Newbie building my first ever portfolio

on the same topic, coca cola is going into alcoholic beverages next year in US, with a fizzy selection. American reactions to changes in Coke had been quite unpredictable so this might be the next money maker for KO and quite the growth opportunity, or it might have enough backlash to negatively effect other products.

I doubt it will affect them too much negatively. I wasn’t aware of it, but I do know of the coffee and coke collection coming out.

16 years away, ref retirement.

Hi again, not sure if i’m going about this the right way. Maybe i have watched too many videos, read too many books etc.

I just want to do the best thing for myself & family. I think i need help.
I’m at a place now where i’ve become ok with bills, debts, etc. I thought it is time i now got serious and started to think of my future, finances etc, no point putting any money in a bank earning absolutely nothing.

I don’t have 25/30 years to invest, i’m too late for that unfortunately so not sure if i need to just concentrate on dividend with a little growth or just growth?
If dividend is it just a case of picking a few blue chip companies, in different sectors, maybe across both the UK & US and investing in them on a very regular basis? Is it best to find the highest yield but also make sure the company is in a good financial position?
Thanks in advance

I started a thread when I first starting investing (only 3/4 months ago) and received some great advice! I can tag you in it if you like?

I too am looking at 15 year and have decided to go down the ETF route predominately (not an all world ETF though) but covering the world myself through Vanguards (mainly) a wisdomtree, a MSCI and an iShares. So each month I invest x amount and I divide it all where I want.

I also invest in single stocks RR/GGP etc.

I would say don’t overwhelm yourself to begin with-I did that and held around 30 stocks and suddenly I realised I’d tried to jump before I could swim. It’s so tempting to do that though.
Take your time as the stocks aren’t going anywhere (hopefully :crossed_fingers:t2:) Rome wasn’t built in a day.

I invested with around 5/6 purely for high dividend and of course they all got suspended early on with COVID which made me realise I didn’t really want to hold them because I had no affiliation or want to learn about them.

ETF’s for me have been a great way to go with a side of single stocks (including a few spec)

With a rough 6-8% returns per year on around £100 a month for 10/15 years I worked out I’d be very happy with that :blush:

Hope that helps, that’s just my journey and i know everyone’s journey is different but your investment time is similar to mine.

edit I also hold a bond too


Hi @Explorer2,

I am by no means an expert, and hopefully someone with more experience and with a similar timescale of around 15 years gives their opinion later.

My thoughts are that if you rely on this income for your retirement then you should be playing it relatively safe, particularly if it is a high multiple of your yearly savings, lets say for example 10 times the amount that you save in an average year. If so, I would probably:
-Case without considering covid: 20% Bonds, 80% Shares ETF
-Considering covid, I don’t really know what to do with bonds, interest rates are very low and there may be many companies defaulting… so I see the risk-reward as quite low. I would go for 25% cash in case the market dips again and 75% ETFs (if you really want to choose individual stocks I would keep this to a maximum of 20% in your case).
From what I have been reading and researching also, it seems like most investors do not beat the average returns of a given market. As such, I think it is most reasonable to invest mainly in ETFs (not necesarily what I am doing currently, but my current budget is quite low and my timeframe is quite long), a possible ETF breakdown, similarish to my pie:

  • 35% S&P 500
  • 10% Nasdaq 100
  • 10% FTSE 100
  • 10% FTSE 250
  • 8% Eurostoxx 600
  • 4% DAX 30
  • 4% AEX
  • 4% Japanese ETF of choice
  • 15% Emerging markets ETF

The reason I give the FTSE100 / 250 a combined weighting of 20% which is quite high is because there is no exchange rate issue with those.

Note: The layout above gives quite a high weighting to Europe as a whole. And ignores some regions such as Canada, Australia, etc, which a global ETF would include. Also, the main indices listed above are predmoninantly large cap (large companies) whilst a global ETF would also include small and medium cap.

To make it simpler you could just invest in a global ETF such as one of the Vanguard FTSE ALL-World or SPDR ACWI.

For my ETF investments, I tend to have around 20% in value ETFs because I think that in the long run it may pay off (Vanguard Global Value and the SPDR Small cap value weighted for Europe and for the USA), but it’s just my strategy. To play it safe just go with the market or the main large cap indices.

I also currently have quite a large % of cash and gold as I have the impression that there may be a big crash/dip in subsequent months. If the money invested is very important to your future then maybe you should consider removing some and just keeping it in your bank account.

