My Shameful Confession…And the $500 Million Typo

When I was in grade 3 at primary school I failed to get my pen licence.

There I said it.

Every other kid in class got one except me.
pen licence
Frankly my spelling and handwriting was all over the place. So, sadly I missed out.

I’ve still been able to write for the last 25 or so years despite not having a pen licence, so the consequences haven’t been that severe.

But emotionally….the loss still haunts me.

Anyway, why am I telling you this?

Well over the years, I’ve sometimes told myself….

In this age of computers how important is elegant handwriting, grammar and punctuation anyway?

(I would say that being a pen licence flunky right?)

So when someone picks up a type or grammar thing in my writing…I change the subject.

After all, no one loses $100’s of millions over a typo do they?

Well, that’s where I’ve been WRONG!

The $500 Million Typo!

It was the July 22nd in the year 1962.

The U.S were in a heated ‘space race’ against the commies.

The U.S Mariner rocket was all set go and explore Venus. A major coup for America and all of humanity!

It took off fine.

But then it started to veer dangerously off course…and a NASA official had to abort the mission after about 1 minute.

What happened?

Well a boffin in the lab entered some code incorrectly into the Rockets instructions.

Turns out:

‘R-dot-bar sub n’

Should have been:

‘R-dot-bar sub-n’

(Notice the extra hyphen)

Who knew!

Clearly not the programmer who put it in – or at least it slipped his mind at the time.

Anyway, this was the most expensive hyphen in history.

The rocket cost $80 million in 1962 money which in today’s money would be…

Wait for….

$5,513,125,827.81 smackeroos!

Oops.

Anyway, the point of this whole story is….

The devils in the details.

Some goes with the property investing.  Little things can trip you up.

So read your loan document carefully.

Study your property manager’s expense reports carefully for hidden errors.

Put different cashflow scenarios into a property you’re buying…so you’re prepared for the worst.

Surround Yourself with a Detail Dream Team!

Because I am not an uber-detail person, my practice is to surround myself with people who relish detail.

For example, accountant Eddie Chung writes articles on property tax law – that frankly I find it hard to get my head around.  (And I studied tax law for 6 months!)

But, it’s reassuring that he’s up to date with knows what he’s doing!

The good thing is once you’ve got a team full of ‘Eddie’s’ – top gun’s that really know their stuff…and relish detail.

You can put your focus on finding positive cashflow deals that put money in your pocket.

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