First quarter of the year is over. In many ways it was as turbulent and those before it. War in Ukraine is still going but US threw minor banking crisis in the mix to spice things up. This didn’t hit my portfolios too badly. Main portfolio dropped -3,54% during first quarter and dividend income during quarter was solid 2486,69 EUR before taxes (converted to EUR on April 1st). This included part of the dividends paid out by Nordea which were already registered on one account during March even though actual pay date is on April. Then again BHP dividends were not registered in time.
Rest of the year appears to be quite foggy. This banking crisis is looming but to me it doesn’t appear likely be a huge hit, at least if moral impact is not considered. War in Ukraine is likely to go on for a long time but Ukraine seems well positioned and I don’t see how Russia could walk out of this with anything that could be counted as victory even by Russian standards. Finland is having elections tomorrow and chances are that we will get new government to clear up the economical mess left behind. If everything goes well, Finland might also be a NATO member as early as next week. These two have potential to enable positive loop for us but start might be painful. It remains to be seen if this would lead into more sensible taxation environment. For now I’ll probably continue adding on stocks with moderate pace. In other words I’ll not maximise purchase but will let cash to gradually build up until better opportunities come up.
Most people are probably glad that 2022 is now over and done with. This year will probably be remembered as tail of COVID-19 pandemic and from Russia’s brutal war in Ukraine. Perhaps it will eventually be remembered as the year when Ukraine forged itself into proud western democracy that will build itself back and prosper. Russia will be remembered the way it always has been remembered: failed 3rd world country. Next years hopefully will bring end to the war with clear victory for Ukraine, and hopefully well executed build back better financed by Russian money and with western backing.
In general this was very bad year for the markets. Therefore it’s a bit surprising that my portfolios performed well. Main portfolio gained 8,56% during the year while overall markets declined significantly. Dividend income for the whole year was 10821,77 EUR before taxes. At the time of writing this, last dividend from Lockheed Martin has not yet been registered but that does not have huge impact on the bigger picture. Based on preliminary analysis this dividend income covered 130,6% of base consumption after taxes (exact effective tax rate will be resolved later). This indicates that current portfolio fulfils requirements for lean FIRE. Therefore project appears to be on schedule and on track.
Plan for FY2023 is quite simple. I’ll try to eliminate last debt I have but that depends on market moves. I’ve been net debt free for quite some time already but main portfolio still contains small amount of investment debt which I’ll try to eliminate during first half of the year. In addition I’ll re-invest dividends and all other extra cash that remains after handling the debt. Should the market drop significantly, I might postpone the debt payment and buy stock instead.
Third quarter is over and we are getting to bearish enough sentiment. Russia’s invasion in Ukraine has escalated but Ukraine has put on a brave fight and seem destined to eventually win this war. Price they have and will pay is enormous but mandatory. Hopefully western nations will only scale up the military support and financial support afterwards. Russia appears to be escalating in Nordic neighbourhood with the explosions in the Nord Stream pipelines and probably more will follow. Then there’s the central bank activities with steep rate increases, inflation being somewhat out of hands and overall very pessimistic investor sentiment. Taking all this into account third quarter was somewhat OK as YTD in main dividend portfolio is still positive but performance during third quarter was -3,47%. Dividends before taxes were 1834,10 EUR (169,54 EUR, 190 SEK and 1 633,59 USD).
Assuming that there’s no big changes in overall environment, I’ll slowly decrease my accumulated cash. Dollar investments will probably be dividend reinvestments unless I’ll start converting received dividends into euros and Swedish kronas. Euro zone stocks in focus will probably include at least Kemira and possibly Finnish heavy industry related stocks if/when those will drop enough going towards recession.
Another wild quarter has passed. Global economy is still facing pretty much same issues: COVID-19 tails, war in Ukraine and inflation/interest rate issues. On the positive side Finland and Sweden were finally invited to become NATO members but I’m sure Turkey will have additional tricks to use when the process moves forward. I personally don’t see huge risks in this as long as critical member states ratify the membership. This is very positive development in otherwise dire situation. Pandemic can of course take new directions and there’s also the monkeypox situation going on but probably this is something than will keep on fading into the background noise. War in Ukraine seems to be evolving in a positive way, or at least West and rest of the world has been providing enough resources for Ukraine to defend themselves. Russia is bleeding but probably this will take a long time to truly play out. Then there’s the inflation and interest rate issue where ECB seems to be late – as usual – on everything. FED seems to be doing a bit better but I guess situation is far from ideal in US as well.
On personal side this quarter was solid bounce year over year. Market overall has been taking a beating but my portfolio has performed reasonably well as main portfolio only dropped 1.45% during the quarter. Compared to to overall market this is partially explained by the fact that my portfolio bounced back from COVID-19 impact way slower in general. Bounce back was even more visible with received dividends. Q2 dividends before taxes were 5715,66 EUR compared to 2684.31 EUR year before.
