Why I Don’t Share My Portfolio
A couple of weeks ago I wrote a guest post called The Magic Dividend Cocktail for DividendGrowthInvestor. If you’re at all interested in dividend growth investing, you might want to check-out that guest post! It was a fun one to write.
The post seemed pretty successful, and I got a whole gaggle of brand new visitors here at Mr. Tako Escapes… and all these new folks were asking questions! The most common question was: “Where can I find your portfolio?”
I must have been asked that question a dozen times!
No Time To Answer!
Right now the family is super busy packing for our big trip to Japan. We leave in just a couple days. Besides packing the bags, we’ve had to do a lot of prep work like — prepaying all of our bills, getting an international driver’s license, finishing another guest post for Mr. 1500, putting a hold on our mail, and cleaning up the yard & garden for fall.
It’s been a big rush to get everything done, and I have to apologize for not having the time to reply to everyone. Sorry!
Instead of trying to reply to everyone separately, I’ve decided to write a post to answer this big question… hopefully once and for all.
1. I’m Not A Financial Advisor
Nor do I want anyone thinking I’m a financial advisor. In the United States, financial advice is a very regulated industry. All individuals providing financial advice must be registered and licensed. Those that hold these licenses must uphold a certain fiduciary standard and must comply with laws around selling investment advice.
While I talk about stocks all the time on, I don’t plan on “selling” investment advice. It’s an industry that seems pretty dishonest to me (or at least very deceptive), and I’d rather avoid that. Reputation and integrity is everything.
I blog mainly for the fun of it, not because I’m looking to profit by selling the stock recommendations. I blog about investing because I find investing and finance fascinating. That, and I want to help people learn about it (especially my kids).
I love having the freedom to explore different investing ideas on a whim. If I was to start “selling something”, this blog would quickly become a J.O.B.
I’ve had a few of those — jobs aren’t that fun.
This is exactly why you don’t see me shilling for Personal Capital like so many other personal finance blogs. I’m far happier writing a blog about whatever the hell I want instead of what sells the most Personal Capital sign-ups.
2. I Don’t Want To Get Sued
Yes, it’s possible someone could sue me. Compare to most bloggers, I run a highly concentrated portfolio which is a mix of index funds, individual stocks, and preferred shares. Doing this is considered “risky” according to standard investment advice. (I happen to believe it’s actually less risky, but that’s a post for another time)
Maybe I’m a little paranoid, but I want to avoid any lawsuits from people claiming I lost them money after “recommending” a portfolio of stocks. Publishing a portfolio could be construed as a recommendation, and it seems safer to avoid that. The website does have a Disclaimer page that’s supposed to eliminate a lot of that nonsense, but I don’t really want to have to test it.
Frankly, I’ve been through a couple of lawsuits already, and they’re a huge pain in the ass. Regardless of what’s involved, it’s always the lawyers make out best in lawsuits.
3. It’s Already Possible To Figure Out…
Yes, it’s true! Long-time readers should already know (roughly) what’s in our portfolio — I talk about it in bits and pieces all the time. For example. once a month in my Dividend Income and Expense Reports I write about what I bought or sold that month. At the end of the year I also publish an annual net worth post (2015 is here, and 2016 is here).
Occasionally I’ll even do a more detailed analysis about a new investment idea I’m excited about.
I realize this isn’t exactly the detailed listing that people want, but if you’re a frequent reader of this site you can easily figure it out.
What About A Non-Public Release?
Certain people have also emailed me asking if I’d release my portfolio privately — perhaps only to a select group of people interested.
This is an interesting idea — What if I sent out a portfolio listing only to an email list or similar small group? Assuming I could wrap the details in enough legalese to protect myself, is this something that would interest people?
I’m curious to know what my readers think about this topic, so please comment below and let me know what you think!
37 thoughts on “Why I Don’t Share My Portfolio”
You are not alone in wanting to avoid lawsuits. If I’m mistreated or wronged in any way, I’d need to sue the person that did that. But in general, I just want to stay out of trouble and don’t want to get involved in any legal issues.
I’m sorry to hear that you have gone through a couple of lawsuits. It must have been emotionally and physically draining. Better safe than sorry!
Thanks Ms. FAF! It created a lot of stress, but the pocketbook draining is what bothered me the most…. lawyers are really expensive!
Lawsuits are quite exhausting. As an MD I have seen one before…while it did not drain my pocket book it wiped me out emotionally and made me less excited about doing what I trained to do….
I share my portfolio, kind of…I have a widget on the side that says what one of my investment accounts looks like. As for advice, I just say to invest in index funds…no specific stocks.
