About a week ago I had the pleasure of interviewing my friend Bernhard Hummel, an investor and entrepreneur from Austria. He currently has over 150.000€ invested in Peer to Peer Lending, generating over 1.500 Euros monthly passive income.
As a result of his investments in P2P lending and equities, he would already be able to stop working and live purely off his passive income in his thirties, if he wanted to.
It’s not often you get to talk to someone with this much skin-in-the-game and experience with P2P lending and the stock market.
I hope you’ll enjoy the interview as much as I did!
Bernhard Hummel’s P2P Lending Portfolio: 153.007€
As of July 2019, Bernhard has over 153.000€ invested in P2P Lending, diversified across 8 platforms. By far his largest crowdlending investment is Mintos, followed by EstateGuru, a real-estate focused lending platform, and Bondora Go & Grow.
Why he chose these P2P Lending platforms
Bernhard did a lot of due diligence before choosing the platforms he’s currently invested in.
Let’s start with his biggest three investments.
EstateGuru follows a different concept, offering only property-backed business loans. As a result, it is a great option to diversify your crowdlending assets into real-estate, which is why EstateGuru makes up 18% of his P2P lending portfolio.
Bondora Go & Grow
Bondora is a different, more direct peer to peer lending platform with a long tradition in the market.
After directly investing into single loans for a couple of years on Bondora, he now moved all of his investments there to Go & Grow. Bondora Go & Grow is more passive, he doesn’t have to deal with potential defaults of single loans and his invested money is more accessible to him.
His Bondora Go & Grow account is now worth 14.305€, making it the third biggest position in his P2P portfolio.
He’s very happy with the returns and level of transparency on these platforms as well. Except for Viventor, which we’ll cover in a moment.
We didn’t go into more detail about the exact reason why he chose each of these platforms, but we could have another talk about that in the future if you’re interested (let me know in the comments!).
While offering good returns, Viventor has been lacking in transparency recently. For whatever reason, the CEO changed for the third time already. What is more, when Bernhard asked the support, they were unable to (or didn’t want to?) tell him the name of the new CEO.
Sadly, it doesn’t end here. Recently, it looked as if Viventor had some trouble renewing its domain name, which is something that should never happen to a professional company.
Either way, Bernhard and I will have to do an update on the situation in the coming weeks. With all of these issues and the lack of transparency, Bernhard is currently considering withdrawing some funds from Viventor.
P2P Platform Interviews and Office Tours
He also regularly visits their offices and interviews the CEOs, where he doesn’t hold back from asking difficult questions.
To make things easier, from here on the responses will be written from Bernhard’s perspective.
When did you start investing in general and when into P2P?
I first started investing on the stock market around 6-7 years ago, while my P2P investment journey began 3-4 years ago.
Why do you think diversification is important?
I think it’s always important to have a certain level of diversification in life in general.
If you’re an employee and that’s your only income source, and you don’t have any savings or investments, which is often the case, you’re at risk of being fired and quickly running out of money.
And yet, people tell me that my entrepreneur lifestyle, with all of my investments and my diversified income streams from investing and my business is risky…
What is your total asset allocation?
- 50% Stocks
- 25% P2P Lending
- 24% Cash
- 1% Cryptocurrencies
I also like to diversify within my stock market investments. Apart from owning a lot of different companies, I like to be diversified across brokers, countries and currencies.
As a rule of thumb, I like to hold, buy and sell stocks in their original currencies. As a result, I have all my Swiss stock in CHF at Swissquote, in addition to my US stock in USD at the same broker. I buy and hold Euro-based stock on a German broker.
I also like having an additional bank account and some assets outside of the European Union via Swissquote, just in case.
Cash makes up 24% of my portfolio. Of course, that is diversified as well:
- 30% Euro
- 30% US Dollar
- 30% Swiss Franc
- 10% Other currencies
Last but not least, I also have around 1% of my assets in cryptocurrencies, which I bought a long time ago.
Why do you prefer stocks over ETFs?
I prefer direct investments in stocks, because I like to be in the shareholder registry by name. That not only makes me feel a little safer about my investment, but I also enjoy going to shareholder meetings and networking there.
I currently attend around 60 or more annual meetings per year. You meet a lot of interesting people, you don’t pay for delicious food and you get to talk to CEOs of big companies (when would that otherwise be possible?) there. Also, maybe long-term, holding individual shares might be cheaper, since ETFs have some fees, even if they’re low.
Would you still recommend ETFs to someone who wants to passively invest into the stock market?
Yes, if you don’t want to do a lot of research and stay up to date on all the single stocks you own, absolutely.
The most important thing to do is to do something and to start investing.
To this day, I still remember what a very rich friend of mine told me when I was only 4-5 years old:
“Bernhard, you have to know, the most important thing is that your money starts working for you as soon as possible.”
Is there something you would do differently if you were starting all over?
One thing I would do is to start investing earlier. Other than that, I don’t think I would change much.
Of course I made mistakes, but mistakes are an important part of the journey, as long as you learn from them.
Here is one of them: One of my first investments was a high-fee investment fund that my bank tricked me into buying, as I didn’t know any better at the time.
But still, that meant that I started investing in general and that got me into the right mindset to get me where I am today.
How much monthly passive income are you making from P2P Lending?
With around 12% returns per year from peer to peer lending, I’m currently making approximately 1.500€ per month. For me, P2P lending is a great passive income source.
What is the dividend yield you receive from your stocks every year?
I receive around 3-4% in dividends each year. But just like with my P2P investments, I reinvest the money I receive, as I don’t need it right now. My business income is high enough that I don’t need to touch my investments, but long-term I would like to use my P2P and dividend cashflow to cover my living expenses.
Any other P2P Lending platforms you’re considering for the future?
I was considering having 10 platforms in total in my portfolio, but I’m feeling quite comfortable with the 8 platforms I mentioned for now.
Since when are you receiving most of your monthly income from investments?
Since about two years now.
I hope you enjoyed the video and my short summary of our talk via this article. I’m always inspired when I talk to people like Bernhard, who already achieved what I’m aiming for (1.500€ passive income from investments). Make sure you check out his YouTube channel as well.
I’m looking forward to cooperating with him more in the future, as I think we’ll all be able to benefit from his knowledge and experience. Last but not least, thank you Bernhard for your time!