Dec 232019
 

Learning from my past mistakes

As a peer to peer investor, when no one else is around I would find myself a loan. 😀

I’ve been investing with Lending Loop (LL) for over 3 years now. My first year in 2017 ended with a 10% return net of expenses. Then last year I made 11%. But in the meantime I was accumulating an unhealthy amount of delinquent loans in my portfolio. This hidden risk was not good.

So at the start of 2019 I decided to adopt a more strategic approach to choosing loans. I came up with the 10 Rules for Choosing Better Loans, which you can find here. New defaults have been in decline since I started using this more selective method. 🙂

In today’s post I’ll dive into my portfolio’s 2019 performance and explain my plans moving forward with this platform, including withdrawing my money.

LL as a platform has come a long way over the years. It hit a major milestone in 2017 when it helped fund over $10 million in total loans. By the summer of 2018 it had surpassed $20 million. And by the end of this year, over $60 million. Tighter lending restriction at traditional banks is pushing businesses to find alternative lending sources.

But with Canadian delinquencies on the rise, and higher expected inflation in 2020, it remains to be seen how LL lenders will do in the foreseeable future. There are also internal issues with the platform which I’ve blogged about in the past that have not been fixed.

In today’s post I’ll be going over the following:

  • Breakdown of my 2019 return.
  • My increasing number of loans in default.
  • Recent changes to the platform.
  • What I liked and didn’t like.
  • My plans for Lending Loop in 2020.

For a general overview of how Lending Loop works, its pros and cons, and whether it’s right for you, please see my original review.

Liquid’s 2019 Portfolio Performance 

Assuming all the scheduled payments over the next week are made on time, I will earn a total of $4,135 of interest in 2019. Luckily there were no loans written off this year.

2019 Earnings

  • Interest earned   $4,135
  • Servicing fees       -$443
  • Bonuses                    $87
  • —————————-
  • Net earnings    $3,779

Altogether my income for 2019 is $3,779 net of fees. By comparison last year I earned $3,369 net. So things are going in the right direction.

I began 2019 with $33,563 in my account. By the end of the year I’ll have $37,205. So my annual return is 11%. 🙂 Not too shabby. Despite using a more conservative approach choosing loans this year, the return ended up being about the same as in 2018. The new companies I’ve been lending to appear to be more diligent paying on time. 🙂 Here’s a snapshot of my current dashboard.

And here is my total earnings summary.

I’ve contributed a total of $28,000 into this platform, and it has made me over $9,100 of profit so far. 🙂 In the graph below, the difference between the purple and grey lines is my net earnings. It’s really satisfying to see a portfolio growing by itself. 😀

On the surface everything looks pretty rosy. But the devils are in the details. Behind the headline 11% annual return hides a slough of bad loans. Since there is no secondary market for Lending Loop loans, investors are often left holding toxic debt that are still marked at their original value, but are actually worth much less.

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Mar 122019
 

Lending Loop Update

I’ve been investing with Lending Loop for over 2 years now. My first year in 2017 was better than expected, ending with a 10% return net of expenses. I was only expecting an 8% return. In today’s post I’ll dive into my 2018 performance with Lending Loop and also explain how the site has changed over the last year.

 

Liquid’s 2018 Portfolio Performance (11% return)

My 2018 average loan interest rate after fees was 12.7%. A loan write-off shaved away 0.7%. And a bunch of delayed payments costed me another 1%. Which means my actual net return came out to be 11%, or $3,369. Score! 😀 I started 2018 with $30,400 in my account, and the end of year balance grew to $33,700.

Here is my 2018 earnings statement.

Income

  • Interest earned   $3,968
  • Servicing fees       -$421
  • Bonuses                    $25
  • —————————-
  • Total earnings    $3,572

Loan Losses

  • Principal defaulted    $204
  • Principal recovered       -$1
  • —————————
  • Total charged-off       $203

Unfortunately I did have one loan write-off in 2018. But it was a relatively small loss of $203. The borrower, a street sweeping business, owed significantly more taxes to the CRA than the value of its assets. The CRA would naturally have priority over other creditors in any bankruptcy or insolvency proceedings. This was the first loan write off in my portfolio, but it likely won’t be the last.

 

Portfolio at a Glance

Here are some quick stats about my Lending Loop portfolio.

  • I have made 87 loans in total over 25 months.
    • 18 of those loans have been paid off in full. Hurray!
    • 1 has defaulted, and I lost 81% or ($203) of my principal on this loan.
    • 68 loans remain ongoing for now. 60 of these have no major problems, but 8 are either delinquent or in default.

As of this week in March 2019, I’ve made a lifetime earnings of $6,300 from Lending Loop. 🙂

As with dividend or real estate investing, having patience is a key element to the fixed income game. Due to compound interest, my total lifetime earnings should hit $10,000 by this time next year, assuming portfolio performance remains consistent. 🙂

In terms of what types of loan I hold, they’re mainly B and C+ grades, which has an expected yield range of 10% to 13% after fees. This mixture hasn’t changed much for me over time. Most of the loans I participate in have a 3 to 4 year term.

