Are We Facing A Recession?
I will keep my intro short this time, as there are a lot of things happening that are worth to discuss. There is a lot of news from the P2P market, the stock markets have had the worst first half in years and we might be in a crypto winter after Celsius got in trouble. Of course I will also give a detailed breakdown of my passive income over June so let’s dive right into it, starting with Peer-to-Peer lending as usual.
I’ve been withdrawing funds from my Mintos account for a few months now as part of a rebalancing of my P2P portfolio, so it’s no surprise that the interest payments on my Mintos are going down as well. In June I received €56,67 which is almost half of the month before and I also withdrew €2000.
Mintos has now also moved the war-affected loans from the “Pending Payments” to the “In Recovery” stage, which is why you can see in the screenshot below that my total funds in recovery have more than doubled since last month. When it comes to those war-affected loans, I only have loans from Russia on Mintos, and those companies continue to operate as normal, so the problem is only being affected by the sanctions against Russia. The EU has imposed another, sixt package of restrictive measures, but Mintos continues to work on setting up an alternative route, but this is a long and slow process.
In the meantime Mintos continued the transition to Notes as part of the regulatory changes of the Latvian P2P market and they have now fully transitioned all new loans into Notes, which means that from now on you can only invest via this new instrument.
It’s important to know as well that the Latvian authorities now require Mintos to withhold taxes as high as 20% on the interest you receive. If you are a tax resident of a country that has a taxation treaty with Latvia you are able to reduce this amount to 10% if you submit proof of tax residency to Mintos. In my case I didn’t even have a full tax statement yet, because I moved to the Netherlands during last year, but Mintos even accepted the invitation letter form the Dutch tax office and confirmed the tax reduction very quickly.
The tax is applicable to all regulated platforms in Latvia, so this will soon also come into effect on Viainvest and other platforms I’m not invested on, like Twino for example. There are also ongoing talks about a further reduction to 5% so hopefully this will happen soon. Personally I’m not against paying tax, but I mostly hate the administrative work it requires. In most cases you can probably offset the tax that has been withheld in Latvia against the tax liability in your own country, but in my opinion it would be so much simpler if this wouldn’t require any manual work like collecting documents and fulling out addtional forms and fields.
The monthly returns on EstateGuru are very dependent on the payment cycles and whether borrowers make their payments in time, so the interest I receive differs from month to month. June was the best month of this year so far as I received €123,63 in interest.
On PeerBerry I received €36,93 in interest in June and I also made a deposit of €1000.
I personally only have a small portion (less than 8%) of war-affected loans left on PeerBerry, which are all from Ukraine. Nevertheless it’s good to see that the loan originators continue to make monthly repayments to investors and so far 17,5 million, or 35% of the total war-affected loan obligations, have already been returned.
PeerBerry also published their annual report for 2021, which is the first time since they moved their official legal registration from Latvia to Croatia. PeerBerry did not only see their profit jump by almost 2 times, they also saw a big growth in the number of investors and their loan portfolio almost trippled. This is very impressive, but of course it will also be interesting to see how the ongoing situation with the war is affecting the numbers for this year.
So far PeerBerry has only shown a small decline in the outstanding portfolio value since the start of the war, but in May this number started growing again.
My Bondora Go&Grow account keeps growing steadily and in June €31,20 was added from interest payments.
On IUVO Group I earned €30,70 in interest in June.
There was also some news from IUVO Group as the recently appointed CEO Blagovest Karadzhov announced that the company is moving its registration from Estonia to Bulgaria. IUVO Group is part of the Bulgarian company Management Financial Group, which also owns several of the loan originators on the platform and IUVO Group also has most of its operations in Bulgaria as well. Karadzhov mentions cost savings, efficiency, the economic environment as well as cultural motivations for the move. I haven’t been able to find out if there are any other motivations behind the move, like regulatory or tax reasons, but from a cultural and operational perspective it makes sense to me.
IUVO Group also introduced a new product with a fixed interest rate of 7%. A few months ago I already reported about IuvoUp, which was later rebranded to IuvoSAVE. Initially you could get an annual interest rate of 3% or 4% for a fixed term of 3 or 6 months respectively. I was very negative about the low interest rates, but it seems they have listened to investor feedback and now offer these options at 5% and 6% respectively. And now they have added a third option of 7% for a fixed term of 12 months as well, which is now even higher than the 6,75% that Bondora Go&Grow offers.
Another improvement over the initial IuvoUp offer is that with IuvoSAVE you don’t have to convert your euros to Bulgarian Lev anymore as you can now simply invest in euros. I really like the improvements and the offer is now really competitive with Bondora Go&Grow, so I think it’s great for some spare cash. However, the biggest disadvantage of IuvoSAVE is that it’s for a fixed term and you pay a 1% fee for withdrawing any funds before the end of the term, so it’s not as flexible as Bondora Go&Grow.
Another disadvantage is of course the lower interest rates compared to most offers available when investing in individual loans, so I’m not yet sure if I’m going to be using this product at any time, but it’s great to have this option available.
On Viainvest I received €19,08 in interest in June.
Just like Mintos, Viainvest is also licensed and regulated by the Latvian financial authorities, which means that they will also move from loan claims to the new products, called Notes. Viainvest hasn’t communicated an exact timeline, but they are now asking investors to complete an appropriateness test, which is now also mandatory to do for licensed platforms. Without completing the test, you will soon not be able to invest on the platform anymore, so make sure to do this if you haven’t done it already.
On RoboCash I received €15,32 in interest in June.
On Bondster I received €1,50 in interest in June. So far I’ve only been testing out the platform and after the first loans were paid back it was time to test the withdrawal process. I transferred €20 back to my bank account, which I received within 2 working days.
After this it was finally time to scale up my investment on Bondster so I deposited €920 to the platform, so my investment on Bondster now totals €1000.
Overview Of My P2P Lending Portfolio
In total I received €315,03 in interest on my investments in P2P loans in June.
P2P bonus offers
Do you want to invest in the P2P platforms that I discussed above? Make sure to check which platforms currently offer a bonus for new signups. You’re not only doing yourself a favor but by using my links you are also supporting my blog so I can continue to create more valuable content.
Stocks & ETFs
In June I received €491,23 in dividend payments from the following stocks and ETFs:
|Johnson & Johnson||€8,95|
|Wheaton Precious Metals||€24,17|
|First Majestic Silver Corp.||€0,48|
|VanEck Global Real Estate (ETF)||€91,80|
|SPDR S&P US Dividend Aristocrats (ETF)||€55,80|
The dividend payments have slowly grown to become a significant part of my monthly passive income stream, but of course this doesn’t say anything about the total value of my stock portfolio. As you probably know, the stock markets have lost significant value in the last months and the S&P 500 even had its worst first half year since 1970.
The reasons for this are worries about inflation, a potential recession and rising interest rates. The sanctions against Russia are throwing oil on the fire of a situation in which we already saw rising prices and shortages for certain materials and staff shortages in many industries, all causing massive price hikes of products and services.
Central banks have the task of keeping a currency’s purchasing power, but they are stuck between a rock and a hard place. It looks like they need to artificially create a recession by rising interest rates in order to slow down the economy and tame inflation. At the same time, they also don’t want to create another financial crisis by rising interest rates too high and too fast.
So the question is what to expect and is this the right time to invest? Some statistics show that the S&P 500 made a rebound in the second half of the year in most cases when the first half was terrible like this year. But Michael Burry, the guy who predicted the 2008 financial crisis, says that he expects a further decline first. According to him each crisis goes through multiple phases, some of which we’ve already had, but he says we’re now waiting for the next phase, which is a earnings squeeze.
So far a lot has already been priced into the stock market, but we haven’t actually seen the real blood when it comes to company earnings reports. We now already see people struggle to pay their energy bills, people using up their savings or credit cards and demand for many products is already going down because of rising prices. Now imagine that rising interest rates will also cause increasing mortgage costs on one hand, but also cause companies puting off investments and hence, less jobs are being created.
I personally think that we’re not there yet and that we first need to see any signs of recovery, but there are so many influencing factors that it’s pure speculation and in the end no-one can actually time the market. You can only confidently identify the bottom, when you are already back up significantly and clearly broken out of a downtrend.
So my strategy is first of all not to panic. I don’t sell anything and I’m also not trying to catch a falling knife either by suddenly investing significantly, just because a stock went down a lot. It’s definitely not going up just because I bought it! Instead of trying to time the market and getting emotionally involved I simply stick to my strategy of investing small amounts every month. It really gives me peace of mind under these crazy market conditions because I know exactly what I need to do and I don’t need to follow the daily charts.
