Tuesday, January 17, 2017

2016 Investing Results

One thing most of us like to do periodically is to take a look at our investments and see how they are doing.  This is my end-of-year check-up.

My 401(k)

My firm gives me 5% of my pay; I save 6%.  I have a diversified portfolio of mutual funds and this year I earned dividends equivalent to about 20% of my pay and, according to the fund company, my total return was 3.71%, which is dissapointing.  However, a lot of it is invested in bonds--we are getting older and aren't as comfortable with a total stock portfolio as what we once were.

My Husband's 401(k)

His company gives him 3%, he deposits 5%.  He invests in a small/mid-cap fund and a money market fund and this year he earned about a month pay in interest/dividends.  


This is where the bulk of our non-401(k) money is.  We both have Roth IRAs, regular IRAs and we have a joint non-IRA account.  While we have been moving money to Vanguard funds, we still have a substantial portion invested in a large number of mutual funds purchased for us by the finanical advisor we used a couple of years ago.  He and his company invested three different accounts in the same mutual funds and in order to get rid of them we have to pay $20 per account.  As long as they perform at or close to their benchmark we are going to leave them alone. There are a couple that we like and re-invest dividends received; most are simply ok. That financial advisor was not one of our better financial decisions. 

We have invested in the following Vanguard funds:
  • Vanguard Total International Bond Index Fund
  • Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund
  • Vanguard 500 Index Fund
  • Vanguard REIT Index Fund
  • Vanguard Total Bond Market Index Fund
During 2016 we collected dividends equal to 3.2% of the final value of the portfolio.  Vanguard says our annual return for the last year was 8.8%.  

Lending Club

At the beginning of the year, my account value was $19,278.08.  As of December 31, it was worth $20,529.82, a difference of $1250.74 which means a return of about 6.5% of the original balance.  However, if I use Lending Club's adjusted number, which takes into account notes that are currently late, and compare it to the adjusted number at the beginning of the year, the rate of return is only about 5%.  We have not added any money to this account this year.


We added $850 to this account this year, with the last contribution being in July.  The account started at $16581.46 on January 1.  On December 31 it was valued at 18,561.40 .  If you take the difference in the balance at the end of July, compare it to the balance at the end of December, and annualize the difference you get a return of 4.45%, which is a far cry from the 12.76% shown on my dashboard.     


Motif allows investors to buy a basket of up to thirty stocks for one $9.95 fee.  Sometimes they run specials waiving or reducing that fee.  Most of my motifs were a "Motif of the Week" and purchased without paying a commission.  I will have to pay a commission when I sell.  Overall, I invested $7000.00.  I've been withdrawing my dividends and reinvesting them via Loyal3 and Robinhood. 

Here are my motifs:
  • Things I Like:  This was self-designed. On April 15, I invested $1000.00.  As of December 31, it is worth $1014.63, and, as of this moment, is trailing the S&P 500.
  • Buyback Leaders:  Stocks in companies that are buying back their stock.  Purchased $1000 worth $1410.46.   It is up 42.1% since I bought it, compared to 10.2% for the S&P.
  • Cyber Security:  Anti-hacking stocks.  I bought $1,000 worth and it is now worth $810.77.  Since the S&P is up 9.7% and this is down 16%, it hasn't been a good choice.
  • High Yield Dividends:  My $1,000 purchase is now worth $1137.94.  It is up 15% whereas the S&P is up 11.3%.
  • Online Gaming World:  Stocks of companies involved in Multi-Player On Line Role Playing Games.  I bought $500 worth and it is now worth $631.85.  Motif says it is up 40%, which doesn't match my math, and the S&P is up 9.7%.

  • Online Video:  Bought $250 worth, and it is now worth $179.06.  While the S&P has gained 6%, this has gained 10.2%.  I think some shares were liquidated and the cash sent to me.
  • Growing Dividends:  I invested $2,000 in this motif, and it is now worth $2287.19. It is just about equal to the S&P.  
During this year, I earned $170.76 in dividends.  


As noted below I've been reducing my exposure at Kickfurther and transferring that money to Loyal3 where my portfolio consists of the following stocks:
  • AMC:  3.2046 shares.  Invested $90; 12/31 value $109.05
  • Alibaba:  .5812 Shares.  Invested $50; 12/31 value $51.04
  • Apple:  1.0035 Shares.  Invested $115.  12/31 value:  $116.23
  • Disney:  1.6904 Shares.  Invested $165.  12/31 value:  $176.17
  • Hershey:  .8119 Shares.  Invested $75.00. 12/31 value: $83.97
  • Intel:  3.2986 Shares.  Invested $105.00.  12/31 value:  $119.64
  • Kohls:  3.3451 Shares.  Invested $145.00.  12/31 value $165.18
  • Target:  2.1570 Shares.  Invested $155.00.  12/31 value:  $155.80
  • Time-Warner: 1.1146 Shares.  Invested $90.  12/31 value:  $110.68
  • Unilever:  3.1645 Shares.  Invested $140.00.  12/31 Value:  $128.0
  • VF Corp. 3.2684 Shares.  Invested $190.00 12/31 Value:  $174.37
We started the year with this portfolio valued at $152.07.  It is now worth $1394. 39 which is $70.93 more than we invested.  During the year we collected $18.36 in dividends, which is 1.3% of the final portfolio value.  Since most of the purchases were toward the end of the year, I'm happy with the results. 


I own two shares of AT&T, one share of Lending Club and two shares of Visa.  This account is very new and my goal is to purchase at least one share of something every month. 


This is still a toy, and I do not recommend anyone put serious money into it.  At this point, I'm ahead, but not by much.  I have earned $393.43 on offers that have finished.  I have lost $319.02 on offers that have been cancelled for non-payment.  I feel relatively confident that I will get some of that $319.02 back, I'm just not counting on it being a lot. 

I've cut my Kickfurther exposure quite a bit in the last few months, partly because of concerns about the viability of Kickfurther itself and partly because the returns were not what I had hoped.  I will probably keep some money on the platform, at least partly because it gives me something to write about.

*Part of Financially Savvy Saturdays on brokeGIRLrich, and Racing Towards Retirement*


  1. 5% is a great company match. My company only matches 1% and my husband's was 4% when he was working. We invest in only our 401(k)'s and our Roth's. I've always been a little scared to try anything on my own. Though I do think cyber security stocks would be the way to go. Great roundup.

  2. This does inspire me to branch out a little more. I'm never going to get rich returning to the grocery store to get my $4 credit for an item they rang up incorrectly.