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Portfolio Update – January 2020

“Predicting the market is not the key to wealth; being prepared for whichever direction it goes is.”

Robert Kiyosaki

Welcome back to a new great year with the All Seasons Portfolio Strategy!

January has been exciting in my portfolio. It now looks totally different. Well, I still employ the same strategy as always, but I have simplified – a lot. I have cut down the amount of ETFs from 12 to 6 and all with an All-World focus. I think this will make my portfolio simpler, but also for you, it will be easier to follow what I do and see the benefits of the All Seasons Portfolio Strategy. But more on this to come further down.

January has had som peculiar weather here in Stockholm. We still haven’t seen winter at all so far. Usually, we have snow and ice here, but it has been very warm for the season. Even if the cold weather can sometimes be cruel and feel harsh, it is still quite enjoyable somehow. And the snow makes the otherwise dark days feel brighter.

On the markets, we are heavily impacted by the Corona virus worry. Today, when I write this on Monday 3 February, Shanghai stock exchange fell by 9% after having been closed for the week following the Chinese new years. Also Western stock markets have been impacted negatively these past weeks, also bringing oil prices down. Citibank sees further price declines toward $50 per barrel.

Now, in these troublesome market conditions, you clearly see investors heading toward the usual safe havens. Gold price has hit a 7-year high and momentarily breached $1,600/oz in January, with no end of the rally in sight. Also treasury bonds had a good month, with money flowing into this asset class. Fed, with Jerome Powell in the lead role, left the interest rates unchanged, driving down yields of the 10-year US Treasury bonds and thereby driving up prices of the bonds.

With all these movements, I am glad to have chosen to follow the All Seasons Portfolio strategy. As Robert Kiyosaki was quoted at the beginning of this post, it is endlessly difficult to time and predict the market, but you should rather be prepared for all the ups and downs.

Portfolio Update – January 2020

As mentioned at the beginning of this post, I have done some adjustments to my portfolio. That could be an understatement – I have given the portfolio a proper makeover.

I have slimmed down the amount of ETFs down to 6 – which is one for each asset class. In the process, I also took the opportunity to adjust the allocation, so now I am really zoomed in on what I am looking for. For most assets, the discrepancies are due to non-even ETF prices, for example that it is difficult to get it exactly right when one unit of an ETF is €110. For Gold and Commodities, I left them as they were to avoid further trading costs. This means I am somewhat overweighted in Gold, and a little too short of Commodities.

So all in all, you could say that I start this year with a proper rebalancing, and as you know, that is a key part of the All Seasons Portfolio Strategy.

With this rebuilding process, the portfolio splits in EUR has been adjusted somewhat as well. Corporate Bonds has fallen away completely, while Equity has increased a lot.

Total Portfolio development is still strong. This month, it has been helped massively by the great bump up in gold price. Commodities have also jumped over the zero line, so now almost all my assets have seen positive development since inception.

I’ll keep the Corporate Bonds line there for a while, but I think that this might fall away later if it will bee too irrelevant to show a line going completely sideways.

In a few months, I will also start separating the development into two graphs: one showing since the beginning, and one showing 2020 figures. This will enhance the perception of the differences in development for starting with adding an ETF from zero, when compared to beginning with a bucket of money to allocate correctly from day 1.

Dividends were good in January, but are mostly attributable to assets that I sold. I doubt they will be this consistent going forward, as only 2 of my 6 ETF are distributing.

This month, the total table of my holdings will be quite extensive (sorry for that) just to illustrate what exactly I have done in my portfolio. I have included the ETFs that I have sold. From February 2020, this will be dropped down to only 6 ETFs.

