Author Topic: How do you track your performance?  (Read 3449 times)

Wintergreen78

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How do you track your performance?
« on: May 05, 2020, 12:51:26 PM »
All of these active trader threads that have popped up in the last month have been kind of bizarre to me. When I decided how I would approach investing and saving to reach financial independence, everything I read showed that the chances of an active investor beating a buy and hold investor over a multi-decade period are close to zero. So, I have four stock index funds that cover the US, emerging markets, and Europe, and one fixed interest account that returns four percent a year. I use the fixed interest account instead of bonds. But, Iím a big believer in looking at actual outcomes and in tracking anything that is important. So, Iím really curious how people around here track their actual performance and what time scales they look at.

In 2008 I started a spreadsheet. I was a few years into my career and had started saving and investing. I track how much I contribute each year to all of my investment accounts. The spreadsheet has a look up table using a future value function. It lets me see how much I would have had if I had earned a constant return since 2008. So, essentially it shows me my lifetime average return. And each year I just highlight the value that is closest to how much I actually have at the end of the year. It is kind of a hacked together system, but it works well enough and Iíve never felt like going back and making a sheet using an actual CAGR calculation.

To me it seems pointless to even track one year or three year returns.

The last couple of years my lifetime average return has bounced between 8 and 9 percent per year.

How do you track your performance, what time spans do you track, and what kind of returns have you seen?

myobjectivism

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Re: How do you track your performance?
« Reply #1 on: May 05, 2020, 01:35:15 PM »
I use spreadsheet to track right from expenses, transactions to budget and networth.

Reasons I prefer spreadsheet are..

1. Data will be with us
2. Can customise based in your requirement
3. Can keep adding sheets or charts as per your need

Using few free online templates and did some programming to make spreadsheets for my requirement.

There are many good tools in the market.. premium and non premium too.

J Boogie

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Re: How do you track your performance?
« Reply #2 on: May 05, 2020, 02:26:54 PM »
I have a Schwab account that tracks my account balance from inception.

It shows my performance on a 1, 3, 6, 12 mo and YTD basis.

I haven't tried to get Schwab to compare my performance to the S&P within the application, but it's easy to benchmark against the S&P as google offers most of those same time periods which you can drag to see % return.

Wintergreen78

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Re: How do you track your performance?
« Reply #3 on: May 05, 2020, 02:56:20 PM »
I have a Schwab account that tracks my account balance from inception.

It shows my performance on a 1, 3, 6, 12 mo and YTD basis.

I haven't tried to get Schwab to compare my performance to the S&P within the application, but it's easy to benchmark against the S&P as google offers most of those same time periods which you can drag to see % return.

Are all of your investments with Schwab? I agree that is the cleanest option. In my case I have my IRA and taxable account with one company, my 457 with another, and my HSA with a third. They all report slightly differently so I needed a way to get a good overview of everything.

J Boogie

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Re: How do you track your performance?
« Reply #4 on: May 05, 2020, 03:13:51 PM »
No, just my fun account. All the other accounts I have are in index funds so no need to track the performance of those.

BicycleB

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Re: How do you track your performance?
« Reply #5 on: May 05, 2020, 03:36:30 PM »
I don't track it systematically. Yet.

Reading for future use though!

Stimpy

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Re: How do you track your performance?
« Reply #6 on: May 05, 2020, 03:42:40 PM »
I actually use S&P 500 to compare but mostly just eye balling at the moment.  and that has me close to but not quite the same.   A little behind currently if I must be honest.   

Could easily track and compare to it if I wanted to be specific though.  Would require nothing new beyond adding the ticker and doing a data grab into my database. (Which dam you(in a good way) I took time to do!)

As for other tracking of up's, down's and loopty loops (TM some bitcoin trader somewhere....), yea, I just stuff it all in a database, and have queries to tell me how it's going.   Usually only run em once a year to see how it's all shaping up.   I really should write a program to take advantage of all my data and add more complexity to my analysis, but I'm lazy.  Which is why I buy and hold.  Not so much an active trader.

Current average annual return as of 12-31-19 for my taxable portfolio (all the individual stocks) is about 3%.    Which at least per my calculations (which could be off) is about the same for the snp 500.  And as I though, Snp 500 is still beating me by a little bit.   (Thanks for the reason check that!)

edit: Yup did some math wrong.  Still get same results but have to have a more narrow avg annual return for all number to be closer.  Learning curve ftl.
« Last Edit: May 06, 2020, 07:20:56 AM by Stimpy »

secondcor521

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Re: How do you track your performance?
« Reply #7 on: May 05, 2020, 03:46:52 PM »
I don't track because I have no need to.

My investments are pretty much 95 VTSAX / 5 VBTLX.  I don't trade, buy, or sell except (a) an occasional tax-free transfer between bonds and stocks in my traditional IRA to rebalance back to my AA, or (b) sell when I need some more money.

I've never met anyone (other than Buffett, and I haven't met him either) who has beat the market on a risk-adjusted, after-tax basis over any period of time beyond a few years.  So I have no desire to actively trade.

I also don't really monitor VTSAX and VBTLX.  I used to check to make sure that they were essentially matching their indices, but they always do, so I've stopped bothering.

I've been investing since 1987, and have been >90% invested in VTSAX or VFIAX or similar during that time frame.  Whenever I've looked out of curiosity, I usually get a CAGR of between 9% and 11%.  If you have a decent career, invest 20% of your pay over 30 years and get 10%-ish CAGR, you'll be fine.

...

I guess the one tracking thing I still do sometimes, although this is getting less frequent, is to check my total stash size is still >25x expenses.  Currently it's about 116x expenses, so I really don't need to bother looking, unless the apocalypse actually does happen.  (The way things are going I'm not ruling anything out!)
« Last Edit: May 05, 2020, 03:50:14 PM by secondcor521 »

Wintergreen78

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Re: How do you track your performance?
« Reply #8 on: May 05, 2020, 04:40:17 PM »


I've never met anyone (other than Buffett, and I haven't met him either) who has beat the market on a risk-adjusted, after-tax basis over any period of time beyond a few years.  So I have no desire to actively trade.


Iíll go further than that, Iíve yet to find anyone who claims to be an active trader who will tell you what their actual returns are over any meaningful time frame. Thatís kind of what got me to start this thread. All Iíve seen is theoretical discussions, but I havenít seen anyone say ďyes, Iíve been trading actively for fifteen years and my CAGR is xx% over those 15 yearsĒ.

Iíd love to find some people who trade actively and actually track how they do. Iím really curious to see what those real world results look.

blue_green_sparks

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Re: How do you track your performance?
« Reply #9 on: May 05, 2020, 04:43:31 PM »
I am POST FIRE and love working with spreadsheets. WPS Office is xcel/google compatible and free
My sheets include:
-Monthly expense estimator, only updated when something changes
-Monthly actual expense tracker- updated manually on the 1st, includes graphs
-Fixed Income tracker for CDs, Bonds and annuities. Updates accumulated earnings automatically each day and has maturity alarms
-Equities tracker, updated manually on the first
-Social Security/Pension earnings estimator/break even sheet. For example, for me Age 63 finally beats 62 at 74 years of age
-Running Total Net Worth Sheet, mostly auto updates from the others
-Tax estimator
-Lifetime Income sheet (data from the SS admin)

Maintenance is about 2 hours a month=> once set up. I also use these as tools to teach younger family and friends a dose of monetary reality and how to plan
« Last Edit: May 05, 2020, 04:45:50 PM by blue_green_sparks »

secondcor521

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Re: How do you track your performance?
« Reply #10 on: May 05, 2020, 05:15:57 PM »


I've never met anyone (other than Buffett, and I haven't met him either) who has beat the market on a risk-adjusted, after-tax basis over any period of time beyond a few years.  So I have no desire to actively trade.


Iíll go further than that, Iíve yet to find anyone who claims to be an active trader who will tell you what their actual returns are over any meaningful time frame. Thatís kind of what got me to start this thread. All Iíve seen is theoretical discussions, but I havenít seen anyone say ďyes, Iíve been trading actively for fifteen years and my CAGR is xx% over those 15 yearsĒ.

Iíd love to find some people who trade actively and actually track how they do. Iím really curious to see what those real world results look.

Agreed.

Whenever I've tried asking, I get one or more of the following:

1.  Incorrect calculations of return.
2.  They ignore my request.
3.  Incorrect or lack of adjustment for risk.
4.  Incorrect or lack of adjustment for taxes.
5.  Selective results in terms of time frame or portfolio subset ("For the period May 15th, 2017 through July 3, 2018, I beat the market."  or "Well, ignoring my investment in XYZ (which I knew was a mistake), I'm beating the S&P by X%.")
6.  Not a long enough time frame.

And even if I did find someone who could do all of that, their existence doesn't imply anything about me being able to adopt their strategy and beat the market going forward.  Other than it being unlikely.

Radagast

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Re: How do you track your performance?
« Reply #11 on: May 05, 2020, 06:51:09 PM »
I don't. I tried at first, but as our accounts grew in number I gave up as hopeless, or at least too much work. It went like this:

HSA: first investment account started as a lump sump for the previous year, then went to single person contributions every two weeks, then family contributions, then back to single person.
SIMPLE IRA: started shortly after the HSA, but the monthly contribution date relied on employer mailing physical checks as required by broker, which varied from a week early to three weeks late!
IRA 1: smooth no problems until....
Roth IRA 1: started when no longer qualified for IRA
IRA 2: smooth no problems until....
Roth IRA 2: started when no longer qualified for IRA
401K 1: started with high contributions to put in a lot for the last few months of a year, extra lumps for bonuses, cash flow varies as we try and max it out, but not lose any employer contributions
401K 2: started recently, smooth sailing
Taxable account: began somewhere in there, monthly or quarterly contributions
And more to follow!!!

I had a spread sheet, but at some point a few years ago I said "screw it"

Wintergreen78

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Re: How do you track your performance?
« Reply #12 on: May 05, 2020, 07:52:45 PM »
Iíll admit Iím a little sloppy in my record keeping. I sit down once a year with my statements and update the spreadsheet. I enter the total contributed (or removed) over the course of the year, then assume 12 equal contributions for the year in the FV function. When I was working I made my contributions either monthly or bi-weekly, so that is a pretty good approximation. I had a few large one-time contributions over the years, so those wouldnít be captured exactly right. But, Iím an engineer so Iím pretty happy with close enough.

If I had. A system that forced me to record every transaction, there is no way I would follow through with it.

MustacheAndaHalf

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Re: How do you track your performance?
« Reply #13 on: May 05, 2020, 09:05:04 PM »
This is the first year in some time that I've tracked my portfolio's performance.

I looked up my portfolio's value at the end of 2019, and then prices for a benchmark: VTI, VXUS, BND.  I allocated those in the same proportion as my portfolio, which gives me both a starting value and ongoing prices.  I'm tracking what would have happened if I kept my old investment approach.  That approach would have been down -11%, compared to my current portfolio down -3%.

During March I went to 100% equities, and I'm still 88% equities now.  That makes for an unfair comparison against a benchmark with a fixed, lower equity allocation.  The benchmark also doesn't reflect a chunk of my portfolio allocated to very risky individual stocks.  Are risky individual stocks comparable to the total U.S. stock market?  Probably not, so it's probably not a fair comparison on a risk adjusted basis.

Keeping the same benchmark shows me what would have happened, which is valuable even if my old portfolio doesn't match the risks of my new choices.  But I also believe benchmarks should almost never be changed, since nothing stops an investor from moving the goalposts periodically once they start.

Wintergreen78

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Re: How do you track your performance?
« Reply #14 on: May 05, 2020, 09:33:26 PM »
This is the first year in some time that I've tracked my portfolio's performance.

I looked up my portfolio's value at the end of 2019, and then prices for a benchmark: VTI, VXUS, BND.  I allocated those in the same proportion as my portfolio, which gives me both a starting value and ongoing prices.  I'm tracking what would have happened if I kept my old investment approach.  That approach would have been down -11%, compared to my current portfolio down -3%.

During March I went to 100% equities, and I'm still 88% equities now.  That makes for an unfair comparison against a benchmark with a fixed, lower equity allocation.  The benchmark also doesn't reflect a chunk of my portfolio allocated to very risky individual stocks.  Are risky individual stocks comparable to the total U.S. stock market?  Probably not, so it's probably not a fair comparison on a risk adjusted basis.

Keeping the same benchmark shows me what would have happened, which is valuable even if my old portfolio doesn't match the risks of my new choices.  But I also believe benchmarks should almost never be changed, since nothing stops an investor from moving the goalposts periodically once they start.

Ok, so to make sure Iím following: you moved what you had in VTI, VXUS, and BND into some other investments. You track how much you would have now if you had stayed in those, then you compare that to what you actually have now.

That doesnít give you actual overall numbers, but it seems like a pretty good way to give yourself a reality check. As you keep contributing more, will you track future contributions, or will you just use this method for what you contributed in 2019 and before?

MustacheAndaHalf

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Re: How do you track your performance?
« Reply #15 on: May 06, 2020, 12:59:26 AM »
My gains/losses against a benchmark let's me see how I'm doing, which could be a reality check, I suppose.  It also shows me given how much time I've spent, and how much risk I've taken on, how well has it been rewarded so far.

Before COVID-19, I did not track performance at all.  I tracked the percentage of each asset class, so I knew when to rebalance.  I hope to wait for a recovery from COVID-19, and then go back to being a passive index investor.  And likely, go back to not calculating performance.

mrmoonymartian

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Re: How do you track your performance?
« Reply #16 on: May 06, 2020, 03:16:14 AM »
There's usually a whole range of metrics that let you know how you're doing. The sum of all physiological responses is more reliable than any of them in isolation. Vocalisation alone is especially unreliable.

Oh! You meant investment performace. I thought... uh... never mind.

I guess you can just put me down in the sloppy spreadsheets column.

DaKini

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Re: How do you track your performance?
« Reply #17 on: May 06, 2020, 06:50:19 AM »
I use an opensource java based tool called ĄportfolioPerformanceď: https://www.portfolio-performance.info/en/

It allows for quite interesting reports and also comparison against benchmarks, as well as easy rebalancing deltas.
 
For example, iĎm up 1,8% over the past four years, and track about the msci world index.

reeshau

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Re: How do you track your performance?
« Reply #18 on: May 06, 2020, 08:25:30 AM »
I am a longtime Quicken user; portfolio performance comes with the package. :)  Although, we use it more for expenses / cash flow, so I look at it when I remember it's there, or some sort of significant portfolio event (good or bad) happens.

J Boogie

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Re: How do you track your performance?
« Reply #19 on: May 06, 2020, 08:51:41 AM »
I have a Schwab account that tracks my account balance from inception.

It shows my performance on a 1, 3, 6, 12 mo and YTD basis.

I haven't tried to get Schwab to compare my performance to the S&P within the application, but it's easy to benchmark against the S&P as google offers most of those same time periods which you can drag to see % return.

Are all of your investments with Schwab? I agree that is the cleanest option. In my case I have my IRA and taxable account with one company, my 457 with another, and my HSA with a third. They all report slightly differently so I needed a way to get a good overview of everything.

I should add, I took a one time 50,000 chunk from my 401k to use for trading. I did this one year ago. Having recurring distributions would certainly complicate this, which is part of why I wanted to do the one time chunk.

I'm currently showing a 19.44% return over the past year which compares well to the S&P which is down 2% and even beats the nasdaq which is at 15.69% over the year.

Kind of nice knowing my decision has so far earned me an extra $10,000 over the past year.

I think it has a lot less to do with my genius and a lot more to do with the rapid evolution of modern business - many well established companies will continue to stagnate relative to tech giants over the coming decades. You don't have to watch triple monitors every second to put most of your money into these tech giants who have proven their ability to be agile in a dynamic environment.






Wintergreen78

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Re: How do you track your performance?
« Reply #20 on: May 06, 2020, 09:25:05 AM »
I use an opensource java based tool called ĄportfolioPerformanceď: https://www.portfolio-performance.info/en/

It allows for quite interesting reports and also comparison against benchmarks, as well as easy rebalancing deltas.
 
For example, iĎm up 1,8% over the past four years, and track about the msci world index.

That looks like a pretty good solution - especially for Europeans. If I wasnít so lazy about financial stuff I might go looking for something similar geared toward Americans.

AdrianC

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Re: How do you track your performance?
« Reply #21 on: May 06, 2020, 01:32:28 PM »
I am a longtime Quicken user; portfolio performance comes with the package. :)  Although, we use it more for expenses / cash flow, so I look at it when I remember it's there, or some sort of significant portfolio event (good or bad) happens.
Same here. Quicken data going back over 20 years.

It's not directly comparable with a benchmark due to all the cash flows in and out (mainly in). The only way I know if my experiments in stock picking and market timing really worked would be to run a parallel Quicken file, with all the oddly timed cash flows going to my benchmark. That's too much work.

I have tried to simulate the cash flows in Porfoliovisualizer, but that ends up being too much work, too.

Our Quicken IRR 7.5%. I'm happy with that.

You want to make sure you don't make same mistake as the Beardstown Ladies:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beardstown_Ladies

"claimed that the club produced annual returns of 23.4% since inception"
"After an audit by PricewaterhouseCoopers, the club noted that it had made a computer formula error in calculating its returns and its actual annual returns were 9.1%, which were below those of the S&P 500 Index during the same time period."

Oops! Of course, they still sold all them books.