What’s next then? I have allowed my cash buffer to grow lately and done some purchases, mainly as dividend re-investments and smaller maintenance purchases. This is likely to continue while waiting for for bigger opportunities. I still have pharma and medical sectors on my radar so I might still add on Abbvie and Gilead Sciences but I might also open a position in Medtronic. Let’s see how things evolve.
Another quarter passed and what a ride it was once again. Russian special operation – Njet problem, normal katastrof – in Ukraine kicked in and outcome was probably something most didn’t expect. Ukraine has put on a brave fight and now this one month old war (well, in reality it began years ago with the annexation of Crimea) is turning into a real shit show for Russians. Economic sanctions on Russia are something that I for one didn’t expect international community ever to pull off. Russia is like zombie with the exception of zombie having fair chance of eating before rotting away. This all hit some companies really hard but overall markets way less than I would have guessed. On personal level impact could be described as minor mainly due to having very limited Russian exposure and elevated US exposure. It’s hard to estimate how this thing will play out. Hopefully international community will not scale down the sanctions until Russia truly learns the provided free lesson. Furthermore this will hopefully result Finland joining NATO. This is something that should have been done in the 1990’s but better late than never. This would be extremely important also to mitigate country risk associated in being small open economy next door to Russia.
Main portfolio gained about 7% during the quarter. Dividend income was 1623,60 USD dollars and 120 EUR before taxes or 1566,42 EUR when using the exchange rate at the time of writing. Quite solid improvement compared to 1190,15 EUR year ago.
What next? Overall bounce back from the Russian special financial operation was maybe too quick. Inflation fears are still there and underlying problems in global economy are probable just one month older and equally bigger. Most likely I will just continue with current approach: do mainly smaller purchases and re-invest dividends. Let cash position grow a bit even though it’s quite significant already and not really ideal considering the inflation environment. Then again my personal finances are less severely hit by inflation as my consumption level is in general low and key factors like energy are either low or something that I can almost eliminate if and when needed. Let’s see. I might initiate a new position on Gilead Sciences and possibly add on existing 3M and Kemira positions while waiting for better opportunities to make bigger moves.
2021 was a continuation and tail of the globally crappy 2020. COVID pandemic was still going strong globally but it has not been impacting the markets as much as one might expect. Soon after the initial hit in 2020 I guessed that true recovery would be happening in 2022. This might actually end up being quite accurate but recovery is of course quite subjective. Stock markets recovered in my opinion way too quickly back then and haven’t showed any true weakness during the subsequent waves of variants. This despite the fact the vaccines ended up being somewhat inefficient. Not inefficient in providing protection against severe forms of disease but against spreading the virus. Then there’s the ongoing inflation surge and geopolitical tensions with Russia (continuation of the Crimean conflict) and China (power shift). I sense disturbance in market force but of course next year might end up being yet another year of the bull. National debt levels are already sky high, public spending will increase and here in European Union national debt appears to be transitioning into federal debt. Having said that, Europe as a whole remains as troubled and declining continent of has beens. I’m sad to say that but I believe that seeds for at least partial EU breakup have already been sown. Hard to say if that would manifest itself already during this decade but 2030’s might the truly dividing decade. US has a fair share of global troubles going forward but it is clearly a more dynamic and relevant market to invest in.
Looking at the results, this year was continued recovery from the drop in 2020. Year over year value shows relatively good performance when compared to overall market performance. This is mostly due to slower portfolio recovery (lower comparison point) due to REIT exposure but positive anyway. Primary dividend portfolio gained 32,47% (last trading day not included) and produced 7436 EUR as dividends before taxes (5040 EUR in FY2020). Reasonable recovery from the drop but it should also be noted that some of these dividends were delayed from 2020 and paid now due to regulation. This skews the year over year comparisons a bit. These dividends (after taxes) covered 103% of base consumption.
Plans for next year? This is a difficult one. I’ve been in holding pattern for quite some time already. Short term plan is to continue. In practice this means small stock purchases mainly as dividend reinvestments until something truly changes. I’ll allow my cash position to increase even though it’s quite significant already. I’m aiming for quite significant cash position to maximise flexibility later on when considering e.g. sabbatical, entrepreneurship or other significant life style changes. First critical FIRE step is quite close but let’s see how things evolve. This step includes following criteria: no debt, cash buffer for at least five years and dividend income covering running expenses. Let’s see how the project continues. Original target was end of 2024 but that is and always has been a moving target.
