投资者要完全入门需要花些时间。首先，准投资者必须大致掌握整个平台的工作流程，明白如何将他们的现金投入到有价值的贷款项目中，以及之后如何让借款人偿还这些贷款和利息。其次，新的投资者必须知道LendingClub和Prosper这两个交易平台,以及其网站的工作方式。尽管P2P贷款与其他投资方式相比稍显简单，但大多数投资者的初步体验会有一个认知曲线。 这就是说，一旦一个投资者习惯于这一过程中，投资可能会有一个非常不同的感受。它几乎可以变得乏味。就像学习开车，初期可能会令人兴奋或紧张，但最终会归于平淡。最终，P2P贷款可以会变得枯燥。 这并不是一件坏事。恰恰相反;这是显示出它内在稳定性！有条伟大的格言，这样说："如果投资是令人兴奋的，那就是你做的不对。"我们的投资，就像用真空吸尘器打扫房子或看牙医，应当划分分为重要和普通两种类型。 为了说明这一点，这里列出P2P资深投资者的6大标志： 1.将投资自动化 很多人都认为，初级投资者需要一个一个地挑选自己的投资贷款项目，阅读相关说明，然后找到合适的人选,投资他们的项目。我起初也是这样做的。但最终贷款人会意识到，研读每一笔贷款是一个耗时的过程。如果他们将他们的帐户分散投资在200笔贷款项目上，就意味着省去阅读成百上千个贷款说明的过程。那么怎样才能算是一个好的说明？书写工整？信用记录上的逾期付款数目较少？ 经验丰富的投资者往往不会意识到他们已经投资了特定贷款。事实上，他们常常已设置好了LendingClub的自动投资或Prosper的自动快速投资程序，自动将其现有的现金投放到更多的贷款项目，有时可能还会使用过滤器。经验丰富的投资者十分相信P2P平台的整体承销，认为自动化投资的意义重大并且可以为他们节省大量的时间。 2.很少检查自己的投资 投资者在开始阶段，他们有时会觉得有必要每天检查他们的投资。这是可以理解的，因为许多人之前从未见过他们的贷款付款，或者是好奇他们的初始收益会是多少。而且大多数人是好奇，想看看如果借款人延期偿还他或她的贷款，将对他们的整体收益有什么影响。 但最终，投资者将经历P2P借贷的各个阶段。有的贷款逾期，但随后又会及时还款。而有的逾期贷款,并且最终会违约。他们将存款全部投资于一笔又一笔的贷款项目。最初的投资回报率非常高，但最终也会走向平缓。 经验丰富的投资者往往已经看到了这一切。回报率在很大程度上数月保持不变，经验丰富的投资者可以连续几周不去检查自己的账户。举例来说,我曾一个多月没有检查我的个人投资直到我的个人投资组合更新。然而，我的投资回报率与上一季度持平。而这只是在12个月的账户情况。不到18个月,帐户通常不会稳定，所以我最无聊的月份还尚未到来。 3．整体回报率已经稳定在5-10％之间 早期投资者的回报率高得难以置信。这是因为他们的投资回报率通常反映了他们投资项目额利率，因为他们的贷款项目还未曾出现违约。由于P2P贷款的平均利率约为14-15％，许多投资者的初始收益都反映的是这个利率。 不过，违约情况总会出现，并经常触不及防。在2月份有15％的回报率开始下跌，并且这一情况会持续到未来一年半内的每个月份，往往稳定在18个月左右。投资新手会发现这个过程很让人不安，尤其是在最初的时候下跌率是最大的。 经验丰富的投资者一般不会有这种投资回报率急剧下降的情况。相反，从上面反映LendingClub回报率的图表中可以发现,在他们多元化的投资回报率已经达到了平台投资者的平均水平,稳定在5至10％之间。 4.在LendingClub和Prosper开设有退休账户 对于未来的P2P投资者，其初始试验投资往往只占最安全的有效贷款的一小部分。这使他们能够感觉到P2P贷款的赔钱几率最低。许多投资新手都对其初始帐号有不错的体验，进而将存款投入到更广泛的信贷等级项目。 尽管如此，经验丰富的投资者都十分信赖P2P贷款，都在LendingClub或Prosper开设有一个退休账户。这些投资者认识到，不同于资本收益,P2P借贷不具有特殊税率。考虑到要将他们投资的三分之一作为税收，税收激励的RothIRA变得意义非凡，而这些投资者期望在60岁以后收回他们的免税收入。 5.投资所有能找到的E级贷款 初级的投资者可以感觉到这一资产类别的不确定性。毕竟，像股票和债券这样的投资已经出现有一段时间了。但P2P贷款问世的时间还不到十年。为应对对它的陌生，早期的投资者往往会选择投资他们能发现的最安全的A级或AA级贷款。有些人，比如我本人，会觉得将早期投资投入到C级项目是完全安全的，但大多数人坚持A级和B级贷款. 另一方面,经验丰富的投资者经常选择更冒险的办法，并试图补充其投资组合,投资他们能发现的所有D，E，F和G级贷款。我最喜欢的例子是Jack的一个读者的故事，他曾介绍过他将其安全的投资策略改为冒险策略时,其整体回报发生极大变化： "自从我改变了我的风险承受能力，从原来的极端保守转向一定程度的侵略性后,我对我的回报十分满意。当时，我们受2008年金融危机的影响，只投资了A和B级贷款. 一年后，我转换到C级贷款和其他贷款，由于没有大幅违约率增加,人们在这些风险较高的贷款项目有了更高的回报。在LendingClub，我通过切换到这种投资策略,在过去的18个月,收益由8%增至10%。" 6.不再试图说服朋友 许多初级投资者都对P2P贷款的新颖和利润丰厚表示怀疑。当与其他令人眩晕的投资类型如股票市场比较一番后，他们就会为P2P的简单感到吃惊。他们对P2P贷款的稳定性和为他们提供能控制的退休账户感到满意。这些投资者会成为P2P贷款的有力支持者。他们可能会将它介绍给他们的朋友和家人，并提供出为什么他们应该采纳它的可靠建议。 经验丰富的投资者曾多次尝试这个使命，但最终放弃了。虽然这可能影响一两个朋友，但多数投资者已经意识到改变人们的生活习惯并不容易，相反，他们对自己的回报非常满意。他们可能希望P2P借贷成为一个全国性的趋势，去影响他们的社区的方式，虽然他们现在还不能做到，但在此之前，他们的投资在很大程度上独立于自己的社交圈子。 P2P借贷：一种尖端的，利润丰厚的，和保险的投资 我们的个人财务状况为我们的生活构造了一个框架，我们用与人的关系和阅历填充着这个框架，使得生活更有意义。这个框架是非常重要的。它必须是强大的，可靠的，贯穿于所有的生活曲折中。但终究，它只是个框架。看起来十分无聊，在生活中则更加无聊。 P2P借贷，至多算是这个框架的一部分。它有巨大的潜力，如果我们合理运用就会给我们提供稳定的投资，和持续可靠的收益。这就是说，P2P借贷在一定的风险期后主要还是安全可靠的。在有些情况下，情况可能改变（出现失业率上升等），但很大程度上，作为投资者，我们每年的体验是相同的。 可靠稳定是P2P借贷的另一个特点，也许这最终会得到我们国家的肯定，将它作为一种普遍的方法来采用。我相信大部分的专业投资人士，包括管理数以百计的员工退休计划的人士，在未来8-10年内，P2P贷款拥有5-10%的安全回报后，会更渴望进入这个资产类别。
