Forum Hall of Fame

From: Mike .

Hi Folks,

As part of The Week That Was series, I've previously mentioned that from time to time I will vote a Forum member into the Forum Hall of Fame.

I feel that to qualify, a person will have demonstrated, over a 6 month period, by the consistency of their participation, and quality of their contributions, a desire to help other people and to foster the continued growth of the Forum.

(Gee, that was a mouthful!)

Although I've been through only 5 months worth of posts to date, I want to make the announcement early because the result will not be different after a further 4 weeks of posts. Also, since there is a BBQ event on in Sydney this weekend, I want to give people a chance to personally congratulate Les, if he attends.

After 5 months, here is the tally of Classic Posts:

10 Les
5 Sue (Sue1)
2 Gee Cee
1 The Wife (TW)
1 Ian
1 Bill
1 Boyd
1 Wishus
1 Mark Noonan

As a result of the many helpful posts from Les, here are a few comments made by other forum members in appreciation:

Thanks Les, You've made some good points...
Les Thanks for your comments on interest rates.
Thanks Ian and Les for your earlier advice. I can see the sense in what you both said.
Thank you *very* much for your advice. Very muchly appreciated!
Thanks once again Les. Keep up the good advice.
Having read all of your earlier e-mails, I'm curious as to what your profession is. I always get something good out of your responses.
Your answer has helped to crystalise the potential possibilities. Why aren't we all doing this??!?!!?!?!?
Thanks for the input/advice.
Thank you, Les for your words of encouragement. I am sure many of us conversing through this forum appreciate the thoughts you offer to many of the issues raised.
Thank you les for your comments.
Gidday Les It seems I have given you a quest. Thanks for your research it's all very interesting.
Thanks again for you help.
Thank you Les for your reply (most helpful).
A BIG BIG thank-you Les for your well informed input.
Thanks again Les and I will keep you informed of my next moves.
Thank you for your clarification.
Thanks Les for your response only caught up today.
Thanks Les for your interest and helpful comments.
Thanks, Les, i'll give it a shot.
Thanks & happy investing in the next century.
Dear Joe I'm with Les on this one.
Dear Les, thanks for you thoughtful and researched answers. I wish my accountant and solicitor (to whom I pay princely fees) can be as knowledgeable as you! Reading the Forum, I sometimes wonder if you are not in fact Jan herself using a nom-de-plume!
Thanks for the tip Les, I'm downloading it to my desktop right now!
Thanks Les. Really appreciate your advice. I've gained a lot by reading your comments to other people on the forum. You do a great job in this wonderful world of info sharing!!

For those newbies who might be intrigued to know a little more about our inaugural Hall of Famer, shortly I'll post a brief biog from snippets of Les' posts. Stay tuned.

Once again, on behalf of everybody, congratulations, Les and we look forward to your continued participation on the Forum.

Regards, Mike
Last edited by a moderator:
Reply: 1
From: Apprentice Millionaire

Congratulations, Les! Well deserved!

Apprentice Millionaire
(aka Jacques in the old forum)
Last edited by a moderator:
Reply: 1.1
From: Les .

G'day Mike,

And Thanks for the effort you've been putting in with TWTW - I just KNOW you're about to face a quantum leap in work just to handle a week (I seem to recall one of the early months of 2000 (April, maybe?) suddenly saw the Somers Forum EXPLODE !! And all of a sudden there wasn't just 20 - 30 of us anymore !!!

To the forum members - being named as the Inaugural HOF member is a real "Aw, shucks" experience for me. I was fortunate enough to have had a bit of extra free time, a new-found hope, and I just loved sharing it. As well as that, in trying to help in solving people's problems, it was just the greatest learning curve for me.

So I'd like to thank all of those who were helping to crank up this old brain, some by asking newbie questions (which I "felt at home" with, 'cos that's where I was at - still, maybe??? What was the final outcome of the "When do you stop being a newbie" discussion?)

