August has arrived and it is time to wrap up the month of July. Although it was a great month I feel a bit disappointed, strange how small things can bring down your mood, isn't it? But let's get into it.

Deposits in July were as follows:
Bondora -10
Envestio 250

So I added 540 to my investments which is about 200 more than in the previous month, but is about average when looking back to the year. 
LHV is my usual 50€ every Tuesday automated transfer and 50€ CrowdEstate is also automated to happen once a month. With Envestio I have had trouble getting money out to projects and the summer has had very few projects there as well. So I had hesitated to add money there, but Jørgen mentioned that there are new projects coming so I added some extra there and got into the Briana projects. So thanks for this, Jørgen!
Bondora is becoming even slower and slower so withdrawing 10€ happened in February, April and now in July. So getting to every 3rd month? That is pathetic. Stay away from them!

Income, let's start on the good stuff, shall we :) 

From best to worst:

Mintos 45,43
CrowdEstate 38,44
EstateGuru 31,92
Envestio 13,91
Grupeer 11,73
Bondora 0,09

So looking generally at the numbers I had a great month, the best of this year
The best income of this month came from the LHV where my VAL Fund (MSCI EMU Value ETF) paid dividends. Without this, it would have been an average month, but well VAL does payout 2 times a year usually so it was expected to come this month.
When not looking at that the other good performers were Grupeer with the best month yet, also Mintos, Envestio and EstateGuru did as expected to look at the monthly averages. So all together the sum was 210,40€ or 6,79 a day.

So why am I not happy? Well, in the last month overview I showed the graph stating that I was expected to get 375€ in dividends in July (most of it delays). And how much did I get? 38,44! So in a broad glance just 10% of it. 
I mean I do realize that projects have delays, I do get it. But one thing that I see is that such issues in EstateGuru, for example, are clearly communicated. Here on some projects, there has been no info, on some they have just rescheduled the payments with no comment on what the issue is. And that makes me frustrated, this being kept in the dark. 

So this was how things looked at the end of July still showing all money as it should come on the last days of the month:
And a few days later they just switched it all to August, so I guess we still have to hope?

 I also took some screen captures on the last day of the month to see who should be paying me some interest or principal. 
So as can be seen quite some projects seem to be in trouble. Looking at the list the only ones who have made (partial) payments are:

Global Nord Timber (V)
USL Invest
Vabaduse 16

So all the others, I am still waiting either on payment or at least an update.

Also, I guess people have been annoyed so they have actually revamped the graphs, so in the new version, there are no bars in the current and future months. I guess it is better not to see the expected income when it month after month does not come?

And one more thing I noticed when logging in just now. The Balozu payment which was shown with a date of 31.07 just a few days ago has now date of 30.06.2019 (so back in JUNE), all others have been moved to current date as is usual in CrowdEstate platform.

I am not sure what to do, as you can see from the screen captures including the principal I was expected to get about 1000€ back to my account and this did not happen. Thinking about stopping my additional payments to the portal to see how this sorts itself out. Not sure yet, and my August payment has already been deposited, but I need to reach a conclusion by September on this.

The portfolio value was 24873,58 on 31.07.2019, which is 620 higher than a month ago. I am getting really close to the 25 000 mark actually, about 10 days before the end of the month I did the calculations and I was just 13 € shy, but then markets dropped and the LHV account value decreased markets, what can you do. I guess in two weeks or so I should be there just based on the additional deposits. 
Just a small heads up to those who are not Grupeer or Mintos users and therefore do not get the newsletter from them. 

First of all, Grupeer has significantly updated auto-invest options. If before your basic options were loan term and the planned interest rate now they have much more possibilities (originator, country, loan and repayment type) including seeing how many current loan deals match the strategy you are setting up. More info on this on their blog, here.
Grupeer also offers 1% cashback on 2 Monify loans until the end of July. These are 12% loans and both have at the moment about 35 000€ still open for investment. And compared to Mintos, for example, Grupeer deposits the cashback instantly, so you can invest it again straight away.
Grupeer also lets us know they are terminating working with Kviku. All investors who have invested in these loans will get the principal back as well as any interest earned at the end of July.

