From Coffee Futures To Bulk Buying: A Year Of Adventurous Investing

Uri Berliner drinking coffee at the NPR headquarters. i i

Uri Berliner drinking coffee at the NPR headquarters. Meredith Rizzo/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Meredith Rizzo/NPR
Uri Berliner drinking coffee at the NPR headquarters.

Uri Berliner drinking coffee at the NPR headquarters.

Meredith Rizzo/NPR

A year ago, NPR's Uri Berliner decided to take his money out of a savings account that was losing value to inflation and turn it loose in an investing adventure. A series of stories in 2013 described his newly acquired assets and sought to shed light on how the markets for them worked.

I had up to $5,000 of savings I was willing to risk. I ended up investing around $3,600. (For a breakdown of the investments, click here.) I separated the investments into two distinct categories:

  1. Plain vanilla, which were the kind of low-cost, diversified funds we ought to have in our retirement accounts.
  2. More flavorful assets that I chose primarily (OK, exclusively) for their storytelling potential, like buying a painting online, making a bulk haul at Costco as a hedge against inflation, and betting on coffee futures.

A number of my colleagues have said, "Hey, whatever happened to your investments, Mr. Business Editor?"

So here's the scorecard.

Fair warning 1: My idiosyncratic portfolio was assembled for a reporting adventure. It's not meant to be investment advice. Far from it. This in no way, shape or form resembles how I've invested for retirement. Do not copy my investments. It could be an epic mistake. You've been forewarned.

Fair warning 2: All strong returns were entirely the result of luck and/or fortuitous timing. As they say on Wall Street, past performance is no guarantee of future results. All disappointing results were well worth it in pursuit of a good story.

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