Get Fundable Changing the lives of entrepreneurs, real estate investors and business owners through Fundability™ Fri, 31 Jul 2020 14:50:40 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Get Fundable 32 32 165067408 Are You In Alignment With Your Vision? With Mark Dolfini Tue, 23 Jun 2020 09:00:11 +0000 AYF 99 | Alignment With Vision


As we move through the stages of growth, we sometimes fall into the shiny objects trap. We chase the shiniest thing in front of us that we forget about where we want to go in the first place. If you are ready to take borrowing to the next level, then you better learn how to ramp up your fundability while also keeping your vision intact. Merrill Chandler and his guest, Mark Dolfini, the founder of Landlord Coach, LLC and author of The Time-Wealthy Investor, take you from small business borrowing into a discussion about commercial level borrowing. Mark breaks down the dos and don’ts in the process and shares how your fundability gets positively or negatively impacted by it. He gives us an in-depth look at what is happening in the commercial lending markets and how these things will affect real estate investors. Through his book’s fascinating VIP model that is used to coach landlords, Mark provides some great insights to help us become a desirable borrower to these banks, especially for those in the do-it-yourself game. He zones in on the importance of being in alignment with your vision; otherwise, you’ll end up further down from where you want to be. Be fundable and lendable not only in the small leagues but also in the big leagues while staying in alignment with who you are. Follow along in this episode to learn more.

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Are You In Alignment With Your Vision? With Mark Dolfini

I’ve got a spectacular guest. We are leveling up as you have never seen. We’re going from small business borrowing into a discussion about commercial level borrowing, the do’s and don’ts, and how your fundability positively or negatively impacts that fundability. We’ll dive right in with Mark Dolfini.

My guest is Mark Dolfini. He does an amazing job of presenting a fascinating model that we’re going to go over where he coaches landlords. When he and I met, and we started talking, that scratches the surface on the depth of not only of his awareness of what’s happening in the commercial lending markets but how that impacts the real estate investor and that’s our tribe. Welcome, Mark. I’m glad to have you here with me.

It’s good to be anywhere. With 2020, I’m not even sure if the moon isn’t going to crack in half and have vultures coming out.

Somebody told me about a tweet and it said, “Can you imagine being the history teacher trying to cover 2020, 10 to 20 years from now?” It’s going to be a semester-long course, just the year 2020.

Freshman year is going to be like revolutionary war history, then you’re going to go on to World War II, and then junior and senior year might be 2020.

That’s where the entire world pivoted both in social unrest as well as economic unrest. They’re not even related. These two things are not even related to this time. We got COVID with all of these people in the streets. I can’t imagine we’re not going to have another little whipsaw in the COVID environment. In the midst of all of this, some of us are trying to keep our heads about us to see how we can positively impact our communities, positively create a reasonable and deliberate way about us so that we can inspire others to grow and improve their lives amidst all the madness. First of all, tell my tribe a little bit about your background and how you ended up landing in the landlord coaching space and especially about this phenomenal book that I was able to read. I thought it was going to be about landlording. In fact, it was a highly transformative and awareness-raising book.

It’s a bit of a long story like most substantial stories you would want to hear. I grew up in New York. I joined the Marine Corps because I wanted to get out and see the world a little bit and serve my country. I did that and after a couple of years of that, I was thinking that there had to be a better life. I was right. Marine Corps was very good to me and very good for me, but I wanted to go and do my own things. I was always very entrepreneurial and creative, and that wasn’t a good fit for the Marine Corps so I left. It was funny because I wanted to get out and get my education. I had to take the SAT. I graduated 352nd of about 354. I graduated from the top 98% of my class.

AYF 99 | Alignment With Vision

The Time-Wealthy Investor: Your Real Estate Roadmap to Owning More, Working Less, and Creating the Life You Want

The beautiful thing is we all mature or excels at different stages in our lives, so I get it.

The reason I say that though is because if there are people out that they may have that limiting belief that of, “I’m not smart enough or he’s different.” Trust me, put that head trash away because I promise you, that is not the case for anybody. I was able to figure it out. I got a good enough score to somehow get accepted to Purdue. I went to Purdue. The time I was there, while I was at school, I was starting to look at buying rental properties. I was working for a bank and I was trying to figure out how do I get fundable? I didn’t have enough money to buy. I had to learn how the banks thought. They don’t think logically. I can tell you that. I think that you know this.