Mintos is also launching cashback campaign on two of their loan originators Kredo and Monego until 26th of July. This cashback is dependant on the length of the loan and can give up to 2% cashback:
* 0.75% for loans with a remaining maturity of up to 90 days;
* 1% for loans with a remaining maturity of 91-180 days;
* 1.5% for loans with a remaining maturity of 181-270 days;
* 2% for loans with a remaining maturity of above 270 days.
It is important to remember that in Mintos you get the cashback only if before investing to the loans you have signed up for the offer! You can enrol in here. But when I looked at the loans in the market there are none at the moment. So I enrolled in the hopes that my auto-invest might pick some of them up, but that is unlikely, as they have troubles with auto-invest being slow to run. So this seems to be an offer for those who have time to check the listings manually to see in any are added or those who just are lucky.

How did July go? Very well, thanks for asking :)

I started writing this post while still near the Black sea but finalized it back in Tallinn. Now I am officially on vacation although the 10-year project proposal still needs some work, so I can not fully switch myself off. 

But how was the month financially?

Deposits were rather small in June:
CrowdEstate 50
Grupeer 100
LHV Growth Account 200 (+12)

As I was travelling so much I did not have time to look at different starting projects so much. This is something I normally do, and if there seems to be something I am interested in I might add extra money there. So this month it was just mostly the automated stuff, every Tuesday 50€ to LHV and at the beginning of the month 50€ to CrowdEstate. Also added 100€ to Grupeer. So all together just 350 added to the investments. Also I usually just reinvest the money I earn but as there is no point in purchasing small amounts of stocks I added the 12 € I got from Madara dividends to my Growth account as well, so I point it out here to make it clear where that money went to.

Income, that was difficult. Several CrowdEstate projects were supposed to pay out on the last day of the month and they did not. There has been no update on why they did not pay (on two projects they added a note that the payment schedule to be updated). So my income I less than expected in there and also due to that the portal now shows that in July my expected income from Crowd should be 375€, my best so far has been around 100€ mark. So if they keep that promise, I can live with the delays. 

Light blue shows the expected principal and the yellow expected interest.
But all in all the income was good, well, the best I have ever had. From best to worst:
Mintos 49,21
EstateGuru 39,23
CrowdEstate 29,02
LHV Growth Account (EXSA) 19,87
Envestio 15,46
Grupeer 6,97
Bondora 0,14

Income for June was 171,90€ which is 5,73 € a day. Most of it was produced by the usual suspects. Mintos had a really good month and 1,69 of it came from cashback (rest is usual interest and late fees). EstateGuru and Envestio also performed well, I already discussed the CrowdEstate above. I also got some dividends from my LHV Growth Account where EXSA (iShares STOXX Europe 600 UCITS ETF) paid out some, and Madara stock also paid dividends this month. So, all in all, it was a great month.

The portfolio value was 24252,72 on 30.06.2019, which is 752 higher than a month ago and is getting really close to the 25 000 € mark. 
LHV bank is a smaller and more investor-friendly bank in the Estonian market. They have a Growth account I have been using for several years now, and now they have added an interesting option...
LHV has decided to cooperate with several alternate sites to show the data in the bank web interface. As a first launch, Coinbase and EstateGuru accounts can be linked with the LHV account and then they will be shown in your bank. I do not use Coinbase but I am EstateGuru user so I decided to try this out.  Adding the account was simple, but at first, I could not do it due to errors, it turned out that ID card support had issues, but smart-ID worked. But basically. you select what you would like to add, log in to the account of the portal and confirm you would like to give LHV viewing rights. That's it. And then you have a nice overview in the bank. Once they add more accounts it will be really useful to see if my money is sitting somewhere uninvested.

