You were once struggling financially but somehow managed to buy several properties in Australia and overseas. What’s the greatest lesson you have learned so far?
It’s never a straight line to success. Property investing, like any other investment vehicle, requires a zig and a zag at times, and even a step backwards occasionally – a bit like snakes and ladders. Think ‘strategic’ rather than do what everyone else is doing!
Outside of investing, what’s something you are really interested in?
I am passionate about aeroplanes and flying, particularly high-performance warbirds, which is the colloquial name for ex-military aeroplanes. The warbirds that pique my fascination and curiosity the most are the WW2-era fighters, such as the British-built Spitfire or the American P-51 Mustang. These aircraft represent the pinnacle of development of the piston engine era before being overtaken by the jet engine and the dawn of the jet age. The place where you really get to appreciate the performance and capabilities of these machines is at the annual Reno Air Races at Reno, Nevada, USA. For any enthusiasts, this airshow is a must-see event as you get to see aeroplanes flying very low and fast, wing tip to wing tip, around an eight-mile course. This is something that I’d love to have a go at myself!
What’s the best deal you have done and how did you find it?
It was a commercial property acquisition at Port Hedland for $2.6m. Five years later, the value had jumped to $6m, yielding $600k per annum or $50k per month. This was a deal that popped up on the radar whilst I was looking for a long-term tenure on lease with a strong corporate tenant in place.
What are three interesting facts about you?
I have lived for most of the year with my partner and two boys on a small tropical island called Koh Samui in Thailand. I have a fascination with history as well as foreign languages, countries and cultures.
I have lived and worked in Moldova, a small former Soviet Republic. My job was training former Soviet airline pilots to fly the Embraer Brasilia aircraft on airline operations for Air Moldova. This was on airline routes around Russia and Eastern and Central Europe. This required that I learnt to speak and understand some Russian language in the process as most aircrew only spoke Russian.
Another interesting country where I have lived and worked is Japan, flying for a subsidiary of ANA, All Nippon Network. Here their English was slightly better than in Moldova but still required that I learn Japanese in my time there.
I also had the opportunity to acquire my own WW2-era Soviet-type fighter aircraft, a Yakovlev 3U, in 2012. I will go on record as claiming it to be the fastest in the Southern Hemisphere, and it will be seen performing at airshows around the country and possibly in New Zealand as well. Maybe I’ll get to race it over at Reno one day!
If you could have dinner with anyone in the world, who would it be?
Actor Robert Redford, who I admire for his movies as an actor and director. George Orwell, the author of 1984 and Animal Farm.
I’d also love to be able to invite the top WW2 fighter pilots
to dinner and listen to their stories and discuss tactics, aircraft performance and handling techniques they employed – pilots such as Erich Hartmann and Adolph Galland from Germany, Douglas Bader from Britain, Bud Anderson from the USA, and Ivan Kozhedub from Russia.
Finally, in one sentence, can you tell me your overall goal in property investing?
To replace income to become financially independent.
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