Since I focus a lot on the more ‘boring’ value stocks and ETFs that pay a dividend, my portfolio is also less volatile than for example, the Nasdaq. The downside, however, is that dividends can potentially get under pressure when company earnies are going down during a recession. But since I’m investing for the long term I also know that if this happens, it’s most probably temporatily.
June has definitely been the worst month when it comes to my crypto lending portfolio. Not only because bitcoin kept dropping and even reached below $20,000, but also because now Celsius got in trouble as well and I didn’t receive any interest from YouHodler either!
First of all, cryptocurrencies have kept dropping but to me it’s not really a surpise if you look at the entire investment sentiment at the moment. Crypto is among the most speculative investments, so similar to the more speculative technology and other growth stocks you can expect to get hit under these circumstances. But it’s very important to understand that bitcoin isn’t broken and didn’t get hacked or anything. It’s just the market price that has been going down and as a result a lot of overleveraged traders and companies taking too much risk got in trouble. And as you might have heard, so did Celsius.
If you haven’t heard yet, Celsius suddenly suspended all withdrawals and transfers due to liquidity problems. One can only speculate what will happen now, but if you ask me it doesn’t look good so I’m preparing for the worst. Luckily I only lend out a portion of my bitcoin holdings and deliberatly spreaded it out over three different platforms as I know what they say: “Not your keys, not your coins.” I can still login to my Celsius account and I still see new interest payments coming in, but of course I don’t trust this anymore until I can withdraw them, so I won’t be showing my Celsius income here anymore.
Looking back at my investment decision I have to admit that I might have ingnored some red flags so I can only blame myself of course. Celsius might be a significant player in the market, but they have never been very transparent about their business model and how they exactly manage the risks. I gave the CEO Alex Mashinsky the benefit of the doubt because I liked his charisma and bold ideas, but as it has now turned out he took too much risk.
By the way, this is exactly the reason I don’t like leveraged positions and I mostly stick to Bitcoin itself, as opposed to 99.9% of the altcoins, most of which are based on ideas of people who want to make money quickly. This is also the reason why I don’t trust any stablecoins, who are issued by unregulated companies who simply can’t guarantee it’s value like a central bank can.
At the same time I also see the positive sides of the current developments. First of all I can buy bitcoin much cheaper now, so I continue to buy small quantities but just at cheaper prices. And by the way, there are stocks of reputable companies like Facebook and Netflix, that went down much more than bitcoin this year.
In an interview, Shark Tank’s Kevin O’Leary mentioned that the crypto crash can also have a long term positive effect on crypto businesses as the current developments call for better regulation and more sensible business models, without exorbitant risk-taking and overleveraged positions. This could also pave the way for more institutional investments in crypto. O’Leary also mentions that it could actually be a good thing if a big overleveraged player (like Celsius) goes to zero, as this sacrifice could indicate the market bottom, from which you can build back up again. So let’s hope he’s right if this happens!
If matters couldn’t get wors in June, I also didn’t receive any interest from YouHodler. This could be my own fault (or not?!), but apparently I had to accept some new terms before continuing to receive interest on my account. In the end I found back one email from weeks ago in which this was mentioned. But this email didn’t scream that I needed to take action and they send newsletters all the time, so it’s easy to overlook, which is why I don’t understand why they didn’t send any reminders. Even a pop-up or banner in my account would have drawn my attention, but to me it almost looks like they were ok with not paying interest for a while. Shame on you YouHodler! This really lowers my trust, but for I’ll leave it at that and look forward to the next payments.
So after all the drama I only received the bitcoin equivalent of €3,65 from BlockFi, but I’m convinced it can’t get any worse next month!
Crypto bonus offers
Under the current market conditions and developments I don’t feel like I should promote crypto lending at all. So I absolutely recommend to make your own dicisions and only invest money you’re prepared to lose and focus on the long term. If you want to sign up for any of the platforms that I’m invested in, you can of course still follow my links to support me and my blog.
My Total Passive Income in June
The market volatility doesn’t seem to have any effect on my passive income and in June I received a total income of €809,91.
The 12-months trailing average went up to €751,91, which means that I’m now already halfway to my target of €1500 in monthly passive income.
My Portfolio Update was a bit longer than usual because I felt I had to address some important news and developements. But if you’re looking for some lighter content, make sure to subscribe to Instagram and Youtube channel, because I also regularly share some updates about my life as a digital nomad. This summer I’m traveling a bit more and sharing some of those experiences while trying to find out how this affects my finances and productivity.
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