My Investment Portfolio

My Investment Portfolio

The Green Swan eBook

Hello again, folks!  Welcome to The Green Swan.  Before I get to today’s post, My Investment Portfolio, I have a big announcement to share.  The Green Swan eBook is published and available for sale!  The Green Swan eBook is over 30,000 words, 82 pages on normal 8.5 x 11 paper, and over a year in the making to help you get on the path toward financial independence!  To find out more, visit The Green Swan eBook page.

My Investment Portfolio

Today’s post is a follow up to my recent post, Invest to Win. In that post we dove into why I felt comfortable with an all stock portfolio. Today’s follow up, My Investment Portfolio, will go into the composition of my actual investment selections and why I’ve structured it the way I have. I will lay out my key investment principles, as well as take a trip to the confessional as I don’t always practice what I preach…

Note that today’s article was the result of reader inquiry so I appreciate the comments! Keep them coming!

My Portfolio

First, let me hit you with some truth! Here are my current investments and corresponding percent weights of my entire portfolio.

My Investment Portfolio

I take a relatively hands off approach to investing. I track my performance closely, but I don’t dig in and do a lot of deep research on the front end or scour reports to determine the best stocks or funds to invest in. I’ve come to appreciate the value of index funds in recent years and how they tend to outperform actively managed funds over the long term. Lately I have been putting all new investments into index funds which has helped reduce the total percent of my portfolio in actively managed funds.

By taking a more hands off approach, I can still get strong returns in line with the overall market performance while being able to focus more of my free time on other things such as my job, my family and social life, and lately more on the blog…

Principles of My Investment Portfolio

Index Funds

Index funds are widely popular and brought to prominence primarily by Vanguard. They are fairly easy to understand as well. They are known for being low cost investments that track specific indexes very closely, such as the S&P 500, Asian and European exchanges, etc. There is basically an index for every type of investment you would be interested in which makes it very easy to widely diversify your investments by owning only a handful of index funds.

Why I like Index Funds:

  • You can pick just 3 or 4 funds and be fairly well diversified by:
    • Company (no individual company representing a large percent of your holdings)
    • Company Size (i.e. large and small cap companies)
    • Geography (i.e. domestic, international, and emerging markets, etc)
  • Low cost of ownership (i.e. minimal administrative fees)
  • Performance will track more closely to the overall market and the index it is specifically tied to


  • You are completely along for the ride, if markets begin to drop you can expect your performance to drop equally
  • Equal weighting to the index makes it practically impossible to generate outsized returns

My Investment Portfolio

Actively Managed Funds

Actively managed funds do provide a purpose too. By definition, these funds have a team of managers that are hired (and paid by your administrative fees) to hand pick a wide variety of investments that match the funds target (as detailed in its prospectus—oooohhh big investment words, sorry ignore that). In theory, the active managers are more in tune with the market and various individual companies and can identify the winners and losers. Where I see this being a particular advantage is in certain sectors that are more risky or require more research, such as small cap companies, international and emerging markets.

The universe of small cap companies is vast, so active managers who dig through and research can identify and invest in the presumed winners, rather than buying in index fund which will invest in the entire universe of small cap companies. Similarly with emerging markets, where there is not a lot of publicly available information on companies, mutual fund managers who know the markets closely and have performed significant research can pay off with outsized returns.

Of course, sometimes their bets are wrong, but in theory, their bets should be right more often than not.

The other primary situation where actively managed funds can generate returns better than the overall market is in times of economic duress. Again, in theory, active management can take a proactive approach when the market starts going sideways or begins to decline by moving more of your investments into cash and thereby shielding it from the market declines.

These are the primary benefits that I see for actively managed funds. It of course takes more time and research to find good actively managed funds, or the best funds to suit your needs, as well as more closely monitoring of its performance on an ongoing basis.

