The Value Of Your Investments Can Also Go Down

Last year you may recall that I got very excited when I bought some shares, and especially when they went up 10%.

They went up and down quite a lot but they were often 10% ahead, which would have been a nice £500 profit.

I had invested pretty much all my savings in there, £5,000, which was my redundancy money from Easynet.  I wasn’t using it, so I thought I should put it to good use and get it to grow using my wisdom – I’ve always fancied myself at being able to spot an investment opportunity – I often do pick out trends and future winners.

Quite why I thought I knew enough to make money from companies selling computer chips and parts for self-driving cars is another question – hardly my areas of expertise.

And then pretty much since the start of Donald Trump’s trade war this year, the shares have been falling.  Erratically, but the trend was down.  I didn’t want to sell at a loss, I wanted to wait until they went back up again.  They would, surely?

I stopped looking at them as I became too scared about how much I might lose.  Then a couple of weeks ago when I looked, I was £700 down.  I did feel a sense of foreboding and wanted to sell, but decided to wait until they went back up.  They would, surely?

I hung on and checked again last Friday, at which point it would have been just short of £1,000 loss.  I decided to sell if it went over a £1,000 loss.

It did on Monday.  I didn’t sell.  By Wednesday I had lost another £300.

I have now sold all my shares at a loss of £1,460.58.  Which is a fuckload of money to me.

Being a man of small means, still trying to find my way in life with no property, a low salary and very little pension – and being nearly 40, this money was kind of important to my future.  Well…maybe I was just going to go storm chasing with it for my 40th birthday.  But had it grown into something decent, then I could have done something even more constructive than storm-chasing with it.

Was it a mistake?  Yes.  Do I regret it?  Yes.  Will I regret it in 10 years?  Maybe not.

My biggest mistake was to ignore a good friend who told me to have a diversified portfolio.  No, I knew best and chucked 80% in one company, with the other company doing something similar.

I kept a watchlist of shares that I wanted to buy, and most have gone up.  Norwegian, which nearly doubled overnight at one point and I would have sold.  Nvidia, which was up 20% a few days ago but has taken a hammering recently.  Boohoo which is up 40%.  Only two have dropped that I considered buying, Facebook and Tencent.  I haven’t done the sums, but had I invested in all the companies that I considered, I would still have been ahead now – well ahead assuming that I sold Norwegian when they doubled.

I also thought about buying shares in Infineon (the company I invested most in) nearly a year before I did, and had I had done so, I would have been 30% or so ahead still.

Also, I’ve always thought the key to doing well in the stock market, was to buy shares during downturns, during recessions.  Of course, I bought them at the top of one of the longest-ever stock market rallies.

So buying shares per se wasn’t the issue.  What I bought and particularly the timing, was the issue.  My strategy, and lack of common sense fucked me over.

Now I am £1,460.58 down and I need to recover my losses.

Bearing in mind that on a good month I have £700 after rent and bills, this won’t be easy.

As tempted as I am to stick all my money on David Lammy being next Prime Minister, in reality this means cutbacks in expenditure and/or increases in income.

So a very boring 6-8 months is ahead of me, with minimal drinking, no proper going out, no buying things that need replacing…I have a huge list of things I need to buy…mostly because I have put loads of weight on and nothing fits me.  None of my coats button up and winter is around the corner.  It is truly back to austerity.

I was hoping to fund a trip to Japan next year (part current savings and part from 3 month detox savings) but unless I have a financial miracle (ie a significant pay rise from one way or another) then that isn’t happening.  In fact, there will be no booking holidays until I have reversed my losses.  Thankfully my upcoming trip to Budapest is paid for, bar the beer and vegan cheese.

Hell, I might even have to give up roast dinners for a few months, or maybe just do them once a month or something.

As well as cutting back, I will have to try to find some more income.  A few web development side-projects on weekends would be ideal, alas I’ve only had two proper website customers so far, so my portfolio is fairly minimal.  I’m not very good at selling myself, but I guess I’ll have to get out there and find some people that need a website.

