Another newbie looking for guidance

Hello!

So, just looking for some advice/guidance/approval from more experienced investors.

I’m currently able to invest around 100-150 a month. I began this all with a £100ish initial investment, split across the following:

1 share (£48 at time of buying) in Vanguard’s S&P500
1 share (£26 at time of buying) in Vanguard’s FTSE100
0.01 share (£25ish at time of buying) in Amazon (lol)

I’m looking to split my investments on a 70/30 basis between ETFS and individual companies that I personally believe will do well in the future.

As it is, I plan on using ETFs as a ‘savings account’ that will slowly increase in value over 5-10 years. The individual companies are more of a gamble and are just there to give me a little bit of a thrill! Obviously I intend not to lose out, but of £100 invested, only £30 of that will be split across whichever companies I’m investing in. Most likely things like Amazon, Alphabet, AO etc.

So, I guess I’m looking for a few things here:

  • Which ETFs should I invest in to create a nice, diversified ‘savings’ pot?
  • What’s the best way to split the investments so that I can get a clean 70/30 distribution? I only ask because not all shares are fractional, so it really makes it a pain in the ass trying to split £100 up when I am committed to spending £48 on my S&P500 alone!
  • As I’m in my mid-20s, should I be willing to take more risks or look at investing in stocks that pay more dividends? If so, which ones?
  • Any tips for small, individual companies that you believe may provide growth over the next year? I’m specifically looking for cheaper stuff around the £2-£10 mark

I hope this all makes sense!

Thanks :slight_smile:

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I think this is a sensible approach

Your ETFs currently only cover 2 countries, which reduces your diversification, you may want to consider something more broad.

The simplest thing would be to just track the whole world:
£VWRL - Vanguard FTSE All World

The next simplest would be to split out the world between emerging and developed (so you can pick how much of each you want of each)
£VEVE - Vanguard FTSE Developed World
£VFEM - Vanguard Emerging Markets

If you want to get even more custom you could look at splitting out UK and the rest of Europe, US, emerging and any other countries you want. This might be excessively complicated to manage/balance though.
£VERX - Vanguard Dev Europe ex UK

  • UK (FTSE 100)
  • USA (SP500)
  • Emerging
  • Others (Japan etc)

I think without fractionals you’ll just have to make the best of it, if you end up 28/72% it’s probably not the end of the world

Risk is really a personal preference, if you opened the app and saw your portfolio had lost 30% of its value (as in March) how would you cope with that? If you are happy knowing that in the long run 10+ years you will be better off, then great - take on more risk.

If you wanted a bit more risk you could consider ETFs that give exposure to factors with greater risks.

£VVAL - Vanguard Global Value Factor- This tracks companies which are priced cheaply and therefore considered more risky
£WLDS - MSCI World Small Cap - This tracks smaller companies which are generally considered more risky that larger ones

or you could pick whatever individual companies suit your risk.

I’d say generally ignore dividends when making decisions (see my freetrade thread on why) they shouldn’t have a material impact on your total return in the long run.

I’m not going to recommend anything, I’d say buy what you know.

I loosely follow the semiconductor market so some of my individual picks (ASML,TSMC, AMD) have centred on that, but don’t just buy something because a stranger on the internet likes it.

It doesn’t have to be massive professional knowledge of the sector, it can even something simple. For example my investment in BYND was just because I was a big fan of the Beyond Burger (especially after it was finally available in the UK) and knew plant-based foods were a big growth area. Being close to something means hopefully you can feel consumer sentiment shifting before it appears in earnings reports.

So far my worst decisions have been buying things I don’t really understand but following other investor sentiment / advice.

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I’m also relatively new but as some early learnings, I would echo what Cameron said about sticking to what you know closely (see Warren Buffet’s circle of competence), and not being baited into FOMO, particularly by what other investors are recommending.

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For what it’s worth, asking for stock tips from random people on the internet is the equivalent of getting horse racing tips from the guy in the pub.

Buying shares just because they are in a certain price range isn’t a great idea, unless you’ve established that the price values the company at an unwarranted discount…But if that’s the case, why isn’t everyone else buying these shares and forcing the price up…? I think you’d be better off putting that money into your ETFs or saving it until you can afford whatever you believe is a sound investment.

Some good advice above, digging into businesses/sectors you are familiar with what you know is as good a starting point as any.

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I second this. It’s a boring strategy, I grant. You’re not going to win big. But you are (all things being equal) either going to (at best) grow steadily or (at worst) limit your losses.