Villanelle

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Re: How do you track your performance?
« Reply #22 on: May 06, 2020, 05:00:23 PM »
Honestly, I don't.  Twice a year I check the balances in the various account and enter the new value of each fund in the account.  I don't pay attention to what I put in, and due to transferring accounts to a new brokerage, I don't even have that data available to me.  (I could possibly recreate it  by knowing how much I put in monthly and they trying to recall all of the additional money I've tossed in occasionally.  That would be a lot of work and I might not get it right anyway.)  And I don't care. 

I know what we have now.  I don't know if that's up 25% or down 5%.  Even if I did, it wouldn't change anything.  I have my plan and I'm sticking with it. 

DaKini

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Re: How do you track your performance?
« Reply #23 on: May 07, 2020, 12:22:11 PM »
I use an opensource java based tool called ĄportfolioPerformanceď: https://www.portfolio-performance.info/en/

It allows for quite interesting reports and also comparison against benchmarks, as well as easy rebalancing deltas.
 
For example, iĎm up 1,8% over the past four years, and track about the msci world index.

What exactly is different that would need another tool? You may report that on the bugtracker, so mr. Buchen can put it into the code.
That looks like a pretty good solution - especially for Europeans. If I wasnít so lazy about financial stuff I might go looking for something similar geared toward Americans.

vand

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Re: How do you track your performance?
« Reply #24 on: May 08, 2020, 02:30:48 AM »
I use an opensource java based tool called ĄportfolioPerformanceď: https://www.portfolio-performance.info/en/

It allows for quite interesting reports and also comparison against benchmarks, as well as easy rebalancing deltas.
 
For example, iĎm up 1,8% over the past four years, and track about the msci world index.

This looks amazing. Professional money managers usually pay a lot of money for commercial software that does this stuff.

MustacheAndaHalf

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Re: How do you track your performance?
« Reply #25 on: May 08, 2020, 03:21:36 AM »
Whenever I've tried asking, I get one or more of the following:
1.  Incorrect calculations of return.
2.  They ignore my request.
3.  Incorrect or lack of adjustment for risk.
4.  Incorrect or lack of adjustment for taxes.
5.  Selective results in terms of time frame or portfolio subset ("For the period May 15th, 2017 through July 3, 2018, I beat the market."  or "Well, ignoring my investment in XYZ (which I knew was a mistake), I'm beating the S&P by X%.")
6.  Not a long enough time frame.
I bought a number of individual stocks from Mar 23-25, and now wait for bankruptcy or recovery.  Maybe in a worst case scenario, I meet your criteria for #6 by waiting a really long time for recovery...

I'm curious about your definition for "adjustment for risk", and what you think of Vanguard Total Stock Market (VTI) as a benchmark for individual stock picks (like Macy's or Dine Brands).  I kinda wonder if that was the best choice, myself - maybe "small cap growth" was more appropriate.  Would you further divide performance by some risk factor, maybe the stock's Beta?
« Last Edit: May 08, 2020, 03:23:14 AM by MustacheAndaHalf »

Wintergreen78

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Re: How do you track your performance?
« Reply #26 on: May 08, 2020, 09:20:56 AM »
I use an opensource java based tool called ĄportfolioPerformanceď: https://www.portfolio-performance.info/en/

It allows for quite interesting reports and also comparison against benchmarks, as well as easy rebalancing deltas.
 
For example, iĎm up 1,8% over the past four years, and track about the msci world index.

What exactly is different that would need another tool? You may report that on the bugtracker, so mr. Buchen can put it into the code.
That looks like a pretty good solution - especially for Europeans. If I wasnít so lazy about financial stuff I might go looking for something similar geared toward Americans.

It looks like part of the documentation is German, but looking at it more closely I see that the app itself has an English option. Plus I could try to brush p on my high-school German! Or, more realistically lean on google translate

Wintergreen78

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Re: How do you track your performance?
« Reply #27 on: May 08, 2020, 09:31:33 AM »
Whenever I've tried asking, I get one or more of the following:
1.  Incorrect calculations of return.
2.  They ignore my request.
3.  Incorrect or lack of adjustment for risk.
4.  Incorrect or lack of adjustment for taxes.
5.  Selective results in terms of time frame or portfolio subset ("For the period May 15th, 2017 through July 3, 2018, I beat the market."  or "Well, ignoring my investment in XYZ (which I knew was a mistake), I'm beating the S&P by X%.")
6.  Not a long enough time frame.
I bought a number of individual stocks from Mar 23-25, and now wait for bankruptcy or recovery.  Maybe in a worst case scenario, I meet your criteria for #6 by waiting a really long time for recovery...

I'm curious about your definition for "adjustment for risk", and what you think of Vanguard Total Stock Market (VTI) as a benchmark for individual stock picks (like Macy's or Dine Brands).  I kinda wonder if that was the best choice, myself - maybe "small cap growth" was more appropriate.  Would you further divide performance by some risk factor, maybe the stock's Beta?

I always think of the Sharpe ratio as the tool to measure risk. Iíve never tried to get that fancy for my own investing.

As for time frame: yes, I absolutely consider 6 weeks as meaningless. From your posts, it sounds like you had a buy-and-hold strategy before that you implemented with index funds. If you switch to a strategy of actively changing your equity/fixed income/cash ratios and buying and selling individual stocks, I would like to see how that works over five to ten years.

Iím 41 and Iím retired. My grandad was still plowing and planting his garden with a tractor into his early 90ís, so Iíve got a 50 year horizon. One year or three year performance just seems like noise to me.

DaKini

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Re: How do you track your performance?
« Reply #28 on: May 08, 2020, 09:44:49 AM »
I use an opensource java based tool called ĄportfolioPerformanceď: https://www.portfolio-performance.info/en/

It allows for quite interesting reports and also comparison against benchmarks, as well as easy rebalancing deltas.
 
For example, iĎm up 1,8% over the past four years, and track about the msci world index.