Why I Own Some Actively Managed Funds:

  • To capitalize on potential outsized performance they should produce, especially in small cap and international markets
  • My H.S.A. is in active funds because of a lack of options, unfortunately


  • Greater administrative fees than index funds
  • Increased level of research and monitoring required by me
  • More volatile earnings (i.e. some years you may vastly outperform the market, others you may vastly underperform)

My Investment Portfolio

Individual Company Stock

Lastly, another option for owning publicly traded equity is simply buying directly into a company’s stock.

Why I Don’t Buy Individual Stocks:

To appropriately diversify your risk for any one particular company, it would require buying 20-30 individual companies (in my view anyway). The downside to this is:

  • Far too much research required for me to pick and own just 20-30 companies
  • Greater transaction fees having to buy into that many companies rather than just a few mutual funds
  • Harder to diversify appropriately by sector (i.e. energy, finance, technology, etc) as well as geography and company size

“Hey, Green Swan, don’t you realize 12% of your portfolio is held in one company, your employer no less! Talk about risk!” – Peanut Gallery

That is true, so I probably need to explain why I don’t practice what I preach. Time to head to the confessional…

First of all, remember that I am a banker. And bank stocks hit it hard during the crisis. Remember the whole fear that the federal government was going to nationalize the banks. Yeah, that killed the stock price. In general, it drove bank stocks to very low lows, irrationally low. How many more times can I say low…? The markets were in chaos and acting very, very irrational. Bank stocks were low…

So being acutely aware of what was happening to bank stocks, I took a very calculated risk and put a whole lot of my 401k into my employer’s stock. Very risky bet at the time, but it paid off handsomely. There was a lot of upside to bank stocks at that time and I rode the wave for a good couple years. This year, that stock has taken a hit (all banks have), but I see even more upside as interest rates begin to rise in the future.

I want to continue to diversify out of my employer’s stock which I have done so successfully in recent years. A few years ago, it accounted for almost 20% of my portfolio, so getting it down to close to 10% has been good. My plan is to continue to sell out of it opportunistically, with no defined date of being completely out. But hopefully it is down to 5% of my portfolio or less in the next year or two.

My Investment Portfolio

Small Business Ownership

There is one last way of owning equity, albeit private companies (not publicly traded equity). This is rarely an option for most investors, but where you often see it is in family owned businesses, or if you yourself are an entrepreneur and own your own company. This can be very risky, but at the same time provide very handsome returns.

Let me explain one option that I’ve always been open to considering. There are small business brokers that coordinate the sale and purchase of small businesses. For example, think of the family owned business where the owner is ready to cash out and retire, that would be a business sold via a small business broker. There are countless other reasons a business may be put up for sale. Some of the large brokers are Sunbelt Brokers, BizBuySell, Viking, and many other local and regional brokers and they can be found online.Generally speaking, because of the risk profile, you can buy small businesses for reasonable prices. The problem is then you’d either have to manage it or hire someone else qualified to do so. In my view, it would take very special circumstances for an investment in a small business to be feasible, but they do provide attractive returns!

So it is time to head to the confessional again…

An opportunity for me to be involved in a small business has recently presented itself and my three other siblings. We plan on going in on a business together which will be run and managed by two of my siblings. This will require a sizeable, six-figure, investment on my part which I will be funding by liquidating a portion of my taxable brokerage account.

Trust me, there will be much more to come on the small business front and you can expect more detail in a forthcoming post. But having to liquidate a decent part of my portfolio will require a significant overhaul of my broader asset allocation to make sure everything is still in line. I will likely provide a forthcoming post on this update as well, once the transaction is complete which will likely be in August.


While I’ve laid out some of my key investment principles above, as you can see I don’t always practice what I preach. You can also see that I maintain a relatively risky portfolio, especially with the new and relatively risky small business investment I will be making. But my comfort in maintaining such a portfolio is because I am still young at age 30, earning a good income and I have a lot of working years left ahead of me.

