Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Hobby Or Jobby

If we overlook the bold, and frankly unbelievable, claim from James (author of the excellent Programming For Betfair) that:
I once had a friend...
there is much worth reading in his latest post, which starts off with his thoughts about the possibly fixed mixed doubles match at the Australian Open, but which then morphs into some musings about ageing (don't have a loaded gun nearby when reading this part) and the risks of trading for a living, something that I have long cautioned against in this blog. One example from 2012 can be found here. Here's part of James' latest post:
To all those younger sports traders who are starting out on their sports trading careers I issue these words of advice;
  • You are probably not going to make as much money as you imagine you will.
  • You will probably not even make any profit at all (90% is often quoted as a figure for the proportion of losing traders).
  • Until you have proven without doubt that you are in the top 10% of traders, you should consider sports trading as a hobby with which to lose a little money each time for the fun of it and never to chase your losses.
  • You are not going to be as fit and strong when you are older as you are now. Incapacity is common amongst older people. Mental and physical incapacity impairs your ability to earn money.
  • "Gambling" related activities are not looked on by many women as a positive trait for a future husband. Many gamblers and traders live a solitary life and there will be nobody to look after you in old age other than whomever you pay to look after you.
  • You will need a lot of money to retire on in the form of public and private pensions, in addition to savings.
Some sensible advice above, although I'm not sure I'd classify sports trading as a "career". Sports trading is a fun hobby, and while I don't enjoy losing myself, I can see how it can be a cheap form of entertainment for some, but it's not so much fun when you need to win to feed the family:
Betfair really is the ultimate video game. I've never been one for games, (friends at work spend hours playing Call of Duty - why? What's the point?), but in many ways the exchanges are one big online game. It's me versus an unknown opponent. My opinion versus yours, except in this game the points are real money.
The Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE) released last November reveal that for the year ending 5 April 2015 median gross weekly earnings for full-time employees were £528, which nets out at around £420 a week. 

The numbers haven't changed much in five years when I wrote:
How easy an individual finds it to make an average of around £60 a day will, of course, vary, but I doubt that anyone serious about sports investing would find this unachievable.
It's only of academic interest anyway. If you are full-time trading, then it's a benchmark to measure yourself against, and not much else, and if trading is just a hobby and you already have a full-time job, then any profit at all is just icing on the cake.
With the higher Premium Charges now in place, making that net £60 a day is now a lot harder, and that's just to match Mr. Median. If you have what it takes to make a profit on the exchanges, you should probably have higher goals in life than being average. And never mind career growth, paid holidays, other benefits or building up a retirement fund as James also discusses in his post.

James concludes with:
Be careful when sports trading and consider worst case scenarios if life does not go to plan.

1 comment:

James said...

To paraphrase Tony Hancock...

"This blogging lark's a wonderful hobby, y'know. I've got friends all over the world, all over the world . . . none in this country, but friends all over the world."