Algorithms are the quintessence of “if-then-else.” That’s not as logical as one might think. It’s circuitous in a number of ways.

That’s the thing. I needed to figure out if I can pay rent, which is a higher dollar amount, would it make sense that I could qualify for a mortgage? Not necessarily. It was very frustrating until I learned. I’m like, “Let me learn about this a little bit.” I’m talking about residential type mortgages, not what you do. That’s a little later that I learned how they thought on the commercial side when I was a commercial analyst. In that space, I was learning about front and back end ratios and learning how they make decisions about borrowing. Once I figured that out, then it’s like, “Let me show them what I needed to show them.” I was able to buy properties. By the time I graduated from Purdue four years later, I had about $500,000 worth of real estate that I had accumulated, which is about a dozen rental properties. I think it was right around a dozen.

Congratulations, especially being in the 98th percentile of your class.

If nothing else, I was able to figure out how stuff worked. As I continued going on, I worked a couple of different corporate jobs. I worked as a corporate accountant for Marriott. It’s a wonderful company. I loved working for the Marriott, but I didn’t enjoy the work that I was doing. I went and sold my soul and worked for an accounting firm for a while, which was cool. When I was working at a bank, I was doing commercial underwriting and I did enjoy that work, but it didn’t play very well. Ironically, banks don’t pay well, certainly to people with my background. I enjoyed that, but that’s where I cut my teeth and learning how banks made decisions. It wasn’t front end and back end ratio on the front end and on the residential side now. It was that service coverage and things like cross-collateralization. Things that all of a sudden were not in the same realm as the residential side.

Listen to everything that he has to say because we talk about leveling up. We talk about the live and flip. We then talk about now we don’t have to live in it. We can live somewhere else and do the fix and flip. Some of our tribe already have dozens of properties in their inventory and their holdings. For those of you who are committed to seriously taking on commercial level banks, and these are the $2 million to $5 million loans and $20 million and $50 million loans, depending on what you’re acquiring, it’s fundability principles still apply. You’re now a Major League instead of Little League baseball.

Share more of your experience when you’re at the banks. What was it that you discovered that made you have an a-ha moment about corporate or commercial underwriting? What were some of the principles that they look at? What are some of the things that a borrower who is swinging for the fence and has a good RBI, but isn’t in the show yet or isn’t in the Major League, should be aware of? What are the things that my tribe needs to be aware of while they build that? Let’s say they’ve got 50 doors and they got some multifamilies. They’re looking to go to the next level. What do they need to watch for? What do they need to be prepared when it comes to that underwriting? It’s all manual underwriting at that level. There is no automatic underwriting per se.

To be a little bit fair, the world of banking changed fundamentally back in 2009, 2010, 2011. Everything changed because the world was a different place. The banking world was a different place. I can speak to my experience back then. I don’t think it’s changed a whole lot but there is more automated underwriting and it occurs at different levels now, depending on the bank that you’re working at. It is one of the reasons why I like working with community banks because I’m not getting an automatic rejection because there was something that was flagged. It’s easier to reject it and then kick it back to the loan officer. We didn’t touch anything that was under $500,000. If it was $500,000 or better, it went to my desk. I did a lot of stuff with real estate manufacturing and some ag. I live in Indiana. This kid from New York, all of the sudden learning about ag lending. I was like, “I can recognize a horse in a photo and that’s about it.”

Are we talking acres or hectares?

I had no idea about any of this stuff. It was interesting though to learn about farming operations and how many litters they would have in a hog. How many you could expect and all this? I’m like, “I don’t even know what any of this.” All of a sudden, I was being educated. The people that I learned from were the dream team of commercial lending. These guys were good. To answer the question of what should people look for? I was already dealing with people that were massively successful. These were people who are building multimillion-dollar developments. They were home builders. These were people who had already made a large impact in the community. We’re building and we’re building even more.

Our goals, along the way of our vision, are the intermediate waypoints.
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One of the things that I noticed was that they operated very much like a business, which is something that I talk about in The Time-Wealthy Investor 2.0. It’s not about doing this side hustle. It’s about operating as a business. These were companies that had financial statements, balance sheets, and income statements. They were prepared by CPAs. They were prepared by professionals and they were trying to do it all. They weren’t trying to be their own lawyer and their own CPA. Even though these people started out as mom-and-pop, they recognize the value of an experienced person in their corner.

