One Year of Tracking My Portfolio Graphed Out

On February 5th, I got this sudden inspiration to track my portfolio on a daily basis to track the ups and downs.  Don’t ask why that date, but it’s a date engrained in my memory and not because I was down $45,000 in one day alone.

So beginning on March 1, 2018 I started tracking how much my brokerage accounts (these accounts are about 95% of my money and easier to track) were either gaining or losing on a each trading day.  Slowly gathering the data, collecting information, and of course plotting it out.  Here is the raw data (with a few charts at the bottom):

Basically, some of the takeaways from the data are that on average I see a fluctuation of $5719.91 per day, more movement in one day than most people make working in a month. Also, it shows a gain overall during the 3/1/18 to 12/31/18 timeframe of $29,682.69.  On average, by the end of the year, I only made $140.68 per trading day from this portion of my portfolio.

What gets interesting, is when you look at some of the charts.

This first chart just plots out the total daily ups and downs of the accounts.  You can see graphically, that days of greater than a +/- $30.000 days are pretty rare.  The frequency increases slightly when you look at +/- $20,000 days, and the trend continues as we lower our band to +/- $10,000 days.  The vast majority of days fall within the band of +/- $10,000 days.

This second chart shows the running total of gains and losses on the portfolio.  From here, we can visually see where I peaked out in gains for the year of approximately $120,000.  From the raw data, this was on October 2, and matches the date of when my net worth also peaked out at just over $1.171 million.

You also see that I did spend a portion of the year in the hole.  And also importantly how easy money is made, and can quickly disappear in a flash.

The yellow line is a moving average, for any fellow math nerds.

The final chart is to show the absolute value of the daily fluctuations.  I wanted to show this because averages can be misleading.  Earlier I said the average daily gain per trading day was $140.68 for the time frame.  That doesn’t show the full picture.  Running the absolute values of the daily changes shows the full effect of the ups and downs I am experiencing on a daily basis.  Think of this as the roller coaster ride of the markets. This figure, again, works out to be $5719.91 per day in change.

Looking at it graphically, we can see a giant spike in fluctuation in the forth quarter.  What’s also wild, if you’ve been following these types of postings each month from me, I’ve slowly but surely been noticing the increase in this volatility from the summer, it ramped up heading into the start of Q4, and of course we saw the volatility in the markets happen beginning in October and only continue to rise.  Just something interesting I thought from tracking the data.

With the start to 2019, we continue to see volatility be extreme.  It will be interesting to get a full year of data and continue to track this data going forward.

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