Note: I use Personal Capital to manage and track my investment accounts and allocations. It is absolutely free to use and has some fantastic features when it comes to investment management. I highly recommend it to everyone. Note that if you sign up to Personal Capital by clicking the image below I may receive an affiliate fee. But rest assured that I would not recommend this tool so highly if I didn’t use it myself and love it.

Disclaimer: Please reference my Disclosures page.  This post is for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as financial advice. If you need help with investing or financial decisions, please consult a financial professional.

To further the discussion, let me know what you think of my portfolio in the comments below. Would you be comfortable with a similar approach? Do you disagree with the analysis or conclusions above?

Thanks for taking a look!

The Green Swan

Work Harder, Work Smarter, Retire Earlier and Find Your Beach










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  1. Thanks for the breakdown – we also have a sizable chunk in our companies stock, since we get a 15% discount that I can’t pass up.

    We have taken a large hit this year, along with all the SAAS companies – little nerve racking to watch the drops!

  2. Thanks for sharing the details, the concentration in your own employers stock was the first thing that jumped out to me as well! As long as you know the risks, more power to you. Best of luck in your small business investment. We purchased one small business in the past and have almost pulled the trigger on another, but ultimately got cold feet at the last minute. Having spent a lot of time personally looking through P&L’s of these smaller companies, I agree that the right one can be very profitable and a great deal. Best of luck and I’ll be looking forward to reading about how it goes!

    p.s. I’m curious if Personal Capital’s retirement portfolio analysis indicated that your investment allocation was too risky?

      1. I’m going to write more about this on my site when it launches in a few weeks, but this is what comes to mind off the top of my head:
        – Why is the owner selling? Retirement or health issues are good reasons. “Looking for other opportunities” is a red flag.
        – Is the category under threat or declining? e.g. I wouldn’t buy a taxi company or hotel right now with Uber and AirBNB taking over those categories
        – Are there natural barriers to competitive entry? Either due to a loyal customer base, proximity to retail locations or high shipping costs
        – Are current sales spread across a wide customer base? You don’t want all your eggs in one basket with one big customer that can determine your fate.
        – Lastly, I would recommend spending some money to have an experienced CPA scrub down the represented financials to make sure you are buying what you think you are buying.

        Good luck!

  3. We also have/had a large chunk in our companies stocks. At my last company, I’d sell it off periodically when it would get to a threshold point, and the stock price was high. My current company I have a LOT of their stock mainly from some retirement matching programs and incentive programs. I can’t divest any of it for another year when I get fully vested, but once that rolls around, I’ll let a large portion go for sure. I just don’t trust having a lot of stock in a single company, even if they’ve historically done well.
    It would be ahrd not to do the same with your company’s stock especially when it was low. I got some bank stocks back then too and they have also done nicely. My thought process was the same that – they should rebound. However, I didn’t invest too much, just some in my solo fun money account.

    1. Yeah absolutely. I’m a bit nervous holding so much. But after the soft year so far I’m hesitant to sell. Hopefully it bounces back soon and I can offload a bunch.

  4. Excited to hear about the business you and your siblings are taking on!

    My employer gives me $15k in fully vested grants annually, plus I can buy more via our ESPP at a 15% discount with a look back.

    To-date I’ve used much of my employee stock to climb out of debt, but now that we’re in a better financial position I can easily see how I’ll be disproportionate in my portfolio very quickly.

    1. Oh I see, so our positions sound similar in that as our portfolios evolve it’s important to stay on top of how much we actually own of our employer stock and not get to concentrated. Thanks for sharing your situation.

  5. Interesting and large amount in active managed funds. I can imagine expenses there in the 1% range and north. Are they performing at a superior level?
    In my latest post, I included an article on the outflow from actively managed funds and investors a seeing the light with high fees and sub-par performance.

    Any plans to reduce your exposure to actively managed funds even further?

    I always see owning stock for the company that employs you as risky. When I get granted stock options, they are sold as soon as they vest. I sell one third as each portion vests over a three year period.

