Friday, 1 January 2021

Au Revoir 2020

2020 has certainly been an interesting year. Aside from my Mum's passing in April, which appeared to be non-COVID related, and the continued slow and steady decline in my 93 year old Dad's health, I have to say that this year has been pretty good to me.


Unusually for me, I took a vacation early in the year, and had a great two week trip to South Africa with my son in January / February to watch cricket, parasail, swim with sharks, jump off 700' bridges with a rubber band fastened to my legs, taste wine, see wildlife including a lion which was rather neat and basically just enjoy life. Retirement was a real possibility at this stage, with a trip to Queensland in July next on the agenda, but then two things happened. 

One was I got promoted at work, and two, the pandemic hit which meant the Queensland tickets were cancelled and there was little point in retiring if I couldn't do any traveling anyway.

My job isn't really work these days. It's all meetings and management and if I can do it full-time from home, and by full-time I often mean for two to three hours a day, then I might as well hang in there until the next bonus and stock options are doled out at least, which is next month. Were my job hacking away at a coal face, my attitude to retirement might be a little different.  

So since March, like many readers I suspect, I have mostly worked from home, with the exception of three business trips later in the year, meaning a large saving in travel costs although slightly offset by now having to pay for my own coffee! 

More significant than the cost saving perhaps is that of the extra time I now have to myself, rolling out of bed five minutes before my first meeting and sliding my chair across the floor to my non-work desk within seconds of the last meeting ending. Of course, I have too much integrity to ever think of looking at personal projects during work hours.

Financially this year has been second only to 2013 with the US Indexes yet again leaving those of the UK in the dust, as I've mentioned before on this blog. This year the difference between the two was the largest ever, well at least since 1992, at more than double the difference in 2013.
Worth pointing out that £100 invested at the start of 1993 in the FTSE100 Index would now be worth £93.23, while $100 invested at that time in the S&P500 Index would now be worth $255.65.

Note that my sports investments these days are a very small part of my portfolio, with most of my money tied up in US-Index funds, property, and with play money invested in companies I've mentioned in this blog such as Tesla, Lloyds Bank, Boeing, and Pfizer, plus a few I haven't. David Sumpter suggested that:
Well, it's for old men too, or at least this one. Hard to argue against a stock that increased by 652% in a year. Bitcoin's mere 260% gain on the year seems rather tame by comparison, plus it seems that not only is it still incredibly difficult to use, but is also open to unregulated abuse as told in this sorry tale here

Overall, it was a volatile year for me as I expect it was for others. Q1 was the worst in spreadsheet history, with a 10.2% decline including my all-time record losing day of 16th March when I 'lost' six figures for the first time. 'Lost' is in quotes, because it was a paper loss only. I didn't sell anything, which is when you would actually take a loss, but it was a bold red entry on the spreadsheet and a record I don't want to see beaten any time soon. I've been around long enough to know that such days historically present buying opportunities.

In complete contrast, Q2 was the best in spreadsheet history, +14.3%, while Q3 was relatively quiet with a 7.7% gain. Q4 was the best of all, +13.2%. Six figure gains in both November and December made this the best quarter in real terms, if not quite by percentage.

As for the sports betting systems, the very selective EPL "Toss-Up" Draw System had a great 2020 winning us 12.05 points, but with just 25 selections, the 48% ROI is rather meaningless. With the over-round adjusted to a standard 3%, this system since 2000 has an ROI of 7.8%is overall, but 23% when the favourite is the Away side (or both Home and Away). Results are also improved by ignoring mid-week matches, but that's for another post.

Unfortunately the 'Close' selections ended the year with a small loss of 3.5 points from 64 selections, falling victim to the empty stadiums and a 15 game losing sequence in which the average goals per game climbed above 2.9. 

The Small Road Dogs in the NFL went 34-23-1, while the NBA version of this method was 56-47. Adding in the Time Zone filter I mentioned a few days ago, and the record improved to 21-13. 

Overs on high totals was again profitable, with around 54% or 55% depending on your entry point, but the one sport that was terrible last year was baseball.

The season was drastically different to usual, a mere 60 games in the regular season which didn't start until July. The long profitable T-Bone System lost between 8.8% and 10.5% depending on whether you played Straight Up or the Run Line, while backing "Hot Favourites" lost 4.8%.
The lines may yet move, but currently it looks like the final two matches in the AFC East on Sunday will be the final selections for this season's Small Road Dogs. 

Finally, a big thank you to @beigemartin who let me know that my latest post had been reproduced without permission or credit on another blog. Perhaps not the biggest issue in the world, but annoying that someone thinks this kind of behaviour is acceptable. At least they were quick to remove it when I requested them to do so. 

And with that, Happy New Year. 2021 will be the fourteenth year for this blog.

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