Life & Money – Soccerwidow Football Betting Maths, Value Betting Strategies Sat, 16 Mar 2019 08:08:43 +0000 en-GB hourly 1 Are You the Architect of Your own Fortune, or Misfortune? Fri, 15 Mar 2019 15:34:36 +0000 Richard Wiseman of the University of Hertfordshire is a luck expert: In numerous surveys and experiments he has researched what luck actually is and he has published various books and publications in which he advocates that luck is merely an attitude. Those people, who classify themselves as blessed with no luck, get exactly what they expect: hard luck.

Opportunity Old Wooden Sign with Turbulent Background / Opportunity (Gelegenheit) Wegweiser mit turbulentem HintergrundImage: ross-edward cairney (Shutterstock)

The outcome of the research shows that people who describe themselves as lucky share one common characteristic: they are all exceptionally good at looking for and recognising opportunities. Wiseman’s luck strategies are actually banal: maximise random chances, listen to intuition, have confidence in your future, recognise luck in misfortune.

Opportunity Knocks

One explanation as to why some people are less lucky (less successful) than others can be found in an experiment carried out by Wiseman in 2003. His experiment follows that of Stanley Milgram Small World Experiment which suggests that each human (social member of society) is connected to every other human in the world by a surprisingly short chain of acquaintances.

Wiseman’s experiment began with Internet posts inviting the general public to participate and some 500 people applied. 100 were then randomly selected and handed a package with the task of forwarding it to ‘Katie’, a 27-year-old student of art and history at Manchester University, who once worked in public relations in London, and enjoys cycling.

All the initial volunteers and subsequent recipients were asked to send the parcel only to someone they knew on first-name terms. Ten per cent of the parcels eventually reached Katie and amazingly, there were just four people in total linking the initial volunteers with Katie.

The tiny number of people linking the volunteers to Katie supports the idea that humans may indeed all be linked to one another via a remarkably short human chain. ‘The Luck Factor’, published in 2004 by Richard Wiseman, reveals that lucky people frequently experience the ‘small-world’ phenomenon, and that such lucky meetings have a dramatic and positive effect on their lives. In contrast, unlucky people rarely report small-world experiences.

However, in his experiment approximately 20% of the volunteers did not forward their parcels at all, guaranteeing that their packages would never reach Katie. These volunteers had gone to considerable lengths to ensure that they participated in the study, but had then dropped out at the very first stage. Interestingly, the vast majority of these people had previously rated themselves as unlucky. These people hadn’t even tried to achieve success and had given up at the first opportunity (here is the complete description of the experiment).

The conclusion of this experiment is that luck and success depend on taking opportunities and that people who are not shy in creating and seizing opportunities seem to be more successful.

Belief in Luck

Have you ever heard the term “self-fulfilling prophecy”? Proof of this concept was recently attempted by Derren Brown in a UK Channel 4 TV show. He tried to show that if people begin to believe in luck, their attitude changes positively towards opportunities and as a result they become better off or more successful.

To conduct this experiment, a small northern English town was selected and a rumour begun about a statue in a local park which was bringing luck. The Channel 4 team helped a little by engineering a few lucky coincidences and within only three months the experiment took on a life of its own. The rumour spread, attracted the interest of the regional press and many people started to report lucky experiences and coincidences (without any further effort from Channel 4!).

The Channel 4 team also carried out a few experiments in the background and observed that the people who believed in the lucky statue became surprisingly more successful than others. These people were more open to new opportunities, concentrated on reaching success and thereby catapulted themselves into the newly formed group of lucky people.

Derren Brown succeeded to show that believing in the existence of a lucky charm has a positive effect on attitude and leads to more frequent opportunities. It was rather fascinating to watch the broadcast “Derren Brown: The Experiments, Series 1 Episode 4” and observe the development of the Todmorden experiment: Channel4

However, please be cautious! Believing only in luck and grabbing opportunities is not a warranty for success (although Derren Brown’s show seems to suggest this at the end, be reminded that it was only a show and he is a master of illusion!). On the other hand, surely a strong belief in hard luck and permanently omitting opportunities does not lead to constant failure?

Seneca, a Roman philosopher and politician (5 BC-65 AD) is known for his saying: Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.

Therefore, in our opinion the interpretation of Richard Wiseman’s and Derren Brown’s experiments should be as follows:

Sending a package to a stranger via acquaintances – a large circle of friends and an excellent social network requires a lot of effort to build and maintain and therefore it surely belongs to the set of “preparation”. If then an opportunity comes along, success (luck) strikes faster since there is simply a larger intersection between the two sets: preparation and opportunity [expressed in mathematical terminology].

Believing in a lucky charm – preparation (a lot of work) is not really much use if opportunities are hardly ever taken [the intersection of the two sets, luck, then remains empty or is much smaller than compared to other people].

The Gambler’s Fallacy

Despite belief in luck and many opportunities to gamble the gambler must never forget that luck (success) is a subset of preparation and opportunity. Gamblers, however, seem to have the tendency to focus on the many opportunities and in a firm belief in luck; somehow the ‘preparation’ falls behind. Unfortunately this is not a formula for success: If luck is defined as a subset of preparation and opportunity then one can omit neither of these elements.

When gambling it seems that there is exactly the opposite psychological rule compared to social behavior: If people in social environments are inclined to work hard (preparation) and are quite careful and sometimes even reluctant in seizing new opportunities, it seems to be the opposite when gambling. The majority of gamblers seem to be people who are rather inclined to seize opportunities but keep the preparation (work) at a minimum.

Business picture about analysis - gold coins with people on a sliding slopeImage: archerix (Shutterstock)

Be reminded of the fact that casinos and bookmakers earn their profits via statistics and probabilities (percentages) and there is a memorable saying by the statistician Chip Denman (Statistics Laboratory at the University of Maryland): Luck is only probability which one takes personally.

If a coin is thrown ten times and lands eight times as a ‘head’, it is tempting to believe that the next throw must be a tail. Unfortunately this is wrong thinking. The coin does not have a memory and the next throw has exactly the same chance as all the preceding ten throws: a 50% probability for ‘heads’ and 50% for ‘tails’.

Margaret Thatcher once commented upon praise she was given when receiving a school prize at the age of nine, “I wasn’t lucky, I deserved it!”.

Nevertheless gamblers often believe in ‘lucky streaks’ or ‘hot tables’ or even attach superstition to a particular number. There is simply no need to be fooled as the majority of gamblers tend to lose more than they will ever win.

Soccerwidow’s blog is about statistical analyses, probabilities, evaluation of historical data, strategies of sporting bets, gambling explanations, bookmaker mathematics, odds, et cetera. Perhaps you will take this opportunity and become a Guest Author for Soccerwidow. Who knows where this opportunity will lead you in life?

Further literature on this topic:

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The Science of Calculating Winning and Losing Streaks Wed, 20 Feb 2019 20:46:20 +0000 more »]]> This article is a short journey to the theme ‘risk management’ as we are often asked…

How high should be a starting bank?
Is 5,000 units enough?

Well, there is no standard answer to this question. It all depends on the individual strategy.

Young woman pointing on a calculatorImage: Sergey Novikov (Shutterstock)

However, what is possible, is to calculate bank fluctuations (i.e. winning and losing sequences).

With the help of knowing the best and worst case scenarios you can determine the ideal starting bank for any betting system of your choice.

At the end of the article you will find a few useful exercises to practise, with the solutions available as a free download to all of you who would like them.

Length of Winning and Losing Streaks

It stands to reason that the smaller the probability of an event occurring (i.e. higher odds), the longer the likely losing streak will be (in between winning bets).

However, the big question is how often and for how long will the losing (and winning) streaks transpire?

