Many people dream of early retirement, but few actually manage to achieve it. eToro Popular Investor Mick Mullins was able to do so by achieving a steady average of 20% annual returns on his stock portfolio. We asked him about his investment strategies and personal life.
Tell us a little about yourself. What do you do for a living? For fun? Family?
I’m half English and half Irish, was born in Hong Kong and have lived in Singapore for 20 years. I retired 8 years ago, at age 42, when I realised my portfolio had made me financially independent. I generally hike or bike in the mornings while listening to all my tech and market podcasts and spend the afternoons with my daughter and evenings with my wife and friends. I just completed a walking marathon in the Singapore heat last week, walking from 7am until 4pm. My blisters are finally recovering.
Where do you do your research on the instruments in which you invest?
Apart from listening to a lot of tech and market podcasts, I read a lot of news and analysts’ reports on digital economy trends and companies. I keep a growing watchlist of digital economy stocks from which I select my favourite 20-30 for inclusion in my portfolio.
What is your experience with financial investments?
I bought my first stock in 1986 to get the shareholder perk of a discount on fish and chips, but I have been investing seriously in stocks since 2000. I rarely touch anything other than stocks as investments like currency, commodities, precious metals, crypto all seem like random markets to me, whereas you can do a proper analysis on your expected outlook for companies.
Do you have any specific profit goals for each year? How do you plan to achieve them?
For the last 20 years, I have achieved an average of close to 20% on my investments. I think my digital economy niche still has decades to run, but the fact is that stocks go up and down and there are good years and bad years. Of course, I’m aiming to maintain my 20% record, but I’d be happy with a 5-year average maintaining above 8%. That’s a lot better than you will get in the bank.
How has eToro changed the way you trade?
I never shorted stocks before eToro, and I don’t recommend shorting except for short- to medium-term hedging for experienced investors. Shorting has come in handy recently as I do feel that, with the pandemic, US elections, global recession and valuations, the markets are out of whack. Indeed, I think I’m one of only a small group of stock investors who are up and in the green for the month of September. I’m looking forward to exiting my shorts eventually and getting back to my natural long-only digital economy stock portfolio, as soon as market conditions allow.
What is your trading strategy and have you changed it at all recently to adapt to the volatile markets?
My main focus for the last 20 years (and for the next 20 years) is digital economy stocks, which are companies in the Internet, cloud and software space. These companies have disruptive business models (Teladoc), network effects (CrowdStrike) and scalable operations (Shopify). They also tend to include stocks with good leadership (Amazon), user or customer-generated content (Twitter), growing demographic or geographic segments (Mercadolibre) and they tend to be either the first mover or the big dog in the industry (DocuSign). I also like companies that are B2C or have a distributed user base (AutoDesk). All the stocks I select share most of the above characteristics.
With the recent risks and volatility, my core digital economy investment strategy hasn’t changed, but I am holding more cash and short positions, mostly in travel and tourism- related companies, until I feel that the current risks are behind us or stock prices drop to a level where they better reflect the current risks.
What are the benefits of being a Popular Investor?
Being a private investor can be quite a solitary occupation, as you are a one-man band, so I really enjoy the support and interactions on my feed. I also enjoy being challenged on my feed as it helps me to be more confident about my decisions.
Do you have anything to say to your copiers?
I didn’t join eToro with the expectation of having hundreds of copiers, and it’s quite a responsibility that I take very seriously. People are putting their hard-earned dollars behind me and I will fight for them and do my best to validate their trust in me.
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