Lets see what other people suggest.


First of I am not qualified as a financial adviser and these are all my opinions, just have been doing this for a while. (In fact treat me as a random high school dropout you saw on internet)

First time I found a “compounding” calculator online I played with it for hours…
10K initial + 200 every month with a moderate 8% results in 100K? Yes the math is so simple but I could not believe the actual numbers.

I want to start with an example (this is on my mind because amd is on a tear recently)

i bought AMD on Feb 01st 2017 @$14.46, today it closed at $85. that is a lot of gain but it was a lot of risk and lots of belief baked into this decision, and a lot of up and down days. This is an insane 80% CAGR! which is a lot higher than my overall portfolio!

I’ve just checked SOXX (semiconductor etf) and at 01/02/2017 it was worth $131 and today it is
$300 this is again a 31% CAGR and again it is higher than my overall portfolio!

And someone buying SOXX does not even care or need to think about “will intel catch on 7nm?” “will amd start replacing nvidia teslas on machine learning?” peace of mind… easier to sleep.

So for my suggestions,

  • never include more than 20-25% generic non-US indexes (i.e FTSE, eurostoxx, dax) or when you are including these treat them as if they are “bonds” of the old days.
  • get a good percentage(40%) of QQQ(EQQQ) + VUSA (I am normally very heavy on QQQ but it is very expensive after a phenomenal year)
  • get 1 precious metal ETC gold or silver about 5% to use as an emergency lifeboat
  • divide the last 30-35% to sector ETFs that you like and makes sense for the future an idea could be:
    • EXV3 ishares eurostoxx tech
    • SOXX ishares semiconductors
    • HEAL ishares healthcare innovation
    • USDV Spdr dividend aristocrats

now once you established this go shopping as it pleases you, you think ABBV is better than PFE? add some to your portfolio. you read on an article and a youtube video intel will come back hard on 2022? get some!

one approach I like using when adding individual shares are using “supplier companies” ie. regardless of the victor of NVD vs AMD battle TSM will win, regardless of AMD vs INTEL battle ASML will win, AMAT will win. may be not as big as the winner but still.
So I’d prefer a strategy where one person buys in this order.

edit: wow did not realise i wrote this much, hope it helps, sorry.


Gosh, you guys well informed, clever and flipping helpful too.
I like your reply, TSM will benefit, AMAT will benefit, i can sort of see what you mean now!
OK, so i’m getting the impression that my way forward might be via ETF’s. I did read a quote once that it is ‘better to buy the whole basket of stocks rather than trying to pick a winner or two’ I’m not that well informed, worked hard so far in life, debt free etc but no experience with making money. Compounding interest, does that really work? If so would i be just better off, just picking an index and going with just that one, say VUSA. Paying a little lump sum down and paying in each and every month?
And then maybe holding that very same fund for maybe 10/15 years plus…The only problem wit that i see is how do i then get an income (dividends) to help me live a little better when retired?
Sorry if i sound stupid & a little dumb, i just want to do the right thing, and i have no one else to ask. (Youtube is great but far too much info on there, so confusing. I hear it’s best to go for growth, i hear it’s best to go the dividend way)

Thanks once again, i really do appreciate your replies…

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Hi CeeGee,
Thanks for the reply, i would love to look at the advice you received. Please tag me in.
Thanks very much…

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I mentioned in another thread, how I have chosen individual stocks and how it compares with buying ETF’s. After all of the buying and selling etc, I have come to the conclusion for the general investor you are much better just going with an ETF.
I personally have decided to just take the ETF approach going forward.

You want to choose a company based off of their financials/past performance/market share/advantage etc… you could be 100% correct and all of the stars align, but still lose money due to an exogenous factor affecting the stock. If the company gets hacked is one example, where in the short to medium term this could seriously affect the stock price. But there could be millions of different reasons, it really just gets so difficult for the lay person to analyse everything to the nth degree. Then you have the trouble of worrying if you are over exposed to the market/sector/industry etc - so then you need a good hedge to eliminate this added risk you have taken (because it is there). So then it becomes a full time job, but you can’t pull money out to pay yourself for the time invested as this would hamper your future returns.