Then there were the outstanding inputs from those who had obviously left "newbie-garten" years before. Just check some of the Classic Posts and you'll see who I mean.
Unfortunately, several of the "names" that were providing great input for me appear to have gone...... But, thankfully, not all of them !!!

And now, as the year 2000 TWTW gets going, just you watch poor Mike struggle from here on!! SO MANY mentors started finding this forum, and putting their stamp on this place. And all for our benefits.

In closing, may I say a heartfelt "Thank you, both, so much" to Ian and Jan Somers for their foresight in providing us all with such a valuable tool.


PS. My best regards to all of you out there - might see some of you on the weekend .... ????
Last edited by a moderator:
Forum Hall of Fame - Les' Biography

Reply: 1.1.1
From: Mike .

G'day Les,

Well chosen words, very humble and gracious. Although, you still haven't learnt Sue1's trick of saying it all in about 3 sentences!

You said: "And now, as the year 2000 TWTW gets going, just watch poor Mike struggle from here on."

Me: I realize the workload will increase from here on and at some point I'll have to make a decision to keep going or to drop it because I'll have no time to actually post replies on the current forum. One solution might be to divide the task between 2 or 3 other forumites. Any volunteers?

If that doesn't happen, I think my choice will be to keep going with TWTW, at least to the end of the Old Forum. I'm learning heaps by reading the old posts and I'm sure I'll be a better poster and investor for having looked through them all.

Now to the purpose of this post which is to give our forum newbies an insight into one of our best posters. From time to time, people on the forum indicate a desire to know something about the person behind the personality. Les did receive such a request once from someone named Debra. So the following biography of Les is for Debra, hoping she'll login again and see it.

(Have to add a disclaimer here since Les is fond of doing that. [Les, if a disclaimer was put on the login page, would we need to add one to our own posts?] Disclaimer: I'm not a biographer, just an ordinary bloke! These details were accurate up to mid 2000 but some may be superceded now. N.B. I've also paraphrased some of this stuff.)

Question 1: Where do you work and live?

I work and live in Sydney near Castle Hills/Pennant Hills. I've been in Sydney for approx 2 years. Before that I was in Brisbane for about 16 years. Prior to that I was in Auckland. I have two sons who are in their mid-to-late twenties.

Question 2: What kind of work do you do?

(Mike: From memory, I think Les mentioned somewhere that he was a "problem solver" in the IT or computer industry. Need clarification here, Les.)

Question 3: How many properties do you own and when did you start investing?

We bought our first home in Auckland, 1973, for $17,000 which we sold 9 years later for $45,000. I bought our next home in Logan City, Sth Brisbane, 1984, for $44,000. Today it is worth approx $75,000 after peaking at $95,000 in the early 90's.

I also have 2 IP's in Brisbane. Rental returns are about 8.5 - 9%. The one in Crestmead is an older house and land. (What is the other, Les?)

About 10 years prior to those IP's I bought and sold our first IP within 18 months taking a quick capital profit as interest rates soared to 17%. I hope to buy #3 and #4 before end of 2000.

(Mike: Sorry, Les, from the above info I'd say you've done 4 or 5 property transactions. So, based on my newbie definition [up to 2 property transactions], you've lost your newbie status, as I have. To borrow a baseball analogy, let's say that you're om first base and trying to steal second.) N.B. When people post and announce themselves as a newbie, perhaps it would be a good idea if they clarify whether they are forum newbies or IP newbies - there is a difference.

Question 4: How did you financially structure your purchases?

The properties are signed in both partners names as Tenants in Common in a ratio of 99% to 1%. This way, both partners must sign to sell it with maximum tax benefits to the highest income earner.

We mortgaged our home to raise cash deposits for IP's. An offset account pays out the principal of the loan and the interest is tax deductible as the purpose of the Home mortgage was to buy IP's. (The home was already owned outright.)

The IP's are financed with a different lender who loaned 90% of the purchase price. The Home Loan (the "cash" deposit) makes up the 15% for the 10% deposit and the costs. All of these loans (including the one on my home) are tax deductible. BTW I have not fixed the interest. For my next IP I'm considering going to LOC.