It is possible to mathematically calculate many things with statistics, including streaks of luck and bad luck. However, it is important to note that no matter how accurate the results may appear, they are ‘models’ (a formal representation of a theory).

In this article, we are talking about probabilities; what can we ‘predict’ about how things may develop in the future. Please bear in mind that any such hypothesis is always a “could happen” not a “will happen”.

Of course, the larger the sample size (i.e. number of bets), the more likely the prediction is to be correct. But apart from the bookmakers themselves, who else has a betting portfolio comprising thousands of bets every weekend?

Winning and Losing Streaks Formula

The longest expected losing streak (or winning streak) can be calculated using the following formula:

Formula longest losing streak

n = number of trials (i.e. total number of bets)
ln = natural logarithm1
P = probability2
| .. | = absolute value or ‘modulus’

1Suffice to say, explaining what natural logarithm is would be worthy of a series of articles. For the time being, use Excel to calculate this for you.

2For winning streak calculations use the positive value (i.e. the probability of winning). For losing streak calculations use the negative probability value. For example, if the probability to win the bet is 33% then the probability that the bet loses (negative probability) is 67%.

In practice, the formula is best applied to situations where you constantly bet repeatedly on the same probability, for example, on ‘red’ at the roulette wheel: its probability remains exactly the same with every new spin of the wheel.

For football betting the concept is much more difficult to apply as each bet is likely to have a different probability (e.g. one Over 2.5 Goals bet with a 55.3% chance, and the next with a 62.1% chance, etc.).

However, you can group bets in probability clusters – for example, bets with a 55%-60% expected hit rate, bets with a 60%-65% expected hit rate, and so on.

Winning and Losing Streaks TableLongest Winning and Losing Streaks, depending on the number of bets (Examples for 50, 500 and 1,000 bets shown)

The tables above show the calculations of the expected maximum number of winning and losing streaks, depending on the expected hit rate (probability of the bet to win).

To read the tables, let’s explain the 70% line (odds in the region 1.4 and 1.45); in other words, bets with a 7 in 10 chance of winning.

The table on the left calculates the expectations of 50 tries (50 bets in a row, one after the next). You can see that the player will experience at least one streak of three lost bets in a row somewhere in the sequence.

On the other hand, he can expect at least one series of 11 winning bets in a row during the same sequence of 50 bets.

In contrast look at the 30% line (odds in the region of 3.2 to 3.4). In a series of 50 bets the bettor must expect at least one sequence of 11 consecutive losing bets, but will probably see only one set of three consecutive winning bets.

To develop a sense of probabilities and sequences, you can experiment with a dice. It has six faces; in other words, a probability of 16.67% (1 in 6 chance) of successfully landing on a chosen number.

Choose a number and count the number of throws until you succeed to roll it. Count also the number of consecutive successful rolls.


Choose two numbers that you do not want to roll (e.g. 5 and 6).

This means you have a 66.67% chance that one of the remaining four numbers is rolled.

In football betting terms, this equates to wagering on something like the full-time ‘Under 3.5 Goals’ market at odds of 1.50. (This experiment is just a little faster than waiting for 50 games to finish!)

Take a pen and paper and record 100 throws of the dice. If one of your four chosen numbers arrives mark a 1 on your paper; if the 5 or 6 are thrown, mark a 0. Count the number of winning and losing streaks you experience.

What is the maximum number of winning and losing streaks you experience in a sample size of 100 throws (bets)?

Having learned how to calculate the expected length of winning and losing streaks, the next question to ask is:

How many bets is it likely to take before I encounter ‘X’ losses in a row?

Timing of Winning and Losing Streaks

This formula is actually very simple:

Formula for Winning and Losing Sequences

= 1 divided by P, to the power of a

P = probability (expected hit rate or loss rate)
a = number of won or lost bets in a row

In the tables below you can see how many attempts (bets) it needs to experience a specific, expected length of luck or bad luck. Again, the assumption is that the bettor bets all the time on the same probability:

Winning and Losing Sequences CalculationsExpected time of occurrence of winning and losing streaks, depending on the hit rate

Reading the table:

Looking firstly in the right-hand column at the Losing Sequences, if the expected hit rate is 45% (what you should ‘expect’ at odds of around 2.2), then it is likely that you will experience a sequence of three losing bets in a row by the time your sixth bet is settled.

After 20 such bets it is likely that you will have seen a losing streak as long as five bets in a row.

Looking at the Winning Sequences column: you will win three times in a row at some stage during a series of 11 bets.

However, winning five in a row may only be seen once in every 54 bets.

As we mentioned before, in football betting it is extremely difficult, if not impossible, to find bets, all with the same probability of success.

However, you should at least try to understand the theory behind winning and losing streaks, as it will be easier on your nerves when you do encounter the inevitable run of bad fortune.

In particular, a thorough understanding of losing streaks is of enormous importance when setting both the size of your starting bank and stakes per bet.


A bettor prefers bets within the odds range of 2.0 to 2.5 with a hit rate between 40% and 50%. He plans to place 50 bets (e.g. two bets per round on 25 rounds of matches).

After looking at the tables, he knows that the maximum losing sequence expected is likely to be as long as six to eight lost bets in a row. Therefore, he knows that there may be at least one sequence of three or four consecutive rounds (weekends) when all bets lose.

After every 5th to 8th bet, he is also aware that he is likely to experience a loss of three consecutive lost bets (e.g. one weekend loses both bets, the following weekend only one loses).

He also knows that every 13 to 32 bets there will even be a streak of five losing bets in a row.

The bettor is fully aware that he has to take this into consideration and plan the starting bank accordingly to be able to ‘sit through’ these losing streaks.

Of course, he also knows that winning sequences will arrive too. In his case, with some ‘luck’, he may experience a winning sequence of five bets in a row after 32 bets. Every eight to 16 bets he will have a ‘lucky’ streak of three wins in a row.

This is certainly quite a fluctuation. When these ‘bad luck’ and ‘good luck’ streaks actually happen, nobody knows. However, what we do know is: They will happen!

Starting Bank – Rule of Thumb

A starting bank should be approximately five times the maximum expected losing streak. The reason for this is that a losing streak can happen right at the beginning, immediately followed by another bad run of luck. We are talking statistics here!

So if a bettor wants to stake 10 units per bet, the starting bank must be nine times (expected losing streak) the stake of 10 units multiplied by five = 450 units. Then he can risk 2.2% of his bank each time he bets (10 divided by 450). If losing, the stakes will remain constant at 2.2% and, if winning, raised gradually.

Questions to ask before setting the starting bank:

  1. What hit rate is expected (probability to win the bets)?
  2. How many bets are planned for the season?
  3. How long will the longest losing streak be?
  4. What is the desired stake per bet?

Calculation of the starting bank:

Length of maximum losing streak X planned stake per bet X five

Exercises: Losing & Winning Streaks

  1. A bettor pursues a strategy with a win probability of 60% per bet (e.g. Under 3.5 Goals). He places one bet after the other; in other words, he waits for the outcome of each bet before placing the next. In total he places 50 bets.

    What is the longest ‘losing streak’ (bad luck) that he can expect? How long is the longest ‘winning streak’ (luck) that can be expected?

  2. Same example as in (1): A strategy with a probability of 60% per bet; placing one bet after the other.

    This time our punter is hoping for a ‘winning streak’ (luck) of 5 consecutive wins. How often does that happen?

  3. A gambler pursues a strategy with a probability of 20% per bet (e.g. ‘betting on the underdog’). Again, he places one bet after the other.

    With a total of 500 bets, how long is the longest ‘losing streak’ that he must expect? After how many bets can he expect the longest ‘winning streak’?