Getting fully situated as a peer to peer lender can take some time. For one, a prospective investor has to learn the basics of how this entire thing works, how their cash is invested into worthy loans, and how these borrowers then pay these loans back with interest. Second, new investors have to become familiar with one of the two exchanges, getting to know Lending Club or Prosper and the way their websites work. Despite peer to peer lending being somewhat simple as an investment, the typical investor’s initial experience can contain a bit of a learning curve.
That said, once an investor is used to the process, the investment can take on a very different feel. It can almost become boring. Like learning how to drive a car, the initial period may be exciting or stressful, but eventually things settle down. Eventually, peer to peer lending can become kind of dull.
This isn’t a bad thing. Quite the opposite; it’s an indicator of its inherent stability! There is this great maxim I read that said, “If investing is exciting, you’re doing it wrong.” Our investing, like vacuuming the house or visiting the dentist, should be typified by how important and uneventful it is.
6 Signs You’re a Seasoned Peer to Peer Lender
To illustrate this, here are six signs you have become acclimated to peer to peer lending:
1. You have automated your investing
For beginner investors, many feel the need to pick their invested loans one by one, reading the descriptions and getting a feel for the people they will lend their money to. I did this myself, at first. But eventually lenders realize that reading each loan is a time consuming process. If they are going to diversify their account in over 200 loans, this would mean reading hundreds and hundreds of loan descriptions. And what makes a good description? Good spelling? A credit history with a low number of late payments?
Seasoned investors are often unaware of the specific loans they have invested in. Indeed, they have often set up Lending Club’s Automated Investing or Prosper’s Automated Quick Invest to place their available cash in more loans automatically, perhaps while using a filter. Seasoned investors typically trust the overall underwriting of the platforms to such a degree that automated investing makes a lot of sense and saves them a ton of time.
2. You rarely check your investment
When investors start out, they sometimes feel the need to check on their investment every day. This is understandable, as many have never seen a loan payment before, or perhaps are curious what their initial return will be once payments start coming in. And most are curious to see if a borrower will default on his or her loan, particularly how this default will impact their overall return.