But picking individual stocks when you’ve only got £100-odd a month to invest? The odds are against you. You’ve far more chance of losing it all through a few wrong picks than you have of making a fortune through a few right picks.

If you’re still determined to try and pick winners, I can’t recommend individual stocks. I can only recommend that you do your research, and (a) choose carefully, and (b) don’t commit more to individual picks than you’re prepared to lose.

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How about buying 5 shares of T (AT&T) to start? Each share would generate 0.52 USD per Q. That is $10.4 USD per year. In 3 years one of 5 of your shares is free. That is of course if you buy at current price, and they will keep the same dividend. Still, not bad to get something for free.

Now I have to put a disclaimer here. I am certainly not an expert, this is just for entertainment purposes.

Before doing anything I would evaluate T’s debt, viability that it always will be in business- who knows- might be someone will put in orbit some satellites and T’s moat will be gone? Might be dividends will be cut, etc etc…

Index funds are broad bet on economy. Held one of S&P 500 fund a while ago, sold out a bit early, but at the moment it is not that far away where I bought it. So in a few years it moved nowhere. With individual dividend paying stocks you could get something in return while you wait.

I am really disappointing that O is not available on freetrade. It pays monthly dividend, and at some point it went down … Now it is going back again. IMHO it is quite safe REIT company- majority of the properties held were holding strong during shutdown.

But I am just a person on internets, so do your own diligence. It is your hard earned money after all.

The most diversified fund is something S&P 500 related. But why do you want to diversify so bad? Let’s say now, during Covid 5% of companies are literally doing the best ever. Probably 10% are on a verge of bankruptcy. 20% are doing ok- meaning not bankrupt, but not making a lot of profit. 10% are doing good. Of course, I just pulled these numbers of a belly, but the idea is that when diversifying to much you will get good and bad at the same time and sometimes bad will drag things down.

0.01 of Amazon will make you poor. How much will it go up- $1 per year? What is the point?

Might be worth a read : Monevator Portfolio examples

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Sorry to be rude, but this is terrible advice. I’ve included a couple of videos which explain why quite concisely.

A broad bet on the economy is much less risky than a bet on an individual company. A broad bet is basically a bet that companies will innovate and create better products and ultimately a more prosperous world, historically this has been pretty consistent, while throughout this individual companies have risen and fallen all the time.

Diversification is how you manage risk, that’s why for most long term individual investors low cost index funds are the most sensible approach. It’s not reasonable to expect stock pickers to consistently beat the index (unless the are over exposed to a particular risk factor)

Dividends are not free money, they are part of your total return paid as cash rather than capital gains. You should not be picking stocks because of the company’s dividend policy, a high dividend yield should not be used as an indicator for greater future returns.

If you wanted to look at T you should evaluate the business and its risks (as you mention its moat looks to be threatened) and come up with an estimate of it’s total return. Then you could look at the dividend policy and see how much of that total return will be paid as cash (if that’s relevant to you for tax reasons etc…)

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Again, I do not think it is a good idea to be putting the idea out to novice investors, or indeed any investor, that receiving a dividend in a down market is the same as selling shares you own at a loss during a down market.

The whole point of being in the market for the long-term is not to sell at a loss*, so if one needs income during a down market, dividends are one of the better ways to get there.

*Providing the company you own, or ETFs, are still viable and will likely recover.

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Agree, for someone new to the game, its better to start off learning how stocks with dividends make you money rather than jumping head first into day/swing trading. Im still new to the game after nearly a year and I much prefer the peace of mind of dividend paying stocks (regardless if they introduce cuts or not).

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I wasn’t proposing day/swing trading, almost no one has the dedication to actually achieve genuine results there.

I was specifically referring to the idea that income can be consistently generated by selling down shares.

Well if we continue this topic for entertainment purposes only…

I would avoid gurus on the youtube… Realize that their primary job is to get paid by adds, donations and views. Many of them have ZERO financial education, or never worked in anything finance related. Some of them sell courses, access to their private chats, etc… Some channels even add their credentials as PH d as if is relevant if the chap finished some humanitarian university…

I came to this conclusion myself when looking at a few channels. Here is my 5 cents:

1 pushing bitcoin. You cannot be serious on that. Just listen what Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger has to say on bitcoin. These 2 actually achieved something that most of people will never achieve by investing.

