How To Invest In Stocks, Mutual Funds, and Real Estate – My Personal Holdings
Recently I published An Investing Guide For Beginners and it received some great feedback (if you haven’t read it you should after you’re done here). Because of that, I want to take it a step farther and show you how to invest and exactly what I’m invested in. Yes, you read that right. I’m going to show you every single stock, mutual fund, and real estate investment I have.
Now obviously I’m not going to tell you how many dollars I have invested in those things because there is no benefit to doing so (and that’s obviously too personal). What I will share is the percentage of the total money invested in each different category. This will give you an idea of my risk tolerance and my diversification when investing.
Actually, now that I’m thinking about it, I’m going to take it a step further than just the category. Anyone can tell you how much money they have in stocks, mutual funds, and whatever else. I don’t want to be like ‘anyone‘ so I’m going to share with you the exact names of each holding I have. Down to the stock ticker.
You should know that how you invest and how I invest will not be the same. We are all different of course, so how will YOU invest?
The first thing you must do is understand your risk tolerance. Do you like to take risks or not? From there, you can choose how to diversify from picking different types of investment options. For example, individual stocks are quite risky while index funds are not. Once you choose the funds you’d like to invest in, it is just a waiting game (boring I know) but that’s how you too can successfully invest.
Throughout this article, I’m going to show you how you can do all of this and more.
Investment Advice Disclosure
Before we dive in, I need to, of course, give you my investing advice disclaimer.
Young, Dumb, and NOT Broke?! or any of its contributors are not registered legal, investment, or tax advisors nor are they brokers/dealers. All investment and financial opinions expressed by Young, Dumb, and NOT Broke?! are from personal research and experience of the owner of the site and are intended as educational material only. Although best efforts are made to ensure that all information is accurate and up to date, occasionally unintended errors and misprints may occur.
Young, Dumb, and NOT Broke?! takes no responsibility for your own choices when investing and assumes it’s readers/viewers are making their own independent choices.
Okay, sorry about that but I have to do it to protect myself and the company and that is just a part of it.
Diversify Your Investments
Before I show you my actual holdings, I’m going to give you some ideas on how you could choose to invest your funds. Now unlike what I’ll show you later, I’m not going to mention any stocks or funds specifically. Rather, give you the categories that you might want to look into to help you diversify.
Your goal with investing is simple: balance your risk with your potential return to maximize the rate of return for your portfolio.
First lets discuss a high risk investment. What this means is that since you are taking a higher risk, you should be rewarded with more. But, like in all situations, nothing is perfect and life is unpredictable. Just because you have invested in something high risk doesn’t mean you are guaranteed a high return. Maybe the company you invested in has a bad quarter or there is some unforeseen crisis that affects the stock market. That’s the risk you are taking (hence the name). This Investopedia chart displays the theory.
As you’ll see later, I use an online savings account. This type of investment is extremely low-risk and because of that I only get a 2% return on investment (ROI). On the other side of things, I do own some individual stocks. I expect a higher return from these. Some have done well but I’ve certainly experienced some losses. Again, that’s why we call them high risk.
When it comes to your investment choices, you have many, too many to be honest. This causes confusion and hurts you and I the consumer. The name of the game is making money and the more options big banks and brokers can give us, the better it is for their pocketbook.
Below is an investment pyramid with many of your investment options listed. You may be familiar with some but I hope there are a few that are new to you here. What I want you to notice and understand is that the higher you go up the pyramid, the more risk you are taking on. Moreover, this pyramid is a good example of how you should think about structuring your investments.
Now, whether you hold more cash or bonds is all going to be up to you and your risk tolerance. Personally, most of my money as you’ll see later is in the yellow part of the pyramid. I lean more towards the risky side but not risky enough to trade something like futures and options.
In my YouTube video, How To Start Investing Today – An Investing Guide For Beginners, I took you through exactly how to set up a Vanguard account. If you did that, then you can go here to see all of your options. Vanguard does all the work of separating things out by category for you.
Decide what your risk profile is, choose some funds or stocks, and invest. Is your setup going to be perfect at first? No. What matters is that you build the routine and start investing as soon as possible.
My Investment Portfolio
The truth is that there is no right or wrong way to invest in stocks, mutual funds, real estate, or anything else. What you need to do is find a balance of risk and reward and that is what I think I’ve achieved in my portfolio.
As I mentioned in the YouTube video that I linked above, I have many different account types each serving their own purpose. Whether those are accounts with more freedom, tax purposes, or a guaranteed return, everything has its role.
It’s always going to be a work in progress and I’ll always wish I could invest more but here is what I have so far.
Portfolio Broken Down By Type
In the chart below you’ll see the different investment types along with the broker I use and finally the % of my total invested wealth it equates to.
Let’s just go through this line by line. I should mention that these are in no particular order. This is just where they happened to be in my spreadsheet when I took the screenshot.
As you can see, my largest investment right now is in a rental property. The reason for this is because I had to put quite a large amount of cash down for the down payment. Without that large investment, I would never have been approved by the bank. I view this as a low-risk investment because I do have guaranteed rental income and the area the property is in has historically appreciated nicely.
My next largest holding is my brokerage account. I use Interactive Brokers for trading mainly because their trading fees are only $1. As I have mentioned many times before, investing in individual stocks is extremely risky. I’ve been trading for almost 9 years and while I’m no expert I have become more disciplined, thus reducing risk.
The third biggest holding I own is my online savings account through Wealthfront. To me, this is an investment. On the spectrum of risk, this one has zero. Yes, it has a guaranteed return of 2% for an online savings account and that is why I store my emergency fund here. I’ve talked about this before but I could keep my emergency fund at a local bank and get .25% interest but why would I when this option is available?
Lastly, you have both of my IRAs (Roth and traditional). These are a part of my low-risk investments. As you’ll see in a chart later, I have both of these invested in low-risk, low-cost index, and mutual funds. Basically I want these two different accounts to reflect what the market is doing. Is there risk and volatility? Of course but in comparison to something like a brokerage account it’s quite low.
Portfolio Broken Down By Fund/Stock
Okay, don’t worry I haven’t forgotten about the true money nerds that read my posts (myself included). If you want to see everything down to the exact fund name then this next chart is for you. I even go as far as telling you the exact stock tickers my brokerage account is invested in.
Dive in and feel the transparency.
I should note that for the most part, everything on this list stays the same except for my brokerage account. That account I used to trade weekly, if not daily, but over the last couple of months, I have been leaving it to sit. This is a combination of lack of time to do it right and disinterest.
If you follow the market at all, you’ll know there are some names in there that aren’t doing the best. I have no plan to sell any of these holdings (for now). Because I believe in them in the long-run and as I’ve stated many times before, patience pays.
The Bottom Line
Investing has become too complicated. If you have access to the internet and understand how to work the mouse, then you can start investing today. That statement may seem like I’m oversimplifying the process but I truly mean it.
The investments I have didn’t happen overnight. It was a combination of years of trial and error and I’m still constantly learning.
It’s not perfect and it never will be.
Why? Because everyone has their own opinion of how you should invest. All I can say is that you need to find the best approach that fits you.
At the end of the day, you need to have your money in something or there won’t be time for compounding interest to do its magic. The days of having your money hidden under your bed or stashed in a checking account are over. Let’s start investing.
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