Friday, November 29, 2013

November investing update

I'm calling these "investing updates" now instead of "net worth updates", because it's more accurate.

My last update was October 6th, so this is very nearly two months in between updates. I don't think this is a big deal. I've never claimed to be as disciplined as Dividend Mantra, and I don't think I'm capable of it either. I'm happy as long as these investment updates don't lapse for more than a few months.

Here are the current totals, along with the differences from my last update:

  • 401k - $26,924.21 ($1,510.63)
  • Lending Club - $2,294.49 (-$79.83)
  • Schwab - $5,147.70 ($2,201.40)
  • I-bonds - $1,401.92 ($400.64)
  • Total - $35,768.32 ($4,032.84)
All in all, a pretty solid two months.

My monthly contribution to my 401k was (!) around $680 per month, so my 401k gains were two months of contributions plus about $150 in capital gains. I have to say, I'm very excited to roll over my 401k. After the dust settles from one or two more pay stubs at my old job, I'm going to roll over my 401k into an IRA, almost certainly with Vanguard. Most likely I'll put it all in VDIGX, Vanguard's dividend growth fund. Before I decide, though, I'm going to ask someone at Vanguard about the managed payout fund. I know it's intended for retirees or people who need income right now, but I'm thinking that there could be some advantage in monthly compounding, rather than the (for example) twice-annual compounding of VIDGX. That and it's more balanced, holding many different funds as a coherent portfolio whose goal is to basically embody the 4% rule. Then again, I might split it between the dividend growth fund and the short-term bond fund, and try to time the market. We'll see. I'm a loose cannon sometimes.

My Lending Club portfolio is performing well compared to my expectations. The drop in value of around $80 reflects a withdrawal of around $100, so I must have collected $20 or so in interest over the past two months. Not too shabby for money I didn't have to work to earn. So far, I have collected $131.72 in interest from notes on Lending Club. I have 114 notes that are issued and current, with 2 that have been fully paid, and zero in any stage of delinquency. I plan on slowly reinvesting or withdrawing the money as my short-term financial situation warrants, and currently I don't plan on adding more money to my Lending Club account. Lately I have been buying notes listed for sale on the trading platform. I look for notes offered at a discount (of around 1-2%) that have fewer than 10 repayments left. I figure there's a good chance it's less risky than originating new notes, and it seems like there are some deals out there.

My Schwab brokerage account is still 100% Corning shares. I own 301.3878 shares, only 300 of which I bought. The other 1.3878 shares are the result of the miracle of dividend reinvestment and Schwab's awesome dividend reinvestment plan (it's free by the way). I have a cost basis of $13.75/share, and I made my last purchase before Corning announced its deal with Samsung to buy out their joint venture, which sent the share price up around 15%.

Finally, my I-bond portfolio is chugging along. I'm still buying $200/month of I-bonds and I plan to continue doing so indefinitely. My first bond won't be available for redemption until April of 2014, but time keeps marching on and now that's less than half a year away. Over time my I-bonds will keep growing and act as my emergency fund of last resort, as a back stop to my checking account and my savings account and my springy debt instruments. You can't beat an emergency fund that's perfectly liquid, backed by the full faith and credit of the US Federal Government, and pegged to the rate of inflation.

I'm very happy with how my investments have been doing. More and more, I'm seeing investing not just as a means to an end, but as an interesting pursuit in and of itself. I'm enjoying finding the right balance of investments that match my particular goals, both short- and long-term.

I think I can appreciate the sentiment of people who enjoy fine wine, or expensive jewelry, or fancy cars. But for me, I'm interested in investments: whether they're mutual funds, consumer debt, partial ownership in high-quality companies, or government bonds. Technically we're all just spending our money on things that we like, right? :)


  1. "interesting pursuit in and of itself"

    Yeah same here. Even though I just started out on the investing path there's just something aluring in putting your money to work :)

    Nice job on your investemnts!

  2. Great Work, Continue doing this and love the updates to to your net investment updates

  3. Congrats on the new job!

    Good idea with the Vanguard Roth. I have an old 401k from my last job which I unwisely have not pulled the trigger on rolling into a Roth IRA yet. It bothers me that money earned and saved at a lower tax bracket will now be taxed at a higher tax bracket just to convert to Roth IRA. But on the other hand, Vanguard funds have mighty fine ROI and low fees. And then you can withdraw the contributions any time. I guess the Vanguard benefits make the tax hit worth it.

    Also - I am jealous - just discovered that Lending Club is not available in my state except for trades :(

  4. Hey there,

    I'm a big fan of MMM & found your site through his page. As a twentysomething, it's nice to see someone my age making the push to FI. I've sifted through most of your posts and am impressed. Congrats on knocking down the student loan & good luck in the new year. I'll be checking back for updates.

    -NY Fan