But eventually, an investor will experience the full gamut of peer to peer lending. They have loans go late but become current again. They have loans go late and eventually default. Their deposits are invested in loan after loan until they run out. Their ROI initially jumps really high, but eventually settles down as well.
Seasoned investors often have seen it all. With a return that largely remains unchanged from month to month, seasoned investors can go weeks without checking their accounts. For example, I did not check on my personal Prosper investment for over a month until my most recent portfolio update. Yet my ROI was unchanged from last quarter. And this account is only in month 12. Accounts don’t typically stabilize until 18 months have passed, so my most boring months are yet to come.
3. Your overall return has settled between 5-10%
Early investors experience incredibly high returns. This is because their ROI typically reflects the interest rate of the loans they have invested in, since their loans have not had the chance to default. As the average interest rate on p2p loans is around 14-15%, many investors experience initial returns that mirror this rate.
However, defaults always come, and often in a flurry. That 15% return on month 2 begins to drop, and continues to do so each month for the next year and a half, often stabilizing around month 18 (read: The Return Curve in P2P Lending). New investors can find this process unnerving, especially at first when the drops are the greatest.
Seasoned investors generally don’t experience such precipitous declines in their ROI. Instead, the return on their diversified investment has come to mirror the platform investor average, settling between 5 and 10 percent as seen in the Lending Club graph above.
4. You opened an IRA with Lending Club or Prosper
For prospective peer to peer investors, their initial trial investment is often some small trial amount in the safest available loans (read: How to Try P2P Lending with $2,000). This allows them to get a feel for peer to peer lending while having the lowest chance of losing money. Many new investors have a great experience with this initial account, going on to invest additional deposits into a wider variety of loan grades.
That said, seasoned investors have come to trust peer to peer lending to such a degree that they open a retirement account at Lending Club or Prosper (read: How to Retire Wealthy with a P2P IRA). These investors realize that p2p lending does not have a special tax rate, unlike capital gains. Considering many stand to lose a third of their investment to these taxes, a tax-incentivized Roth IRA makes a lot of sense, and these investors look forward to withdrawing their earnings tax-free when they turn 60.
5. You grab all the E-grade loans you can find
Beginner investors can feel uncertainty toward this asset class. After all, investments like stocks and bonds have been around for some time. But peer to peer lending has been around for less than a decade. To combat the lack of familiarity, early investors often choose to fund the safest A-grade or AA-grade loans they can find. Some, like myself, might feel safe enough to make their early investments in C-grade loans, but most stick to the As and Bs.
Seasoned investors, on the other hand, have often embraced a riskier approach, and try to fill their portfolio with all of the D, E, F, and G-grade loans they can find. My favorite example of this is Jack’s Reader Story, where he describes his overall return climbing dramatically when he changed his investing strategy from safer to riskier:
“I am happy with my returns since I changed my risk tolerance from ultra-conservative to somewhat aggressive. At that time, we were coming off of the 2008 financial crisis, so I only invested in A and B-grade loans
After one year, I switched to loan grades of C and below, since it seemed people were getting better returns in these riskier loans without a large increase in defaults. On Lending Club, I went from an 8% to almost a 10% return in the past 18 months by switching to this strategy.”
6. You’ve given up trying to convince your friends
Many new investors can’t believe how novel and lucrative peer to peer lending is. They are amazed by how simple it feels when compared to a dizzy investment like the stock market. They love its inherent stability and the control it offers them over their own retirement account. These investors sometimes become huge proponents of peer to peer lending. They may talk about it to their friends and family, giving solid reasons why they should adopt it as well.
Seasoned investors have often tried and given up on this errand. While perhaps influencing a friend or two, most investors have realized how difficult it is to change people’s habits, and have instead become content with their own returns. They may hope for p2p lending to become a national trend, influencing their community in ways they themselves are unable to, but until then their investing is largely done independent of their social circle.
P2P Lending: A Cutting-Edge, Lucrative, & Uneventful Investment
Our personal finances provide our lives with a frame, a frame upon which we can fill with people and experiences that make life worth living. This frame is really important. It has to be strong and dependable throughout all of life’s twists and turns. But in the end, it’s just the frame. It is boring to look at, and even more boring to live for.
Peer to peer lending is, at its best, part of that frame. It contains refreshing potential, offering us a stable investment if we do it properly, and this can be seen in the solid yield it continues to offer us. That said, peer to peer lending is largely uneventful once enough time has passed. There are situations where this could change (an increase in unemployment, etc), but largely our experience as investors has been the same year by year.
This uneventful stability is just another indicator of peer to peer lending’s inherent quality, and may be what eventually convinces our country to adopt it as a widespread practice. I believe most investing professionals, including those managing hundreds of employee retirement plans, will be more eager to jump into this asset class once it has had an uneventful 5-10% return for 8-10 years.