It’s the classic cliché that all us old gits say about how each year shoots by faster than the one before, and that most definitely applies to 2019 as we near the butt end of it. It really has been quite a year with just so much going on in terms of Politics and Economics etc. but also the Markets have turned out incredibly strong and many People will have brought home some utterly stonking gains. Sadly I am not one of them due to some inefficient Hedging, but it should still have worked out a very good year for me financially and to have done so with very little activity and very little Risk really isn’t too shabby. So I’m pretty happy with how things have gone (especially because the Hedging problems can be fixed) and I’m looking forwards eagerly to 2020.
I have been helped by having other sources of Income apart from just my Stocks and without doubt once Readers head into retirement themselves they will appreciate how handy it is to have other Income Streams and it definitely takes a lot of pressure off and means that Stockmarket gains are largely icing on the cake. I am also helped in this regard by not spending much money and ‘living off thin air’ means you really don’t need to be stressing over the Returns you have coming in.
I am really quite relaxed about 2019 though because I think it has taught me an extremely important lesson about using Stoplosses and the focus I have put on Indexes means that in 2020 I will be doing a lot more in terms of Spreadbets on the Indexes and I reckon this could add some nice upside to whatever I can achieve with my Portfolio in 2020. On top of that I feel very ready to take on difficult markets because my experience at Hedging will no doubt come in very useful from time to time and reduce the Drawdowns that my Portfolio will suffer when the Bogey Man appears. And there is no doubt that he will be visiting from time to time although complacency is utterly rife in the Markets at the moment.
I also feel that I have refined my thinking in terms of managing my Portfolio and I now put a lot more focus on what Stocks I am buying and allowing into my Portfolio, and I am much less eager to Sell Stocks I already hold without good reason as I am utterly certain that selling great Stocks too early has been my Number 1 error in past years. 2019 has been a year where I really did very little and this was even more the case with my Income Portfolio where I probably bought something just one or two times and I think the only selling was when KCOM got bought out and it was a ‘decision’ that was made for me. I have some Cash in that Portfolio now and I look forwards in 2020 to addressing a need to buy perhaps a new Stock for the Income Portfolio or perhaps buying more of something I already have. That is a task for early 2020 and I will probably be writing some Blogs about it as I go through the process of hunting my quarry down.
In terms of my ‘Normal’ Portfolio, the WD40, I have 39 Stocks and of course that means I have one ‘Slot’ free so there will be a job to identify and buy a new Stock in due course. I am not in any big rush to do this and I might wait for the Share/Cenkos Technology and Innovation Event in Islington in February because there are a few Companies there that I want to speak to and that might throw up a Stock to buy.
When I think back to how things were around the end of December 2018, the outlook for Markets going into 2019 was really very dodgy looking and it is safe to say that the outlook for 2020 as I type this is many orders of magnitude more promising, and with the US Markets making new All Time Highs daily, things do look well set. No doubt we will have some chunky Pullbacks but overall I expect 2020 can be a decent year. There are the US Presidential Elections later in 2020 and maybe these will cast a shadow but at least with my Hedging and a widely Diverse Portfolio I am ready for anything.
Away from the Markets I quite enjoyed a number of social things I got up to with many other Investing mates and I recall meeting a load of people at the Master Investor Show in Islington early in 2019 although I honestly can’t remember if I went to the Shares/Cenkos Innovation Event or not !!!
We had a really excellent day out at the Gaydon Motor Museum where something like 8 people showed up and that was really good fun and of course the trip to the pub afterwards was truly an inspired move. These little ‘Meet-ups’ are great because we get a lot more chance to chat about stuff and of course a big drawback of the London Shows and the WheelieBash is that I don’t really get much chance to chat with anyone properly. Fortunately I had many trips out to the Pubs over the Summer and met up with loads of Investors I know through Twitter and suchlike and those were really worth doing and a good excuse to pretend we are ‘working’ as we sit in the sunshine with our Beers !!
I like to do a ‘Meet-up’ every year and for the last few years we have gone for something around the Midlands because it gives people who live a bit further away from London a chance to join us. However, my current thinking is that for 2020 we will do a visit to Brooklands Museum down near Weybridge or wherever it is – I understand it is a decent place and it will be an ideal backdrop for a visit and I believe they have Pubs down that part of the world !!