2 pushing ridiculous stocks. GAME STOP (are you serious???) You are pushing Blockbuster in Netflix era!!! Game stop is based on declining business model!!! Everything is becoming download only, INSTANT download!
3 pushing BATH AND BEYOND! Are you serious??? This is also dead business. In pair with Pier 1 imports that went bankrupt.
4 Telling people to sell good stocks. One dude was telling sell FACEBOOK, since recession is coming. Well, let’s see- FB reached 52 week high in recession!
5 Pumping penny stocks…

There is much more I could add.

Do your own diligence. Read from a source. Go to investor relations website of any company, read 10K, see what is business about, risk factors, financial information, listen to conference calls, follow Q earnings. Think about the moat of any business. Can given business just disappear with no trace? For example Walmart, Target, Costco can sell anything that Pier 1 imports is selling. Probably even cheaper.

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This is very good advice, don’t trust any youtube gurus pushing that rubbish.

As you say they are often just creating clickbait content for ads, trying to sell a worthless course or worse pumping their own positions to dump on naive investors.

Edit: I’m assuming you aren’t grouping educational videos, like the ones I linked in the same category as the stock picking gurus.

I haven’t looked at youtube videos that you posted. I am just saying “in general”. It seems since “investing” area is not regulated, a lot of people making money on youtube by giving an advice that does not cost anything for them, is not regulated in any way, and has zero negative consequences for them. So in general anything on youtube has to be taken with grain of salt.

Also I probably would advise something very controversial here to…

Lose some money at the beginning of your investment journey. See how it feels. Because it is really painful when you realize that after many hours (of whatever you are doing for work) you have nothing to show, and have to work hard again, and investing is not easy. It is a job. It requires research, time and effort. If it was easy, everyone would be millionaires. There is zero entry barrier, a lot of people are doing this, but not everyone is successful (in long run).

I probably should put a disclaimer here too. I do own T shares, on Freetrade and in other account. Owned for quite some time and received dividends already made a few shares essentially free. So dividends do work.

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I think this is almost guaranteed as a consequence of novice investing rather than on purpose? I mean even experienced/ professional investors don’t get it right 100% of the time. I get your overall point though. Once you’ve burnt your fingers on some hype stock (…e.g. Kodak…) you will hopefully learn a valuable lesson🙃

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Ok the videos I’m linking are just explaining economic theory by summarising some of the more influential academic papers (which are cited). They aren’t trying to sell something, suggest a particular stock or claiming any new knowledge like lots of the ‘guru’ type videos.

It’s basically the equivalent of a teacher reading from a textbook. I don’t think many people are going to read 20 pages of a paper, but they can see the summary and if something doesn’t make sense they can dig into the underlying academic research, therefore removing the need to trust the person explaining it.

I don’t know how long you’ve owned AT&T but the share price has declined over the 6 month, 1 year, 2 year, 5 year periods where as the S&P 500 has grown over all of the same periods. It’s very hard to agree that the dividends have been “essentially free” (at least not in the sense of risk-adjusted return).

Looking at the 5 year period, this is a very rough estimate of the difference in total returns. You could calculate the total return more accurately for whatever other period you wanted.

Metric AT&T S&P 500 Difference
5 Year growth -11.31% +60.67% +71.98%
Average growth -2.26% +12.13 +14.396
Average Yield ~6% ~2% ~-4%
Total Return ~+4% ~+14% ~10%

So AT&T has returned about ~10% per year less than the S&P 500 for this time period. My point here is not that AT&T has performed poorly compared to the passive strategy, just that the metric that makes sense is total return, not growth or yield individually.

No one is suggesting they don’t work, just that they aren’t a good indicator, or more important than total return.

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As a relative newbie myself, I can’t give a great deal of advice. But I have a couple of things to add to the discussion…

Firstly, people advising against picking individual stocks and shares and picking funds instead - Yes this makes a lot of sense in a lot of ways. However, as the OP mentions, they are looking at a relatively sensible sounding 70/30 split. I personally enjoy researching various companies and trying to pick things which will do well, especially within my own field on interest. The enjoyment factor is of value in itself! Yes there is an element of gambling in with it, but frankly that is true of all investing, its just the level of risk vs. reward that changes. So go for it, have a bit of fun… And if you make some early losses in your first a couple of months investment, you probably had fun, plus it will have helped you get a grip on how individual stocks and shares tend to perform. In the long run it will likely give you a better idea of the market as a whole. I know it certainly has helped me understand how various items of news can affect a companies stock price.