If you want to be fundable, get with a banker that knows what you’re trying to accomplish. Allow them and give them reasons to want to give money to you. Be fundable, be lendable, be a desirable borrower. If you can be that much for what they learned from you, then you’ve got an advocate who’s going to want to loan you money and not want to take a loan back when it’d be the worst time. If I was to look at the overall fundamental thing, it’s they operated very distinctly like a business.

Tell us about the VIP model that is fluent in your book from start to finish so that my people know how we get from one to the other. The end game of this is upping your game in a commercial environment. It is moving from that $500,000 to $1 million to that $3 million. I have boot campers and clients who are always like, “What’s the next level of borrowing?” First of all, you got to know where Mark and I met. We met on an entry on the NREIA Cruise. I’ve talked about the NREIA Cruise, the National REIA group. When we were there, we sat down at the same table for dinner and it was electric. It was easy where each was the positive version of collusion, collaboration, or otherwise.

I had somebody sitting at my table who knew more than I did about commercial lending. I know a lot of things about a few things, but I don’t know everything that’s in this man’s head. I’m like, “This is a done deal. We have to get him on my show.” I wanted you to be able to influence and shine a light on what’s possible next. Some people haven’t even got their first $500,000, but our goal is $1 million for our clients. One of the biggest factors that we’ve run into is that a client will come to me and they’ll say, “I’m all in. I’m ready to get $1 million. I’m going to get the business lines of credit and everything dialed in.”

They then hit $200,000, $300,000, $400,000 and they stop. I’m like, “Why aren’t you continuing?” “I can’t deploy the capital that I have,” because they’re doing everything themselves. They’re not leveraging yet. They have one contractor team. They haven’t done the research. They have 2 or 3 teams at the same time. They’ve got 32 ounces of funding in an 8-ounce glass and they don’t know what else to do. When you sent me your book, I absolutely loved how you model it. Please share with us the VIP model and how that helps somebody who’s in the do-it-yourself game, to moving into a higher level of building a team and an empire.

It’s ironic because I got off a call with a guy who’s looking to take his business and multiply it by about five times. He’s got a $2 million business and he’s looking to bring that to a $10 million to $12 million business over the next two years. I’m like, “That is a completely different business. Right now, you’re probably still doing some of the doing.” He’s like, “I try to.” I’m like, “Let’s hit the timeout button here for a second. What do you pay your people to do what they do?” He says, “I pay them $15 an hour.” I said, “When you are doing that work, that’s what you’re paying yourself.” For the readers out there, you did not get into real estate to create a $12 or $15 an hour business for yourself. If that’s the case, you don’t need to invest $100,000 or $200,000. You could do that tomorrow. We could get into a cleaning business right now before we go. We’ll go to Home Depot, buy a bucket, a mop, a couple of sponges and we’re in business.

You didn’t do that. That’s what I’m saying. There’s a very low barrier to entry for that. That’s why it’s priced so low. When you want to get serious about making money, you’re not going to sacrifice and say, “I’ll save the money and do it myself. Granted, sometimes you have to do it because it’s a matter of convenience. Rather than calling, you’re like, “I’ll spend an hour, I’ll clean it up. I’m already here.” Sometimes you have to and sometimes I still do that stuff. If you’re actively going and planning and plotting to do $12 and $15 an hour jobs for yourself, you’re never going to make it big. If you do, you’re going to be so time wary, you’re never going to be able to enjoy the fruits of your labor.

The whole point is you’ve got to learn to manage the lines of complexity. You’ve got all these things coming at you in different angles and the way to do that is with a system. That’s not craziness. That’s why when you see a very busy business, I don’t care what business it is. McDonald’s, Starbucks, Lowe’s, Menards or wherever you’re at. When you see a system that’s running well, you almost don’t even notice it. That’s the beauty of infrastructure. The problem is when it’s broken or non-existent, that’s when you get bad service. That’s when you get that table over there, they’ve got two waiters on them and we haven’t even been able to give our order yet. It’s a bad infrastructure or bad process, one of the two.