Do you need an international license to drive abroad? I just always did it with my state license…
Lawyers: can’t live with them. Can’t live without them.
This post got me thinking about my own dividend portfolio sharing! I don’t include my whole portfolio though. I wonder if there have been any instances of lawsuits for people following bloggers portfolios?
Also sorry to hear you’ve been involved with litigation in the past- that sounds like a PITA and understandable why you wouldn’t want to go through that again!
Hope you have a lovely time in Japan!! Can’t wait to see all the food pictures!
GYM recently posted…Norbert Gambit: How to Convert CAD to USD in Questrade for $6
I’d be interested unseeing the portfolio for thins to consider
I want a blog post about the lawsuits – that sounds like a great cautionary tale!
I’d hold back on sharing your portfolio, even privately. You lay our your investment philosophy well, and I don’t know that there’s super proprietary research at work – just a good strategy, well executed. That should be enough for folks sophisticated enough to invest in individual stocks. The folks who aren’t sophisticated enough to invest in individual stocks might view you as a Tako index fund, which is exactly what you need to avoid.
Have a great trip to Japan, and take lots of pictures!
Paul recently posted…There Are No Plans for Your Museum
This is a great reminder, Mr. Tako. A lot of us bloggers in the FI community (myself including) want to share what we’ve learned to help our readers grow. In today’s sue-happy society though that can easily get us in trouble. We walk a fine line of sharing what we’ve learned so others can make informed decisions versus readers taking it as no-questions-asked, just-do-it advice.
Have a great trip to Japan!!
Jim @ Route To Retire recently posted…Backpacking Trip… Cross It Off the Bucket List!
Dear Mr Tako,
I’m always interested in reading about what investments people own and for what reasons. However, even if you don’t share (for whatever reason), you have a lot more to offer and I will continue to follow your blog.
I read your guest post and have a question about Buybacks. I’ve read that they’re good and that they’re bad. Care to write more in depth about them and/or have any posts/articles that you could share? I’m a dividend investor myself and would like to know if it’s something that I need to research or not. P.S. I’m long and heavy (?) on Telus (and BCE) so I hope you’re wrong about the future of their dividends 🙂 I’m also Canadian if that has anything to do with the price of eggs.
I hope that your trip is a huge success and that you’ll share your experiences with us when you get back so that we can live vicariously through you.
I’m not sure about the price of your eggs, but I’ll write-up a post about buybacks sometime. I’ll put it in my queue.
My intent is to try to blog from Japan, but there’s going to be time zone differences and some significant disruption. I’ll try to keep things going regardless.
Thanks for your consideration, I look forward to reading your buyback post and will be more than willing to wait. Enjoy!
I think it is sad that your fear of being sued causes you not to share information. It is a sad commentary on our society and an sad statement on how you have been affected.
Personally, I think a standard disclaimer would be sufficient. You don’t mention consulting an attorney on the subject. I wonder what a legal opinion would be.
Warren Buffett (through Berkshire Hathaway 10k filings) lists his significant holdings (on a lag basis) and people are very open about attempting to mimic his portfolio. Why don’t you list your holdings on a one year lag basis?
I have never purchased a stock or mutual fund based on a single blog entry or article. However, I have become aware of companies, mutual funds, ETFs, tax saving maneuvers, trading strategies, etc. from a single blog entry or article which I have subsequently researched and transacted. I became aware of Backdoor Roth IRA conversions and covered call options through blog articles. I invested with two P2RE companies which I became aware of from investment sites and blog articles.
I enjoy your blog so will continue to read it in any case. I also enjoy investing and looking for what I consider undervalued company. I would be interested in seeing your portfolio because it would give me a list of potential investments to investigate on my side. So yes, if you ever decide to send it privately I would want to receive it.
Have a nice trip in Japan!
Hey, a portfolio is a personal thing that you don’t have to share, after all. It’s helpful for people to see, though, particularly if they’re trying to understand investing. Just cover your ass with a nice disclaimer lol!
Yeah, I hope that’s enough!
Good reasons for sure. I publish what we own but not amount of shares. You’ll notice in our dividend reports we don’t disclose how much we get for each stock. It’s just trying to have some privacy.
That’s a good tip Tawcan! Thanks!
I would definitely sign up for your email list if you went into more depth on your investments.
I think you are too afraid of lawsuits stemming from blog posts. A short disclaimer on the applicable pages should cover you. On the other hand, sending this information directly to users smells a lot more like financial advice that could be actionable. So I think you have it backwards.
** This is not intended, nor should it be construed, to be legal advice. 🙂
Like I said, maybe I’m being paranoid… People still sue each other out there in eastern Washington, right?