Secondly, a reason why individual picks can be better than trackers, but often gets overlooked in these discussions; ethics. You may have your own ethical concerns, and want to avoid investing in certain firms, sectors or locations, and possibly even aim to invest in companies with a positive impact on the world. More sustainable products, better paid and treated staff, etc… Of course there are ethical funds out there, but even then who is to say the ethics of the person who picked the fund align with your own? For some, investing is purely about the financial gain, but personally I like to pick companies which align with my own values (or at least don’t have what I see as a negative impact). The greener picks I have made have done relatively well recently, and I expect they could do even better in the near future given the UK governments ‘green recovery’ funding to get the economy moving again.

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Hi Alex,

Welcome to the world of investing! I’m not going to advise you on what you should buy, but if it is of any help to you I have two videos in which I show the top 10 holdings and sector weightings of the ETFs on Freetrade. I have grouped them based on how heavily they are weighted in given sectors.
I will also do a video on the very diversified ETFs (no more than 20% in any given sector).
Tech-focused ETFs
ETFs by Sector weightings

One thing I would say, is bare in mind the the S&P500 is so weighted in favour of the top 5-10 companies, that to all intents and purposes it is tech heavy.

Good luck!

JB

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What is your investing horizon? i.e. how far is retirement

Personally I am going with diversified ETFs in my pension fund (always make sure to match employer contribution fully if you can, it’s free money) and picking individual stocks in my Investment ISA FT portfolio. Admittedly those individual stocks are mostly FAAGM (minus Netflix).

I’m also a newbie on the freetrade platform.l had previously always traded on funds through HALIFAX SHAREDEALING
HARGREAVES LANSDOWN ANF A J BELL/YOU INVEST
However having been introduced by a friend to FREETRADE I joined in june this year and as there are no dealing fees I thought it will be worth a punt or two. I had suffered a lot of losses previously in oil and gold and commodities with direct company investments .Frontera resources , UK oil and gas , serius , and gold mines.just name e a few .
So in free trade I initially invested £2k then a week later added another 2k and then in the following 2 weeks added another 6k to make a total investment of 10 thousand.
Today 6 to 8 weeks later my total investments stand at this time £12,544 this morning . So what is my strategy
Buy when a share is down because of mistrust even if the company and finances are sound .example is BOOHOO trading ok financially ok but a comment about malpractice of not treating the workers fairly shot their price down to floor.I bought and sold at various times at short intervals to pocket the profit.The other company I had invested in was PURPLR BRICKS due to the pandemic price came down to the floor .So with government encouragement from stamp duty and recovery from covid-19 improves the chances of this stock’s recovery and I bought and sold a few times to pocket the profit. Over the years I’ve learnt that there is no such thing as loyalty. It’s a selfish world. So do what is best for you .Yes stay loyal to big solid stocks if you want to build a pension portfolio and have years ahead of you. My strategy is short and simple . If a stock is showing a profit of 10 to 15 waiting it’s a risk free growth if risky take profit , if still waiting the on 20 to 25 % gain pocket the profit and then do your research and pick something with a potential growth. Some of my selections are
BooHoo
Purple bricks
Aston Martin
Lloyd’s Bk
Convatac
Barclays Bank
Bloomin Brands
Groupon
Tritax
G4S
Card factory
Geron
Vodafone
Symphony &
Taylor Wimpey
Pick the stocks when they are at a bargain price Do your research to avoid undue risk and when they gain 10 % or above right upto 25% choose your moment to take the profits and go for the next bargain
Nothing stopping going for the same stock later if you think you got out too early. But greed is what make you loose money in some stock I used to keep adding money in the hope of making a killing and the then losing it all.zSo never be greedy stock market does’nt do any favours to anybody
No sympathies. Be shrewd and look after yourself .I have been investing since 1962 .and have lost and gained fortunes .but I would te iterate that investments are like a gamble .you pick the right choices with your research but cannot predict the future . Who could predict both myself and wife could lose a pension in a reputable company like EQUITANLE LIFE but we did. But it’s always a part of the learning curve in your life .
So be selfish but not greedy
Believe in yourself and take action whatever you have decided
Losses and gains are part of learning curve and experience.
Because you learn from your mistake
And stocks loyalty is only for long term established companies with years of reputation behind them .those you buy and tuck them away in a closet 10 or 20 years later if they are still there these will be worth a fortune.
So un the end I would say good luck and happy investing may the lord help you become legendary millionaire.

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