My IP's are negatively geared but tax deductions produce positive cashflow. I have tended to think of them as "negatively geared with positive cashflow" because, if I stopped working, I would very soon learn that they are negatively geared (as the tax deductions dry up!!)

For my rentals I enlisted a Quantity Surveyor (cost $500 per time) and he valued, and produced a report for each. My properties are not new (I don't want to buy new), so I was agreeably surprised to see just what he had stated, and some of the values. Currently, I have a "never, never sell" philosophy.

Question 5: Do you have other investments?

I am about to embark on a small share venture (using my Complying Super funds) on a "Warren Buffett style" stock. Basically, this is in a company that has a franchise factor, a following, no debt, a huge cashflow, and the stocks are undervalued. No names - I haven't bought them, yet - sorry!! I'll let you know in a year or two how they went.

Question 6: Do you invest in education?

Yes, as my half-century approached I stumbled over a few good books - one of which said, "It's worth paying for good advice" - and its antonym, "Free advice is worth every cent!!" I think that first phrase stuck with me - and I actively started to buy GOOD BOOKS, then a seminar, then another.

I read a lot of Jan Somers, Robert Kiyosaki, John Fitzgerald, etc. I don't believe Kiyosaki has all the answers, but I DO thank Robert for writing "Rich Dad" - as that is the book that "fired me up" and set me on a new path.

As far as seminars go, I've been to Jan Somers, Peter Spann, Henry Kaye, and thinking of doing John Burley. Have also attended 4 Investor Club presentations, although, haven't bought thru them. I am happy to spend the money to educate myself further - but I would like to accelerate past the "boot camp" type of experience (which, rightly or wrongly, I would expect from RK).

Question 7: Anything to say about the Forum?

I love the forum environment as I also learn so much from others. And from the comments of most of the new visitors, it appears that they like it too. As you have probably picked up, I am a "figures" nut. I love anything involving mathematics, or puzzles - and so relish "fooling around" with the figures that forum contributors put in their questions to try to reach a conclusion.

Keep in mind that I am quite new to "the game" - any knowledge that I impart is mostly "book learned" - but you've probably picked that I'm not too concerned about leaping into print if I think I can help. Generally, I insert a disclaimer at the end of my posts to remind people that I'm just an ordinary bloke, not a financial advisor.

I also "stretch" into areas I'm not familiar or comfortable with, especially if I see that no-one else has responded to an entry after a few days. In so doing, I try to prevent the author from losing interest and never coming back.

Question 8: In closing, do you have any wisdom to impart that may inspire us?

Funny thing, I was only talking tonight with friends and the old adage of "You can't change direction in a parked car! You've got to get it rolling first", came up. I LOVE that expression. It was that one that finally whacked me over the head, and I actually bought my first IP.

Which reminds me, a friend of mine (MANY years ago) said to me when I was thinking of buying my first house "Get on the train - you can always change carriages!" I thanked him for that, as we then bought our first home (Pretty ordinary, in average suburb) and within a year it had climbed 50% in value. Where would we have been if we HADN'T "got on board the train?"

Mike: Thanks for telling us something about yourself, Les, and satisfying our curiosity. I'm sure Debra would have agreed with your induction into the Forum Hall of Fame. Recently, I counted the number of posts in the first 3 months of the forum, excluding late posts after the 1/12/99. The total was 150. The number that Les posted in the same period was 41 - 27.3% of the total. Of the 150, 51 were new posts and 99 were replies. In the same period Les submitted only 3 new posts and the remaining 38 were replies - 38.4% of the total replies! Given that many of the replies were "thankyou" posts to Les, Les' contribution was awesome.

My conclusion: Ironically, Les' affinity with mathematics which he employed to help answer many posts probably inspired people to post their questions on the forum. I don't think it would be stretching incredulity too far to say that this factor alone started the ball rolling and gave the forum the needed impetus to eventually create its own momentum.

That's all from me. Now, back to those blasted TWTW's.

Regards, Mike
Last edited by a moderator: