Here is my monthly report of my personal net worth progress for January 2020.
I’m sharing this to show how important it is to track your net worth and seeing the progress. Tracking is what I also expect and advise my clients to do.
From tracking your personal net worth and see how much you are worth, you can learn what works and what you should change in your finances.
It’s the first step to Eliminate money as a source of stress be confident about your future.
If you’d also like to see how much you are worth the way I do, I created this tool, especially for my readers. You can get it here.
Also, if you’d like to read the previous report to get the flow of things, you can check it here – December 2019 personal net worth update. Here are all the previous reports.
If you don’t know what the net worth definition is, check it here.
Last thing, If you are looking to eliminate money as a source of stress, be confident about your future I invite you for a free financial fitness call with me. Just click the link and book a time on my calendar.
Let’s jump in!
This month our net worth went down by 7.93%, and our savings rate was -26.73
As you see from the preview image. That was a bad month, and you’ll see why in a minute. So, keep reading.
This report is split into two vs. the usual format. I spoke with many of you in the last few weeks and got feedback from several people that the posts are too long. Who has the time to scroll so much on a mobile phone?!
Therefore, I decided to test this new format. Investment update in one post and lifestyle update in the next one. Let me know in the comments how you feel about this change.
Our personal net worth went down several months back because 2 out of the four crowd investing platforms I’ve invested in were scams. These are Envestio and Kuetzal. With Envestio, some say that it started legit and then took the wrong turn. Keutzal was a scam, to begin with. Read on for the whole story.
We also paid a large sum of taxes we had pay for 2019. So, that also didn’t help the net worth number to be prettier nor our savings rate.
I can’t publish this report without saying anything about what’s going on in the p2p and crowd investing world.
Kuetzal and Envestio Fraud
I reported here last month that Kuetzal was a scam, therefore, decided to withdraw all my money out from there. I didn’t get a penny back, of course. The next step is a lawsuit I joined along with other Kuetzal investors against Kuetzal management and company.
But, that’s not all.
About a week afterward, Envestio sent a message saying they are under hackers’ attack, and their website went down. That was a lie, though. Envestio saw that their investors start to ask questions because of what happened with Kuetzal. A check made by a web expert confirmed that there was never an attempt for an attack.
I got in touch with Ido Shkedi, whom I mentioned a few times running project TORCH, aiming to improve the transparency of the p2p and crowd-investing platforms. Ido is one of Envestio’s investors. No matter his report on them in the project, Envestio’s fraud was beyond the scope of the project and very sophisticated.
He shared with me a copy of the claim to the Estonian police he made. You are invited to have a look and see the sophistication. It’s a chain of companies, bank accounts, and fake websites they created to make this scam work. Unfortunately, they succeeded, and the community of p2p and crowd investing learned a lot from that.
Wisefund and Crowdestor stagnating
When you look now at Crowdestors’ and Wisefunds’ websites that are still alive and supposedly legit, you see that almost no new money is going into the platforms. Projects are making virtually no progress towards their funding goals. For the legit platforms, this is also not a good situation. Stagnation means that they can’t grow and can’t recruit new borrowers. Leading to collapse over time.
This whole situation brought nasty fights over social media blaming bloggers who promote p2p and crowd investing in their platforms and making more money from the affiliate links than the actual investments. My friend, Jorgen Wolf, became the face of p2p and crowd-investing promotions making many people angry at him and saying that the money he made his biased towards the platforms and promoting them.
Bias is something that we all have as humans and is hard to separate and be completely objective about. Jorgen promoted the platforms and made money from that, and that’s ok. It’s one thing if he is promoting a fraud if he knew about it. However, in his case, his skin was deeply in the game! He lost 44700 EUR on Envestio and Kuetzal.
He made an effort going and meeting the platforms employees, seeing projects and interviewing them, publishing reviews on them, and to the best of his judgment, they were legit. I mentioned here that I invested in these platforms because I trusted him.
Am I angry at him? Not at all. In my eyes, he shared what he understood. The process seemed ok to me, and I decided to join. Each person should do their own due diligence on their investments. If you trust someones’ due diligence, take the blame and move on.
Yes, I made a mistake, and my process was lacking as well.
It’s important to understand: With these kinds of investments, you should not put your last pennies in. Although I lost 7.93% this month from my personal net worth, almost all amount from losing the money in Kuetzal and Envestio, this is not going to influence the way I live.
I don’t have millions at the bank, and It’s still a large sum of my portfolio of about 7%; however, dreadful nights of what’s I’ve done didn’t come. I’m not happy about it, but taking things into proportion.
There are two significant risks with Crowd-investing and p2p:
- That a platform is closed/bankrupt/fraud
- That a specific project in a platform is unsuccessful.
In both of these cases, diversifying is the way to cope with it. It means investing in many platforms and many projects on each platform.
And after all that, I’m going to repeat this: Do your own due diligence on any investment opportunity you see. It’s your money!
I take responsibility for my own money and mistakes as well. I keep the info on my blog transparent, but the final decision and responsibility of investing or not is on you.
Change of Strategy
I decided to be more cautious myself, resulting from what happened. In the past, I used to reinvest the interest back in the platform automatically. Now when I get interest payment, I prefer to withdraw some of them back to my account and invest only a portion of that.
Crowd Investing Alert
I started this page for following crowd-investing platforms projects. Now that there are only two platforms there, I’d like to add new ones. I’d like to hear your recommendations on it. Which other platforms would you like to see next in there? Please comment below.
So, if you are into crowd investing, give a ‘like’ to the page.
Crowdestor: Crowdestor became many investors favorite, and I haven’t heard even a slight suspicion regarding it so far, although people on the crowd-investing community are looking for these kinds of fraud signs all the time because of Kuetzals’ and Envestios case.
As I mentioned above, the projects, even the high paying ones, are funded very slowly if at all. It’s terrible news for a platform. But investors are cautious now. Understandable.
I didn’t make a thorough check, but it seems that the sentiment now for high return projects is more of suspicion and not hype. Investors are currently looking for lower returns, assuming that would be safer. Perhaps. But it doesn’t solve the problem if the platform goes busted, just a specific project.
All Crowdestor projects are paid on time.
If you decide to join Crowdestor through my link, you’d like to get a 1% cashback for your next 90 days. I’ll get a bonus from Crowdestor of 1% of your investment about, at no cost to you. sign up through this link
Wisefund: Wisefund is a young platform and has a relatively low amount of projects. For a while now, only a single project is running and almost entirely stagnated. I check the funded amount every few days; it hardly goes up.
Here it is:
If you do decide to join Wisefund through my link, I’ll get some bonus from them to invest more in my portfolio, and you’ll get an extra 0.5% cashback for the next 270 days after you invest.
LOANS & OTHER INVESTMENTS
UK property: Progress is made. We decided to go on a relatively large property as a group. We are making progress with negotiation. For now, I can say it’s a mixed-use (Residential and commercials) property in Liverpool. I saw that property when I visited there almost two months ago. I Will keep updating.
US property: As I mentioned, I’m expecting a full exit from this investment. Three houses suppose to be sold. I’m waiting for the report on it. I just sent a follow-up email today.
Update (February 6th, 2020) – The three properties are in Birmingham, Alabama. Since there are a lot of properties on sale now in the market, it’s hard to sell them. So, the decision, for now, is keeping holding them and keep collecting rent.
Loans: No news in this front
New IRA service provider:
Yesterday we made a move to a new IRA provider. There were a few reasons for it.
- We got an awful service from our current one.
- They brought the unbeatable management fee of 0.2% vs. 0.28% we paid so far.
- There are no more fixed costs of the trading platform. We used to pay around 8-9 USD a month for this.
- We will manage our IRA under our bank account. This means we can show higher value to our bank, thus getting better terms there.
I’m pleased about this change!
OUR PERSONAL NET WORTH ANALYSIS
US & Israeli Stock portfolio: My portfolio keeps dropping. Every month slightly. I’m still confident in the long term strategy, so no worries about this.
For my stocks portfolio, I follow someone I trust. He is a value investor and so far have good returns for 13+ years. In the last year or so, he keeps saying how the market is going up while value stocks did not and how frustrating that may be for investors. Indeed it is, but I still trust the way.
This guy has another portfolio I follow, which is based on the formula from The little book that still beats the market by Joel Greenblatt. He has good returns there too. However, this year, I missed a few of the ones that went up significantly. They kept going up when I wanted to buy, and there is no way to know of course what’s going to happen in the future. So, ya, missed returns there.
US Real estate investment: Minor drop because of the currency conversion rate of USD/ILS
Bitcoin: Bitcoin went back up to around 9200 when I made the calculation. Let’s see.
NOW OVER TO YOU
So, how is this net worth update helping you?
Did you discover anything new?
Are you tracking your finances and see the progress?
Is this update too long? Boring?
Feel free to add a comment, I read them all and promise to reply.
Excellent post, Shlomo. I agree with your points about taking responsibility, but I also think many bloggers should improve their due diligence and the information they present to readers. This includes myself, and indeed, I plan to improve future TORCH reports by evaluating the risk of fraud.
Thank you for the mention 🙂
Thank you, Ido.
I see the problem with good due diligence is that it’s not a straight forward process. Also, you don’t know what you don’t know. 🙂