Saturday, 6 May 2017

Pension Builder

One of the Horse Racing blogs on my blog roll is that of Wayward Lad, and his hit rate appears to be phenomenal:

A slip of the keyboard though, as the blog actually started in March of 2010, not 2017.

Another blog by the same author is Pension Builder, which started back in 2013 and has the summary description of:
Having given up on the professionals, this is my own actively managed UK private pension (SIPP). I have a target for annual growth of 15% which - should I achieve it - will give me a Pension fund value of over £500,000 when I reach my 65th birthday on 8th November 2024.
In his opening post, Wayward Lad wrote:
Why am I writing this blog?
For over 3 years I have written a horse racing blog 
When writing that blog, I quickly realised that by putting my thought down on paper (ie, the blog) that my focus became more rational and I was less likely to make reckless wagers. I became a better judge of risk and reward, which meant that my profits went up from my gambling investments. I am hoping that the same will happen with my stock-picking for my pension.
I'm also hoping that readers of the blog will contribute their own ideas and information with regards stock-picking and pension planning and that everyone will benefit.
Wayward Lad doesn't post on Pension Builder too often, 35 posts since its inception, but I agree that the act of putting thoughts down on "paper" greatly helps you to focus. 

In addition to finding writing relaxing, I get far too much pleasure than is healthy from updating my spreadsheets. In addition to all the sports sheets related to ratings and betting, I keep records which are purely about the sports themselves, just because it interests me. 

Then there's the "NetWorth" spreadsheet where I track everything related to my (our) finances. (Actually it's 'my' because as I've written before, financial matters are best left to the man of the house). Ask me what I spent on breakfasts in 2014, or what our (my) rental income was that year, and it's all there. 

While at university, my son wrote a thesis about the maxim that  'what gets measured, gets done'. The quote appears to have been attributed to several people over the years, and there's no doubt that it's true. If you track, record, and make realistic projections, goals will be met. Aside from regulatory obligations, there are good reasons why companies track every detail and set targets. Metrics matter.   

It's always worth remembering that some things are beyond our control, for example you can control your spending, but you can't control the economy. 

I'm of a similar age to Wayward Lad, (i.e. we are both in our prime...) and have been tracking my investment numbers for a while, but from a retirement perspective only since 2010. It's a very helpful exercise, not only keeping you disciplined, but also in coping with bad spells as they come along, as they always will. I only wish spreadsheets had been around when I was starting out in life.

Wayward Lad mentions a goal for annual growth of 15% which seems a little ambitious, although I don't believe he's including contributions in that figure, even if they will become less significant as the pot grows of course.

Over the last 20 years, the FTSE 100 has averaged exactly 4.0%, and over the last 10 years just 2.5%. The 15% figure hasn't been exceeded since 2009, but Wayward Lad has around 15 individual holdings rather than index tracking funds, so the benchmark might be beaten by some distance!

I've added Pension Builder to my blog roll so that it's easy to keep up to date with Wayward Lad's progress.     

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