Until 10 years ago, I was not very focused on investments or savings. I was not even very good to save up either and I considered consuming far more interesting than saving.
I’m 42 now and since 30 I have saved up through my partly employer-paid pension savings. In Denmark, most people on the labor market have this kind of mandatory savings and in my case, it’s a 6+6. This means that 6% of my pension is paid by my employer and the other 6% is self-paid. The percentage is based on my monthly salary which is fixed.
6+6 is not a very attractive saving for my pension. In my former employment, it was 8+4 (8% paid by my employer) and one of my close friends has a 15% pension paid by his employer.
However, I figured that pension savings alone would not be enough to secure my retirement. I do not own my own house meaning I have nothing to sell when I grow old. Furthermore, I was also focused on fast spin-offs in order to have more money to spend on consuming. I considered various options like stock market investments and real estate investments.
Soon I realized that buying shares were the only type of investments I could afford as I had not much money to spend on this. I did not make any thorough market analysis but decided to invest on my feelings. I support the Danish football club AGF Aarhus and figured I could earn money on buying shares. In 2009 they were placed No. 1 in the Danish Premier league and I was very optimistic about their future.
Two years earlier their shares were priced € 2.3 per share and that was during a period without winning any trophies. In 2009 the price was € 0.6 per share so in my mind I could foresee the prices would reach the skies if they won the premiership and with this, in my mind, I purchased 2,000 shares.
Anyone who has a little knowledge about the history of Danish football knows how that season ended: AGF was relegated and guess what happened with the share price? Yes, that dropped significantly. Now they are worth € 0,04 per share and the only reason I keep them is shareholders receive two free tickets to a home game per season (the price for two home game tickets is € 33 meaning it will take approximately 36 years for the investment to achieve a financial break-even).
A few years later I decided to give stock investments another try. I bought shares in the Swedish companies Anoto Group and LifeAssays and a year later they were worth almost nothing. This time I did not base my investments on my gut feeling – I actually did some investigations regarding the companies and everything looked promising but the result was the same: I was unable to beat the market.
I was still determined to keep on investing, but I had enough self-awareness to realize that I was not to be the new Gordon Gekko.
Alternatively, I decided to invest my money in ETF’s (Exchange Traded Funds) instead of stock picking. Hence I started to add funds to the June app provided by Danske Bank and so far I have been satisfied with the outcome. The investment is split between shares (60%) and bonds (40%).
The 2018 stock market crash, however, convinced me that I should spread out the risk on other types of investments. I kept reading investment blogs and articles and one day I stumbled over the concept FIRE.
I had never before heard of it and I was fascinated by that focus on savings and investments. The first blog I read was www.frinans.dk (Danish site) and this fellow inspired me with his ideas and wealth formula:
- Earn more
- Consume less
This was also the first time I heard about crowdlending as he has made some investments through Mintos. Crowdlending is only a small part of his investments but I found the concept interesting and I was eager to learn more. This leads me to Jørgen Wolf’s www.financiallyfree.eu and a new world opened up to me.
The crowdlending concept gave me an opportunity to diversify my investments and thus spreading out the risk. As of writing, I have no plans about buying real estate property so it is still very important for me to save up and invest in order to generate a passive income.
As I see it I am now both diversifying my savings/investments in three groups:
- Mandatory employer pension
- ETF investments
Moreover, when it comes to crowdlending the risk is furthermore spread out on various investment types as business loans and project developments. I haven’t said I have found the safe road to wealth, glory and prosperity with this but I find it hard to see how the investment can be more diversified – except for adding bitcoin investments to my portfolio.
What I have learned from investing in shares and crowdlending is it must be viewed from a long-term perspective as it is the combination of your savings and compound interest that make your money grow.
Forget about shortcuts to fast spin-offs and accept that time and interest will work for you.
It is my sincere hope young people will read this and start investing their money – the sooner the better. I will definitely learn my children about savings and investments – a lesson I never learned when I was a child or young man.