I’ll get into more of that. When you’re looking at the VIP method, which I talked about in The Time-Wealthy Investor, it is a system of setting up a business. The VIP method is Vision, Infrastructure, and Process. This is more of a top-down approach. The vision is about what you are trying to accomplish. Notice I didn’t say, “What you want to bring your business to.” A lot of times, I meet these investors at REIA meetings and I go, “What are you trying to accomplish?” They go, “I want 75 rental units.” I’m like, “74 won’t do it?” It’s always in the increments of 25. I don’t know what that’s about.

They’ll say, “I want 100 rental units.” I’m like, “99 wouldn’t get you to where you want to go?” I’ll do that for a while. What they’re doing is they’re confusing the number of rental units for the life output that they think that will buy them. They think 100 rental units is going to get them this lifestyle when realistically I could say, “Why would you want 100 rental units if 25 could get you the same life output?”

It’s much less lines of complexity. For most people, you can deliver on a vision that that’s what you want out of your life. The problem is most people don’t have a very clear vision defined. They say, “I’ve got a vision board. I know what I want.” I’m like, “Okay, tell me what you want. What are you trying to get to in the next three years?” I don’t challenge it to be a jerk, I challenge it because I’m truly interested. I want to know. It starts to fall apart. I do that not to be a jerk about it, but because I want them to get clarity in their vision.

If it can’t withstand scrutiny, it’s not going to withstand the real world. We’re going to lose every semblance of what that means. I’m Mr. Tactics guy. What I hear you saying was similar to the message that one of my partners was telling me, which is what I enjoyed when I was reading your book. I spent my whole life in tactical maneuvers rather than strategy. He said, “Merrill, the only thing that is valuable for you to do is the only things that you can do that nobody else can do.” I’m sitting here doing everything that anybody could do. In fact, I’d even already hired people to do some of those things like your example.

I was not breathing the rarefied air of only the things that I had the exclusive skillset or mindset to be able to create. My business doubled the second I took your advice, what you’re teaching right now, and get out of the doing part of it and have a clear vision and let the system do the heavy lifting instead of me. I came to an amazing awareness that changed everything for me. It’s like second nature to you, and here I had to spend 50 years back ending into this very idea.

I coach this stuff. I have a coach too. I’m not the coach that says, “You need a coach.” I have a coach that I’m paying a lot of money to. It’s interesting because you’ve met me. I’m not a big guy. I’m 5’7” about 150 pounds. I’ve met your assistant, Sky. She’s teeny tiny like my bride. I could teach them a certain self-defense technique, a certain tactic that would probably work well for them because they’re small. If I was going to teach you to do a throw, that’s the only tactic you know. You’re bigger than me. You could probably do it a lot better than I could, but that’s the only tactic you know. It’s not always a “one size fits all” thing.

Many people say, “I can get you into wholesaling. You’ll make $30,000 a month. What you got to do is this thing that you hate. Don’t worry though, you’ll get $30,000 a month.” You go. “Yeah, but I have to feel like I sold my soul to do it?” It’s not worth it. I get reached out by people on Facebook all the time. They’ll say, “You’d be great at selling,” whatever magic potion they want me to sell for them. I probably would be good at it, but I don’t want to. It’s not the highest and best use of my time. That’s what a clear vision does for you. A clear vision first. I use the analogy of the most dangerous place on the planet is between a mother and her child.

Mom has got a very clear vision about watching that child grow up and be safe and everything else. Certainly, a good mother. When you go after your vision with a ferocity of purpose like that, that’s dialed into you and innate, you’re not going to allow distractions to come into your world. You’re not going to allow nonsense, drama, and things that are going to distract you from that vision. It’s the analogy that I use to say, “Merrill, you and I are going to go on a road trip and drive from Michigan to Florida.” Our vision is to get to Key West, feeling the sand, sitting in a lawn chair, and holding a cold drink. Our goals along the way are the intermediate waypoints.

It’s like, “We’ll hit Indianapolis, then we’ll hit Chattanooga, then we’ll hit Atlanta.” It’s goals along the way. Vision is the ultimate, then the goals are the milestones along the way or the waypoints. Somewhere between Indianapolis and Chattanooga, you say, “I got a friend who lives in St. Louis and it’d be so cool to hang out with him. The last time I saw him was in third-grade. I’m sure he’s a cool dude. Let’s go hang out with him.” I’m going to hit the timeout button again and go, “No, that’s not aligned with your vision. Our vision is to get there.” Let’s face it. In real estate, how easy is it to get distracted.