What exactly is different that would need another tool? You may report that on the bugtracker, so mr. Buchen can put it into the code.
That looks like a pretty good solution - especially for Europeans. If I wasnít so lazy about financial stuff I might go looking for something similar geared toward Americans.

It looks like part of the documentation is German, but looking at it more closely I see that the app itself has an English option. Plus I could try to brush p on my high-school German! Or, more realistically lean on google translate

I also want to highlight a graph that shows volatility vs returns, and i see that my adjusted 5etf region portfolio (eu a little overweight) has less return and more volatility than the vanguard ftse total world benchmark. This is one of the reasons why i only invest in the latter since October.

I like that tool alot.

secondcor521

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Re: How do you track your performance?
« Reply #29 on: May 08, 2020, 02:24:30 PM »
Whenever I've tried asking, I get one or more of the following:
1.  Incorrect calculations of return.
2.  They ignore my request.
3.  Incorrect or lack of adjustment for risk.
4.  Incorrect or lack of adjustment for taxes.
5.  Selective results in terms of time frame or portfolio subset ("For the period May 15th, 2017 through July 3, 2018, I beat the market."  or "Well, ignoring my investment in XYZ (which I knew was a mistake), I'm beating the S&P by X%.")
6.  Not a long enough time frame.
I bought a number of individual stocks from Mar 23-25, and now wait for bankruptcy or recovery.  Maybe in a worst case scenario, I meet your criteria for #6 by waiting a really long time for recovery...

I'm curious about your definition for "adjustment for risk", and what you think of Vanguard Total Stock Market (VTI) as a benchmark for individual stock picks (like Macy's or Dine Brands).  I kinda wonder if that was the best choice, myself - maybe "small cap growth" was more appropriate.  Would you further divide performance by some risk factor, maybe the stock's Beta?

I always think of the Sharpe ratio as the tool to measure risk. Iíve never tried to get that fancy for my own investing.

As for time frame: yes, I absolutely consider 6 weeks as meaningless. From your posts, it sounds like you had a buy-and-hold strategy before that you implemented with index funds. If you switch to a strategy of actively changing your equity/fixed income/cash ratios and buying and selling individual stocks, I would like to see how that works over five to ten years.

Iím 41 and Iím retired. My grandad was still plowing and planting his garden with a tractor into his early 90ís, so Iíve got a 50 year horizon. One year or three year performance just seems like noise to me.

The Sharpe ratio is what I would recommend as well.

As far as which index to use, I'd pick the index which VTI tracks (*) if I were only investing in US equities.  In general, I'd pick the broadest index for the applicable investment and region - so if I were investing in bonds or foreign equities I'd look for analogous indices.  Or you can just track against VTSAX so that you'll know how you're going to do going forward once you figure out that stock picking is a lot of extra time, stress, effort, taxes, risk, and investment expense, all for less money in the long run.  ;)

(*) <pedantic>VTI is an ETF, not an index</pedantic>

MustacheAndaHalf

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Re: How do you track your performance?
« Reply #30 on: May 09, 2020, 03:03:39 AM »
3.  Incorrect or lack of adjustment for risk.
I'm curious about your definition for "adjustment for risk", and what you think of Vanguard Total Stock Market (VTI) as a benchmark for individual stock picks (like Macy's or Dine Brands).  I kinda wonder if that was the best choice, myself - maybe "small cap growth" was more appropriate.  Would you further divide performance by some risk factor, maybe the stock's Beta?
I always think of the Sharpe ratio as the tool to measure risk. Iíve never tried to get that fancy for my own investing.
The Sharpe ratio is what I would recommend as well.

As far as which index to use, I'd pick the index which VTI tracks (*) if I were only investing in US equities.  In general, I'd pick the broadest index for the applicable investment and region - so if I were investing in bonds or foreign equities I'd look for analogous indices.  Or you can just track against VTSAX so that you'll know how you're going to do going forward once you figure out that stock picking is a lot of extra time, stress, effort, taxes, risk, and investment expense, all for less money in the long run.  ;)

(*) <pedantic>VTI is an ETF, not an index</pedantic>
You're correct that usually an index is used as a benchmark, and VTI is an ETF, not an index.  I am of the view using a pure index ignores trading costs, so I prefer an actual ETF used as a benchmark for my experiments.  (Maybe VTI is a poor example, since it has no trading costs: $0 to buy/sell, $0.01 bid-ask spread that trades halfway between).

My usual websites (Yahoo Finance, Morningstar) do not list a Sharpe ratio for individual stocks.  Is there an authoritative source for looking up the Sharpe ratio for stocks DIN, M, and DXPE ?

vand

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Re: How do you track your performance?
« Reply #31 on: May 09, 2020, 03:15:17 AM »
Whenever I've tried asking, I get one or more of the following:
1.  Incorrect calculations of return.
2.  They ignore my request.
3.  Incorrect or lack of adjustment for risk.
4.  Incorrect or lack of adjustment for taxes.
5.  Selective results in terms of time frame or portfolio subset ("For the period May 15th, 2017 through July 3, 2018, I beat the market."  or "Well, ignoring my investment in XYZ (which I knew was a mistake), I'm beating the S&P by X%.")
6.  Not a long enough time frame.
I bought a number of individual stocks from Mar 23-25, and now wait for bankruptcy or recovery.  Maybe in a worst case scenario, I meet your criteria for #6 by waiting a really long time for recovery...

I'm curious about your definition for "adjustment for risk", and what you think of Vanguard Total Stock Market (VTI) as a benchmark for individual stock picks (like Macy's or Dine Brands).  I kinda wonder if that was the best choice, myself - maybe "small cap growth" was more appropriate.  Would you further divide performance by some risk factor, maybe the stock's Beta?

I always think of the Sharpe ratio as the tool to measure risk. Iíve never tried to get that fancy for my own investing.

As for time frame: yes, I absolutely consider 6 weeks as meaningless. From your posts, it sounds like you had a buy-and-hold strategy before that you implemented with index funds. If you switch to a strategy of actively changing your equity/fixed income/cash ratios and buying and selling individual stocks, I would like to see how that works over five to ten years.

