A record income during a bear market
The bear is back! After a short uplift this summer, stock markets continue to fall again to new lows, inflation keeps rising, and a recession is looming. Yet, I recorded my highest monthly passive income so far.
In this portfolio update I’m sharing the most important macro-economic considerations for investors, an update on my investment strategy, and as usual a breakdown of my passive income over the last month, which is September. Of course, this is no investment advise as you should always do your own research before making any investment decisions.
Continue reading below, or watch the video version here or on my Youtube channel.
The Stock Market
While the stock markets keep declining in both Europe and the US, you probably wonder, have we reached the bottom yet, or when will we finally see a recovery again? And should you stay on the sideline for now? To get a better understanding of this, let’s first have a look at the driving macro-economic factors.
The high energy prices continue to put a large burden on people and companies. People demand higher salaries to compensate for a loss in purchasing power, but for companies, the increase in labor cost comes on top of already higher energy bills, and the rising cost of raw materials, production, and distribution. So companies have to increase their prices in order to stay profitable.
The average inflation in the Eurozone reached 10% in September, but this is not equally distributed. Inflation is lower in some countries but much higher in others, especially in Eastern Europe. This makes monetary policy very hard, and you can see this in the hesitance of the ECB to raise interest rates. In the US, the FED has been much more effective with steep increases early on, and this is part of the reason why the dollar has been gaining in strength, while the euro got weaker.
Higher interest rates only have a limited effect on inflation and this also takes time. In the meantime, the economy is already slowing down due to the loss of purchasing power and fears of a recession. Nike shares recently fell despite record sales, because of shrinking profit margins and growing inventory levels. A clear sign that the company is not able to pass rising costs on to its customers and that demand is weakening.
On a global level, you can see a sharp decline in the Freightos Baltic Index, which reflects the price of container shipping. This could be another sign of an economic slowdown, but at the same time, the index is still above the pre-pandemic levels.
A recession seems very likely, but maybe we’re even going to see a depression. After Putin’s call for the mobilization of more troops to fight against Ukraine, we know at least that the war, and probably the energy crisis is going to continue far into 2023.
But what does this all mean for investors? Should you hold off for now? If you look for example at every decline of the S&P 500 of at least 20% or more in the last 100 years, the average bear market saw a 36% decline and lasted 289 days. Since the last top at the end of 2021, the S&P has already lost more than 25%, so we’ve already come a long way and a lot of the pain has already been priced in. When zooming out you see that every bear market just looks like a small wrinkle compared to the following bull markets.
Stock markets are usually way ahead of reality and the moment the first signs of recovery are there, the stock markets will start their recovery. The first year after a bear recession is usually when most money can be made. I personally believe that crypto will explode again as well, as soon as other speculative assets, like tech and growth stocks are on the rise again.
No one has a crystal ball to exactly time a bottom and it’s possible we’ll see another big decline before we see any sign of recovery. But at current lows, it’s smart to already start shopping around if you have a long investment horizon. So that’s what I’m doing myself as well. At least with cash, you know for sure that you’re getting poor pretty fast at current inflation levels.
My Dividend Income
September was an exceptional month with a total of €1184,56 in payments from the following stocks and ETFs:
|Johnson & Johnson||€9,57|
|First Majestic Silver Corp||€1,03|
|Wheaton Precious Metals||€37,99|
|VanEck Global Real Estate (ETF)||€183,60|
|SPDR S&P Euro Dividend Aristocrats (ETF)||€118,69|
|SPDR S&P US Dividend Aristocrats (ETF)||€63,54|
|iShares Emerging Markets Dividend (ETF)||€317,00|
|Vanguard FTSE All-World (ETF)||€20,65|
But there is a caveat here as some of the dividend payments reached my account on the last day of the month, while last year, those payment didn’t make it before the end of the month, and I counted them for October. This happens sometimes, especially when there is a weekend in between. Any currency conversion at my broker always happens overnight on the next day, and I’ve make it a habit to only count any dividends that have converted to euros, so I can write down the exact euro value. So in October I’m expecting a big drop in dividend income, compared to September.
Another caveat is that the value of my stock portfolio is down, but that also means that I can reinvest my dividends at lower prices.
How I buy my stocks
For most of the stocks in my buy and hold strategy, I use DeGiro as a broker. DeGiro has among the lowest fees and is very user friendly. If you want to start trading via DeGiro you can use this link to sign up and avail of a temporary offer: €100 towards any transaction costs during the first months.
I’ve been rebalancing my P2P portfolio and as a result, EstateGuru now makes up the largest share of my P2P portfolio, so let’s start with them.
In September I received €81,45 in interest on EstateGuru. Since I started investing on EstateGuru I’ve deposited €10.000 on my account, and due to the effects of compound interest, this has now grown to €12.421,46. EstateGuru now makes up the largest share of my P2P portfolio and, despite my satisfaction with the platform, I think it’s time to take some profit so I can rebalance my portfolio a bit. I will leave at least €10.000 invested, but for now, I’ve turned off the auto-invest, so I can accumulate some cash that I can withdraw and reinvest in other platforms.