Unfortunately, it shows just some rows but in general, it does give a nice overview. They have noted that they plan to add also Bondora and CrowdEstate, I think I saw also someone mention Mintos, but maybe that was someone hoping for Mintos to be added. I hope to get all the larger portals in there and Mintos is large so I hope they are working on it!
It is the middle of June and I have not posted my May portfolio update. What can I say? 
I have been very busy with work as I had 2 very large deadlines just now and also we got positive feedback on a large 10-year project proposal which now needs some work to be resubmitted for funding. I have been abroad twice this month and will be twice more, altogether 3 different countries. Also, I had my monthly hospital visit for IV treatments. So running around and no real time for my investments- they really need to manage themselves, which they luckily do.

So the deposits in May:
CrowdEstate 150
Mintos 300

So I added 650 to investments, which gives me about a 46% savings rate for the month. Not too bad. Money is circulating quite well, Envestio has some money sitting there. Also, CrowdEstate has had several projects I did not invest in as I did not want to add too much new money in as several projects are coming to an end and I wanted to make sure I did not have money just sitting there. But one project was prolonged with no notice to the investors. I find it very irritating that they did not publish any update on the project on this, just updated the payment schedule to October. It was showing that I would be getting over 200€ at the end of the month and suddenly on that day I did not get the money and it was not anymore shown in the Expected next payments part. Shame on you CrowdEstate.
Mintos had the cashback campaign and the only loans I managed to get on this was some manual investing on the first days. My auto-investment portfolio could not get into them (due to changes in Madara auto invest I guess). So I had some money just sitting and then I just activated my usual auto invests again to make sure the money was circulating.

Income was about average, I have been around 125-130 mark the past months. The May income, from best to worst, it is as follows:

CrowdEstate 44,35
Mintos 42,11
EstateGuru 18,21
Envestio 13,21
Grupeer 7,17
Bondora 0,07

Income for May was 125,12 € which is 4,04 a day. 

So the overall this was the second worst month of the year, being significantly better than January, but slightly worse than the other months. The daily rate was also on the level of fourth out of five months so far. At the same time, the monthly income was 25€ better than the last years average, so it all depends on what you compare it to. There are clear improvements in the long term but in the short term, there is a lot of fluctuations. As you can see from the graph June is usually a really good month for me and July was also great last year so hoping for things to pick up some.

The portfolio value was 23499,99 on 31.05.2019, which is 680 higher than a month ago. It could be a bit better but the stock market has been down.
On the 29th of May, the Madara Annual General Meeting of Shareholders decided to pay out dividends of 12 cents per share. It was decided that the dividend ex-date is June 10, 2019, and that the dividend will be paid out on June 12, 2019.

The dividend info was also publicised as a separate post on the 30th of May. All Madara cosmetics announcements can be found here

As I own 100 shares I got 12 € as dividends. As Madara is a young growing company they do not pay too large dividends so compared to the purchase price it was just 1,6% for me. 
As is usual in dividend times the stock price first rose after the announcement (even to 8€) and then after the ex-date also dropped to 7,40€. As we can see the market overreacts as the price drop was far larger than the dividend amount. For me, the current price is still above what I paid when I purchased Madara so rather happy with the dividend as well as the cosmetics samples I get twice a year as a stockholder. If you do not know what I am talking about I have written about it several times but the main idea how to be part of this offer can be read about here and here
As I wrote at the beginning of the year I had 3 goals for 2019. And one of them was not so much about taking action but it was about a big milestone and mental change as well. It was paying off the student loan. An Estonian student loan is about 6% interest rate, so no great 2% loans as in States... But many of us needed to take these loans out, and I needed as well. Most years I did not take out the maximum sum, and I think that one year I did not take out any, but I was 6 years in university and I had more than 6000€ student loan. And the payment plan was 10 years. 
And May 2019 was the last payment. So finally I am totally debt free! And this means I have extra 70€ every month to put towards investments or maybe just spend... It is my money to do what I want. But the feeling of having no such obligations is so freeing :)
Mintos sent out informational emails yesterday and today. So if you are not a user yet, but have been thinking about it maybe this is interesting information for you:

  • Kredo loan portal on Mintos is offering 2% cashback
    on loans with a duration 13 months or longer. Offer is valid until 3rd of June. To qualify for the offer you need to enrol to the offer, you can find the link after you have logged in, in the top right when you click on your name the dropdown menu link "offers" there you need to enrol. This offer is not valid if you do not enrol to this offer. And of course, you need to invest then also to their loans to get the cashback. 
    When I looked around I saw that they offer only loans that come with a buyback guarantee and seem all to be with 13% interest rate, so with cashback that becomes 15% loans, and you will get the cashback almost instantly. At least previously they have paid cashback offers to the account about once a week, so you can actually reinvest the cashback money and get more cash back. So instant money. 
    Kredo is one of the lower rating portals in Mintos with C+ rating, so be cautious, and think on risks as well. I personally will try this offer with some of my circulating money in Mintos. I put in some money what was sitting on my account (auto invest seems to have trouble getting money out although there are loans suitable for the auto invest). I hope this was a wise decision. 
    Also if you invest using this offer note that in first page this income is shown under campaign rewards but for some reason in accouns statement view (if I remember correctly) it is shown under deposits.
  • Today's news was that the average interest rate in Mintos has grown to 13%. They have even loans with 19% interest, many loan portals, many countries and loan types- so something for everyone.
    I personally have seen a drop in my average, which has been dropping and is currently at 12,40%. Maybe I am more cautious than the average investor, preferring buyback guarantee, higher rated loan portals and diversification between portals. But as you did see from the previous point I do take some challenges as well. You win some, you lose some.

Still, Mintos is one of the best portals I am using and I think it is a great way to start if you have been thinking about getting into P2P investing.
And suddenly one-third of a year has passed. It has felt rather slow but now looking back - it has gone so quickly. And to be honest I am a bit worried, worried about my yearly goals. Getting a 25 000 portfolio should not be a problem as I have deposited quite a lot of additional money but the income... income does not want to increase and to get 1800€ income I need about 150€ a month. And this does not seem to be happening. June and July should be rather good months in CrowdEstate, so maybe that would help. I have thought of adding more money but even if I add 1000€ and get let's say 12% in the 8 months left of this year, that is just additional 80€. That would not help much and would mean taking money from the snowydayfund...

But let's keep the post manageable and not tooo long. How was April, was it better than March?

Looking at the deposits, I deposited in almost all the portals this month. So from smallest to largest, it looked like this:

Envestio 300
So all together 890€ of additional money will be circulating in different portals. Envestio is the only one where I still have a problem getting into new loans as I can not invest from my mobile phone any more and sometimes when I get to the computer the new project is fully financed. Well not exactly, I have noticed several times that when logging into Mintos 50-150€ has been just sitting there although there have been many loans that would actually qualify for my auto invest strategies. Every time I have invested the money manually as I do not want the money to stay idle. It needs to work :)
2 sites seem to have problems at the moment, one with not enough projects coming in, and the other with running the portal efficiently.

But on to the April income, from best to worst it is as follows:
Mintos 39,34
CrowdEstate 38,58
EstateGuru 28,12
Grupeer 5,58
Bondora 0,09

Income for April was 129,05 € which is 4,30 a day. 
So the overall monthly income is just 1€ more than last month but as the month was one day shorter the daily rate was much better compared to March (4,13 vs 4,30).
The first time this year Mintos outperformed CrowdEstate for me. This has happened in 2018 as well as CrowdEstate is variable and Mintos is rather stable.  Both CrowdEstate and EstateGuru have some loans which are in debt to me. CrowdEstate has one main culprit the MMMSprattus, and two which are just one day late and this might be just a weekend effect that money has not come through yet. EstateGuru is more complicated, there 5 loans are in default and 3 more 60+ days late. So out of 57 loans, this is more than 10%.
We will see what May brings. I would guess everything else to be stable and LHV getting nothing as my ETFs so not usually pay out in May (expect something in June from EXSA and a bigger payout in July from VAL). Need to hope for some solutions to the late loans in the portals... Maybe hope will not be enough.