  4. Same example as in (3): Strategy with a probability of 20% per bet; placing one bet after another

    The bettor was hoping for a ‘winning streak’ (good luck) of five consecutive wins. How often does that happen? After which bet number should he expect ‘bad luck’ of five consecutive losses?

  5. Following the above two strategies (one with a 60% chance to win, the other with 20%) our bettor stakes 10 units per bet.

    How high should the starting bank be for the 60% strategy, and how much for the 20% strategy?

    Note: The initial bank should be approximately five times the maximum losing streak based on a total of 500 bets placed.

Answers to the Exercises

>>> download answers <<<

Just click on the button above and click on “Proceed to checkout” button in the new tab, then enter your name and e-mail address. Our automatic service will then deliver the file to you via e-mail, free of charge. The size of the PDF file is 320KB.

Optimising Your Bankroll

The factor 5 used in this article to determine the betting bank is a risk variable for risk-averse bettors. It is also the factor advisable for strategies with a 45% to 55% win probability (odds between 1.8 and 2.2).

Here is another article: How to Calculate Losing Streaks & Optimal Bankroll in which we provide a more detailed account of setting the ideal starting bank.

Risk management in sports betting is the foundation stone upon which all of your betting transactions should be built.

Risk management encompasses risk assessment, risk control and capital requirements, all of which cannot be addressed until you understand how winning and losing streaks are likely to impact upon your starting bank.

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How to Become Rich – 10 Powerful Books about Wealth and Money Fri, 29 Sep 2017 06:27:41 +0000 more »]]> Who doesn’t want to become rich? The answers are here. Embrace them. The rich know things that most people don’t. Learn from the wealthy.

One thing that successful people have in common is that they understand it’s not about how much they earn, but what they do with their money. They have learned how to handle finances and know how to grow their wealth.

Here are 10 powerful books to learn from the rich how to become rich…

1. The Science of Getting Rich by Wallace D. Wattles

First published in 1910, the book covers the “science of getting rich” – and, according to the author, it is an exact science, like algebra or maths.

There are laws that determine the process of acquiring wealth. If these laws are learned and followed, one will become rich with mathematical certainty.

Most people consider money as a finite resource for which they have to compete. This book disconnects from “obedient thinking” which holds you back from real wealth.

Wealth is as endless as the creative mind.

The aim of the book is to change your thinking about the concept of “money”.

The ideas and concepts thematise the mental approach to money. It is a book that you can read in a day, but then it takes all your life to process the content and put it into action.

2. The Richest Man in Babylon by George Clason Samuel

A classic from 1926, reprinted numerous times, which delivers old wisdom in the form of entertaining parables carrying basic financial knowledge such as:

“Hold back more than you earn” or “Let savings work for you” or “Get out of debt” or “Pay yourself first” or “Protect your assets sustainably”…

It is claimed that the ancient Babylonians were the first people who discovered the universal laws of wealth.

This is a fascinating book showing that successful financial principles from 6000 years ago still apply today.

The first reality check is to make a fundamental decision to reduce personal debt. Protecting your assets and income helps increase your wealth, which is extended by investing responsibly and systematically.

This book will help anyone, at any income level, improve their current financial situation. You will earn an enormous return on your investment in this book. Read it and then begin growing wealth for the rest of your life.

3. Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill

First published in 1937, this is the end product of two decades of research conducted by Napoleon Hill.

He interviewed more than 500 of the wealthiest men and women of his time and uncovered the secret of their great fortunes.

The result is a book teaching how rich people think. Only then can we adopt their behaviours and become rich as a result.

This book has a chapter dedicated to some of today’s most important issues – Specialized Knowledge, Decision Making, Imagination and Organized Planning. It also has principles for Teamwork, Creative Vision, Health, etc.

This is a classic, and the examples are as relevant today as they were in the early twentieth century.

There are thousands of self-help books on the market and hundreds of self proclaimed “gurus” who make a living by copying the wisdom in Hill’s books. However, there is not much in any of them that Hill hadn’t already touched upon.

4. The Magic of Thinking Big by David J. Schwartz

Millions of people around the world have improved their lives since 1959 by reading The Magic of Thinking Big.

Dr. David J. Schwartz helps the reader to organize themselves as optimally as possible in order to earn more money and, most important of all, to become more at peace with themselves.

The book demonstrates useful methods, without getting lost in empty promises. The author shows that intellect or innate talent are not necessarily connected with success and satisfaction but, personal habits, thinking and behaviour are.

The theories presented are supported by a variety of case studies.

This books helps you overcome the disturbing habit of making excuses; it teaches you to dream again, to rethink what you truly are, to get on terms with your attitudes, and your action habits.

Of course, the book is not the Holy Grail for financial problems, but it is a useful tool. It helps explain why we behave the way we do and suggests improvements.

By reading the book you will learn how your own behaviour affects life choices and future success, positively or negatively.

5. The Wealthy Barber by David Chilton

This entertaining book is one of Amazon’s best-selling books on personal finances.

David Chilton simplifies the complex matter of personal finance and money management by packaging it in the form of a novel.

First published in 1989, the book provides very useful money management principles.

The story revolves around a group of friends who visit a barber shop once a month, and there they receive powerful advice on managing their money from their “wealthy” hairdresser.

With the help of his fictional figure, Roy, and a large dose of humour, Chilton teaches how to take control of finances and take them into your own hands – slowly, steadily, and with sure success.

It is by no means a Get-Rich-Quick story, but the narrative demonstrates that you don’t even need an average income to achieve financial independence.

6. The Millionaire Next Door by Thomas J. Stanley Ph.D.

This book, first published in 1996, has become an incredible bestseller in America.

What do millionaires have in common? How do you recognize the millionaire next door? Where do they go shopping? What kind of car do they drive? How did they become rich?

In this book, the authors interviewed millionaires to reveal similarities among them.

Contrary to expectation, real accumulators of wealth don’t do any of the things that popular perception would have us believe. They don’t have expensive tastes, live in posh houses, drive sport cars or wear the trappings of success.

Instead, they budget very carefully and live well within their means, setting aside a sizeable portion of their income for investment. Most millionaires are apparently penny-pinching, well-disciplined in handling their finances and frankly, downright dull! Not the sort of people that warrant a second glance.

This book is a must-read. You may fault some aspects of it, but the message is one that everyone should consider, even if you find reasons to ignore its conclusions.

7. Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki

Rich Dad, Poor Dad: What the Rich Teach their Kids about Money is an absolute bestseller since its launch in 2000, a highly acclaimed book.

When Robert grew up, his “Poor Dad” taught him that the road to success is “get a good education, get a good job and save your money”.

This is certainly not a bad piece of advice but, over time, Robert Kiyosaki realised that this advice did not lead him to prosperity.

“Rich Dads” on the contrary give their children a completely different advice. They teach “start a business, make passive income and invest effectively”.

This is an easy to understand book which teaches a different way of thinking about money and wealth.

Do yourself a massive favour and buy this book! Take some time out to read it from cover to cover, then read it again and follow the advice. This book will honestly change your financial life!

8. Secrets Of The Millionaire Mind by T. Harv Eker

The author is not only a good writer, but above all, has the ability to guide the reader step-by-step through his thought process.

Secrets Of The Millionaire Mind powerfully exhibits the relationship between thinking patterns and financial success.

Eker presents simple but very powerful concepts. It may be often a surprise to the reader to find situations in their own daily lives described in the book and how wrong their own behaviour looks retrospectively.

As you read this book, you will discover many interesting insights into how to become wealthy. It is very illuminating to see the connection between how you think and what you do. Attitudes about money determine our life, and thus financial success or failure.