Iím 41 and Iím retired. My grandad was still plowing and planting his garden with a tractor into his early 90ís, so Iíve got a 50 year horizon. One year or three year performance just seems like noise to me.

The Sharpe ratio is what I would recommend as well.

As far as which index to use, I'd pick the index which VTI tracks (*) if I were only investing in US equities.  In general, I'd pick the broadest index for the applicable investment and region - so if I were investing in bonds or foreign equities I'd look for analogous indices.  Or you can just track against VTSAX so that you'll know how you're going to do going forward once you figure out that stock picking is a lot of extra time, stress, effort, taxes, risk, and investment expense, all for less money in the long run.  ;)

(*) <pedantic>VTI is an ETF, not an index</pedantic>

Sharpe ratio is a good starting point for discussing risk adjusted return. However as it treats upside volatility the same as downside which is problematic in the real world for obvious reasons.

This is an excellent series on videos which discusses different measures of risk adjusted return:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=50oyD_e8Vh0 - Sharpe ratio
Ulcer Index(Sortino ratio)
Max Drawdown
Correlation


secondcor521

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Re: How do you track your performance?
« Reply #32 on: May 09, 2020, 03:29:57 AM »
3.  Incorrect or lack of adjustment for risk.
I'm curious about your definition for "adjustment for risk", and what you think of Vanguard Total Stock Market (VTI) as a benchmark for individual stock picks (like Macy's or Dine Brands).  I kinda wonder if that was the best choice, myself - maybe "small cap growth" was more appropriate.  Would you further divide performance by some risk factor, maybe the stock's Beta?
I always think of the Sharpe ratio as the tool to measure risk. Iíve never tried to get that fancy for my own investing.
The Sharpe ratio is what I would recommend as well.

As far as which index to use, I'd pick the index which VTI tracks (*) if I were only investing in US equities.  In general, I'd pick the broadest index for the applicable investment and region - so if I were investing in bonds or foreign equities I'd look for analogous indices.  Or you can just track against VTSAX so that you'll know how you're going to do going forward once you figure out that stock picking is a lot of extra time, stress, effort, taxes, risk, and investment expense, all for less money in the long run.  ;)

(*) <pedantic>VTI is an ETF, not an index</pedantic>
You're correct that usually an index is used as a benchmark, and VTI is an ETF, not an index.  I am of the view using a pure index ignores trading costs, so I prefer an actual ETF used as a benchmark for my experiments.  (Maybe VTI is a poor example, since it has no trading costs: $0 to buy/sell, $0.01 bid-ask spread that trades halfway between).

My usual websites (Yahoo Finance, Morningstar) do not list a Sharpe ratio for individual stocks.  Is there an authoritative source for looking up the Sharpe ratio for stocks DIN, M, and DXPE ?

Heh.

Yes, indexes don't include trading costs.  One way to handle that is as you have done, and pick something that does have trading costs to compare to, presumably because trading costs are not very avoidable.  Another way is to realize that costs matter and are under our control to a great degree, and to work to minimize them so as to get as close to the index as possible.  That's what Mr. Bogle recommends and I do.  (My weighted expense ratio on my investments is a hair under 4 basis points).

As for the Sharpe ratio, the fact that it has been mentioned by several posters here yet is not listed on the various personal sites - well, that could mean that it's important but there isn't much incentive for those sites to provide it to you, or it's unimportant.  Maybe Google how to calculate a Sharpe Ratio and see if the explanations about it make any sense.

DaKini

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Re: How do you track your performance?
« Reply #33 on: May 09, 2020, 04:43:57 AM »
I did choose the vanguard etf as benchmark because of this reason. I want to know if i would fare better with my approach or invest solely into the total world etf.
(I did not point that out above when i talked about the ftse index, but thatís what i meant)

MustacheAndaHalf

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Re: How do you track your performance?
« Reply #34 on: May 09, 2020, 12:24:46 PM »
I already knew about Sharpe ratios from some reading I've done, although I haven't calculated it myself before.  I believe it involves performance per unit of standard deviation... but there's a reason I didn't bring all that up.  To me, there's either an authoritative source, or using Sharpe ratio becomes it's own debate.

I just searched for "DIN stock" and looked at each of the search results.  Although fool.com lacked numeric data, each of the other results did provide detailed information.  All five listed Beta (of 1.7), none listed Sharpe ratio.  So if I wanted an authoritative measure of risk that other people could look up on their own, I'm seeing Beta as the front runner.

For others unfamiliar with Beta, it's roughly how far the stock moves compared to the overall market.  A stock like DIN with a Beta of 1.7 should on average move about 1.7x as far as the market.  If the market drops -10%, DIN stock would be expected to move about -17%, all else being equal (it's not, since restaurants are hit hard by the restrictions of COVID-19).

YoungInvestor

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Re: How do you track your performance?
« Reply #35 on: May 09, 2020, 01:26:27 PM »
I have a Schwab account that tracks my account balance from inception.

It shows my performance on a 1, 3, 6, 12 mo and YTD basis.

I haven't tried to get Schwab to compare my performance to the S&P within the application, but it's easy to benchmark against the S&P as google offers most of those same time periods which you can drag to see % return.

Google does not include the dividend return. Your Schwab return would not be directly comparable.

Wintergreen78

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Re: How do you track your performance?
« Reply #36 on: May 09, 2020, 04:24:55 PM »
I already knew about Sharpe ratios from some reading I've done, although I haven't calculated it myself before.  I believe it involves performance per unit of standard deviation... but there's a reason I didn't bring all that up.  To me, there's either an authoritative source, or using Sharpe ratio becomes it's own debate.

I just searched for "DIN stock" and looked at each of the search results.  Although fool.com lacked numeric data, each of the other results did provide detailed information.  All five listed Beta (of 1.7), none listed Sharpe ratio.  So if I wanted an authoritative measure of risk that other people could look up on their own, I'm seeing Beta as the front runner.