I would be interested to know what you hold in your portfolio. With dividend investing, true gains come with a long investment horizon but it would be useful to see what sort of companies you thought were worthwhile when you did buy them.
There is a lot to do before taking off for a long trip. At least you don’t have pets! Enjoy the beautiful Japanese maples in temple/shrine gardens – I’m envious!
Ultimately, it is up to you and what you’re comfortable with. You can still be a successful PF blogger without detailing every single detail. We do on our website, but that was our personal choice. Can’t blame someone from wanting privacy or peace of mind.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts/opinion about this. Interesting to hear about the other side of the equation.
I happen to run a concentrated portfolio and I am pretty convinced that the risk associated with a concentrated portfolio is contrary to what people think it is. I will be happy to read about what you think of the risks of such portfolio.
Similar to you, I have no detailed portfolio up on my page. I post my bottom line number monthly and detail all buy/sell transactions so a determined reader could piece most of it together.
Also, I am human or cephalopod and have checked the appropriate box.
Financial Velociraptor recently posted…Stopped out General Motors (GM)
I think you should do what you are comfortable with. I admire some of the bloggers out there who seem very comfortable with sharing all the details of their portfolio, I am not sure I will get there. But if you ever share yours, I will be one of the first to go check it out.
I’ve been reading your blog for about a year, and this is my first comment.
I am interested in receiving details on the holdings in your portfolio. Please feel free to wrap it in all the legalese you need; I’ll even sign a waiver indicating that I do not and will not hold you responsible for anything.
The way I see it, having information about your portfolio would be informative and educational. I certainly won’t consider it to be a recipe for how to model my own portfolio. For example, I read MMM and 1500 Days, and I learn from what they write about their specific investments. I don’t try to mimic their portfolios. (My net worth is near Mr. 1500’s, but my holdings are very different.)
I hope you and your family have a great time in Japan! Looking forward to reading about your adventures.
Hi Mr Tako,
I am glad I was able to send some readers your way. You have a very unique and intriguing writing style, so it was my pleasure to have you guest post over at DGI. And if you ever want to do it again, please do so!
On a side note, if you are afraid of being sued, aren’t you afraid that posting your high net worth numbers may actually attract someone to launch legal action against you? I personally think that having your assets protected in retirement accounts and trusts ( at a certain level) is definitely the smart way to protect assets. Also, helpful to keep a low profile ( aka stealth wealth) and not share much.
My view is that as a blogger your (our?) job is to educate people not to have people replicate what you are doing. Its the whole give a person a fish or teach them to fish scenario.
I’d be interested in knowing what the Well Known Energy Company is
I’ll think about it!
Seriously, I’d be interested in seeing it and your portfolio, but it’s a personal choice. I’m a relatively new reader. I understand what you’re saying about lots of information in older posts, but that’s a lot to dig through. Do you have them organizedized or tagged in a way that makes it easier to see them?
Man alive. It’s a discomforting thought one could be sued for saying ‘here is what I bought at the market today (or last year)’. Imagine getting sued by someone with a nut allergy because as you walk out of Costco they see you with a bag of cashews and feel you displaying your new purchase is a recommendation/advertisement to buy some – so they do and have an anaphylactic shock.
When it comes to losing money, people can and will sue for almost any possible reason.
I understand your apprehension but I would very much be interested in seeing your portfolio. I kind of like the idea of lag and maybe skip the amounts you own as mentioned above.
It does kind of remind me of something I learned in the Founder Institute(a international start up ‘school’ for tech entrepreneurs) that all ideas are known…it is execution that counts.
I think a well-written disclaimer should be fine.
Yikes, I didn’t know lawsuits over sharing a portfolio is anything but laughable. I guess I can’t write that post then.. ;(
Have a nice trip to Nippon!
I would think for someone to sue they would have to convince a judge that you were telling the world that Stock xyz is the hottest stock and will make them lots of money.
But with today’s money grubbing lawyers and judges they would probably find a way to say you did even if you didn’t lol
When I post a buy I generally post a disclaimer. Of course I make the decisions to buy and sell myself. A lot of people sold part of there positions in Apple when it run up earlier not me as I want the position to grow some more and it’s all organic. Like that all organic apples. Lol
Of course if I see people buying a stock I will look to see if I want it but it has nothing to do with those that bought it. If I like it I buy it if not I don’t. Of course it’s mainly just looking now because of a truck expense awhile ago still saving up from that.
Do what you feel comfortable doing.
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In my country it is forbidden or maintain to create web pages without full name , full adress, otherwise you can be fined or accused by law suits. That’s why I had to close my blog some years ago. Sad about.