So, after a ton of experimenting, just invest passively in ETFs. Pick a nice diverse selection and consistently add more over time, the compounding on your money and reinvestment of dividends will … over time … collectively add up to a nice amount. You will have less risk, but also less returns as you are invested in stocks which underperform as well as overperform.

Stocks is a game of survival, not a game of get rich quick. I feel your chances and odds of survival will be greatly improved taking the ETF approach and I recommend it to everyone, novice or advanced. Take a look at John Bogle, the creator of vanguard - his youtube videos help cement my point a little further.

You’ve worked hard for that cash, don’t gamble it away with the guise of it being investing. :v: Good luck.


Hi. I think you have already had some good advice from @CeeGee, @EquityInvestor and @kali. I’ll chip in,

  • You are doing the right thing by ensuring that you have “bills, debts, etc under control”. I would only ever want to have mortgage debt.

  • It is never too late to start investing. Current thinking is that with increasing life expectancies even a 67 year old retiree who no longer has a salary should, if possible, aim at re-investing part of their income.

  • The stock market has a very high probability of making you good money over any 5 year period, but during that time it can temporarily be down significantly, say 25-30%. You must have enough cash savings that you can live as you wish without selling investments when they are down or when your employment income dries up for a time. So you want to invest money that you can feel comfortable to leave in place during a recession. Of course it is very unpleasant to see one’s savings fall by 25-30% - but if you can wait it out it is only a paper loss. You need to ask yourself if you will be able to handle that psychologically.

  • Short term trading is a zero-sum game. For each person who gained by buying AAPL one week ago, some other person is kicking themselves for having sold just before the stock rose 15%. So ask yourself, “Do I have some edge, insight or skill that means I am more likely to gain that the average person or Wall Street professional?” By comparison, long-term investing is not a zero-sum game because the economy and company profits tend to grow and so all investors can profit.

  • Timing and stock selection. People say that it is hard to outperform the market. I find this comforting because it can be turned on its head to say that it is also hard to underperform the market (except by being stupid: eg trading in and out too much, paying high management or trading fees, forced selling when market drops). It will never to a “very serious mistake” to buy a solid company that you think will still be in business many years ahead. The price is where it is because equal weight of opinion is that the price will move up as that it will move down. So feel reassured that the price is probably fair. One way to identify solid companies is to look at the constituent holdings of successful managed funds, like Fundsmith, or look at the top constituents in each sector of the S&P 500 and then read about them. Maybe you notice something in your daily life (eg all these new fintechs like Revolut, Monzo, Starling need to issue a credit card - step forward Mastercard. My Mastercard investment has done very well.)

  • ETFs vs individual stocks Understand pros and cons and then use both. Probably someone starting out should have mostly ETFs. Some investors like @adm and Boogleheads prefer 100% ETFs. That is fine. But pies make it easy to also take small positions in individual stocks (where fees are less than with ETFs and dividend yields are better because dividends do not suffer from the double taxation that they do in an ETF like VUSA). I now have 10% tracker ETFs, 15% managed funds, 75% individual stocks - but that is just where I have arrived, not a carefully-designed intention (ETFs did not exist when I started investing years ago). Managed funds vs trackers: again, there are arguments for both. Theoretically, trackers will outperform managed funds simply because fees are less. But I have both, and my managed funds (eg SSON) have done a lot better than trackers. Diversification across regions helps reduce volatility, though markets are highly correlated. I follow a regional diversification similar to VWRL in respect to Europe, Japan, Pacific and Emerging Markets (only ETFs), but am overweight in US (stocks and ETFs) and UK (ETFs, managed funds and stocks). Diversification across sectors is also important. Have some technology stocks, some consumer staples, some healthcare, etc. A portfolio of individual stocks will need around 25 to give diversification, whereas you get this easily with an ETF like VUSA or VWRL. I smile at the comment above about not needing to worry specifically about the future of Intel if you own a technology sector ETF (as my 5th largest stock holding is INTC, purchased at $2 per share in 1992). Dividend stocks vs growth stocks: I see no need to prefer one or the other. Just different ways of obtaining income. You can always sell some of your non-dividend-paying growth stock to provide income in retirement. It is nice to see a hefty dividend arrive 4 times a year from IBM, but also nice to see AMZN rising. (Nice story- talking to a friend yesterday. A former Amazon employee, he sold 12,000 AMZN shares in 2001 at $12 and counted himself lucky to have got out when they subsequently dropped to $8. AMZN is now at $3100.)

