Monday, 22 February 2010

Time Value

“Today Capital One Direct Banking released the findings of a new survey that delved into the relationship that Americans have with money. While the survey explored topics ranging from how savvy Americans are at saving to how honest they might be during these hard economic times, one thing's clear – everyone could use a little more money in the bank. In fact, 25 percent of respondents who are employed full or part time would work every day of the year if it meant doubling their monthly income. What's more, 35 percent of respondents would agree to work on holidays and nearly one out of five (19 percent) would agree to give up all of their vacation days to receive twice their monthly salary.”
I have long viewed my trading / sports investing activity as a second job. My spreadsheet shows that since my ‘eureka’ moment in early 2006, it’s a rare day that I haven’t been signed on to one or more of the exchange websites. Using a conservative average of 3 hours per day, over the past four years, that comes to over 4,000 hours. That is a lot of time. Not all that time is spent exclusively investing of course. Much of it is spent in research, which can be done while watching and waiting for in-play value opportunities, but it is still a significant amount of time.

The income obviously makes it worth my while doing, or I wouldn’t do it. I’m aware that studies have found that people who are “time affluent” are happier than those who are “financially affluent”, but for me there’s a ‘make hay while the sun shines’ feeling about the exchanges. There’s the feeling that I need to make some short-term sacrifices in order to achieve longer-term goals, but what sacrifices do I really make?

I don’t watch so much (non-sport) TV. No real loss there. I don’t go out so often, but that has financial and health benefits in itself. I'm also lucky to be with someone who prefers relaxing at home over wild nights out on the town.

As for making hay, it’s not that I feel the exchanges will go away – that genie is out of the bottle, and they are here to stay, - but the edge that we all need to make it worthwhile may not always be there. At some point in the future, I fully expect the markets to mature to the point where finding an edge is that much harder, and once profits decline to a certain level, then the time becomes more valuable than the money.

At that point, I shall move on from the exchanges, and do something else with my time, although the suggestion that “time affluent” people spend their time enjoying “personal spiritual growth” or “volunteering” fills me with horror.

“Volunteer work?” I wouldn’t do it if you paid me! (Tommy Cooper).

“Spiritual growth”, well, that must be a girl thing. (Cassini).

It’s more likely that I’ll travel or write the best-seller that, like everyone, I have somewhere inside me. “Look, you’re English, tone it down a bit” (Eddie Izzard) – I’ll travel – although maybe finishing off visiting all 92 football league grounds isn’t what the future Mrs. Cassini has in mind.


Edgehunters said...

Hi Cassini

Once again a really good read.

One point that I would like to make from my perspective, is that when I am involved in the markets I am actually enjoying pitting my wits against the other exchange users and bookmakers.

When I am either gambling or researching, the time normally goes by too fast, so to me it is less of a job and more a pursuit that I enjoy (except when I lose). I am not full time or that profitable really and my thoughts may change If gambling became my sole source of income, but from where I am now I cannot see my attitudes changing.


Anonymous said...

I can definetely relate to the "make hay while the sunshines" attitude. Missing that "once a year" match because your on holiday or out (and those opportunities wouldn't be around in say 2 years time) is a pain but lets face it if that's the worst thing to worry about then things must be going well. Personally, to get to a financial position where missing that stella bet didn't matter would make a difference.