Alternatively I need either a promotion or a new job.  The former is far more preferable…but maybe I’ll crack under a lack of roast dinners and attempt the latter.  I don’t want to, but a lack of gravy can make a northerner do crazy things.

It’s shit.  It is really fucking shit but I’m not actually that down about it.  It is only money, which I accept is easy for me to say – once you have the basics covered in life, which I do, then money becomes the door to extra opportunities.  Some doors have been closed for me, I won’t be able to treat myself or book a holiday for a while, but they are minor inconveniences.

I am pissed off with myself for bad decision making though.

On the bright side, I did get a £4.70 refund for a tube delay today.

There should be a further bright side too…I should lose weight.  I should be healthier.  It should force me to look into new earnings opportunities.  It could even open more doors than it closed.

This isn’t the end of investing in the stock market.  It is just a very painful lesson that I already knew but totally ignored.  Time to save some cash and wait for the next recession.

I blame the Tories.

Investing For The Future

I’ve always thought of myself as someone that can spot trends, and as such have long been keen to try investing.

The only reason I didn’t before was a lack of capital.  When you get charged like £12 to buy shares, then you cannot really be investing £100.

My Easynet redundancy money had been sitting in my account, and I had managed not to spend it during my subsequent period of unemployment.  We are only talking 4 figures – nothing crazy – though that is a lot to me.  My, erm, life savings.

And then last January, I read in The Economist about a chip-maker called Infineon Technologies, that was trying to develop the next generation of computer chips, hoping to re-establish or even better Moore’s Law.  They were £16 a share back then but I was unemployed, and didn’t dare.

In September, I bought some at £21 a share.  They quickly went up to £23 a share, so I bought more – I put most of my savings in them.  They then rose to £25.50 quickly – easy money I thought, though they were volatile, and I could easily gain £300 one day, lose £300 the next.

Alas over Christmas, they went down substantially – though I was still breaking even.  Then in January they rallied, back up to £25.50 on my birthday – I thought about selling and taking the profit, it was around £600 – I knew how volatile they had become.

And then they plummeted.  From 10% gain to 10% loss in a few weeks.  Fuckity – and I couldn’t even blame Brexit.

I had bought some shares in another company, Valeo, that produce parts for self-driving cars.  Their share price also plummeted to around 12% down at the same time.

This is despite both companies delivering healthy revenues and really good profits.  From looking into it further, it is the weakness of the dollar that is causing the problem with their respective share prices (they are both European companies that export lots).  How was I to know?  Clearly professional investors didn’t know either, otherwise they wouldn’t have sold when their profits were announced.

I have concluded that I have bought at the peak of the market.  Half of me wants to get out before I lose more, but the other half wants to stick, because I do believe in the company’s potential – Infineon at least.

It is a lesson learnt.  But not at all off-putting – I have considered buying shares in both Norweigan and Nvidia earlier this year (not enough money), which have respectively jumped 40% and 20% since I considered them.  I have also considered buying shared in Facebook and Tencent which have remained broadly flat since I considered.  So I am not overly dumb – just not in control of all the information.

I’ve also got quite into crowd-funded investments, but just doing small £100 investments.

So far I have invested in a company called Movem, which are a passporting system for renting – something I’ve long wished for, a Chinese food delivery company called Zing Zing – and the company I work for, Lovespace.

This weekend, I’m considering investing in The Five Points Brewery Company, who seem increasingly on-point and there is definitely money in good beer, and Own The Look, who are apparently the next ASOS but their clothes seem too expensive to me and occasionally a bit out-there – certain for mass-consumption, but what do I know, I’m a man.  Any women reading want to tell me what they think, I’d be grateful.

What would Donald Trump do?

Anyway, I’m enjoying it, despite losing – it isn’t money I cannot afford to lose, and even if you had invested in the stock market at previous peaks, you still would make more money than any other common investment.