The Time in the Market portfolio – January 2018 update

It’s spreadsheet weekend and the weather is perfect for another portfolio review. It’s so cold that there’s no reason to be outside right now unless your hobby is to make ice sculptures.

I’m doing this a bit earlier than usual this month. The typical schedule is to do this update on the 2nd Sunday of the month but I think I’ll switch that up this year. The second Sunday of the month often falls late in the month. It’s on the 14th this month which would be over 35 days since the last update. I’d rather have it done earlier in case I want to make some changes to my contributions. That means the 2nd Sunday rule might not always hold if the Sunday falls particularly late. It’ll be more like the first Sunday of the month that falls after and including the 7th.

It’s a bit arbitrary but arbitrary things are what investing is all about so it’s a good fit.

The portfolio has had a ridiculous run lately as the market has continued to rise. I have had 15 straight months of consecutive growth which is pretty crazy. 9 out of those 15 months have also had growth of 10k or more and that includes the last four months.

That growth has propelled my portfolio from 366k in December 2016 all the way up to $483,999.27 as of the December update. That means I’m pretty close to my next milestone of 500k and I’m eager to see how much closer I got this month.

The stock market has continued to perform well with the S&P 500 returning 3.4% since the last update. I also had some pretty good savings rate months lately which bodes well for my chances at hitting 500k soon. 

The Portfolio

My portfolio now sits at $499,535.04!

It’s not quite 500k but it’s so freaking close!

That’s 16 straight months of portfolio growth and the 5th straight month of growth above 10k. The $15,535.77 in growth is the biggest monthly growth number I’ve seen since December 2016.

This month’s portfolio growth is 3.21% which actually lags the S&P 500 in the same time period. That lag is driven by my exposure to bonds which will lag stocks in a bull market and REITs which lagged the S&P by nearly 600 basis points this month.

The graph above shows a full year of data and you can clearly see how much a bull market can benefit a portfolio. Contributions certainly help but my portfolio has grown by more than $132,000 this year and less than 1/3rd of that was due to contributions.

The overall growth rate from 1/8/17 to 1/7/18 was 33.98% which is insane! Years like this don’t happen too often so it’s good to be invested and benefit from one when it does!

It’s also great to be so close to 500k and I’m sure I can get there next month as long as the market cooperates.

Taxable accounts were up 3.6% this month and were driven by solid performance in my individual holdings. Tax-advantaged accounts were up 2.9%.

My cash was up as some of my dividends went straight into cash instead of being reinvested. It now makes up 5.89% of my overall portfolio which is well below my max of 10%.

The rising stock market has throw my asset allocation off a bit and I expect there to be some issues in that area this month.

Asset Allocation

I spent most of last month focusing on REITs and bonds since those were laggards. Let’s see the results.

Strong performance in international and U.S. stocks combined with weak returns in REITs sent my REIT allocation down. International did well this month and U.S. large cap continues to be well above target.

Right now, I have no plans to make any major moves and will continue to shore up shortfalls with contributions. That means I’ll likely keep buying bonds and REITs for the foreseeable future as long as stock market returns continue to be above 0 on a monthly basis.

Next month’s plan is as follows;

  • Contribute towards US REIT, US bonds and US small cap in that order.

I may consider selling some large cap in the future to get more bonds and REITs. I’m in no rush to do that and can fix these issues with contributions. I’ll also be on the lookout for some individual REIT holdings. My target is far enough below now that I can fit in a sizable individual purchase. If you have any suggestions, let me know in the comments!

One of the good things about having an asset allocation is I don’t have to worry about whether the market is overvalued. The asset allocation does all the thinking for me and I likely won’t be buying a lot of U.S. stocks in the near term focusing on REITs and bonds instead.

2018’s first update is a roaring success and I’m now just a step away from half a million dollars. It’s amazing to see this level of growth and while I know it can’t continue forever, I’ll enjoy the ride while it does.

As always, thanks for reading and let me know how your portfolio did this month. Please also suggest any REITs that may be in your portfolio that you think are a good value right now.

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18 thoughts on “The Time in the Market portfolio – January 2018 update

    1. I’ve always wanted to get some O but I’m not sure I want something with so much exposure to retail. I might wait to see if I can get it cheaper than the current price.

  1. 500k in portfolio is awesome! Congrats! I don’t think market is going down anytime soon. Corporate tax breaks should lead to additional buybacks and dividend rises. Either way it is good for dividend investors.

  2. Almost 500k, you might already be there with the way this market is going .Congrats.

    I was going to suggest Vanguard REIT Index but read your comment about already owning it. VTR and O are at decent levels. You could also consider OHI (though it is not as stable as once thought because of some recent tenant troubles).

    Happy investing 🙂

    – Desi Guy.

  3. Congrats on the growth! Personally I like the industrial REITs (i.e., distribution centers) best right now. DRE is evolving having sold their healthcare exposure last year and PLD which has greater international holdings. Another thought is BX (although be cautious of UBTI in an IRA) with yesterday’s announcement of the acquisition of Pure Industrial Real Estate Trust (Canada).

  4. Wow this is so exciting!! Congratulations on almost hitting $500K. You should have just put $500 in there lol. How much to you contribute a month or is this pure investment gains?

    I like the graphs, by the way!

    1. I’m putting up a post today that shows my contributions and it’s about 35k for the year with employer contributions so the majority is still gains but the contributions certainly help!

  5. You’ve got it under control, TITM. Excellent progress over the past year. I like your dedication to sticking with your allocations. $500K… terrific milestone… congrats. As for REITs, I’ve been watching O and EPR… thinking there’s probably more downside, but you never know.

    1. Both of those have certainly had a rough run lately and have popped up on my screens. O is a big one in this community and it’s definitely on my watch list as is EPR but I have to do a bit more research. Both have had a great history but I have to figure out how they’re positioned going forward since they have a lot of exposure to stuff like retail and movie theaters and Amazon and Netflix have made those less desirable.

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