Why do my returns suck? (#228)

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In our second Fast Fatty, we spoke about Suzanne’s PPS account. PPS felt our assessment of their product was inaccurate. We offered them a right of reply. Read their reply here.

Pru has had a rough start to her investment career. She had a financial advisor she was struggling to shake off. Just as she worked up the courage to let them go, the advisor got fired for committing fraud. This shocking news encouraged Pru to take a closer look at her investments. She was not happy with what she found.

Many of you have expressed your frustration at the returns you’re getting from your investments this year. In this episode we help you and Pru figure out exactly what happened. As always, we explain how a high fee puts you at a disadvantage from the outset. Next, we discuss asset allocation, diversification and the general madness of the market.

Being able to read investment documents is an important skill to develop. We wrote three articles to help you make sense of these documents. You can find them here, here and here.

Pru

Discovery gave me a call and told me they were doing a forensic investigation into my financial advisor. It turns out they forged my signature on a policy document, as such Discovery did the heavy lifting for me and took them off my policies.

The rage regarding the forgery forced me into action. I started the process of moving my TFSA from Sanlam to Easy. This led to me scrutinising my TFSA portfolio and you two won't believe this! (Or maybe you will) My portfolio has done FUCK ALL (Sorry Sean) since I started it in 2017!!!! I have actually lost R 20 000 of my contributions!!! I am so upset!

Where I have gone wrong and what the FUCK happened????!!!

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, my demo portfolio on Easy Equities has made a profit of R5000... There are not enough exclamation marks and expletives in this email to describe how I feel right now.

Thank you again for all the help. The two of you are doing the Lord's work, literally.

Dirk

How can I determine how safe my investment is with respect to the investment issuer/provider/platform?

Many investments are for the longer term. What guarantee can an investor have that the investment provider will still be around in the future? There seems to be an increasing number of issuers, platforms and providers. How can I determine the risk associated with them?

What is the situation in the case where I buy an UT or ETF via a platform (e.g. AG/ABSAStockbrokers/EasyEquities/etc/etc/etc) that is issued by another issuer, for example, AG/Satrix/Sygnia?

Rudzani

Given that cash is no longer king, what is the implication for people like me who have significant equity in our bonds? Should we looking to invest it elsewhere in the meantime? The bond has served as a mechanism to reduce interest rate expense, bond term and easily accessible large sums of savings.

I have ETFs and max out my TFSAs each year. I sadly hold some unit trusts but I got those before I knew about ETFs and have just left them. What are some strategies with the cash currently sitting in the bond? Do I just leave it?

Christiaan is intrigued by the new ESG ETFs from Satrix, but he’s not convinced that the money will follow the ethics. He wants to know if we have any strong opinions about it.

Brent

I am investing in ETFs for the long haul. I’m maxing out tax free first, but I’m referring to non-tax free and non RA investments.

Say I buy shares monthly for the next 30 years and then I want to sell some, how is tax worked out on that? I will have been buying shares at different prices over time and now I’m selling them at whatever the price is at the time of sale. Will SARS tell me how much tax I should pay? Will Easy Equities? If I bought shares in Ashburton 1200 for R50 in 2020, then R300 ten years later, then R1000 another few years after that. If I sell them for R1200 the tax on the first shares I bought would be huge, but not so much on the last shares I bought.

Sarel

I follow the one ETF strategy, buying the world, bought Asburton 1200 and MSCI world.

I have resources to add some spice to the mix. Any opinions regarding Sygnia ISO and 4th IR.

Suzanne is wondering whether she should continue investing in ETFs once she’s maxed out her R500,000 tax-free allowance?

Guy

I invest using EasyEquities and focus on ETFs primarily (I’ve been listening to your guidance).

My main investments were Satrix Nasdaq, Emerging Markets and recently the Ashburton 1200 (you mention it so often I couldn’t ignore).

I invest in shares through my USD account on EE but was wondering if it would be best to move the ZAR to USD and buy the MSCI World ETF from iShares / Blackrock.

Jason

My question is regarding index fund platform offerings in SA. As you know, this would be different to ETFs - not trading live on the exchange - but trading like unit trusts that have updated NAV daily. The Vanguard Index funds are the prime example, having the same constituents as the ETFs but not trading live.

This allows one to purchase these passive instruments on auto instruction, without worrying about losing out a spread due to the product not being live on an exchange, like an ETF would.

I have an account with EE and the recurring investment option often sees this spread resulting in some low volume ETFs being bought at a premium, which puts me off and spoils the opportunity of letting my portfolio function truly passively.

Anyway, I hope you guys can help with suggestions or at least expand on the conversation about the recurring auto-invest instructions getting spreads horribly wrong from time to time.

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