Of course we will have the WheelieBash 2020 and judging by the last few years that will be well attended and most enjoyed – it is just a great way for loads of us to meet up in a totally informal setting and with no stress or pressure. The Pub we do it in, The White Hart at Winkfield, near Windsor, has a vast Garden and if we are lucky with the weather then it is an ideal setting and the Beer is good along with the food. Come and join us in 2020.
I struggle a bit with the dates – it all blurs into one !! – but I seem to recall attending two Mello Events in Chiswick and doing ‘TPI Live’ sessions with Peter C3 although the first one could easily have been at the end of 2018 !! Anyway, the most recent Mello Event was a really good day and the TPI Live we did there was hugely attended and we packed the room out. If you listen to the latest TPI Podcast which was released on 22nd December then I think we cover it in there. If not, it is in another Podcast we recorded on the same day but we have not released it quite yet. You can hear that first Podcast on SoundCloud here and if you go to the ‘Conkers Corner’ channel on the Apple and Audioboom platforms then you should be able to find it there:
Talking of TPI, I am so pleased with how it is going. I realise we need to get the frequency right and we are a bit hamstrung by distractions that both Peter C3 and I have going on in our lives, but we do intend the Podcasts to be a very regular thing. OK, you won’t necessarily be able to set your watch by them but at least you will always know that one isn’t far away and we are fortunate in that the material we cover in them can largely be listened do even months after they were first released - so feel free to go back and listen to the ‘old’ ones. The sound quality was obviously lacking in the early ones but it is definitely improving and going forwards we should have no issues on that score – I am sure that will be a huge relief for Listeners !!
Some months ago I was talking about writing a Book although I must admit I have gone a bit cold on the idea. I am not saying it won’t ever happen but the enthusiasm I had has waned a bit and at the moment I am just content to keep putting out the Blogs and suchlike and I have a huge pipeline of ideas to cover. Maybe a Book will happen but it might be some way off !!
I have pulled back from Twitter a lot which is a shame because I really enjoy the rough and tumble and the interaction but I have made a conscious decision to be less active on the Tweets for various reasons such as the fact that I could easily burn 4 hours a day of my time on it !! The trouble is that if I did that then I am pretty sure I would get fed up with it and it could put at risk the whole WD thing which is not something I want to do as I see WD as being something I do ‘forever’.
2019 has been very much a year where I spent a lot of time trying to figure out what was going on politically and I have to admit it was rather fascinating and in a way that politics has never really been before. Thankfully for 2020 I am pretty sure things are going to calm down so I can just get back to tweeting about Stocks and Markets and it should all be a helluva lot more pleasant – and hopefully a lot of the nastiness on Social Media can reduce because much of it has got very toxic and it can’t be good for anyone.
When I started WD I was very adamant that once I started it was not something I could just stop doing on a whim and I am fully committed to doing it. I believe a few Readers find it useful but from my own viewpoint I know it gives me a handy focus and it helps me clarify my thinking and become a better Investor. Doing the ‘Buy Rationale’ Blogs is extremely valuable to me because it creates a structure and forces me to address all the issues that are relevant and to put a lot of time and effort into choosing my Stocks. All good stuff and the side effect is that many Readers can also benefit.
So next year I don’t really expect a lot to change although I know we will be doing more with TPI Podcasts and in terms of my approach to the Markets I will be doing more Index Trades – both Long and Short. I hope to meet up with plenty of other Investors and WD Readers and I am easily persuaded by the lure of Real Ale and a gossip. Having said all that, to a large extent I have found over time that the WD thing goes off in tangents and new directions that I never anticipated and no doubt more of that will occur in 2020.
It has provided me with the opportunity to meet up with so many outstanding Investors and Traders which has been a massive help. It is only once you start doing something like this that you realise just how many exceptional Private Investors there are out in the big wide world and there are stacks of them on Twitter who don’t necessarily say much and they don’t have websites or anything but they just get on with it and I can sense from the occasional comments they make that they really know their stuff and are just incredibly modest. Needless to say if any of them fancy writing the odd ‘Guest Blog’ and sharing their knowledge then I am very happy to take whatever they can write.
Anyway, I will close this message off here, so all the Best for 2020 and I hope you have a superb Christmas time and you don’t overdose on the Xmas Pud and the Mince Pies and try not to drink all of that case of wine you bought !! I look forwards to conversing with you in 2020 and many thanks for continuing to read this silliness and supporting what I am up to. Oh, and thank you for all the Books you have been buying and the SharePad subscriptions and suchlike which go to boost the WD Beer Fund.
Merry Xmas !!
PS. Have a great New Year as well.
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