Hello and welcome back to Mortgage Advisor on FIRE. This week I discuss the collapse of Football Index and look ahead to my second BTL purchase.
Quote of the Week
A few years ago, when I was still gambling, I came across Football Index. This was a betting company dressed up as a stock exchange which traded shares in footballers. Dividends were paid out for player performance and mentions in the media. It sounded like an interesting concept and a different way of gambling. You could either buy shares from the index itself or from other traders. For a while it was a fairly big deal. I couldn’t work out where the money was coming from though. Football Index would take a cut from each trade as their commission, but there seemed to be a lot of dividends paid and although I did not have all the financial information, something just seemed a little off.
As I was interested in this new approach to gambling, I decided to test the waters and made a small deposit. I did some trading here and there, and it was remarkably easy to make money. Where was this money coming from though? When I buy shares, my money goes to the person selling them. A small commission is taken by the Index. However, the numbers did not seem to add up, especially for those who adopted a buy and hold strategy, where they kept players long-term for their dividend income.
I was lucky in that I only ever had a small amount in the Index and when I became even more certain that something was not quite right with it, I pulled my money out.
The Index is fundamentally different to the stock market, although it liked to make comparisons between the two. With the stock market, the market itself does not buy and sell shares in itself. The market is a collection of other businesses. However, in this case Football Index was trading assets it created out of nothing. The Index did not own real shares in players; it owned imaginary shares in players. There was no underlying value here and the Index only held value because people believed it held value.
Like I said earlier, for a time the Index was a big deal and sponsored the shirts of football clubs such as Nottingham Forest and Q.P.R. Following the collapse of Football Index, both clubs have removed the branding from their shirts. Some people were throwing huge sums of money into the Index. In an article on the BBC News site, there are examples of people losing thousands of pounds. A quick trawl through Twitter gives examples of people having portfolios running into six-figures being wiped out.
Why did Football Index fail?
In March the company changed the rules over dividend payments, which changed the cap on payments from 33p per share to 6p per share. This meant that each share a person held in a player had its earning potential slashed, and this lower earning potential hammered the perceived valuation of each share. People started pulling money out of the Index, and the money just dried up. I doubt that the business failed due to this alone. It may be that the business model was unsustainable long-term and that the changing of dividends accelerated the process. I’m sure there is much more to come from this story in the weeks and months ahead, with the only certainty being that a lot of people will lose a lot of money.
I’ve been struggling with my sleep which has resulted in the past week being a bit of a blur. Between mental exhaustion, lots of coffee and a good amount of painkillers for my ankle, I’m not quite sure where the week has gone. Until we are out of this pandemic there is not much to say about anything. Life is just a constant cycle of work and sleep.
The one item of news that it’s impossible to ignore is the death of Prince Philip. I’m in no way a Royalist and I would love for this country to become a republic, but that does mean I greet this death with any celebration. There are some people out there posting some cringeworthy responses to this death, and it just lacks class. I wasn’t a fan of Philip and there are countless instances in the public record of his dumb behaviour, racist comments and dated gender attitudes. The back-to-back coverage from the BBC following his death is absurd. The BBC has a dedicated news channel, so I don’t see the need to switch all of their channels to coverage of this story. This is not like the days when we had four TV channels. In fact, many people do not watch live TV and instead watch shows via streaming services.
One thing I don’t understand is how people suddenly change their attitudes towards someone who is deceased. The fact that someone has died does not change what they did in life. If someone was a racist, misogynist and elitist snob in life, the fact that they died does not clean the slate.
On the subject of death, we have received our cat’s ashes back following his individual cremation. Sweep’s remains are in a small wooden box with his name engraved on the top. We plan to keep his ashes rather than spreading them anywhere. Sweep was happiest when he was with us, and so with us is where he shall remain. I miss him so much, and still instinctively look for him when I enter a room.
2021 Goals – to be achieved by 31/12/2021
1 – Reduce weight to 92.8kg. (Current weight 120.5kg).
2 – Finish 104 new books. (Current total: 24).
3 – Complete RO3 for my DipFA. (In progress).
4 – Complete RO4 for my DipFA. (Not started).
5 – Complete RO5 for my DipFA. (Not started).
6 – Complete RO6 for my DipFA. (Not started).
I am disappointed that my weight has increased. The fact I’ve hardly been able to walk, and the fact that I comfort eat when stressed means that I’m not surprised, just frustrated. I’ve managed to finish two more books since the last update, and I’ve nearly finished another as I write this. My studies are very much at a standstill. I know I need to get back to them, but I just can’t find the motivation right now.
Premium Bonds: £325.00 (up £25.00 from last update).
Stocks and Shares ISA: £22,468.33 (up £576.59 from last update).
Fuck It Fund: £150.00 (no change from last update).
Crypto: £339.83 (up £16.11 from last update).
Residential Property Value: £194,909.00 (no change from last update).
Buy-to-Let Property Value: £125,775.00 (no change from last update).
Total Assets: £343,967.16 (up £617.70 from last update).
Credit Card: £280.64 (up £40.24 from last update).
Residential Mortgage: £140,308.18 (no change from last update).
Buy-to-Let Mortgage: £93,145.49 (no change from last update).
Total Debts: £233,734.51 (up £40.24 from last update).
Total Wealth: £110,232.65 (up £577.46 from last update).
Investment Income in 2021: £215.24 (target £5,000).
My credit card is taking a little punishment as this has been an unexpectedly expensive month. I have cashed in my holding in one of the funds I have in my ISA. This will free up cash to pay off my credit card and to pay off another expense that has arisen. I will have approximately £1,000 left over from the £2,000 that the sale of my holding releases. I will reinvest the remaining funds once the sale clears.
I’ve started looking at possible properties for our second BTL purchase. Our first property cost £124,500, but with Stamp Duty, repair work and other associated fees it has cost us more like £133,000. We don’t plan on buying in the same price bracket, but we can’t drop too low as the rental return decreases drastically when you drop below a certain price point.
By the time of the next post we should have received another rental payment. Also, we should have updated valuations on the BTL and my residence which might open up the possibility of pulling equity out of the properties. This all depends on the valuations increasing, which is by no means certain.
For the last few months I have not been investing as much as I would have liked, as I’ve been supporting my girlfriend who has been out of work. I don’t mind doing this, and I’m not complaining. I only mention this as she may have secured a new job which means I will be able to ramp up my investments moving forward. I really hope she gets the job as I know how frustrating it can be to be out of work, especially in a pandemic where you have to spend most of your time at home.
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My Instagram is @david_scothern and my Twitter is @advisoronfire. You can also email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can still see Sweep’s Instagram @sweep_the_kelham_island_cat.
Finally, have a look at Darren Scothern’s fantastic blog at darrenscothern.com.