Million Dollar Islands update – Fantastic February, and farewell leverage!

Portfolio 28 Feb 2015 - Islands summary

Two months has passed already in 2015, which means Summer is officially behind us for those in the Southern Hemisphere. February is usually one of the hottest months of the year in this part of the world – and the Million Dollar Islands portfolio was pretty hot too over the shortest month of the year!

For those who haven’t previously visited these Million Dollar Islands, the goal is to have these Islands collectively grow to $1 million before I turn 45 (around 11 years from now), as I highlighted in this post.

I mentioned in my last post that my portfolio has (luckily!) been doing great over the last 2 ½ months, despite the last day of February taking a little gloss off the result: [Read more...]

I stole from the cookie jar

Cookie jar

Discipline is a hugely important trait to develop for a successful life, whatever success is to you.

It means doing the things you need to do to stick to your plans and achieve your own worthwhile goals, whether financial, personal, spiritual or in any other form.

Unfortunately for me, discipline is one of my biggest weaknesses.

One great example is what I did just before sharing my first overview of the Million Dollar Islands portfolio. I had a cash balance set aside for some large expenses over the coming months, as well as a little cash buffer as a general safety net. But after seeing the market take a little dive on the back of the oil price slide, I just couldn’t help but put my hands into the cookie jar and use this cash to snap up some more stocks like BHP. [Read more...]

A great investment – but a bad decision?

great investment bad decision

Hindsight is really the only way to know whether an investment result is ‘great’. When you can sit back, calculate the price you paid, the price you sold it for, the dividends you collected along the way, and measure the result.

But at the time you make the decision to invest, you can’t know for sure that it will be a great investment. The future is unknowable, there is uncertainty, but that’s exactly why you get compensated in the form of higher returns on average for investing in stocks. There’s always some sort of risk / reward trade-off when it comes to investing in any asset.

Fortunately, there are many things you can do to put the risk / reward balance in your favour. Understand what it is you’re investing in. Determine if you’re paying a good price. Understand your own biases and weaknesses, where you are most likely to slip up. Think in advance what will cause you to sell. Use a checklist to make sure you cover off on all your important criteria, and that this decision sits well with your broader investments. And keep learning. [Read more...]

The scales can mislead you

ScalesEverything is becoming pretty high-tech these days. And I’m not just talking about the obvious things like fancy iphones and voice activated car features – “Wind down the back left window 4 inches please Mr SUV”… “Your command has been performed my noble driver – how else may I be of service? Do you need your eyebrows trimmed while you drive?” (at least that’s how I imagine these new fancy cars which I obviously don’t own…)

My wife recently received some bathroom scales when we moved into our new home – and of course, they have the fancy digital display, telling you your weight to the decimal.

But what happened to the good old scales that had that little red needle? Whenever you jumped on the scales it flung dramatically back and forth, while your excitement built – slowly settling down and stopping at one number – anyone remember those?

Too often, I feel like we (well, me at least) try to make decisions in life by looking at that old needle on our ‘scales of life’ before it’s settled on an answer. [Read more...]

One year ago, on an Island far far away…

IslandIt was one year ago today that these Islands of Investing first appeared as a quiet little spec in the vast online universe.

Posting my very first blog post that day was a scary, daunting and exhilarating experience – despite the fact that absolutely no one else was going to read it. But it was out there, for some lost adventurer to stumble upon one day, perhaps as they were washed ashore on the Islands after a raging storm sent them veering off into the unknown.

But after reading over that first post again (Investing in the fast lane, and why you should slow down), it’s great to reflect on how that post still really captures the essence of what the Islands are all about. [Read more...]

Million Dollar Islands update – 31 January 2015

Portfolio 31 Jan 2015 - Islands summary

The first month of 2015 has come to an end – at least for the stock market – so it’s time for an update of the Million Dollar Islands portfolio.

For those who haven’t previously visited these Million Dollar Islands, the goal is to have these Islands collectively grow to $1 million before I turn 45 (around 11 years from now), as I highlighted in this earlier post.

So how did the Islands start the year? [Read more...]

Stocking up on bargains – at the supermarket and the stock market

20140115 shopping for bargains

Last night I did one of my regular trips to the local supermarket, armed with a shopping list prepared by my wife. I diligently stick to only those items on the list, and usually avoid unnecessary temptations fairly well.

The one thing I do sometimes fail at is actually arriving home with everything that was on the list, and of course the right versions or specifications of those items. How I can forget an item when there’s a list in my hand is something I am yet to comprehend, but that’s a topic for another day… [Read more...]

Investing in your loved ones always gives the best returns

20150117 - WeddingI met my wife almost nine years ago now, and it didn’t take long for her to completely change my life. I asked her to marry me less than two years later.

I had more certainty than any risk-free investment you could possibly find that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with her, and am even more certain still today. It’s like turning a $1,000 investment into $20 billion, and asking “hmmm, should I give this up to try find another one that will turn into $30 billion??”. It’s already $19.99 billion much more than I ever dreamed I’d have, more than I’d ever need in my life. I couldn’t be happier. [Read more...]

Do you rue your missed investing opportunities? Try taking this perspective instead…

perspectivePerspective is such a critical factor when it comes to investing. Regardless of the dollars you generate or the percentages your portfolio climbs, without the right perspective, it can all pretty meaningless. You can be miserable while generating awesome, market-beating returns if you fall into some of the psychological traps us humans succumb to so easily – not to mention how you’ll feel when you lose money!

I’d like to highlight one fundamental flaw that I think most of us have when we look at our own investments, and suggest what we can do about it to help bring us closer to our aspirations of ‘Investing Serenity’. [Read more...]

The plan for 2015 – Islands of Investing Income Increase Initiatives!

waterfallAfter recently reflecting on 2014, it’s a perfect time to plan out what I want to achieve in 2015 with those highlights and lowlights fresh in my mind.

Now, I have a bad habit of wanting to achieve a million things at once, and of course, failing at most of them. My desires for 2015 are absolutely no exception, but after writing and re-writing this post a number of times, I’ve narrowed my goals down from a long list to only a few specific ones for 2015. It’s especially important this year because with the move to a new house this month, as well as a baby due in June, I expect my discretionary time will become even more scarce this year. [Read more...]