Matchbook thieves

This is a precautionary tale to avoid the sports betting exchange Matchbook! Because their service leaves a lot to be desired 🙁

For my matched betting antics, I usually stick to a combination of Betfair and Smarkets. Especially as both now integrate nicely with my OddsMonkey account – making the process of laying bets super simple.

Last week was a busy one in the sports betting world – mainly due the annual Cheltenham Festival. Although I had put my own matched betting on pause for the time being (as I was busy scraping all my spare cash together in a bid to max out my ISA contributions before the end of the tax year), I had spotted a tweet from TFS linking to his Cheltenham preview post. This got me thinking – perhaps there was easy profits to be made..

So I loaded up my Smarkets and Matchbook accounts with some capital using my Mastercard debit card, as both were offering 0% commission for a limited period.

I scoured the OddsMonkey forums and various other posts to find the best offers and got to work each early morning of the 4-day festival. I’m still a novice at this lark but managed to make over £300 profit by the end of the week – which I was very happy with! Thank you ta 🙂

Then the fun began.

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Asset allocation strategy

Following my recent post on asset allocation ideas, I’ve decided how I am going to invest over the next several years.

Our retirement savings will be split across 3 main pots – 2 ISA accounts and 1 SIPP. The plan is that short of other available income at the time, the ISA accounts will help fund the period of age 50-55. I won’t be able to get my hands on the SIPP funds until at least age 55 (and possibly 57, depending on what date in 2028 the government decides to raise it).

I’ve decided to keep things simple to avoid unnecessary costs and rebalancing effort:

SIPP (IWeb) – 60/40 ratio

  • 100% Vanguard LifeStrategy 60% Equity Fund – Accumulation

ISA1 (IWeb) – 100% equities

  • 100% Vanguard LifeStrategy 100% Equity Fund – Accumulation

ISA2 (Vanguard) – 100% equities

  • 10% Vanguard FTSE U.K. All Share Index Unit Trust – Accumulation
  • 10% Vanguard Emerging Markets Stock Index Fund – Accumulation
  • 80% Vanguard FTSE Developed World ex-U.K. Equity Index Fund – Accumulation

The SIPP is the most important to us long-term, because it has the most in it and will be responsible for our long term income. That is why I have stuck to a 60/40 profile for that one. I feel I can be a little more risk tolerant in the 2 ISAs in the hope of greater gains.

February 2018 status update

Where did February go? No idea – but it’s time for another update!

I’m still not sure about the format of these posts. One of the issues is the way I track my finances in YNAB. Because most things in my world are a budget category balance (rather than a physical account balance) I am constantly moving money between virtual pots. As such, I’m not sure which figures I can rely on to accurately reflect my progress. So again I’m not going to worry about it, and instead just post (shoot?) form the hip!

February was a busy month trying to get things in order for the end of the tax year. I’ve decided that my highest priority has got to be making the most of my annual ISA allowance, so I’ve been busy preparing to add the full £20,000 to my recently opened (transferred) IWeb ISA.

What’s more, I’ve decided to try and make the most of Mrs FmC’s allowance too – so want to max that with £20,000 as well! A big ask with such short notice, for sure. I’ve started this one by opening a Vanguard ISA with an initial £5,000 deposit. I’m just not sure where the rest of the money will come from (although I have sold some crypto to help fund these investments and make use of this year’s CGT allowance).

With all this planning I have finally settled on a asset allocation strategy (following this recent post). I have documented it here.

My SIPP and ISA performance have recovered slightly since my schoolboy error earlier in the month, but I’m still down a few points. I am hoping they will get back into the black before I swap to the intended funds for my new strategy.

Matched betting brought in a measly £53.74, mainly due to cock-up I made which wiped out much of the month’s profits.

My P2P loans brought in £259.24, although one loan is in default with interest payments on hold until (hopefully) the debt is recovered. It’s nearly 2 months overdue at present!

I managed to save £1,300.93 so here is the summary for February:

Savings £1,300.93
Matched betting £53.74
P2P loans £259.24
Total £1,613.91