AYF 99 | Alignment With Vision

Alignment With Vision: If you want to be fundable, get with a banker that knows what you’re trying to accomplish and give them reasons to want to give money to you.


It’s a bigger and better deal. It’s the next opportunity. It’s like, “This may be easier, faster, and better than what I’m doing now. We’ll divert all of our resources to chase the shiny object.” Chase the credit score instead of building a fundable profile.

It was funny because I was thinking about you. I had paid off some credit card debt. I didn’t have a whole lot, but as I was paying it down, I paid off one credit card in full. I got a letter that they were reducing my credit line from $6,000 to $500. What am I going to do with $500? It’s a rewards card. What am I going to get with that? That’s the way they think. I don’t try to make logical sense of it. I’ll probably cancel the card, move on, whatever. They have their risk things that have nothing to do with it because it’s the retail profile. It doesn’t make sense. I want to be fundable in the commercial space.

Let me finish up the VIP method because I know there are other things you want to talk about. Once you get your vision clear about what it is you’re trying to accomplish. You specifically, what’s the level of life output that you want? It’s not easy to do it on your own. It’s like trying to put a lotion on your own back. You’re too close to it sometimes. You think you’re good. My coach helps me with my vision and making sure I’m making decisions in alignment with that. The next piece is the infrastructure. The infrastructure is not only the bones of your business, but it’s also the asset class selection that you make. With the asset class selection, that could be are you in single-family? Are you in multifamily? Are you in a commercial or mixed-use? Could it be parking garages or storage facilities? Whatever that asset class selection is, that’s the one piece of infrastructure. I did not write about that asset class selection in The Time-Wealthy Investor. I did not write about that only because it would have been a 500-page book.

We call those wealth strategies. Every single one of those has an entirely different set of operating procedures and different infrastructures are required for each one of them.

The next piece of the infrastructure like you talked about is what software do you need? What accounting software or property management software should you have? If you have a virtual assistant or a phone system that looks like this, you no longer get to complain when someone calls you at 2:30 in the morning. That’s your fault. The reason why infrastructure is the next piece is that once your vision is clear, let’s say at a very fundamental level that your vision is to lay on the beach, rubbing cocoa butter on your belly. You have this vision of laying on the beach rubbing cocoa butter on your belly for two months out of the year. If your infrastructure is set up to return emails and phone calls on a timely manner, that’s going to be a terrible experience for you when you’re laying on the beach, trying to rub cocoa butter in your belly. No one wants to work from the beach. That’s terrible. That’s the worst. It’s like someone punching birthday cake in your mouth. You want to be on the beach and be present. That’s the infrastructure piece. That’s the bones of your business. The last piece is the process. That’s the tactical stuff that you learned. You might learn a tactic that you go, “I like this tactic.” It’s in alignment with your skillset and your risk tolerance. That process runs on the infrastructure that you built, that all stays in alignment with your vision for the future.

My takeaway from this as reinforced by what I have read in your book was a huge exclamation point. It’s an easy read. It’s not highly technical. It’s conversational. You tell way more stories than I do, which is a great way to write a book. It was an awesome experience. The thing that kept coming back to me where my original failures had been was in the infrastructure piece. I was carrying my entire process on my personal back. If it’s going to be, it’s up to me. That’s not a business. That’s a cult of personality. My mantra became to let the system do the heavy lifting so that my team, and even myself, get to be geniuses in solving customized problems for my clients and my students. We get to use their genius to weigh in on particular situations, not make them fundable. The system makes them fundable. In your business, exactly what Mark is saying is where are you doing the heavy lifting? Where’s your personal presence required to be successful? As Mark said, the second you’re doing a job for $15 an hour, the value of your contribution to the business is $15 an hour. Now you’re talking to somebody who came from that place and hopefully, we continue to leverage the systems, the infrastructure, and building something that people don’t need a human being to make it happen. Human beings are there to make sure that they stay on track.

If I could make a quick point. Let’s say you’re out there doing a job where you amortize over the amount of time you spend at work and everything else. You’re making about $50 an hour and you’re doing a $12 an hour job, you’re costing yourself and your business $38 an hour every single time you’re doing it. I had this guy who was a mentor. I appreciated the way he ran his business, a local disaster restoration type of business. I always appreciated the way that he had it set up. When he pointed that out to me, I was like, “No wonder I’m broke.” I’m costing myself $30, $40 or $50 an hour. Imagine if your billing rate was more like $100, $200, or $300 an hour and you’re out doing $12 an hour work. Now you’re in the multiples. It stops making sense. I’m not saying that I’m above that work. If I had $1 million in the bank, I would still go out and fix stuff. I love fixing stuff, but there’s some stuff that I shouldn’t be doing. It hurts my business. I’m not saying that you can’t do it, but is it always the highest and best use of your time?

