Hello. I’m Mark, a retired 50-something year old ordinary individual.
I built this website to document my investment experiences, the good, the bad and the ugly. With full transparency I’m sharing where I invest, and the actual returns (and losses) realized from various types of investments I used to gain & maintain financial freedom.
I have built several portfolios, specifically for sharing and tracking certain assets in real time here on my web site, which I believe are some of the best Investments for long term capital growth.
Mixed Asset Portfolios containing a mix of Stocks, Bonds, Gold & REITs in multiple currencies. And also Peer to Peer Lending Portfolios which track Peer to Peer investments, and the actual income from each of them. I also recently started investing in Crypto Currencies and Maturing Whisky which are new asset classes for me, so we’ll see how that goes.
If you’re new to some of the alternative investment classes like Peer to Peer Lending, or any of the other types of investments outlined here; please feel free to follow along as we see in real time where to get the best returns, with the least amount of risk, in order to grow capital and provide income.
Most of the portfolios are updated monthly, on the last day of the month. Some I update several times throughout the month. I also sometimes provide screenshots of my actual accounts in blog updates, just so you can see it’s all real 🙂
This is “Obi Obvious”. You’ll see him throughout the website. He usually pops up where the most relevant information is, so if you’re looking for a “readers digest” version of the website, look for Obi!
How I Started Investing
The biggest problem I had when I started investing was knowing “where” and “how” to invest, and “what to invest in”. What would help me build wealth without making any major mistakes, and having to start over again? What would give me the opportunity to retire early? There was no FIRE (Financial Independence, Retire Early) movement back then. There was no internet (can you imagine that?). So finding the best Investments for early retirement seemed daunting.
I looked everywhere for investment ideas. I read books, followed “gurus” and went to conferences. It took me years to find the right investment vehicles and diversification for real, honest, growth I felt comfortable with. Of course, I went through all the “day trading” and “penny stock” phases.
My first real intro into investments was many years ago from a well known “get rich quick” commodity trading course. I spent thousands of my hard-earned cash on these and other courses, but didn’t “get rich quick”, unfortunately. In the end I decided to put my money in to stocks, which did well for the most part, but the large swings in the stock market were very unnerving. Seeing my portfolio up 50% one year, then down 50% the next never felt very comfortable.
“The Permanent Portfolio”
Eventually I came across a strategy by a gentleman called Harry Browne in the 80’s (an Investor, Author and U.S. Presidential Candidate). It’s a ridiculously simple investment strategy he suggested on his radio show, which he later outlined in his book “Fail-Safe Investing” called “The Permanent Portfolio”. After I learned of it and saw the results from The Permanent Portfolio from many years in the past. My investment ideas changed instantly. Finally I had something that made sense to me! with reasonable returns and acceptable drawdowns. It was time tested, by Harry, with a track record of about 20 years of actual investment at that time, and backtesting verification of the asset classes for over 100 years prior. Track record is very important as you’ll see from my “Backtesing” page.
Here’s a link to an updated version of a book on how to implement “The Permanent Portfolio” which I found very good.
I followed The Permanent Portfolio strategy for a while thereafter. Invested a little in the strategy every month from my salary, and that was a large part of how I found financial freedom and early retirement. The Permanent Portfolio assets are still a part of my personal Growth Portfolios today. However early on I made a few changes which help to improve returns, and limit drawdown. In the USD portfolio I added Real Estate funds (REITs) for increased stability and income.
More recently I moved some of the cash part to Peer-to-Peer lending investments, to compensate for the low return rates from banks and short term T-bills these days. These changes increase returns, reduce drawdowns, help stability and allow better diversification.
Even now, this strategy is so simple, anyone can set up the portfolios easily and quickly. In fact it’s quite boring. Where investments are concerned though, boring is good. 🙂 You can read more about my investments here
More General Background Info About Me
(Uninteresting Blurb, feel free to move on to the rest of the site).
I grew up in a small village near Newark, England. My Dad was a Coal Miner, my Mum a Primary School dinner lady. I worked on a local farm before and after school from the age of 12. At 16 I left school & went to work down the coal mine with my Dad. I did that for 5 years, at which point I thought it would be a good idea to look for something else (too much like hard work), so I decided to get an education in Information Technology.
For most of my 30 year career, I worked with software companies across globe (on the technical side for the first few years, then moved in to business & management). Most of my career-life was spent traveling for work. I retired a few years ago (at 50), and decided to spend most of my time in Portugal.
Now I live between the UK and Portugal. I wrote a blog post recently about Portugal and the benefits of retiring and living here you may find interesting.
Investments & Website
I manage my own investments in a couple of hours per month now. Friends & family have always shown interest in my investments. Many questions about how to get started and what to invest in. I initially wrote an MS Word document which I could give to people with all the information that I hoped would help them. Eventually someone suggested that I publish it on a website.
So, I decided to publish the information to a blog. This way I can easily distribute updates, instead of mailing out a Word doc every month. Plus I thought perhaps it might help other people starting out with investing so they don’t make some of the mistakes I have made over the years.
Please feel free to take a look around my website which explains everything in detail. If you have any questions or comments, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment or contact me.