$10,000 Beat-the-Benchmark Speculative Portfolio Update – January 2013

Here’s another piece of the monthly update for my Beat the Market Experiment, a set of three portfolios started on November 1st, 2012:

  1. $10,000 Passive Benchmark Portfolio that would serve as both a performance benchmark and an real-world, low-cost portfolio that would be easy to replicate and maintain for DIY investors.
  2. $10,000 Beat-the-Benchmark Speculative Portfolio that would simply represent the attempts of an “average guy” who is not a financial professional and gets his news from mainstream sources to get the best overall returns possible.
  3. $10,000 Consumer Loan Speculative Portfolio – Split evenly between LendingClub and Prosper, this portfolio is designed to test out the alternative investment of peer-to-peer loans. The goal is again to beat the benchmark by setting a target return of 8-10% net of defaults.

$10,000 Beat-the-Benchmark Speculative Portfolio as of January 1, 2013. Many people speculate with their money, buying and selling stocks now and then, but they rarely track their performance even though they may brag about their winners. Honest tracking is the primary reason for this “no-rules, just make money” account. I am using a TradeKing account for this portfolio as I’ve had an account with them for a while and am comfortable with their simple $4.95 trade structure and free tax-management gain/loss software. Here is a screenshot taken from my TradeKing home page as of market close 12/31/12:

(click to enlarge)

Snoozefest… nothing new since last month. You can see the cost basis and rationales for my current holdings in the December 2012 update. With an infant, the holidays were a crazy, hectic blur and I didn’t get around to making any trades. I do have some short ideas floating around that I may try out this month, or I may use options instead. A small note that the cash balance was inflated by $200 due to referral bonuses finally being credited from months and months ago, but I will withdraw it and won’t include it in calculating returns.

Here’s a pie chart of my holdings, tracked with a simple Google Docs spreadsheet (2nd tab):

Total value of stocks $7,477.49
Cash balance: $2541.71
Total portfolio value: $10,019.20
Total return since inception (11/1/12): 0.2%


  1. Perhaps you should buy gold (GLD) in this portfolio. Having a speculative portfolio with 25% cash doesn’t feel very speculative. Or at least put the cash in a bond fund ETF (HYG, JNK, LQD, MUB, depending on risk).

  2. No offense, but this is the most boring speculative portfolio I’ve ever seen. Cash, a mutual fund, and a gigantic corporation? Throw in some penny stocks, options, or netflix 🙂

    Seriously, I love the idea of this competition between the 3 portfolios.

  3. AAPL isn’t really all that “speculative”. You could still pick a big company though. I’d avoid penny stocks. Me for example. I picked up BAC as a speculative pick.

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