The portfolio value was 22818,72 on 30.04.2019, which is 904 higher than a month ago which quite well agrees with the larger deposits of the April. 

But how to boost the monthly income? Hope that portals like CrowdEstate and EstateGuru will cover it? Add more money to high-interest risky portals? Add more money to less risky places? Not sure. What would you do?
I have been thinking about the costs of investing in my LHV Growth Account
There are many costs associated with this account. There is a monthly fee of 0,05% starting from the second year and there is also a 1% fee for purchases. Also selling ETFs is rather expensive with an 11€ fee + 0,3% per instrument, and LHV funds charge 1% of sales fee (not sure if this also includes the 11€ or not). Why I use it? Well, it is still the cheapest option offered here in Estonia, also due to the tax law I can postpone income tax on this account. In the future, I might also look into Interactive Broker or other options but at the moment I am using the LHV Growth Account.
But I had one more cost associated with this account. One of the ETFs I was using was an IEMM (Emerging market companies - iShares MSCI EM UCITS). And although they tell you the fund is operated in euro, they lie! So every time I bought my funds or every time I received dividends - it happened in USD. And every time I had to pay for the currency exchange for this. I decided to end this extra cost. So first I stopped buying this fund, and then I waited for the fund to go up enough that I could sell it without losses. So I had 32,149 shares of it and my personal purchase price had been 35,63€ (so 1145,47€ invested) and I sold at the price of 36,664€ (1178,71€) and paid 14,54 as a fee. So I sold with a tiny margin and was rather happy as the fund had been rather volatile. Of course, since then it has gone up being over 37,40€ at the moment, but you win some you lose some. At least now all my ETFs are traded in euro and I have therefore limited somewhat my monthly costs on the account.
As I mentioned in my previous post I do not get a tax refund but many people do. Either they are perhaps too cautious on the tax calculations month to month or perhaps they have several tax write off options which give them a refund. 
So what to do with the refund?
First of all, it is important to remember that this is not a windfall. It is your hard earned money and as such this should not just be spent on random things so that in a months time you have no idea where it went. So here are some great ideas on what to do with it. I have tried to order them more or less in the order of importance. I think the first three should be clear priorities if you have not done those previously.