    1. Generally speaking, the actively managed funds I own have performed well compared to their respective index since I’ve owned them. However I do plan on moving more toward index funds because I’ve come to value the consistency in tracking their index closely.

      1. Sounds good. Sometimes the herd mentality of exiting active managed funds may not always be sensible. If your funds are performing well, that is what matters.

        1. I appreciate that perspective. They have been performing ok, but I may take a closer look in a couple months when I have to reshuffle my accounts anyway. I’ll make a post out if it and look forward to getting other folks feedback before executing the changes. Thanks Mr Pie.

  6. I like your portfolio, it seems very well balanced. As you know I like individual stocks but I also have indexes. My only concern with your portfolio is the active funds, they must have higher expense ratios. Not sure how they also perform compared to the index funds so may be the only area I would look at.

    I see nothing wrong with owning your employer’s stock. With the upcoming interest rate increases (even though it may be very very gradual) this should benefit your portfolio. Also, I am sure you get some discounts on purchasing the stock. Thanks for showing me your method I love to see many different portfolio’s and their performance.

    1. Thanks Stefan! Just to clarify though, I actually don’t get a discount on buying my company’s stock. I may need to do a future post on fund performance to show how the active funds have done. Thanks for the comment!

  7. Hey JW,

    I appreciate the openness about your portfolio and you appear to be very adequately diversified. As our wealth grows, most of our wealth will be in stocks too – I think they offer the best long term investment.

    Good luck with your new venture, it sounds exciting and I hope it works out (sometimes family things don’t work so well!).


    1. Thanks, Tristan. The whole risk of it not working out with family was a major factor in my decision and is a potential risk in any family business. You’re right for pointing that out.

  8. Hello Swan it is cool seeing another bloggers portfolio. While I wouldn’t have that much dough in active managed funds to each its own. The company stock level to me seems ok, as long as you have a plan to consistently take profits and move it to index funds or other sector individual dividend paying stocks. Good luck with the small business.

    1. Thanks! I don’t disagree. My own perspective of my portfolio has evolved over time and I plan to move more toward index funds in the near term. Thanks for the comment.

  9. I am still learning the basics about investing and appreciate being able to read your philosophy about allocation. My small (but growing) 401K is mostly index funds, including Vanguard. For a novice like me, they seem safe but have plenty of potential to grow.

    Thanks – posts like this help me learn something new every day 🙂

    1. Glad the post was helpful! Sounds like you have a good strategy with your 401k. I don’t think you can go wrong with index funds.

  10. You mentioned that you are moving more towards index funds. Would you have still put some of your investments in active funds today still? The small cap advantage is the only real reason I would think about it since there a good a manager could have some advantage. Thanks for sharing your numbers! Always interesting to see how people construct their portfolios.

    1. Yeah I would, the other fund in particular would be PRMSX, an emerging markets fund. Performance can be very volatile one year to the next which is somewhat inherent with emerging markets, but I’ve been happy keeping some money in it. Thanks Thias.

  11. Thanks for sharing your portfolio and investing strategy. Looks like you have a well balanced portfolio that you are comfortable with and meets your investing needs! A winner in my eyes. That’s a nice chunk in your employer’s stock; however, I’m sure the terms of purchase or receipt of the stock are pretty favorable towards you. Love reading what other investors are doing and how they are allocating their money.


  12. That is a ton of different funds! I have almost all of my personal brokerage account in one or two funds just for simple management. I don’t use actively managed funds unless that is the only choice – fees are too high for underperforming. I think I have all of my money in two funds actually 1) in my 401(k) and 2) in my personal accounts. When I did this exercise to show the percentage in each type of investment, I realized I had a huge chunk in company stock and immediately sold all of it. Risk averted. Do you have any real estate? Great Blog.

    1. Yeah not a bad way to do this. A simple approach would really save a lot of time too, nothing to over analyze.

      I do not have any RE besides my personal residence. I’ve stayed away because of the time and hassle of it, and high transaction costs.

      Thanks for the comment!

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