  • Understand how taxes will affect your investment returns, what you need to report, etc.


Best advice :raised_hands:t2:

I’m so happy with my ETF’s. Some bad days some good days but my lord I don’t need to check them as relentlessly as I felt I did with single stocks. Forever dreading bad news during this pandemic. ETF’s all the way (with a side of oil and gold (And RR :red_car:)

*and a few others I can’t help myself sometimes :woman_facepalming:t2:


I’m glad you think mortgage debt is allowable, I’m trying to get £3.5m of it.


  • 10% FTSE 100
  • 10% FTSE 250
    are overlapping?

No. FTSE 250 contains the next 250 stocks ranking below the top 100. So no overlap.


A FTSE 350 fund would overlap them both, but neither of them overlap the other.

Aviva is well priced good UK.

Rightmove is a stable stock with a strong moat.

Kaz minerals is nearly 40pc up for me, great fundamentals great company.

I’d punt shell, RR, Lloyds and BT contrarian but you’ll make money. Shell will rebound maybe not to it’s old price but it will see an increase, Lloyds, BT minimum when dividends are reintroduced you’ll see a price increase and RR is super cheap and they are striking deals up almost every week at the moment, they will turn around (maybe wait till after September).

I’m not overly keen on tech stocks at the moment, if Joe bloggs down the pub is buying Tesla or Microsoft I’d avoid. Also a lot of these companies are getting too big too quickly, monopoly legislation will come into affect, already did with BT…yet look at the size of Amazon and FB…

Personally I prefer FTSE stocks as it’s easier to understand domestic issues and influence than overseas ones. Admittedly a lot of my FTSE stocks are MNCs but I like the simplicity of not having to worry about currency fluctuations when selling or my dividends getting taxed.

As others have mentioned diversity is key.

@kali I found this a thought-provoking comment and would like to learn more. Could you tell us more about why you say it?

Perhaps this quote from Mohamed El-Erian is relevant? (Apr 17, 2020)

One of major investment recommendation for the past three years was to fade the U.S. equities, because they’ve outperformed the rest of the world by so much, and thus people should move into international and emerging markets. I said over and over again, there’s a reason why you should not do this now. It’s about resilience. The time will come when you should fade U.S. equities in favor of international exposures, but we’re not there yet. I think people are going to realize that investing in less developed areas comes with a host of risks, one of which is less structural resilience.”

Hi @Richard.W
I am going to say Mr El-Erian is more eloquent than myself explained this nicely, and I’ve read similar articles in multitudes of places.

If I wanted to phrase my thought process really crudely, most non-US indices are almost flat since .com era. Since all the shiny and flashy things are happening in US, people naturally invest more in US, and that extra money bestows more money. That attracts more companies to these exchanges which in turn attracts more money, circle of life?

One of my biggest favourites in recent years StoneCO (which I got it by pure luck at $17 just looking at Warren Buffets recent purchases) which is almost 8% of my portfolio. It did its IPO in Nasdaq, so why would I try to buy Sao Paulo 100 (<- Not sure if this index exists)

And like Mr El-Iran says, I am 100% sure there is a golden opportunity to buy EU/Asia-Pacific shares and indices some time in the future. But I gave up trying to time the market a while ago, and I am terrible at it.

While FTSE100 is at its 1999 level in 2020, I cannot in good faith recommend it to someone especially when he says, he is a newbie.

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FTSE 100 has been a disaster. So many people seem to like the Vanguard Lifestrategy 100% equity fund. So, starting from a healthy base of almost 100% US stocks, I have added in other markets to match the weightings of this fund, including the 25% weight that fund has in UK. Suffice it to say I would have been better off ignoring the Lifestrategy weightings and remained 100% US, even with the recent fall of the USD.

I’ve had the opportunity to rebalance this year and am now 80%, 8%, 6%, 3%, 1%, 2%, respectively US, UK, Euro, Japan, Pacific, Emerging markets. I feel like the UK is still too much, but hate realising the losses. My portfolio is extreme compared to VWRL, which is only 55% US. You give me comfort that I can think of the non-US portion as doing the same for me as bonds.

I have often heard that one should invest in home market (UK) “because that is where your liabilities are”. But this makes less and less sense to me. Many of the FTSE 100 companies are international. Can’t see that Unilever is better than P&G just because its shares are priced in GBP.

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