Another boring quarter has passed and much like previous ones, this one quite passive as well. Only minor maintenance purchases were made in Kemira Oyj and one slightly bigger one with an entry into AbbVie Inc. Decent turnaround in portfolio continued and settled into sideways movement towards the end. Dividend income before taxes was 1436.08 EUR during the quarter.
Another positive development was ECB’s approval for Nordea to pay dividends that were on hold for quite a long time. Sampo as my largest position will receive quite a respectable amount of these while it is still working on the sale of whole Nordea position. Both are also planning on purchasing their own shares. Expectation is that Sampo will distribute extra dividend in addition to those purchases. Expectations for Q4/2021 and H1/2022 are quite positive in this sense. Otherwise I’m still in waiting pattern and plan to make only moderate purchases until there’s a significant correction taking place. Increased exposure for pharmaceuticals, defence, water and chemicals are likely targets of those purchases.
Groundhog day – Pandemic Edition continues. Yet another boring quarter has passed and handling of the pandemic is still as poor as it has been throughout the pandemic. Speaking of Finland in many ways EU of course. As expected, US appears to bounce back like a dead cat from trampoline which makes us look even worse than usual.
This quarter was quite slow one. I made only few maintenance purchases and sold some of my NEL shares. This was mainly caused by the market situation but also by personal reasons as running & resolving my late father’s estate and associated inheritance details took quite a lot of time. This will have significant impact on second quarter as well. Timing with NEL was spot on but I’ve been holding back on buying back the shares. In general I’ve kind of moved towards reducing portfolio risk which might continue going forward. This should leave the door open for significant moves in my personal finances later. I’ll likely do just minor maintenance purchases and possibly sell some growth or non-core positions.
Dividend income during the quarter was 1284,37 EUR before taxes. Dividends have recovered quite nicely from the hit caused by pandemic. Quite a few REIT are still to restore the dividends and ECB is pushing back bank dividends but these will hopefully resolve themselves before the year ends.
Everything comes to an end eventually. Probably 2020 will not be missed by many. Pandemic is still ongoing concern even though vaccinations are in progress. Even in developed countries the progress seems to be a bit asymmetric and EU in general seems to be lagging behind a bit. US elections were held and results can be considered final even though some aftershocks are still coming. Brexit was also “finalised” but it seems to be a gift that keeps on giving for years to come. In general pandemic together with brexit revealed something fundamental about EU community. As a result of those events I’m slightly more convinced that EU and Euro as currency will start to break down sooner than later. I don’t anticipate it to happen very quickly but quicker than I thought before. This kind of uncontrolled step towards federalization without a real mandate – and for fundamentally incompatible national economies – will eventually bite us in the ass. I’m guesstimating a timeframe of 8-15 years until this really starts to hit us.
Fourth quarter was somewhat expected kind of quarter. Dividend income compared to previous year was impacted negatively by the pandemic and reduced, eliminated or postponed dividends. Fourth quarter dividend income was 1078,82 EUR before taxes compared to 1 343,74 EUR in 2019. ECB also continued the dividend ban for banks and other financial companies so previously postponed dividends were not paid during this quarter. It is possible that some of those will be paid during 2021 but it’s likely that those and additional since then cumulated profits – buffered dividends if you will – will be heavily capped by ECB. I fear that this ECB decision will be as effective as pissing in your pants in freezing temperatures. FY2020 dividends before taxes were 5040,06 EUR compared to 6769 EUR in FY2019. Primary portfolio market value was hit very hard during the pandemic due to heavy REIT allocation for which recovery is still in progress: 12 month change in dividend portfolio value was −16,43%, fourth quarter change was +6,08% but this paper loss was partially compensated by the secondary growth portfolio.
FY2020 was still a success in personal finances. I tracked my overall savings rate for the whole year and managed to save 73,7% off all my income. That’s a figure which would be hard to beat consistently. I also end the year with portfolio debt to equity ratio of 0,004 which significantly below the 0,1 target average. Plenty of liquidity available for 2021 but in current environment it’s difficult to make any moves. Plan is to keep adding consistently with focus at least on healthcare sector and Swedish dividend stocks. It’s likely that I’ll let cash to to build up a bit but let’s see how the first quarter unfolds.
Not that much has changed compared to previous quarter. Global economy is mainly dominated by still ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and BLM protests in US as they prepare for presidential elections. There were ups and there were down during the quarter. Index level recovery has been surprisingly quick one. Personally my portfolio is still down mainly due to the heavy REIT allocation. Lately I’ve been holding back a little bit as the elections are likely to provide some turbulence together with second – and third – corona wave.
Dividend income before taxes during Q3 was 871,88 EUR (Q3/2019 1 206,75 EUR). Corona is clearly showing but not too badly. Impact was way clearer during last quarter as the Euro dividends have been cut or postponed especially in financial sector.