In September EstateGuru announced a partnership with the Czech investment bank J&T Banka. So far EstateGuru has mostly relied on individual retail investors for the funding of loans, but the partnership should give them more opportunities to get access to institutional investors. So what does this mean for current investors like you and me? Most probably nothing, unless a sudden inflow of capital creates a shortage of loans on the platform and a decrease in interest rates as a result. But with EstateGuru‘s rapid expansion and ambitious goal of reaching €5 billion in loan financing by 2027, this doesn’t seem very likely.
On Mintos I earned €58,11 in interest in September. To further rebalance my portfolio I withdrew €1000 from my account, which is why Mintos now only makes up the second largest share of my P2P lending portfolio. I still have my auto-invest turned off as I want to continue to withdraw funds until I have around €10,000 left on Mintos.
On September 30th Mintos provided a short update on the repayment of Russian loans. There is a limit of 10 million Russian rubles (about €170,000) per month that can be transferred per company, but Mintos is currently still negotiating the exact terms of the transfers, including the exchange rate to be applied. All alternative routes to be able to transfer amounts bigger than 10 million rubles require approval from the Central Bank of Russia, which is something Mintos is working on in collaboration with the local lending companies.
PeerBerry‘s business partners continue to repay the war-affected loans and have so far already returned 46% of the obligations to investors. I personally have only about €90 left in Ukrainian loans, which is only just over 1% of my portfolio.
PeerBerry is also listing loans from CashXpress in the Philippines again, with a term of 180 days and an interest rate of 12%. CashXpress was founded in 2019 and is a joint venture of Aventus Group and GoFingo, the two main loan originator groups working closely with PeerBerry.
Bondora Go & Grow
My Bondora Go&Grow account keeps giving me a steady return and in September I received €31,72 in interest.
The interest from IUVO Group was €30,33 in September.
At Viainvest something strange happened, and this is probably due to the transition from loan claims to notes. The investor dashboard has been showing a warning for a while already, that some data could be missing. According to the numbers that showed up in this dashboard it looked like my returns last month had almost doubled from what they were usually, and I already had a feeling that this was just a hiccup of the dashboard. I was right and the total value of my portfolio suddenly dropped again. So after a wrongly reported €36,34 return last month, I now see a negative €0,27 which means that both months average out to a normal return.
The interest from RoboCash was €12,44 in September.
The RoboCash Group has just published its financial results for the first half of 2022. The revenue grew by 53,1% to $214,2 million, but the net profit declined by 7,1% to $14,3 million. However this is still in line with the management’s expectations as they continue to invest in new product development in the Philippines, so the profit is expected to go back up again soon.
My returns from Bondster went down to €1,65 in September. This is mainly due to the high amount of late loans from Rapicredit, a loan originator in Colombia that has not honored the 60 buy-back guarantee. The loans already looked too good to be true with a 17% interest rate, and some of those loans are now already late for more than 90 days. Bondster is currently negotiating the payback and is confident it will be resolved by the end of October, but I first have to see this before I believe anything. It’s only been a short ride with Bondster so far for me, but I hope they will not become another P2P marketplace without any power over defaulting loan originators.
On LANDE I received my first interest payments of €1,22 after first investing on this platform in August. Since I used a promo link to sign-up I’m also still availing of the 0,5% cashback during the first 90 days, and this brought me another €6, so my total income from LANDE was €7,22 in September. After my initial deposit of €500, I added another €500 to increase my investment on the platform to €1000.
Overview Of My P2P Lending Portfolio
In total, the income from my P2P portfolio was €294,25 in September.
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.
Although bitcoin has been moving relatively sideways over the past few months, the crypto market is still down from last year’s all-time highs and there are no real signs yet of any recovery. No one knows if bitcoin is going further down first or not, so I’m simply using the opportunity at the current levels to continue to buy small quantities, but I’m not increasing my crypto lending portfolio. In September I received a total of €11,89 worth of bitcoin from my lending portfolio on YouHodler and BlockFi, which is almost the same as last month.
Crypto bonus offers
If you are interested in crypto lending I first recommend that you educate yourself so have a good understanding of the risks. If you then want to join any of the platforms that I’m using, make sure to check out the bonus offers via the link below.
My Total Passive Income in August
In September my total passive income jumped to a record €1490,70 which is very close to my goal of earning €1500 in monthly passive income. So does this mean I’m almost financially independent? Unfortunately, no!
The income can fluctuate heavily from month to month, and therefore I rather look at the 12-month trailing average to get a more realistic view of my passive income over the long term. This number jumped up to €850,87, indicating that I’m at 57% towards my goal. But if my income this month is lower than it was in October of last year, I might see a small decline again. So instead of overly analyzing these numbers, it’s better to look at the long-term trend.
My advice is to stay calm, and don’t make any emotional decisions when it comes to investing. Define your own strategy and stick to it, and don’t look at the daily movements of the stock market too often.