The particular strength of this 2007 publication is the solutions to questions such as which strategies create wealth, and what really rich people do that others don’t.

Unsuccessful people see obstacles and risks in most things whilst successful people see potential growth and opportunities. It all starts in your mind!

9. It’s Called Work for a Reason! by Larry Winget

Larry Winget grew up poor and has experienced first-hand bankruptcy, but he managed to work his way back and is now a multi-millionaire.

This book was self-published in 2008 and is not your “average self–help book”. It comes from a contemporary author who is considered one of the icons of the present day personal development movement.

Larry Winget has his very own biting and no–nonsense signature. His writing style earned him the titles “Pitbull of Personal Development®” and “World′s Only Irritational Speaker®”.

Winget′s “get off your butt and go to work” approach to self–improvement boils success down to a simple formula:

Everything in your life gets better when you get better.

Stop making excuses, stop blaming others and take responsibility for your life and your results.

Larry is clearly a vehement opponent of the duplicity of other financial and business books that stroke the egos of their readers and communicate what people want to hear.

The book argues that poor results in the workplace are caused by your own poor performance, and nothing else.

10. You Were Born Rich by Bob Proctor

In this 2014 publication, Bob Proctor takes the reader on the journey to a surprising discovery:

Success is not grasping for something you don’t have, but success is based on effort and rearrangement of all fragments that are already there.

The title may be misleading. You Were Born Rich has nothing to do with being born with a silver spoon in your mouth. It’s about personal potential which everyone is born with. The title of the translated edition in Germany is: Know the Wealth Within You.

The underlying message is:

Look into yourself and change the negatives concepts we all have had programmed into our ‘heads’. So much damage is done to our self esteem, confidence, sense of well being and ability in our early childhood.

Although many of us are aware of this, it’s applying the required changes that is the hard part, but this book helps you get to the root of the matter.

Bob says, “You go in life either forwards or in reverse… you grow or you die … you create or disintegrate”.

With this selection of books about wealth, personal finance and money management, you will quickly find that making money and managing it is not as complicated as may often be the impression. Many of these books follow the same concepts and strategies. Why? Simply, because they work.

Money management is not rocket science. However, even if effective financial management may seem intimidating at first glance, once you develop the correct attitudes and habits, it should be easy and inevitable to change your financial future.

A last personal note: I was very fortunate to grow up with parents who gave me the mind set of the rich on my way. My preferred saying on the topic of money, which many of my friends have written down to remember is:

It is easier to make money than living a life of saving money.

Which money management books have you read? Are there any books that you would recommend in addition to our list? Please help others and leave a comment below. Thank you.

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How to Calculate Losing Streaks & Optimal Bankroll Mon, 21 Dec 2015 14:49:07 +0000 more »]]> In this article we will teach you to determine how large your starting bank needs to be to avoid bankruptcy by calculating the longest losing streaks that can be expected from your chosen betting strategy.

What is Bankroll Management?

Bankroll management is one of the most important pillars for success in sports betting.

Dollar notesImage: Alex Roz

A portfolio of sports bets placed over time can be compared to investing in the money markets on a portfolio of stocks and shares.

Indeed, the term ‘bankroll management’ comes from the financial sector and describes the use of the seed capital (i.e. in betting terminology, the initial stake).

Bankroll is the ‘starting bank’, and the intention is to manage it and increase it at the same time.

Bankroll management therefore deals with how to properly manage your starting bank.

The Continual Importance of Statistics, and Lots of Them!

The good news: It is actually possible to calculate the required starting bank mathematically.

The bad news: The calculations are naturally dependent upon statistics, and the ‘significance’ of the results relies on the amount of data used.

For example, any strategy based on one German Bundesliga team’s home games during a season produces a sample of precisely 17 sets of data, which is a very small number, statistically speaking.

The Law of Large Numbers is omnipresent so far as statistical accuracy is concerned: The larger the data sample, the more accurate the final results are likely to be, although a line has to be drawn between sample size and an acceptable level of error.

One way of coping with small data sets is to incorporate a risk discount into the equation. More about this later…

What does ‘Optimal’ Really Mean?

On face value, you might assume that calculating the necessary starting bank for a betting strategy can be derived solely from the stake multiplied by the number of bets (n).

With the 17 matches from our example above, and a constant stake of 100 units per bet, the bank would then be: 100 x 17 = 1700 units. But is this maximal amount really needed?

Although this may be true where returns from winning bets cannot be immediately re-invested, such a bank can never be optimal because an inordinate amount of capital would be tied-up.

What you should look for is the most cost-effective bankroll where all the money you have at your disposal is working for you as efficiently as possible.

Optimal bankroll is characterized by two things:

  • Cash holdings (i.e. money in reserve) is kept as low as possible
  • Gambler’s ruin is avoided

Calculating the Optimal Bankroll

There are five vital criteria you will need to establish:

  1. What is the size of your stake per bet?
  2. How many bets does your strategy expect to be placed?
  3. What is the expected hit rate of your strategy?
  4. What is its expected longest losing streak?
  5. Determine the risk variables and incorporate a ‘risk coefficient’.

Example Calculation

Okay, we will stick with the German Bundesliga for demonstration purposes and use a system gleaned from its latest full-time 1×2 HDAFU Simulation Table.

If you have already bought this table, you can see the full and detailed analysis of backing the underdog whenever Hamburg plays at home: This strategy has realised a yield in excess of 58% over the course of five complete seasons from 2010-11 to 2014-15.

In addition, there has been profit produced in every one of those same five seasons.

It’s an ideal candidate for incorporating into a large portfolio of other systems. (When we say ‘large’ we mean a portfolio that will generate at least 500 bets in a season.)

Remember the five criteria:

(1) Size of Stake per Bet:

This is determined by your own liquidity, and to keep this calculation simple, a Constant Stake (CS) of 100 units per bet will be used.

(2) Number of Bets:

For this mini portfolio of Hamburg home games, the Number of Bets (n) is 17 for the new season.

(3) Hit Rate:

The HDAFU Simulation Table reveals that from 85 Hamburg home games over five seasons, 32 underdogs triumphed: a Hit Rate of 38%.

The random selection of only 85 matches is a relatively small sample and the possibility of ‘random sample error’ is therefore relatively large.

To compensate, it is worth applying what is known as a ‘risk discount’ to reduce the actual hit rate experienced and to build-in an extra level of security if statistical expectations for the new season are not realised.

Taking a risk discount figure of 5%, the expected hit rate becomes: 38% – 5% = 33%.

[Have a look at this article for more information about hit rates].

(4) Longest Losing Streak Expected (LLSe):

The longest expected losing streak (or winning streak) can be calculated using the following formula:

Formula longest losing streak

n = number of trials (i.e. total number of bets)
ln = natural logarithm*
P = (negative) probability
| .. | = absolute value or ‘modulus’ (see Wikipedia if you would like to know more about these mathematical symbols)

*Suffice to say, explaining what natural logarithm is would be worthy of a series of articles. For the time being, use Excel to calculate this for you: to make life easy, the formulas to use are included in the free spreadsheet download below.

For this calculation, the negative probability or hit rate is used. In this case, having adjusted our hit rate down to 33% using a risk discount, the probability that the bet loses (negative probability) is 67%.

LLSe = |(ln (17) / ln (0.67))| = |2.833213344 / -0.400477567| = 7.07
rounded down to 7.00

From a pool of 17 bets, you can therefore statistically expect that a maximum of seven in a row may be lost without winning one in between.

(5) Risk Coefficient (RC):

The determination of risk variables depends primarily on your risk aversion. Risk-averse bettors choose a high coefficient figure (e.g. 5), whilst gamblers who are happier taking risks choose lower coefficients (e.g. 2).