For others unfamiliar with Beta, it's roughly how far the stock moves compared to the overall market.  A stock like DIN with a Beta of 1.7 should on average move about 1.7x as far as the market.  If the market drops -10%, DIN stock would be expected to move about -17%, all else being equal (it's not, since restaurants are hit hard by the restrictions of COVID-19).

Iím also pretty skeptical about applying mathematical measures of volatility to individual stocks. Calculating Beta for an individual stock does give you some historical perspective on its volatility, but misses a lot of other risks. It doesnít tell you anything about the risk of that stockís sector declining, or new management making bad decisions, or any other unusual risks that can hurt individual companies even if the overall market is doing ok.

Like some guy said once, it is the unknown unknowns that will really hurt you.

And, once youíve got enough different individual stocks in different sectors to mitigate those risks, will your performance be that difference from an index?

MustacheAndaHalf

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Re: How do you track your performance?
« Reply #37 on: May 10, 2020, 03:32:14 AM »
Iím also pretty skeptical about applying mathematical measures of volatility to individual stocks. Calculating Beta for an individual stock does give you some historical perspective on its volatility, but misses a lot of other risks. It doesnít tell you anything about the risk of that stockís sector declining, or new management making bad decisions, or any other unusual risks that can hurt individual companies even if the overall market is doing ok.

Like some guy said once, it is the unknown unknowns that will really hurt you.

And, once youíve got enough different individual stocks in different sectors to mitigate those risks, will your performance be that difference from an index?
For context, I already bought individual stocks on March 23-25.  I don't plan on buying more.  I took on a greater risk of bankruptcy, and I hoped to get a much higher return even with bankruptcies.  I plan to hold my individual stocks until a recovery from COVID-19 is complete.  And then, I very much want to go back to passive indexing!

My use of "Beta" is only for the thread "An experiment".  In that thread I revealed 3 of my individual stock picks.  To make the experiment fair, I pretended the date of purchase started over on March 26.  To quote from that thread:

"It's unfair to pick 3 stocks after they've gone up an average of +40% against the market's +13%.  I have a strong conviction they can win this race more than once, so I'll track these 3 stocks at equal weight from today's prices.  I'll reset the clock, and I still expect them to beat the market"
https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/investor-alley/an-experiment/msg2592356/#msg2592356


My use of "Beta" isn't to pick stocks, but to try making the experiment more fair.  I could display both performance and risk adjusted performance, and let others decide if the experiment beat the market or not.

Michael in ABQ

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Re: How do you track your performance?
« Reply #38 on: May 10, 2020, 06:19:34 AM »
If I went back to when I first started investing at the end of high school it would probably not look so good. In the last several years, basically the same as the S&P 500.

Just before graduating high school I bought $2,500 in gold coins at $350/oz. and sold them a year or two later at $450/oz. I remember checking gold spot prices during basic training the rare times we would get a newspaper. However, the spreads and fees wiped out most of the profit.

I took that money and $10k or so I had saved from a deployment and invested in the stock market, primarily financial stocks with high dividends. All went well until 2008. My $12-15k portfolio I eventually sold at a loss for probably $5k to cover living expenses after college. All that's left is about $50 in a taxable account of a stock that has been stuck in the $15-20 range that I paid the equivalent of about $80 for when it merged during the recession. It's a reminder to me not to mess with individual stocks. It's still paying a few dollars in dividends a year but at this rate it will take a couple of decades just to break even. Looking back at my individual stock picks I made some money on a few (Visa and a shipping stock) and lost money and some others (oil stock and financial stocks that were heavily invested in CMBS and CLOs).

My 401k from my first job in 2008 did reasonably well but my company switched from Vanguard to Merrill Lynch a few years in so my previous performance information was all lost and basically reset with me having maybe $5k in a new 401k. Looking through those old annual statements my 2016 statement says my cumulative return over the last 5 years (2011-2016) was 170%, or a 22% CAGR. I left the company in 2018 and rolled over my 401k to a Roth IRA with Vanguard. By this time it had grown to about $50k which I put into VTSAX. Fast forward to now and that $50k grew to about $60k in February, dropped down to about $40k in March and is now back at about $50k.

My other 401k from the military and my new job have done alright the last few years but I've been putting a lot of money into them so it's more that additional funding than investment returns that has drive their growth. My annual returns have generally matched the market since I'm primarily invest in the S&P 500.

Overall, my investment return should have generally matched the S&P 500 over the last 12 years or so as I've been primarily in S&P500 index funds or other funds that closely mirrored that performance. Out of my current investment balance of close to $100k I'd have to do a lot of digging through old statements and accounts to determine how much of that is principal I've invested and how much of it is reinvested dividends and growth. I would guess at this point it's probably 50/50. I've steadily been increasing how much I've invested as my income has grown. 3% of my paycheck from a $30k salary in 2008 versus 25% of an $80k salary today.

Wintergreen78

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Re: How do you track your performance?
« Reply #39 on: May 10, 2020, 09:00:11 AM »
Iím also pretty skeptical about applying mathematical measures of volatility to individual stocks. Calculating Beta for an individual stock does give you some historical perspective on its volatility, but misses a lot of other risks. It doesnít tell you anything about the risk of that stockís sector declining, or new management making bad decisions, or any other unusual risks that can hurt individual companies even if the overall market is doing ok.

Like some guy said once, it is the unknown unknowns that will really hurt you.

And, once youíve got enough different individual stocks in different sectors to mitigate those risks, will your performance be that difference from an index?
For context, I already bought individual stocks on March 23-25.  I don't plan on buying more.  I took on a greater risk of bankruptcy, and I hoped to get a much higher return even with bankruptcies.  I plan to hold my individual stocks until a recovery from COVID-19 is complete.  And then, I very much want to go back to passive indexing!