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Dec 262017
 

Year In Review

It’s been a year since I began investing in the peer to peer lending platform Lending Loop. I was anticipating a return of 8% when I first wrote about it. However things turned out better than I expected. I started the year with $20,000 and have earned just over $2,000 in interest now. So my year to date return is currently about 10%. I’m really happy with that! 🙂 Here’s a recent snapshot of my account.

Here’s what my account looked like back in June.

I currently hold about 40 different loans. I usually commit about $500 to $1,000 per new loan. Each company has a different credit rating based on its likelihood to pay back debt. The table below shows how Lending Loop categorizes the risk bands.

I generally invest in the range between B and C rated loans. The interest rate I receive on the investment should be high, but I don’t want super risky loans with high rates of default. I do my research on a company before I invest so I do not automatically put money into every C+ loan that Lending Loop offers. I don’t have any A or A+ rated loans because the rates of return on those after fees are too low for me.

The reason I was expecting only 8% annual return is because I had factored in loan defaults that would cut into my gross interest earnings. However, across my ~40 different loans not a single one has defaulted yet. 😀 Phew. Thank goodness for that. *Knocks on wood* But I’ve only been on this platform for 12 months. Most loans in my portfolio have a lifespan of 24 to 36 months. So as time goes on I should probably expect to see some defaults, but hopefully not a lot.

 

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Jul 132017
 

Lending Loop Update

Earlier this year I blogged about investing $20,000 in a peer-to-peer lending platform called Lending Loop. My goal was to make 8% return overall, net of fees and write-offs. To be frank I was a little apprehensive at first when I learned about the high interest rates.

I wondered if it was really possible to earn 15% or higher rates of return consistently. Being greedy, I decided to give Lending Loop a try. I primarily invested in B and C loans because they are relatively safer, although the returns are lower than loans in higher risk categories.

Here’s what my Lending Loop portfolio looks like after half a year of investing. This screenshot was taken at the end of June.

As we can see I have made about $846 so far. Yay! 🙂 That’s about 4.2% return, or 8.5% annualized return. This is very much in line with my expected 8% return I had initially set as my goal. I have invested in roughly 30 different loans so far on the platform, each loan averaging $700 of principal. Thankfully none of them have missed a payment yet so I’m really pleased about that. 😀

If this trend continues I should be able to earn a double digit return by the end of the year! But this rosy picture assumes there are no defaults on my loans for the next 6 months. 🙂 Anyway, I will update again at the end of the year so we shall see what happens.

Unlike investments in a tax advantaged account, my Lending Loop returns will be taxed at my marginal tax rate, which is about 30%. This means if I earn 8.5% from the P2P investment, I will only end up making roughly 6% return after tax. To me 6% after tax is pretty good and certainly beats many alternative options out there. 🙂 As interest rates are starting to climb slowly in North America, fixed income investments such as Lending Loop should continue to be attractive for investors looking for yield.

 

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Random Useless Fact:

Due to the lower surface gravity of Mars, if you weigh 100 pounds on Earth, you would weigh only 38 pounds on Mars.

Apr 012017
 

A Real Education About Money

April is officially financial literacy month. Yay! Information is free and everywhere. The problem is some can be misleading. One of my favourite PF gurus, Gail Vaz-Oxlade, recently noticed a slough of pretentious ninnies online pretending to be financial experts.

Personal finance is really popular these days. But I agree with Gail. Real financial advice is rare. I bet dollars to doughnuts many bloggers don’t know what they’re talking about 😛 The current education system is failing the public. This is why I’ve created my high school investing course.

Retiring early should be achievable for anyone. So over the next few months I will be visiting various secondary schools around the city to lecture and teach students how to make money, using other people’s money. 😀 Financial experts such as Robert Kiyosaki have been using this lucrative strategy for decades to make millions. 😉

I was compelled to take on this project after receiving tons of positive feedback from visitors about how reading my blog has made them a lot of money. On my previous post about index investing, one commentator even suggested I charge exorbitant fees to do consulting work, haha. 😉

Let’s be honest. As an authority in this area I should take on a leading role to help others make sense of the financial world. And the best time to teach someone is when they’re young. 😀 I already have years of teaching experience. So naturally I am the best person for this job. 🙂

The Investment Course Outline

For now things are going as planned. After a few meetings with the trustees of the Vancouver School Board I managed to convince them to allow me to give classes to grade 10 students. The course is once a week for 8 weeks. This will be a mandatory part of their Career and Personal Planning (CAPP) program that all students must take to graduate.

Okay. So the first 4 classes will be focused on learning how to use margin accounts to increase stock returns. For example, I started using 2.5 times leverage with margin debt in 2011. By 2014 I showed how my portfolio had doubled in value (100% gain.) This would not have been possible with cash savings alone.

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