Investing in What You Use

I just made my first investment into stocks (only £300, oops). As I’m still learning the in’s and out’s of investing, I spread my investments amongst a few ‘safe’ dividend-paying ETFs, a couple of companies I see as undervalued (Coca-Cola HBC & Virgin Money) and then companies I personally use.

I want to catch a train? I use Trainline.
I want to look for a student house to rent? Rightmove.
I want to get a drink with my friends and some nachos? Wetherspoons.
Where do I keep my day-to-day money? My B account, now Virgin Money (which I believe will grow a lot following the merger and rebranding)
What branded clothes do I want gift cards for? Superdry and Ted Baker.

I felt like until I know more about investing, it was good to go for companies I can see myself still using in 5 years time. And things I use in a regular week.

Do you invest in companies you personally use the services of yourself?

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It’s often cited as a good strategy. I think in the main it’s fine, providing an investor doesn’t blindly do it - such as I bought a holiday? Thomas Cook. I need a suitcase/make up: Debenhams.

I personally still look at fundamentals and try and let that drive me. Just because I use booking.com for nearly every trip and uber daily and I still wouldn’t invest.

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This approach is one of the main ideas in the famous investing book ‘One Up on Wall Street’ by Peter Lynch. If you haven’t read it, you’ll find it really interesting! There’s a great summary video of it here: https://youtu.be/s3jzbKW24jw

My approach is similar and it works for me - I only invest in companies that I understand because I use them or have some personal experience of what they do. For example:

  • Apple is my biggest holding. I have been a customer since the original iPod and follow the company and commentary around it in great detail. Have been investing in them on and off for several years. With Freetrade, it’s my biggest gainer at +60% since 31st Jan 2019.
  • Ocado has been quite volatile but up 33% for me. I have been a customer for several years and have done some consulting work in the online groceries industry. The bull case for them is that they are a technology platform rather than just a retailer, which I understand.
  • Netflix has been volatile and my biggest loss at the moment, at -7%. I’m a customer and have read a decent amount of analysis of the company so I am happy to wait for it to recover because I believe their strengths will persevere in the long term.

I only really invest in tech and consumer goods companies, because that’s what I know enough about to understand and feel confident about. I don’t invest in mining, banks, insurance, property, construction, etc because I don’t know anything about them.

Edit: As others have highlighted, use your personal experience and understanding of companies as a starting point - you need to look at the fundamentals as well.

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For me, personal knowledge of the company is a factor, but it can’t be the only factor. The company might create a great user experince, but they are terrible financially.

As someone mentioned below, Peter Lynch is a great guy to read about regarding this. One of his bits of advice is invest in what you know, i.e. through your work or personal life, but you have to also research the fundamentals.

My own personal theory is that you can have an edge on financial analysts as they may only be looking at the numbers, but if you’re an expert fisherman you will know first hand the quality of rods from ‘Fishing Rods PLC’, and the analysts would not have this edge.

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I think you’ve got to do both. If you really love a company you tend to be abreast of the news (or newsletters), you’re drawn to reading it, so you tend to know a little more about the company.

That said you need to combine it with a good check on the company financials. A great product doesn’t always equal a great business.

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Does anyone invest in Unilever ? Any thoughts on them ?
Lots of Unilever products at home. Warren Buffet tried to buy Unilever but looking at the top 10’s of the fund manager big hitters it rarely features and I don’t see it in anyone’s Freetrade portfolios.
I only invest in ETF’s and 1 investment trust but if I did invest in individual stocks Unilever would be on my radar.

It makes sense tbf but obviously can be dangerous due to various factors

I’ve got it in mine.
Solid dividend, somewhat high price right now but as you said, loads of there products at home and that goes for most people, so yeah, I’ve got it myself.

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Yep, I’ve got Unilever. I think it’s an impressive company and one of the best historical growth companies in the FTSE 100.

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I have Unilever. Decent dividend stock. I was fairly well up on price a few weeks ago but it’s pulled back and I’m slightly down at the moment

Personally, I’m looking at growth stocks. We’re all pretty young on here, i assume (under 30), so not much benefit in sitting with an established giant.

I’m looking for something a bit more exciting.

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What?? No, we’re not all under 30 :roll_eyes:

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Today I learned I’m old apparently :smile:

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Although it’s proven trying to beat the Index Funds is futile anyway. Just look at the literature by JL Collins.

So growth stocks may just end up as a lesson in not trying to out-do the index.

I didn’t assume that out of the 1000s of people on here, everyone is under 30, but I would guess most are.

Ouch. Back to my retirement home.

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I’m curious why do you think most people on this forum are under 30? I’d actually tend to think most of people here are between 30 and 50. Do you have any data? It’d be interesting to know the statistics on this.

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can set up a poll, ah ah.

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I bet someone at freetrade who has access to this data has already seen the split of age ranges and is giggling to themselves right now

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