature, so I’ve learned to go with it, rather than try to fight it, and go against my nature. If it means my journey will ultimately take longer, then so be it! 🙂
BUT, every cloud has a silver lining, and I believe this years events has brought me a little closer to accepting the market volatility. I’m planning to tweak my pension allocation a bit in January 2020 (it’s OK once a year, right?! 😛 ), to make it a tad less defensive. I’m not entirely decided yet, so I will leave the details for another post 😉
Problem #2 of 2018
was the bankruptcy of our “ownership change insurance” company on our 200 year old (ish) house. Ultimately, the politicians came to our aid and passed a law that made it possible for the insurance to continue under a new “brand/ownership”. It cost us DKK 1.000 to “move” the insurance to another agency. Phew! Crisis averted!
Problem #3 of 2018
was my kid complaining that it hurt when she peed. This problem resolved itself on the same day, so that was something! 😛
So those were all problems from the past – surely 2019 presented a whole new bag of problems, right?!
Indeed it did! Some of which (like the history goes) has already resolved them selves, and some have yet to find a resolution. I’ve narrowed it down to 5 “problems/issues/topics”, which I shall dub “The 2019 Problem Highlight Reel” (catchy, huh?!…)
- The discovery and the purchase of Property #1
- The pension shuffle
- The wife’s cashflow issues
- My mental and physical well-being
- Trouble in crowdlending paradise
Anyone who follow this blog probably already know how/when Problem #1 was solved! That’s right, 2019 began with me finally acquiring my first piece of passive property income. Unfortunately due to the structure of this property, we won’t see any passive income from this asset until the year 2023! Such is the nature of (this kind of) boring passive property investing 😉
I’ve been following the different developments in the second half of the year, and I’ve yet to see a project that even remotely resembles the Property #1 project, so I’m quite psyched about finding it, and ultimately getting a piece. These kind of projects seldom comes around, which is good because I don’t have any money for Property #2 at this point anyway, so I don’t mind waiting another year or two on Property #2 (by then I hopefully have enough cash to buy a piece). The goal is to get Property #2 in the bag within the next 3-4 years. I think that should be doable.
Problem #2 of 2019
was the great move from one pension provider to another, and subsequently the creation of what turned out to be a too conservative AA for the year (we of course know this in hindsight now – perhaps it will be just perfect for 2020?! Who knows!?…). Anyway, as described above, this problem/issue has kind of also been “cleared” already. BONUS INFO: My new Pension provider launched a new product this year – they now have an actively managed fund with sustainable investments (private equity, stocks, windmill- and solar farms, properties etc.) called “AP Bæredygtig” with a fairly low APR (0,89%), which I plan to allocate about 25% of my pension money to. Stay tuned for updates on this in 2020 😉
Problem #3 of 2019
I have mentioned my wife’s cashflow issues a couple of times in passing on the blog. I won’t go into details about why/how this became a problem in 2019 – but I might have some good news in that regard, which I will share in my next monthly update (No spoilers here 😛 )…
Problem #4 of 2019
I think I can safely say that this one is going to be a recurring issue 😛 I had a few “near death man-flu” experiences in 2019 (no more than usual, really), so my physical health is neither better nor worse than when the year began. – However, I think I would like to publicly state that my mental health is/has been improving lately!
I attribute this improvement to a couple of factors:
- I take (high quality, natural) Omega-3 oil capsules every day, to balance my Omegas. It sounds very 007’e, but really it’s just chemical science. I believe my/our diet is too high in Omega-6 (meat) and thus adding Omega-3 as a supplement helps negate some of the negative affects of our Omega-6 heavy diet (Google it, this shit is real people). Of course one could (should) argue that eating less meat and more (fatty) fish would be the correct solution to this (supposed) imbalance – and one would certainly be right to argue that. We are trying to improve in this area as well, but adding the supplement to my daily diet has been pretty effortless – and I believe it has had a positive effect (on my mood).
- I meditate regularly. Not nearly as much as I want to, but meditation is a wonderful way of relieving stress and anxiety, and to “ground yourself”. I’ve never trained in the art of meditation, but just relaxing in a chair or on the sofa with your eyes closed, relaxing music in your ears and practicing heavy deep breathing appear to work wonders for my blood pressure (I don’t measure it – I just feel more relaxed after 15-20 mins of “music relaxation”). – Try it!
- I try to talk more about my “problems” with my wife, my family, friends and Susan (my Body-SDS therapist!). I don’t want to be that guy who constantly bitch about his life, so I try to keep it down – but talking about your problems and concerns usually help “get them out”.
- I try to stay active (with emphasis on TRY). This is always a tough one, because I don’t move my ass nearly enough as I should – or want to, really! I started doing a bit of sports again (with an old squash-buddy of mine), and that always elevates my spirit (mostly because I always win – haha). The more active I become, the more my body tend to crave activity. It’s funny how it works that way. I can definitely improve in this area, but I believe I enter 2020 with more hope of added activity, than I did 2019 😉
- I guess I just realized this one while writing this (writing really is like therapy), but I guess all the above mentioned points has given me more of something that I lacked, going into 2019; Hope. Hope that the new year will bring more activity, more laughter, more happiness and more love (and higher returns on our investments, ofc) 🙂
Problem #5 of 2019
trouble in crowdlending land! I shall refrain from mentioning any names, because I really don’t want to add any firewood to the mass hysteria bonfire that is currently brewing in the European crowdlending community. All I will say is this:
Do not invest any money in crowdlending that you are not prepared to lose.
I have outlined my strategy here and it is now even more apparent than ever that you should be prepared to write off any platform at any given time. Therefore: do not put all (too many) of your eggs in one basket! Crowdlending (especially P2B) is high risk investing. Don’t be naive. And please, DO NOT PANIC when/if the shit hits the fan!!!!
Thank you 🙂
(More on this subject in my next Monthly Update!)
OK! Sorry that it became a little dark towards the end there, but it can’t all be rainbows and unicorns now, can it?!
I don’t believe there’s much else left to say, other than Happy new year, and may 2020 be our best new year yet! 😉
See you next year!