  • Start or top up the emergency fund. Having an emergency fund is something everyone should have so that if something happens you would not need to take out (credit card) loans. So it is extra money you do not use for daily living expenses but is there for cases like your car breaking down or you losing ypur job etc. I have written a longer post on it here. If your emergency fund covers currently less than 6 months living expenses I would suggest you use the money to top this up.
  • Pay off debt. This is a rather individual topic as people deal differently with the dept. I would say that paying off any debt which is more than 4-5% interest should be a priority. So any credit card debt, consumer loans, car loans etc. As the interest rate is higher than the general inflation any debt you pay off will save you money in the long run and the more you are able to pay off the principal balance, the less you need to pay in interest. If you have a low-interest mortgage loan perhaps this is not a priority. But it also depends on your personal preference. Although many mortgage loans are similar interest rate to inflation and perhaps paying them off is not financially best idea (instead of that paying the monthly dues and investing the extra money might be the financially better plan) I personally hate the feeling of owing money and I would sleep better with less money owed.
  • Start investing/invest the money. If you already invest- great add the money to an investment portfolio. If you are not yet investing, start now. This is money you in all likelihood did not miss from your monthly budget so it is perfect for a first investment. If you do not know where to start I would look into ETFs (I use LHV Growth Account service) or if you are more adventurous and would like to try p2p investing them perhaps Mintos is a great place to start (look for payback guarantee loans).
  • Make one time purchases. I think we all have some things in our lives which would need some upgrade. And I do mean needs, not just wants. So think about it. Perhaps your home would really need some repair work or your car should go to the mechanic? When was the last time you went to the dentist? Do you know which money you will use to buy wood for next winter heating? Thinking of these larger costly things is important and if you keep an eye on these things they will not surprise you in the most inopportune moment. Also if you perhaps have been saving up for some larger project such as a new roof then add this money to the cause.
    As I stressed - think of one time purchases. I think it is important not to spend this money on any type of subscription service, be it TV, monthly boxes, gym membership or something else. This money should not be the easy entry into additional monthly costs for the rest of a year. Unless...
  • Becoming smarter. Investing in yourself is also important life goal and this can both improve the mindset and your earnings. So the only subscription type service this money perhaps could go to, is a bigger down payment on a course you have been meaning to take or a subscription to an educational book service etc. I personally use the Äripäeva raamatuklubi, which is a service offering 1 or 2 books a month on financial and business topics. As I can decline any book I am not interested in (I do it most months) and the books I do want are cheaper than in stores, I feel OK to use this service. This service does not cost anything to enter so tax refund does not really play a role here but I thought of mentioning the service as it might be interesting to my Estonian readers. But a university course, language course, online courses- there are many options and if you have been meaning to take this step this is a great time to start a course you are interested in.
  • Donate. I think in the times where you are doing all right, it is important to look also to those less fortunate than you. So using perhaps part of this money to a cause you believe in, is a great way to spend it. Everyone is passionate about different things, I tend to give to animals. I have for many years adopted different Tallinn zoo animals with my friends as a group effort. I have given to animal shelters and I also have an adopted saiga antelope somewhere in Mongolia and my mom has an adopted sea turtle. Maybe you give to a women's shelter or to people with disabilities or disease research, any cause you believe in is important.
    One organisation I would like to point out to you is KIVA. Technically it is not donation... Kiva allows you to lend money to people in need in different countries of the world. The money is usually spent to set up some kind of business on the local scale. So there is a possibility of profit for the person getting the money and this profit is used to pay back the loan. The loans are with no interest, so it is an easy way to make someones world a better place and when you get back the money perhaps to lend it to the next person. On the site, you can select the person you lend to based on location, goal etc and you see the person asking for the money. So it is a personal experience and you can choose a topic you care about (water security, refugee, single parent, arts, schooling etc). If nothing else, just look at the site and perhaps help out someone, the minimum loan is 25$.
  • Spending on time with your family. Although I do not feel using this money on a vacation or such one-time costly event is a good idea there are some things that can seem costly but bring a lot of joy to the family. I personally love different types of board games with friends or family. And some more elaborate games cost around of 80-100€. This is a lot of money for "just" a game. But if you do the research on what game to get and think about how many cosy evenings you will spend playing it- it is one of the best ways to spend money. I personally do not enjoy too complicated games but I do not mind if they take a lot of time to play. So things like Bohnansa, Carcassone, The Great Dinosaur Rush, Mexican Train, Forbidden Desert, Discworld, Organ Attack, Citadels, Cards Against Humanity, Fluxx are some of my favourites... I mean there are so many good ones and selecting something for your needs can guarantee great evenings for years to come. 

As you can see this is not a list where you need to select just one thing. If your refund is a bit bigger perhaps using 5-10% of it on just buying something you want is a great idea, and then using 50% on debt payoff and maybe some for the home and maybe donating a bit is a great balance for you? Maybe putting all of it into the emergency fund is the best solution for you? 
I can not tell what is the right answer, but I hope you will think about it and will not just mindlessly spend it on things you will not able to remember what they were in few months time.
Also if the money is in the main account you use day-to-day it is easy to spend it without meaning to. So if you have not yet decided what to do with it, put it on a savings account or a secondary account until you decide- this really helps :)