Time for an update!
A lot has been happening since the last update. First of all there has been a lot of progress on my four 2021 goals.
I am really enjoying programming in Python. Currently, I study to be certified by DataCamp and I already did a lot of small fun projects including face-tracking, a fitness app, and a coronavirus game!
Practicing playing the ukulele is so much fun and I rarely miss out on my daily 20-minute session. It is such a great short break from all the other tasks of the day and I often take the ukulele with me on my walks and find a bench in the sun.
The goal of learning to speak the Thai language has evolved into becoming a polyglot. There are a few other languages that I practice as well, so why not start now. Am I being too optimistic? You be the judge. No matter what I am having a lot of fun learning and I am looking forward to start having simple conversations. See my progress and the online tools I use to learn.
Touch typing is going well. I actually don’t practice every day. Since I discovered that my two-finger hunt and peck speed is quite high, I lost a bit of motivation for the goal. However, It is still a goal I want to reach. I practice about three times per week and I will be at the finish line before the end of this year.
Update on my future second home in São Paulo
Things are looking up in Brazil. The apartment building has reached the the 10th floor now. It moves fast now adding the floors. It will not be long before the main walls for all 19 floor will be in place. Below is a short video of the progress so far. 21 weeks until that ice cool, pool side caipirinha.
I hope that I can soon go to São Paulo again and follow the development first hand.
TIME TO HANDOVER OF KEY
Status on my crowdlending investments
I am still rebalancing my portfolio. It is going to take a while, but every month I get closer to where I want to be.
CROWDESTOR has been paying out partly and they are, of course, the main platform I will be sourcing the rebalance from. I think CROWDESTOR has handled the crisis well so far and they have been engaging actively in discussions on the forums. However, they are way too big a part of my portfolio and I cannot continue to have so many unsecured high-risk business loans in my portfolio anymore. You can earn really well, sure, but you need to put your principal at risk at the same time. Let us see what happens over the next year when hopefully there will be fewer COVID-19 restrictions. I don’t plan on selling anything, but I will just wait for the world to open up again and let it play out. No matter what, at least I will get my name in the credits of a movie. One less thing on my bucket list. Read more about CROWDESTOR in this interview, this article about the Warhunt movie production, and an article about their first mobile game project, Mafia Stars.
I am quite disappointed with all the late loans (probably closer to defaulted), pending payments, loans in recovery, and bad loan originators on Mintos over the last year. I want to see how Mintos handle the pending payments and defaulted loan in the long run, before I put a larger amount with them again. I don’t really trust their loan originator ratings and I don’t want to be forced to spend a lot of time doing my own due diligence on the single loan originators. So I sold most of my loans on Mintos. I can get the same interest rate on other platforms, with less worry and less investigation. Biggest is not equal to best. In my P2P experience, it may not be such a smart idea with marketplaces like Mintos. At least not for investors. For the marketplace, it is a super setup, where they sit between the lender and the borrower collecting fees without taking any risks. They don’t own the loan originators and have no control over them. Or do they? In Mintos case, some big shareholders are also owners of many Mintos loan originators. The ownership structure is another reason Mintos will be a smaller platform in my portfolio. Mintos used to be my biggest. I did make money on Mintos though and I am still way in plus. However, there is still a lot stuck in pending payments/recovery for too long and that is not acceptable for me, as there was a promise buyback for ALL of those loans. If you decide to invest with Mintos, you need to look very carefully at each loan originator you plan to put in your portfolio. There is more than 60 loan originators, but just a few of them are worth investing with. I ran a challenge where I compared Bondara G&G with Mintos I&A over a period of 7 months.
I have to say I am very happy with VIAINVEST. They have been super consistent and reliable during all of the time I invested with them and that goes for all of 2020 as well. No bullshit and they did have been paying just as they were supposed to. They keep their promises 100%. Very solid company IMO. They have, without a shadow of a doubt earned a spot in my future portfolio. VIAINVEST is one of my four TOP platforms. Learn a lot more about VIAINVEST in this article.
Peerberry has seen a massive growth of 46% in 2020! They have paid out just as promised and have strengthened their position tremendously in the market. Peerberry is one of my favorite platforms for sure and part of my new portfolio. There are short and long-term loans. I have both to diversify more, but some of the long loans take years to mature. So be clear of your investment horizon when you set up your auto-invest. I have loans from under 30 days until 365 days. Learn more about Peerberry in this article about my office visit including an interview.
Estateguru is by far my number one platform! Loans are backed by real estate and the minimum investment is only 50 EUR. They have been delivering as promised during 2020 and they have plenty of new deals and a secondary market. There is hardly any cash drag, an easy auto-invest option and it is easy to diversify. There are a lot of properties. As far as I know, Estateguru is the biggest real estate investment platform in Europe. So far, they have handled defaults without problems, but it is common that a few loans are late and some can even go into default. This is expected. But as loans are back by real estate, the money has been recovered after ½-1 year. I plan to make them by far the largest platform in my new portfolio, as you can see below. Estateguru is currently my second largest platform. I visited Estateguru and you can read about it and learn a lot more about the company in this article.
Even though Crowdestate is mainly a real estate crowdlending platform where loans are backed by real estate, they did get involved in some “fishy” business loans a while back. That did for some parts not go well and the money will in the worst case be lost. I currently have four projects more than 90 days late (a lot more than 90 days). I have decided to leave Crowdestate because of this. The four defaulted are all business loans. Under the SWOT analysis, there is a long list of strengths and only one weakness was “The absence of real estate collateral”. This was the downfall of the investments. Real estate loans at Crowdestate have actually been really good for me, but there are other real estate crowdlending platforms I prefer. I hope Crowdestate stays away from business loans in the future. I visited Crowdestate and wrote an article about them for you to learn more.
Bulkestate will likely stay in my new portfolio, but as I smaller part. There are several reasons for that. First of all, there are fewer projects than some of my other real estate crowdlending platforms. Second, they specialize very narrowly in and around Riga. So you will not be able to diversify geographically. Another reason is that Bulkestate decided to put a luxury apartment on its platform for funding. They probably should not have done that. I made a video about this particular project when I visited Bulkestate, as you can see in this detailed article. When I put out the video, I was warned about investing in the project, as you can see in this article about EVOestate. The project is currently delayed, and the problem could (nothing is settled yet) end up coming into effect if the apartment needs to be sold. There are very few buyers for a luxury apartment like that, so it could be difficult to sell at a proper price. But let us see how things turn out. Besides this one bad choice of project, they generally have good projects that pay as promised.
I have been quite happy with Swaper. It is actually the only platform I deposited more money into since my last portfolio update. 14-16% interest and even though some experience cash drag, it has not been a big problem for me, as you can see (bottom of the article) from the test I did during a full month. Swaper has short-term loans, about 30 days, which is great for liquidity. They also won several awards and the CEO has a lot of experience in P2P lending and banking. The platform is super simple and just works. During the pandemic, many of the loans were late and got extended. Almost all of them have been paid back now. I just have a single loan remaining. IF this final loan is repaid, then Swaper has lived up to their promise of buyback and I will transfer the full amount for my new portfolio. Swaper will be the first platform that I will deposit back into during my portfolio change. They could likely also be a bigger part of my new portfolio than currently planned. Learn more about Swaper from this article I wrote after my visit to their office and an interview with the CEO.
I like Evoestate for several reasons. First, the loans on the platform are mostly backed with real estate and you can diversify over many different providers to diversify as it is an aggregator. That also gives you more opportunities to diversify geographically. The Evoestate owners are real estate investors themselves and one feature I like on the platform is that they have skin-in-the-game projects. So they invest part of their portfolio in projects on the Evoestate platform and in your autoinvest, you can choose to only invest in these skin-in-the-game projects. Another way Evoestate stands out is that they have many buy-2-let investments. Here you invest in a property that is acquired and then rented out. The interest payments are then a kind of dividend that pays out every month. When the property is sold, there will most likely be capital gains as well. The only reason that I have so little with Evoestate at the moment, is that I could liquidate my money quickly for a great opportunity in Brazil. Other platforms were not that liquid. I will for sure diversify into Evoestate again soon, as you can also see from my new portfolio. Learn more about Evoestate in this article, where I visited the CEO in Lithuania.
I am on the fence about NEOfinance. The only reason that I may leave is the high price of their provision service. It protects investors’ payments, in the case the lender does not pay. This service covers from a provision fund but actually covers with all the NEOfinance company assets. Your investments are secured, but if that means that your final earnings are lowered to 3-5% then it would make more sense to invest in a worldwide ETF. Everything else about the platform I like. There are so many options with the investments and clear and detailed information on the website. NEOfinance is regulated by the bank of Lithuania. The thing I like best about NEOfinance? Their provision service! I just wish I could get it for half the price. You can earn a lot more by not using the provisioning service, but you will have to take the risk of you not getting paid in some cases.
Registered in Lithuania, and therefore also regulated by the bank of Lithuania is Finbee. They do not offer buyback and that is usually something that would keep me away from a platform. However, Finbee has some of the best recovery rates on late loans in Lithuania. They don’t have loan originators connected, they have direct contact with the borrowers. Finbee has some late loans, but this was expected. It is not at all as bad as Mintos. Finbee has a low and acceptable default rate and they recover most of it. The average interest rate is almost 17%, and that means that even though there are losses, there are still pretty good profits. There are a lot of options and settings in the autoinvest, that enable you to put filters on the borrowers (like job, income, kids, married, education), and protect your investments further. The platform is in my new portfolio, already balanced at the amount plan for. You can learn a lot more about Finbee from the article about my meeting with them.
I have been happy with Debitum Network so far. They have a healthy attitude towards lending and use a lot of technology. Unfortunately, the earning are a bit lower than on many of the other platforms. On the other hand, it seems like Debitum Networks more careful approach was to their advantage during the pandemic. After taxes, I would make just a little more than with a good wide ETF. For that little extra return, I would take a higher risk and have less liquidity. That is the main reason I will not invest a larger amount with them. Learn more about Debitum Network in this article. Debitum Network is also located in Lithuania.
Bondora (Go & Grow)
I am actually quite satisfied with Bondora. I like it mostly for its long track record, its instant liquidity, and the platform’s mechanism to protect against bank runs. That being said, the earnings are low compared to other Baltic platforms. I will keep some funds here, but not more than about double the amount of what I have with them now. I only invest in Bondoras Go & Grow product. Many have lost money using the portfolio manager. You can learn more from my interview and visit at the Bondora office. I also ran a challenge where I compared Bondara G&G with Mintos I&A over a period of 7 months.
I have been happy with Robocash so far. Robocash has done well during the pandemic. I am happy with my earnings and they also have a place in my new portfolio. I will transfer a bit more funds there as the rebalancing moves along.
I have withdrawn most of my funds from Iuvo Group some time ago. I did not like that they do not pay interest to investors in the event that a loan is late. That may have been too greedy. It is actually a good thing not to stress loan originators to pay, in times where they themselves do not get paid. I am still a bit on the fence about them though, as I experienced some cash drag when I used them. But the situation could have changed in the meantime. Iuvo Group is a maybe in my new portfolio.
I am not impressed by Housers. It was one of my first platforms and I started investing there because it is a real estate platform. They have a lot of buy-to-let projects which also attracted me. I was disappointed to learn that the earnings were lower than expected, and the liquidity of the secondary market is super low. Housers has a weird secondary market setup as well, so that does not help. I will be leaving the platform and I am currently waiting for the buy-to-let projects to be sold but that will not be for years.
The-many (former Brickshare)
I only have a single buy-2-let project on this Danish platform. It is a long-term investment (5-year minimum) and I am happy with it, but I am not planning to put more in at the moment. I like the fact that I actually know the areas where most investment objects are located. Heck, I can even go for a walk and be at the location of the project I am involved in, in just 5 minutes. As The-many is a Danish platform, earnings and other tax-related information are automatically sent to the tax authorities, which makes everything hassle-free. Besides real estate investments, The-many plan to offer projects in wind and solar energy in the near future. I know there are quite a few Danish investors on my blog, and they may be more comfortable investing with platforms not located in the Baltics, but instead in Denmark.
This is a real estate investment platform that has not been affected too much during the crisis. Actually, they have been thriving. There has been at least one project that was a few months late, this project (video) in Tallinn that I went to have a look at with the CEO. However, investors got their money, and that is what is important.
Reinvest24 has some good buy-2-let projects and has been successful for several projects in earning MORE for investors than initially promised. Be aware that it is still a small company though and is very dependent on the CEO Tanel Orro. On the other hand, I think Reinvest24 has some good projects, the CEO has a lot of drive and with the secondary market, it has become more attractive. Despite this, I do not plan put more money with Reinvest24 for now.
I visited the DoFinance office in Riga and later I visited their loan originator in Jakarta, Indonesia. I do not plan to put more money with them for now, as the earnings for most of their loans are lower than most other platforms unless you stick only to their Indonesian loans. You also need to tie your money down for at least a year at a time. DoFinance will no be in my new portfolio.
Profits made from each platform during the last four months
Payouts during February
Payouts during March
Payouts during April
Payouts during May
Payouts during June
My portfolio in the start of July 2021
My crowdlending portfolio currently consist of 19 platforms.
Crowdestor, VIAINVEST, Mintos, Peerberry, Estateguru, Crowdestate, BulkEstate, Swaper, NEO Finance, Evoestate, Finbee, Debitum Network, Robo.cash, Iuvo Group, Bondora, Housers, The-many, Reinvest24, and DoFinance. Be aware that my portfolio is not diversified the way I want it right now, as I have been pulling funds out over a short time period and the liquidity of the platforms are different. This will change over time though.
My future portfolio - what is my end goal with the rebalancing?
The aim is to have my former 80.000+ EUR crowdlending portfolio split three asset types. 25% remains in crowdlending, 25% in ETFs, and 50% in real estate. Out of the 20.000+ EUR that will stay in crowdlending, almost half (44%) will be backed by real estate. The much lower liquidity than stocks is also one of the reasons for moving part of the money into stocks.
The platforms in parentheses may be faced out, depending on what happens while I rebalance, and moved to other platforms in the portfolio. I do not plan to add any new platforms to my portfolio for now. I am trying to create a all weather portfolio and that needs to include more asset types than just crowdlending. As you can see, the plan includes only 15 platforms out of my current 19. The biggest change will obviously be Crowdestor. I could end up deciding to have more funds at Crowdestor, but it very much depends on how the next year plays out. Some of the projects started paying again, but on the other hand about 50% of my projects are currently late. It could go either way.