But why are we including a risk coefficient at all?

We can assume that the longest expected losing streak (in our example, seven lost bets in a row), may already start with the first bet.

Although one bet may win after that, with the gains reimbursing the loss and allowing for reinvestment, there can still be a second stroke of bad luck directly after the first bet that you have won.

Neither winning bets nor losing bets ever line up in a uniform manner; they will always appear in a random pattern, so always better to be safe than sorry.

Optimal Bankroll Formula

The formula is:

Optimal Bankroll = CS x LLSe x RC

Our Bundesliga example is an underdog backing system, which by its very nature, is risky. However, as there are only a maximum of 17 bets in this mini system, we will choose a risk coefficient of 1.5: we are happy to take the risks!

It is not very likely that there will be two losing streaks of seven games in a row when betting 17 consecutive times. However, we are aware that it may be quite challenging for the nerves to sit through losing streaks watching the bank balance reduce before your eyes!

The optimal bankroll required to run this system for a season is as follows:

100 units x 7 LLSe x 1.5 RC = 1,050 units

If you remember the sub-optimal bank strategy at the beginning of the article where we touched on a bankroll of 1,700 units (100 units per bet x 17), you can see we have now released 650 units for investing in another strategy elsewhere.

Calculate Your Own Longest Expected Losing Streaks & Optimal Bankroll!

With this free Excel table download, you can easily and quickly discover what the longest losing streaks are for your own strategies. Just enter your stake, number of bets, and risk coefficient figures and let it calculate everything for you!

>>> Excel Workbook – Losing Streaks <<<

 Click on the above button – in the new tab click on the ‘Continue Checkout’ button. Enter your name and email address to allow our automatic shopping cart to deliver the file by email to you, free of charge. The .xls file size is 93 KB. When you receive your confirmation email, just click on ‘View Purchase Online’ (in the email text) to download the file.

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Top 10 Tips: How to Save Money without Living Cheaply Sat, 30 May 2015 14:43:18 +0000 more »]]> You don’t need to be a millionaire to live an enjoyable life.

Here are the top 10 tips on how to save money and at the same time live a good life, and I mean a really good life. Live your dreams without tightening your budget to a point which feels uncomfortable.

Man weighs money on a scaleImage: alphaspirit (Shutterstock)

There is absolutely no need to live cheaply just because you are not a high earner.

Of course, for any existence in today’s modern world some money is required. However, you don’t need big money, and it doesn’t matter where you live.

The tips below work for everybody. Read them, understand them and use them. Enjoy life without being ruled by lack of money!

Top 10 Tips: How to Save Money Straight Away

  1. Go shopping with a shopping list and stick to it, and never shop on an empty stomach!

    This is actually quite basic advice and should be obvious to everybody. However, there are many people who simply never use a “to do” list or a shopping list. I have heard excuses such as, “I don’t need a list. I have a good memory…”, or, “I don’t need a shopping list – I’m not intending to buy much.”

    The usual scenario is that even if you only need bread, peanut butter and milk, if you go shopping without a list it is very likely that eventually you’ll find yourself at the till with additional items in your basket such as chocolate, crisps, or beer. There may have been some cheese on offer which you also threw in.

    If you add up the items you have bought and don’t actually need it may only be a small amount each time such as £5. But if you act in the same manner during every shopping excursion then the cumulative effect could be in the region of £100 a month, or even more.

    Save the £100 for necessities – don’t spend it on comfort or luxury purchases!

  2. Add-up the bill as you go along. This will help you to stick to a budget.

    Another very simple piece of advice. Set a budget for what you want to spend on this trip and then challenge yourself to beat the budget. Be competitive and try not to spend more than your budget allows (i.e. what you intended to spend), but actually less.

    If you succeed every time you go shopping to save £5, then you will have totted up perhaps as much as £100 for other things by the end of the month.

  3. Always pay cash. Develop the habit of never using your card for shopping. This rule allows you to withdraw only your budget for a week (e.g. £100), to focus on it and then stick to it.

    You have your shopping list and your estimate of the total cost. Don’t take any surplus money with you. Believe me, this truly helps.

  4. Try substitute brands. Don’t stick to “named brands” just because you’ve seen the TV advert.

    Usually, the cheaper brands contain exactly the same ingredients. You are only paying for the name of better advertised products (i.e. their advertising costs).

    In Germany, I remember some time back there was a big consumer test, matching no-name products which were produced for cheap shops such as Lidl against high profile branded products. Every single no-name product scored better than its branded competitor.

    Keep this in mind when shopping. It will save you loads of money and see you receiving at least the same quality.

  5. Don’t be tempted by discounts (buy three, pay for two, etc.), as you certainly don’t need to stockpile large quantities of any products. Stretch out your money and only buy what you need.

    Why should you be tempted by bulk savings to buy a discounted shampoo brand which costs £4.50 a bottle, paying “only” £9 for 3 bottles, when you could get the gel you normally use for £2.50 a bottle?

    Big money saver here! Think before you buy! Do I truly need it?

  6. Never buy everything under one roof. Identify the cheapest places to shop for certain items.

    Although this may sound a bit stressful or time-consuming to have to run from one shop to another to get the whole shopping done, you will soon realise what a huge money saver strategic shopping really is.

    A nice side effect of doing so is that you give yourself a little more exercise!

  7. Don’t buy cheap.

    There is a saying “buy cheap, pay twice”. Ponder a little over this phrase. It makes a lot of sense.

    If you buy cheap (e.g. the cheapest thermos flask you can find) then it’s likely to be cheaply made, or sub-standard, and/or a product with a very short lifespan. This means it will need replacing sooner rather than later.

    Okay. So, you buy a flask for £10. Then in five months’ time another for £10. And in a year a third flask for £10. Spending £30 right away would probably have bought you a flask with a lifespan of five years or more.

    We are not rich enough to continue buying cheap. Keep this in mind and look for quality when shopping for durable items.

  8. You are your own boss. Don’t keep up with the Jones’s. Don’t be led into purchases just to compete or emulate your neighbours.

    There is no need to pay any attention to the habits of other people. Your neighbours probably don’t spend as much time as you imagine thinking about you. How much time do YOU actually spend thinking about your neighbours? Do you care what brands they wear? Do you really care what make of washing machine they have?

    The only thing you may find bothering you about your neighbours is some inner belief that they are better off than you. But do you actually know what is going on internally? Do you know how many sleepless nights they may have because they can’t manage their money as a result of the new car sitting on their drive?

  9. Think twice, three times, or more before buying anything such as clothes, or other long-term items.

    Do you really need them? Abide by the One Year Rule for Possessions. This means that everything that hasn’t been used in the last 12 months, isn’t really needed.

    Go through your wardrobe, go through your tool boxes. Take out everything you haven’t used for one year and sell it. I promise you will be hugely surprised at the number of benefits!

  10. Implement the “Value per Wear” or “Value per Use” rule. This means dividing the cost by the likely number of uses per year. This will help you to decide what to buy.

    So, you are considering buying a used car. The one you have in mind is going to cost £1,500. You need the car to get you to work daily. This means, say, 48 weeks x 5 = 240 days.

    £1,500 divided by 240 = £6.25 per day. Of course, there will be insurance, fuel, repairs, MOT, etc. to add on to this. Do the same sum with these items. Think twice – Is it really worth buying a car which will cost perhaps £20 a day to drive? Can’t you get to work cheaper than that? Has it ever crossed your mind that you may save a bucket load of money by getting a lift to work, even if you have to pay for each ride?

There is really no need to live poorly or in a financial mess purely because you are not a “high earner”. The secret of good money management is to rid yourself of false beliefs and, of course, a little lateral thinking and budgeting also helps.

Good luck!

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Always in the Red? Control your Banking Behaviour! Thu, 28 May 2015 23:01:05 +0000 more »]]> Recently, an old friend came along and asked me to have a look at his finances. Despite the fact his monthly net pay was in the region of £2,500, his overdraft was constantly rising. He often found it quite difficult, especially at the end of a month, to pay the bills.

Young woman agonizing over financial calculations in her kitchenShutterstock Artist: Andy Dean Photography

However, most readers will probably agree with me that £2,500 per month is an agreeable amount of money for one person.

In 2014 the UK average salary was around £26,500 (£2,200 gross per month), less taxes, leaving a net pay of £1,750.

My friend, earning more than 40% above the average salary, somehow managed to get into difficulties.

I cannot deep-dive into the complexity of his problem here, but one thing came very quickly to light: He was juggling far too many bank accounts, credit cards, monthly standing orders, direct debits, and so on…

In short, he had simply lost control of his own money.

Control Your Spending

The simplest way of taking control of your money is to have only one bank account, for all purposes. The need to pay attention to multiple accounts will immediately disappear.

Another, very simple cash control mechanism is never to shop using bank account debit or credit cards.

Even if it sounds old-fashioned, most people find it considerably easier to control their finances using cash rather than bank statements.

Developing the habit of paying as many things as possible in cash reduces the opportunities for over-spending.

Those who pull out a card for every purchase without calculating the real immediate and future cost without maintaining a budget will quickly find themselves in a similar situation to my friend.

One Loan to Rule them All

This solution is called “Debt Consolidation” in professional jargon.

Please write down all your loans, mortgage payments, leasing contracts, etc. For many people this will not be an easy task. But please do it. Believe me, it is essential to get an overview of what you own and what you owe.

My friend came up with at least eight different, regular monthly debts including a loan for his Smartphone, another instalment payment for a fridge, an overdraft in one bank account, some money owing on a credit card, a personal loan with another bank, and also some money borrowed from his parents.

I then asked him how much he owed in total. He found it difficult to give a straight answer, as it was difficult to take in the scope of his various accounts and balances.

It took him a while and a lot of effort to compile a complete list of his various debts.

Of course, my next question was how much interest was he paying for the privilege of being in debt? Again, no immediate or straightforward answer was forthcoming.

After a few calculations he totted up his various loans. The outstanding total was over £20,000, more than 65% of his annual salary! Alone, the interest in a year amounted to £1,480 – equivalent to almost 5% of his annual income. The shock of coming to terms with this position was followed by some sleepless nights.

It is said that a normal, healthy debt, as long as you can meet its payment obligations, is fine. But what is “normal and healthy”?

I write about this subject in some detail in my article Healthy Debt & Debt Consolidation, but for gaining and recovering control over your finances, the first step is simply to become aware that you have to take control.

Therefore, the first advice I gave my friend was to consolidate all of his debts into one loan only.

The Simplest Way of Taking Control of Your Own Finances

  • Manage only one bank account
  • Pay all purchases in cash from a predetermined budget (for example, £100 per week)
  • Instead of dozens of monthly loan instalments for different things, consolidate them into one loan

What also helps is to maintain your awareness and always bring purchase receipts back home, file them, and scroll through them once in a while. I recommend doing this at least once a month.

In tandem with this, make a habit of looking at your (one!) bank account to check if there are any recurrent payments you can get rid of, or any other payments for things you don’t badly need or want.

In short, do something about it and don’t bury your head in the sand, as financial problems seldom disappear. In fact they have a nasty habit of becoming much worse, very quickly.

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What You Should Know About Value for Money & Personal Finances Thu, 07 May 2015 19:34:30 +0000 more »]]> The crucial importance of truly understanding the concept of ‘Value for Money‘ first dawned on me when I was appointed by a school in England to sort out their finances in 2003.

Despite being a well-funded state school their budget was everything but healthy with substantial arrears outstanding. They were hamstrung by limited funds and could not afford to maintain their premises or facilities, let alone employ quality staff.

Cartoon: Businessmen look on as old timer uses divining rodThis guy knows where to find the best value for money.

Image: Cartoonresource (Shutterstock)

The senior management and the local council backing the school continued to believe that they were working with a philosophy of ‘best value for money’. This phrase was used on a daily basis, everywhere, but I found it hard to see any evidence of anyone actually grasping the true concept of ‘value for money’.

It came across to me as just a fashionable expression reserved for moments of mutual agreement on financial subjects that no-one seemed fully to understand.

It took me a whole budget cycle to teach the management what ‘value for money’ really means, plus another year to implement the amended budget. The end result was a healthy, positive budget facilitating a comprehensive refurbishment of the school grounds, an upgrade of all the classrooms, the employment of better teachers, and many more things besides.

But enough of my background… Value for Money is not only good practice for businesses; it is also equally as useful in a domestic setting. Paying heed to a value for money strategy certainly helps manage personal finances and squeezes more out of the limited resources most people have available.

Examples of Value for Money

Value for Money is not getting the maximum amount of things from a limited budget but Getting What You Need

Say, as an example, you have £500 and think of spending it on clothes. Value for money doesn’t mean that you should get as many clothes as possible for £500.

Actually the very first question you need to ask yourself is: Do I actually need any more clothes?

If the answer is yes, then the next question is: What clothes do I really need?

You may come up with the following list: a shirt; five items of underwear; jogging bottoms; a winter coat

The next step is to write down the prices for these items. Here we are looking at prices for good quality items not just the cheapest bargains which will need replacement sooner than later.

So our list is now priced as follows:
1 x shirt – £85
5 x items of underwear – £50
1 x jogging bottoms – £75
1 x winter coat – £250

In total, £460. We even have a saving of £40 from the original budget of £500.

You get what you need and even keep some money for other uses because having a budget doesn’t mean that you have to spend it all. A budget means that you must not spend more than you have available to spend. If something is left over simply allocate it to some other use, for later.

In Summary: First budget your expenses, decide what you really need, estimate the prices, spend the money only on the essential things you need, and (important!) do not exhaust your budget for unnecessary things purely because you haven’t used all of the available money.

Value for Money is getting High Quality

Another common wrong and deceptive belief is that if money is limited you have to buy cheap.

Here are a few proverbs which may help you to think in the right direction:

Cheap things are not good, good things are not cheap.
Chines Proverb
What is cheap is the most costly.
Spanish Proverb
If you buy cheaply, you pay dearly.
English Proverb

Please take a few minutes to ponder over these three sayings. There is a good reason why different cultures have developed very similar aphorisms over the centuries.

Another saying is “I am too poor to buy cheap.”. Make a habit of this simple phrase when you make decisions what you buy.

Back to our previous example…

You have £500 and you think it is a good idea to spend the money on clothes. Now, without thinking in advance on how to spend it, you might go shopping with your money and start bargain hunting.

I am sure you will agree that it is likely that you will return home with some household items you probably found price-reduced in one shop or another; perhaps you added a few t-shirts to the clothes inventory or whatever else you saw cheap and you may even have bought a winter coat at the bargain price of £50.

Play a little with this line of thinking… you probably bought lots of items with your money but, actually, you only needed the winter coat.

The winter coat is very likely not the quality you would have preferred but you didn’t have £250 for the one you really wanted. You had already run short of money as you finally saw the cheap coat. In addition, after a few wears the quality of the coat may deteriorate meaning you’ll have to start looking for a new one next year.

What happened here is that you spent your budget of £500 for things you didn’t need, many of which, are unlikely to survive a longer period.

If you are entirely honest with yourself, in reality, you have purchased a winter coat for £500 (plus lots of things you didn’t need which have been thrown in for “free”), which you will only use for one year.

If you thought at the beginning that you were getting “value for money” then this was definitely wrong.

In Summary: Go out with a shopping list and only buy what you need. Look for quality not quantity!

Value for Money in some more Academic Terminology

‘Value for money’ (VFM) is a term used to assess whether or not an organisation has obtained the maximum benefit from the goods and services it both acquires and provides, within the resources available to it. Some elements may be subjective, difficult to measure, intangible and misunderstood. Judgement is therefore required when considering whether VFM has been satisfactorily achieved or not. It not only measures the cost of goods and services, but also takes account of the mix of quality, cost, resource use, fitness for purpose, timeliness, and convenience to judge whether or not, together, they constitute good value.
Source: University of Cambridge

Achieving VFM is also often described in terms of the Three E’s – economy, efficiency and effectiveness:

  • Economy – careful use of resources to save expense, time or effort.
  • Efficiency – same level of service for less cost, time or effort.
  • Effectiveness – getting a better return for the same amount of expense, time or effort.

Value for Money for Managing Personal Finances

Please don’t get scared off using the concept of ‘value for money’ purely because it is widely used in connection with businesses and organisations. This doesn’t mean that getting ‘value for money’ is not applicable for personal life.

In the end, every individual and every family are strictly speaking also “businesses”, albeit small businesses not large corporations.

Therefore, if Value for Money is a good practice for businesses it is certainly also good practice for the home. It will undoubtedly help you manage your finances better and get more out of the limited resources you probably have.

Therefore, try to understand what ‘value for money’ means and employ the concepts.

It’s as simple as this… Value for Money is about economy (thoughtful management of your money), efficiency (best use of your time, effort, and money) and effectiveness (optimised use of your money).

Good luck! 🙂

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Two Completely Legal Tricks to Hide Your Identity Fri, 26 Dec 2014 09:44:01 +0000 more »]]> When you surf the internet your computer is given a public IP address. This address determines accurate information about your computer and its location. Simply put, without proper safeguards, anonymity when using the internet no longer exists in today’s E-world.

Heads as gears and cogs shaped exchanging ideasImage: Lightspring (Shutterstock)

Although you may ask why you should hide your IP address if you are not performing anything illegal, there are times when being invisible on the net is truly essential. It is not only prudent to surf with complete privacy, but disguising your IP address of origin often helps bypass local restrictions.

Securing your identity also extends to the question of which postal address to use. For example, you may need a snail mail address that is different from your real location.

This article describes two totally legal solutions for hiding your true identity on the net and beyond…

Tip # 1: Hide your IP Address

Surfing the internet can sometimes feel like swimming in shark infested waters. Sadly, a certain percentage of the net is populated with shady people, scammers and hackers, who monitor online activities and steal personal information such as credit card PIN and account details.

In the fight against hackers, and for the protection of privacy, VPN (Virtual Private Network) services are mushrooming. Their sole purpose is to effectively disguise or hide IP addresses to make the global network more secure and to protect identities.

However, hiding your own IP is not only good for privacy. You can certainly deliberately use “hide IP” services to disguise your location and gain access to content or services which are otherwise blocked from your own country.

For example, if you want to watch a certain football match not licensed for broadcast where you are, how about utilising an IP address that is acceptable in that country?

If you cherish or rely on a service you cannot access from your own IP address then simply register with a VPN provider who will route you in to your targeted website from whichever country you choose. Absolutely easy!

VPN servers cost money to buy and run; programmers cost more on top. But you will be pleased to know that a professional VPN service with unlimited amount of transfer and encrypted VPN technology costs as little as £3.99 per month, with a choice of different VPN gateways from various countries. It is then up to you to decide if you want to come across as a surfer from the UK, from Spain, or from any other country.

Check this VPN service out – we have used them for three years and highly recommend them for everything described above. Being perpetual travellers, we constantly need to research betting exchanges and other bookmaker accounts, which are sometimes restricted in various territories we visit: HideIPVPN.

Tip # 2: Use the Services of a “Virtual” Office

If you need to have your business address in the ‘right’ area, perhaps even with a local telephone phone number to use from wherever you are, a virtual office service can make a big difference to your trading capabilities.

Perhaps you are constantly travelling but need a permanent base, someone reliable to receive mail and send it out for you; to sign for registered deliveries; to scan and forward documents to you, either by email or to an agreed postal address?

If you want, you can arrange for a “virtual” telephone line, which will be constantly monitored and calls answered in a professional manner in yours or your firm’s name by a competent secretary. If you need a manual fax sent, just email it to them – they will print it out and send it for you.

However, virtual offices are not only interesting for business customers – they work perfectly well for everyone, however large or small the need, and the comforting fact is that they are totally legal!

In the UK, for example, for an annual charge of around £120, you can have a virtual office take charge of whatever affairs you entrust them with.

Having the right location is especially handy if you need proof of address for any service provider, for whom your latest bank statement is often acceptable. Just ask your bank to change the correspondence address on your account to match that of your virtual office (or home).

Tip: Most countries in the world are satisfied for ID purposes with the address appearing on bank statements. Sometimes, companies send a confirmation letter to the address on their books enclosing a verification code, which has to be called in by phone or, is needed to complete an online registration. This is sufficient ID proof in most cases. After all, wherever you receive mail, you can be reached. Whether you really live at this address or not, is not important.

Of course, virtual offices are in business all over the world. They are not limited to your own country. You can live for example in Spain and have a business or personal address in the Netherlands. Why not? Take it from us, it works just fine!

Just google: virtual office uk

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Get Permission to Use Images Displayed on Soccerwidow Sun, 02 Feb 2014 09:56:23 +0000 more »]]> Copyright Law & Licencing

The images we use for illustration purposes throughout this website are often stock photos, purchased from outstanding libraries such as Shutterstock.

Young woman opening empty coin purseImage: alexkatkov (Shutterstock)

We sometimes modify these images and/or combine them to visualise messages, and it is then that they become our own “derivative” works.

Only where our visualisations are significantly different to the originals does our derivative work become subject to copyright itself. You will then need our permission to use any of these illustrations.

Otherwise, should you wish to use any of the images displayed on this website in your project(s) then you will need to purchase the image and its rights from the respective legal owner.

Our licences permit us to use images for our own projects, which includes the display on our sites, as well as modifications, but the artists and/or the stock photo providers continue to own the original images.

For example, the featured image for this post is owned by Shutterstock contributor ‘alexkatkov’. (The young lady opening the empty wallet).

We have purchased this image and used it to illustrate our content but, by doing so, the image does not by default become public property for everybody else to use for free.

Four Different Examples of Image Rights…

(1) The Stock Photo Provider and/or the Artist clearly own the Image

The following image is an unadulterated Shutterstock photo and you do not need to obtain permission from us to use it. Instead, you will need to visit Shutterstock (just follow the link in the byline displayed under the image) and purchase this stock photo yourself:

Businessmen with helmets racing in office chairsImage: Luis Louro (Shutterstock)

Of course, we are always happy to be mentioned as the source of your idea, but legally this is not required.

(2) Soccerwidow owns the Rights for the Derivative Work but not for the Image

Below is a quotation illustrated by a Shutterstock image:

Moving on quote: Life is like riding a bicycle - Albert EinsteinImage: Stephane Bidouze (Shutterstock)

The image can easily be cut away from the quote and used on its own. Again, you will need to purchase the image rights from Shutterstock should you wish to use this photo.

However, if you choose to use the full visualisation of the quote then in certain circumstances obtaining permission from us alone should be enough. We have given the image a ‘new spin’ by combining it with a quote; the resultant work is deemed to be an “original work of authorship”, and therefore Soccerwidow owns the copyright.

Nevertheless, in cases like this, proper linking to us and recognition of our authorship, as well as referencing to the particular Shutterstock image(s) from your site, will be required to acknowledge the artist(s) concerned.

(3) Soccerwidow owns the sole Rights for the Derivative Work

Below, to visualise a famous quote, we have used a combination of two Shutterstock photos:

Business Quote: Success is going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm - Winston ChurchillCollage of Shutterstock images; Foreground: Warren Goldswain, Background: Sam.C

This collage is therefore our own derivative work, for which we hold the intellectual design copyright, but again I stress that we do not own the images.

If you wish to use the underlying images for your own creative project then you will need to purchase them from Shutterstock.

However, if you only wish to use the collage, then obtaining permission from us will be enough.

(4) We (Soccerwidow) own the Full Rights

The following illustration employs just one of our own personal photographs.

We hold the full intellectual rights for the photo as well as the visualisation of the quote. Only our permission is required to use pictures of this nature:

What beauty is, I know not, though it adheres to many things - Albrecht DürerPhoto: Elena Schälike (Soccerwidow)

How to get our Permission

  1. Please email (support[at]soccerwidow[dot]com) your request to us and provide a link to the sub-page where you found the image; if the page contains more than one visualisation then please describe which you are referring to
  2. Send us a link to the website where you wish to use the illustration
  3. If you intend to use our work in connection with a new article you have not yet written, then briefly describe in which context our picture will be used
  4. We will consider your request and usually reply to you (including byline code) within 24 hours
  5. That’s it. We do not charge for access to our own works, but depending on which visualisation you are intending to use, a Shutterstock licence purchase may be necessary. However, don’t worry about this yet. We will communicate this to you in our reply email.

Unfortunately, this is a manual procedure at the time of writing. We are using hundreds of different pictures and visualisations on the site and each requires different byline coding if used somewhere else.

Why Obtaining Our Permission is Necessary

The examples we have outlined above are not exhaustive.

Whether you need just to obtain permission from us to use a particular illustration from this site, or purchase the actual copyright licence for it from the provider, depends on the individual circumstances of each image and/or visualisation, as well as the licence terms and conditions for the underlying image(s).

Pictures used without permission violate international copyrights, not only Soccerwidow’s rights, but also the rights of the stock photo providers and/or artist(s) involved.

Uploading our images to your website using a method called “hotlinking” (calling the image direct from our server) is bandwidth theft, which is a serious crime!

Therefore, please play fair and contact us to obtain permission to use a picture. We will send you detailed information on how to implement it together with all the necessary byline and link codes.

Permission from Us is Free of Charge!

We will not charge you for our work, whether you are interested in our own photographs or, in any derivative work we have created based on photos we have the rights to use.

Copyright & Licence Issues

For your own protection, please note that no licence we have purchased will extend to cover you if you choose to copy and display images from our site without proper permission or, acquiring your own user licence.

Without any doubt, your website is not owned by us and can never legally be covered by any of our licences. We cannot be held responsible if any stock photo provider or artist decides to legally enforce their rights against you.

Therefore, in addition to linking back to us as the source of the visualisation where necessary, in many cases (e.g. example number (2) above), you may also need to purchase the image rights from the stock photo provider, for example, Shutterstock, and obtain your own licence for that particular image.

I must stress that it is absolutely crucial to ensure that you have full rights to use an image before displaying it on your site. This applies not only to our illustrations, or stock photos in general, but to every single image you include within your own website.

Further Reading on Image Licencing

Thank you for your understanding and helping to make the Internet a more fair and transparent place. After all, the Internet is all about sharing information and helping one another. By referencing to each other’s work, legality is maintained and the time, effort and creativity of contributors is fully recognised and compensated.

We are all very grateful to have the Internet around. There is a multitude of talented people who produce great images for websites and, like you and I, these people also have to pay their bills. Please respect their image rights.

Read more…

UK Copyright Law on Derivative Work
US Copyright Law in Derivative Works and Compilations

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Alexa Rank, Visitor Count & Country Popularity – Accuracy Problem Tue, 29 Oct 2013 11:58:23 +0000 more »]]>

What is Alexa Ranking? How Important is it?

In order to compare websites and evaluate their popularity there are several tools on the Internet which generate comparison information. One of the most well-known is Alexa Rank.

Alexa is a subsidiary of Amazon, and delivers a ranking indicator about the traffic of a website.

The smaller the ranking, the more popular the website, and the greater number of visitors (so is the common belief).

This sort of information is of vital importance for both webmasters (to judge the efficacy of their own site), and for promoters (to judge which sites to spend money on advertising their own products).

However, an “indicator“, by definition, is nothing more than a ‘pointing or directing device’ without any quantitative declaration. In other words, it has little concrete meaning or application.

Alexa itself says that sites ranked 100,000+ may be subject to large ranking swings due to the scarcity of data for those sites, and yet advertising agencies place enormous importance on the Alexa ranking of websites they are trying to judge.

You will even find that most Internet Service Providers offering website reviews factor in Alexa Rank as a relevant criterion.

Alexa ranking is actually only relevant for the top 100,000 (0.33%) of the 30 million websites worldwide it monitors, and Alexa itself states that ranking for sites with relatively low traffic are subject to greater volatility.

This of course also applies to Alexa’s estimates of visitor numbers, site usage, demographics and country popularity.

Nevertheless, Alexa ranking is highly valued throughout the Internet and it seems that a massive number of marketers rely solely on the information displayed by Alexa, making sales decisions based upon what is essentially just educated guesswork.

Why is Alexa is not Accurate?

Alexa’s traffic estimates are based on Alexa toolbar users. If you take the time to read Alexa’s help pages then you will find it is clearly stated that “there may not be sufficient data from a particular country, because there are not enough toolbar users who visit the site”.

Translated into layman’s language, Alexa can only capture data about a website if its visitors have the Alexa toolbar installed in the browser they are using to view that site.

Furthermore, it must also be noted that the toolbar currently only tracks visits by just three selected browsers: Internet-Explorer, Google Chrome, and Firefox. Users of other browsers or mobile devices are not counted; Alexa simply has no way of counting them.

To reiterate, what you can see using Alexa ranking data and visitor estimates is the data generated from visitors who have an Alexa toolbar, and nothing else! And this is the case especially for webmasters and website developers who install the toolbar in their browsers.

Google Analytics Screenshot showing Browser Breakdown of users of Soccerwidow/ Fussballwitwe from 25.07.2013 to 25.10.2013 (three months)

Google Analytics – Soccerwidow/ Fussballwitwe users’ browser breakdown from 25.07.2013 to 25.10.2013 (three months)

The screenshot on the right shows the real browser distribution of Soccerwidow/ Fussballwitwe visitors over the last three months.

25.19% of all visitors used the Safari browser, which is especially popular in the United States.

Therefore, a quarter of our entire visitors are simply not detected by Alexa as there is no toolbar for Safari.

For a site the size of Soccerwidow/ Fussballwitwe, this is not an inconsequential factor and some 30,000 unique visits were therefore not captured by Alexa during the last three months.

Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, and Firefox users, and only if they have the Alexa toolbar installed, are the sole visitors counted towards Alexa rank and traffic estimations.

Chrome is especially popular in India and the Philippines, whilst both Firefox and Internet Explorer are widely used in Germany.

As is addressing an international audience, these issues inevitably lead to completely misleading Alexa estimates of visitor behaviour, and despite this irrationality (probably being the case for most websites on the Net), it is still extremely important for any site to have a good Alexa rank.

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