My use of "Beta" is only for the thread "An experiment".  In that thread I revealed 3 of my individual stock picks.  To make the experiment fair, I pretended the date of purchase started over on March 26.  To quote from that thread:

"It's unfair to pick 3 stocks after they've gone up an average of +40% against the market's +13%.  I have a strong conviction they can win this race more than once, so I'll track these 3 stocks at equal weight from today's prices.  I'll reset the clock, and I still expect them to beat the market"
https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/investor-alley/an-experiment/msg2592356/#msg2592356


My use of "Beta" isn't to pick stocks, but to try making the experiment more fair.  I could display both performance and risk adjusted performance, and let others decide if the experiment beat the market or not.

For what you are doing, your approach of tracking an index and comparing your performance against it from the date that you acquired the stocks makes sense to me. Also, I can see the reasoning behind making short-term bets on individual stocks during a period of high volatility. Although I wouldnít personally do it, I think that has a higher chance of success than trying to sustain outperformance over decades.

PaulMaxime

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Re: How do you track your performance?
« Reply #40 on: August 03, 2020, 05:07:13 PM »
I have a large Apple Numbers spreadsheet that I've been maintaining and updating for several years.

I largely invest in individual equities except my 401K which is currently at Vanguard and my company only offers index funds there.

I have a separate page for all my accounts so that each account is tracked separately and then roll everything into a "totals" page. In addition there's a "performance" page that tracks the monthly and annual performance of the total.

Then, for each time I add/remove cash in an account I also assume that I buy/sell shares in the S&P 500 total return index (which includes dividends) in the same amount as my deposit or withdrawal. I can then compare my performance against the major index. Why that instead of any of a number of other indices is just convenience. I can get a daily quote of the S&P 500 TR index automatically, and it includes dividends - just tracking SPY or QQQ would miss this info.

Proud Foot

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Re: How do you track your performance?
« Reply #41 on: August 04, 2020, 03:10:10 PM »
I track all my activity in a database I built. From there I have a PowerBI file that I use for my analysis. I then am able to easily look at my asset allocation and how it compares to my target. I also can get my returns as broadly as all investments combined to as specific as one investment in one account. This is particularly helpful as in addition to my index funds I have what I call my "Private Fund" which is a group of 25 individual stocks making up around 10% of my overall investments.

I had been tracking it all in a spreadsheet over the years and in the past several months migrated it to the database more as an interest in learning PowerBI and it was a data set I had available and was already using. The only thing I haven't done yet compare it to the S&P500 Total Return Index as a benchmark.

The_Big_H

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Re: How do you track your performance?
« Reply #42 on: August 04, 2020, 10:46:12 PM »
Since all my accounts are vanguard I just click over to the personal performance and look at the cumulative total money made table / graph.

MustacheAndaHalf

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Re: How do you track your performance?
« Reply #43 on: August 05, 2020, 02:38:34 AM »
I like the GOOGLEFINANCE() function in Google Sheets, which lets me look up stock or ETF prices automatically.  Most of the time, my spreadsheet total matches my account balance without doing anything (except updating pending / settled cash balance).  For "call options", I have to do it by hand.

I tried tracking Beta, but it's very manual and I didn't use it much.  Some companies may go bankrupt, or may double - depending on when Covid ends.  I know those companies are volatile, perhaps high Beta, but there isn't really a decision to make based on that information.  So I added tracking of Beta, but then removed it for lack of use.

Maybe the most valuable advice for both investing and spreadsheets is: automate it.

hodedofome

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Re: How do you track your performance?
« Reply #44 on: August 05, 2020, 01:17:57 PM »
I use Google spreadsheets to track my performance as well as the stocks I follow. It updates with a 20 minute delay all of my stocks in my portfolios.

I started trading in 2011 with $50k. I can't remember how much money I've taken out of that account to buy a few used minivans/SUVs for my wife over the years, as well as a house renovation, but let's assume it's about $40-50k or so. I put $30k additional money in that account 2 years ago when I sold my first house. Currently the balance is $195k in that account today. I went and looked at my Interactive Brokers account for previous performance. It only shows performance back to 2015 - I had TDAmeritrade before that.

2015 -23%
2016 -2%
2017 106%
2018 -41%
2019 78%
2020 74% YTD

If I just do a CAGR of this performance that's 11% a year. I learn something new each year, and each year I get more in tune with a strategy that fits my personality and gives me an edge in the market. I feel pretty confidant in my abilities right now, I had no confidence the first several years I traded. And even after having a great year like 2017 I followed it up trading too aggressively and had a pretty bad 2018. So had some more things to learn there.

BicycleB

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Re: How do you track your performance?
« Reply #45 on: August 05, 2020, 02:17:21 PM »
I use Google spreadsheets to track my performance as well as the stocks I follow. It updates with a 20 minute delay all of my stocks in my portfolios.

I started trading in 2011 with $50k. I can't remember how much money I've taken out of that account to buy a few used minivans/SUVs for my wife over the years, as well as a house renovation, but let's assume it's about $40-50k or so. I put $30k additional money in that account 2 years ago when I sold my first house. Currently the balance is $195k in that account today. I went and looked at my Interactive Brokers account for previous performance. It only shows performance back to 2015 - I had TDAmeritrade before that.

2015 -23%
2016 -2%
2017 106%
2018 -41%
2019 78%
2020 74% YTD

If I just do a CAGR of this performance that's 11% a year. I learn something new each year, and each year I get more in tune with a strategy that fits my personality and gives me an edge in the market. I feel pretty confidant in my abilities right now, I had no confidence the first several years I traded. And even after having a great year like 2017 I followed it up trading too aggressively and had a pretty bad 2018. So had some more things to learn there.

@hodedofome, how do you calculate that CAGR?

I got 20% when I tried using an RRI formula in Excel, using a period of 5.7 years, a "present value" (starting value) of 1, and a "future value" (end value) of 2.84. I got the 2.84 from 1*.77*.98*2.06*.59*1.78*1.74=2.84.

 

Wow, a phone plan for fifteen bucks!