All posts by Paul Zagoridis

Maintenance outage

A password resyncronisation problem led to the site being off-line between 23:30 24-Feb-03 and 13:00 25-Feb-03 AEDT. Sorry about that.

If you connected to the outage you may need to click refresh on some pages to clear your cache. But if you can read this then you probably don’t need to. 😉

If you have any problems with the site please email

Property Myths Exposed

This article by Peter Thornhill for Westpac’s Online@W was challenging. Peter used to be General Manager of MLC and is definately biased toward equities. Westpac really should admit their marketing bias in presenting these stories too.

I ‘d like your reactions to the article as well.

I actually agree with the Peter 100% on the Myths. Especially never confuse familiarity with expertise. Folks, steal that slogan. Tape it above your monitors. It will keep you humble and save your bacon one day. I’ve just done it.

Myth 1: I know property
Nope! Remember “Nobody Knows Anything” by Willliam Goldman (I wrote on is 20 August 2002). That’s a motto to live by. Just like “If you can’t tell the sucker at the poker table, it’s you”.

Myth 2: Property is always a good investment
This one always comes from people who don’t own a lot of it. Lots of great property investors go through cycles where they say the can’t find deals that suites their criteria. Often they miss out on great deal because of it. But beware “always”.

Myth 3: You can’t lose money in property
hehehe try adding “…unless you have a bank loan”

Like I said I agree with the man. But I still like property investing.

Server crash

Sadly the server hosting WealthEsteem died today. Unfortunately it did not have the decency to die quickly. Obviously none of the updates since 16 Jan 2003 made it. We’ll try to recover them if possible.

The interim server is not brilliant and the replacement server is being tested. All we need is a few free days ;).

If it is to be it is up to me

I have spent the last two weeks in conflict with my father. It has not been a contructive exploration of diverging opinions. Oh no! It’s a knock-down, drag-out, no-holds-barred piece of nastiness, complete with table pounding and screaming. Aren’t families fun?

The point I take away is — it was all pointless. Sure, he and I have history, ancient and modern. The distraction to my life and business during this vital planning time was tragic.

And it was all my own stupid fault.

No I didn’t start the fight. I didn’t fire the first salvo. I don’t even believe I was wrong (there’s an scarey insight into my psychology 😉 )

However, I know the difference between good conflict and bad. I also know that wide-ranging emotional outbursts are not an effective way to deal with disputes. Venting my spleen may feel good for a couple of minutes, but like all vices the consequences are long-term to the user.

That conflict impaired my abilities: as a business owner, manager, investor, spouse, parent, son and friend.

Hence the slogan “if it is to be it is up to me” applies here as well as in business planning. I take 100% responsibility for the dispute. Whether we resolve anything or not, I will not be drawn into a repeat performance. It is my job to normalise relations. Waiting for someone else to change is futile.

And if I decide not to fight who will he fight with?

Welcome Back

A belated Happy New Year. I could have edited the timestamp to make this on time but that would be cheating.

During the Christmas shutdown we didn’t upgrade anything. It’s a long, boring and unenlightening story. You win some…

Oh well. We are working on the erratic hosting. Sorry about that.

The good news ins all writing staff are back on deck and tapping out articles.

Double standards

I was talking to the lawyer the other day. A contract on a property purchase I am negotiating has a few nasty special clauses. The contract called for a directors personal guarantee (to complete) should a corporate purchaser fail to complete. These clauses were once rare, but you can’t keep secrets in contracts, so they are more common.

Now in this case I am the director of a trustee company, for a unit trust I have no benefit in. This is strictly a fee for service gig, so I am effectively an employee. Why would I provide such a guarantee to a vendor for my employer? How much would I want to guarantee specific performance? Give me a moment to do the math…

Yup, as I thought. They don’t pay me enough.

I won’t even ponder the value of a guarantee from me. I don’t own anything. The smarter Marx (Groucho not Karl) said

I would never belong to a club that would have me as a member

. Should I do business with someone that would have me as a client? 😉 Lets leave that thought for another day.

OK so the lawyer explains that it is perfectly normal to expect specific performance and director liability. She tells me that I’d want the same certainty if the roles were reversed.

And that dear readers is my typically long-winded point. Always do deals in your own interest. I don’t give personal guarantees for entities I do not control. I expect personal guarantees from parties purchasing my assets. Yes it’s a double standard. “I don’t want to seem like a bad guy” is not a reason for a business decision.

Next article is on Win-Win versus Win-Lose strategies.

Flock of eagles

It’ll never work. Not now. Not here. And definitely not for you. It works “over there” but that’s different.

If you haven’t been spun a variation on this theme, click comment now and tell me your secret.

Even with the most supportive family, friends and collegues the world is full of people who tell you it can’t be done, and why. If they didn’t believe it they’d have to do something about their current situation wouldn’t they?

There is one exception to this, when I’m getting told that by someone who already did it. They may have a different perspective. But generally those guys will tell you why it made sense to them back then and how it’s changed. Rarely will they tell you that you can’t do it too.

This reminds me of the eighties slogan:
It’s hard to fly like an eagle when you’re surrounded by turkeys. 😉

Don’t get arrogant about it. It’s easy to interpret the lesson as advice to look down upon people with different beliefs or values.

Extraordinary returns cannot consistently be made by a pack (at least in my belief structure). I stack the odds in my favour by associating with other like-minded people. That association stimulates and motivates me to keep at it. I even learn something when I shut up long enough to listen to another.

Find a group of supportive people, meet regularly and listen to them.

Need to succeed

I received the following email:

Quick Question:: you had mentioned in one place, you build business.
What have you built? and how hard was it?

I am thinking of buying and building a business but a bit scared
(butterflies in the stomach and all that crap)..

Any guidance.??

Thriving business is the most fulfilling thing I have ever done. When things go wrong it is agonising.

I’ve run businesses in the fields of: book publishing; newsletters and subscriptions; half-way house management; IT and management consultancy; direct sales teams; marriage counselling and alternative dispute resolution services; coffee shop; dating agency and even network marketing.

Some were successful, some weren’t. Some were full-time, others were something on the side. All could have done better with a bit more time to mature or capital.

What you need to succeed – off the top of my head:
1) Guts – feel the fear and do it anyway.
2) Passion – love it or you can’t all that needs to be done.
3) Margins – it will cost you more, and you will sell less than you hope. Make sure your product/service has adequate margins.
4) Story – have a good angle or hook, otherwise you will be tempted to compete on price and that my friend is the toughest business.

Is that enough of a start? I’ll continue in the days to come and Thursday I’ll update the 3 small units story — it’s settlement day.

Finance update

The finance on the three small units is almost in place. What a cocktail it is! But it is not the size of the units that is the problem.

Normally I keep myself “ready to borrow”. Tax returns up-to-date, company trading accounts ready and stuff like that. Because I took Bookaburra over in July, none of that is ready. It was deliberately kept “open” to facilitate the asset purchase.

Then I found a deal too good to pass up. I wasn’t ready to finance. Hence all the hoops I had to jump through. I expect the finance to be unconditionally approved in three steps by Tuesday.

I’ll let you know the details once it’s in place.