ETFClassISINDecember 31, 2019January 31, 2020
iShares Global Inflation Linked Govt Bond UCITS ETFTIPSIE00B3B8PX14€0€456.69
Vanguard EUR Corporate Bond UCITS ETFCorporate BondsIE00BZ163G84€377.30€0
iShares EUR Govt Bond 3-5yr UCITS ETFGovt Bond MidIE00B1FZS681€173.49€0
Invesco US Treasury 3-7 Year UCITS ETFGovt Bond MidIE00BF2FNQ44€259.49€380.95
iShares JP Morgan EM Local Government Bond UCITS ETFGovt Bond LongIE00B5M4WH52€388.78€0
iShares USD Treasury Bond 7-10yr UCITS ETFGovt Bond LongIE00B1FZS798€362.02€0
iShares USD Treasury Bond 20+yr UCITS ETFGovt Bond LongIE00BSKRJZ44€267.86€0
iShares Global Govt Bond UCITS ETFGovt Bond LongIE00B3F81K65€0€1,122.66
Invesco Bloomberg Commodity UCITS ETFCommoditiesIE00BD6FTQ80€307.08€316.49
Xtrackers Physical Gold ETCGoldGB00B5840F36€444.51€513.92
Vanguard FTSE All-World UCITS ETFEquityIE00B3RBWM25€0€1,081.02
SPDR MSCI Europe Small Cap Value Weighted UCITS ETFEquityIE00BSPLC298€191.75€0
SPDR MSCI USA Small Cap Value Weighted UCITS ETFEquityIE00BSPLC413€488.18€0

In other news, I have in January also implemented a page here showing my portfolio in real time. As Google Finance is not always so reliable, it can take a while to load, and if some data set does not load at all from Bloomberg’s website, many functions of that page do not work at all. Quite irritating to be honest, but hey, at least it shows more than I could show before. Check it out at My Portfolio and let me know what you think.

I have also improved the ETF Portfolio Inspiration site, and have started to add portfolios depending on whether you prefer accumulating or distributing ETFs. This work is not done yet, but I’ll finalize it when it calm down a bit at my job. Hopefully soon though.

This concludes all I had to share with you for now. How is your portfolio holding up now during Corona times? Numbers in the blacks? Love to hear about your experiences and lessons learned as well.

Until next time,

This Post Has 5 Comments

  1. Carlo

    Hallo Nicholas. As I also wrote past month I like your cut in the number of Etf in the portfolio. Personally I have 9 Etf instead of 6 because 1) I l split the equity in 2 Etf, developed and emerging markets, so I can decide how much to allocate in each one 2) emerging market bonds in local value are a must have asset class for me 3) I also like a little bit of High yield bond.
    One thing I do not understand is the reason why you go global with the long term bonds Etf and instead use just an Etf on treasury for intermediate bonds. Is there a reason to do it? Also would not it be better for intermediate bonds using 7-10 years instead of 3-7?
    Thanks for your answers and good luck!

    1. Nicholas

      Hi Carlo,
      It feels so much better with fewer ETFs now. My portfolio felt almost chaotic previously, but now it is cleaner and easier to get an overview of.
      I might split the ETFs later on again, although to a lesser extent, as any global ETFs have great exposure to US. But I will let my portfolio grow in size a bit first, as it does not make sense to me when I have not that much invested here yet. EM bonds, TIPS and stocks will be added in due course.
      My long term bond ETF is global, yes, but I couldn’t find a good Mid-Term bond ETF with global reach. An the US still have positive interest rates (and are generally in front of the curve in growth), so I chose to stick with this ETF. This is also the same ETF as I already had before my portfolio refurbishment, so maybe I was also a tad lazy 🙂

  2. Mark

    Awesome Nicholas! The portfolio spreadsheet is very cool, but many fields are stuck on “loading…”. It would be really helpful for some of your readers (at least to me :-)) if you could share this spreadsheet. I’d love to use it for my own portfolio!

    1. Nicholas

      Hi Mark! The “Loading…” is quite annoying to be honest. I think it has to do with that I have included a lot of data in the spreadsheet, and that it has to make the calculations and fetch a lot of data from a third party, so it takes a little while for it to get all the ducks in a row. My next step is to clean it up a bit, trying to scale down the loading time.
      I will also be looking into making a more user friendly version to share, as this is currently very much tailor made to my needs for creating all graphs etc. But how would you prefer such a spreadsheet if I would make it for sharing: would you like to only key in how many units you have of what ETF (for example x units of ETF y etc.) or would you like to keep track of each buy/sell in a separate buy/sell transaction history tab? In both cases, the data would have to be added manually. I’m trying to get an understanding of what is the most preferred layout.

      1. Mark

        Hi Nicholas! Both cases you describe are useful for me. Manually entering positions and dates is not a problem.

        PS No matter how long I wait, most of the fields stay on “loading”.

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