One of the things that you brought up is about doing work from the beach. I wanted to share it with my team. I’ve never shared this because it just came up for me. There was a time several years ago. We’d killed it. I told my team, “We can’t afford to be gone for a full week as an entire team. We can’t shut down the doors, leave a new person that we hired as the receptionist, and be like, ‘I’ll get back to you next Monday.’” We decided to take an entire team, eight of us, we packed up all of our workstations and monitors, and we flew to Hawaii. During the United States Continental hours, we would have to work from 5:00 until 2:00. If everybody is willing to work from 5:00 until 2:00, then from 2:00 until 10:00 or 11:00, we’ll take a vacation. The funny thing was that 10:00 or 11:00 turned into 12:00 and 1:00. Everybody had their own rooms and workstation. This was pimp. It was an amazing idea.

The 5:00 AM turned into 6:00 and 7:00 and 8:00. The only thing we got done was answered emails and kept certain weekly appointments. We have a client class where you get a weekly appointment. The second those were done right around 2:00, it was back out into the world with surfing lessons. We went as a group. We went skydiving as a group. It was a phenomenal experience, except we didn’t get to play as much as we would like. We didn’t do a 50% job for our clients because they were intermeshed. We have never done that again, but I have taken them on a four-day weekend or whatever to be able to do things. You’re absolutely right. If I would’ve had a system that allowed people to move on their fundability path without all of the time and energy needed for an advisor. We’re moving to that because of the things that I’ve learned that you’re pointing out to my tribe.

We’re making it so that you don’t need another human being to move on the path. You just need an advisor to make sure that at a particular pathway or at a crossroads, you at least have all the information you need. That’s very different than making every step occur. I’ve learned a lot of exactly what you’re saying. Your book reinforces the process of creating the vision. I have a crystal-clear vision and having mentors and partners who put bullets in it to make sure that it’s resilient. It isn’t a whim. The infrastructure is what I’m building now, so that my tribe, my clients, my students can move forward without having to wait on one of my team to sign them off or check them off or otherwise. We’re building that infrastructure and go more so that my people are strategists rather than tacticians. Let the system be the tactical influence. I applaud what you’re sharing with my tribe.

Decisions become much easier when you can simply ask, “Is this in line with my vision?”
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Honestly, all of a sudden, decisions become much easier because then you can simply ask, “Is this in line with my vision?” People who will reach out to me for advice from time to time will even say, “I’ve got a question about X, Y, Z. I’ve got this opportunity.” I’ll say, “What do you think my first question is going to be?” They’ll go, “Is it in alignment with my vision?” I said, “Exactly. Is it?” Sometimes if it’s in alignment with your vision, especially if you’ve got a partner, it’s going to be in alignment with your ultimate vision? Especially if you’re in a marriage or in a relationship, you don’t make decisions that are going to necessarily bring you into a crossroads.

You want to make that as a couple and you say, “This is going to be a fundamental shift. We need to have this conversation. We need to be intentional about it.” Let’s face it. When you were ten years old, probably the most important thing in your world was your bicycle. I don’t know anymore. Now it’s Xbox or whatever, but probably the most life-changing thing was a bicycle, at least where I grew up in upstate New York. When you got to 14 and 15, maybe not so much because something changed in your world where you’re now able to drive. Maybe that bicycle never got ridden or even oiled or even forgotten about. The next thing you know, you don’t even know what happened to it. It probably got sold off at a yard sale. My point is that as you get closer to certain things, or as we mature, it’s okay for your visions to shift, but they should be an intentional shift. Maybe you get 80% to your vision, you go, “That’s not what I was expecting it to be. That’s not what I was looking for. I was expecting it to be something different.”

One of the things that brings up for me, the questions that I ask in my boot camps, I say, “What is your end game. What’s the why of your life?” Invariably, they are nebulous and include some version of time, money and freedom. There’s an exercise that I’ll take my clients through where we say, “You’ve traveled for three years to every place you’ve ever wanted to travel. You have been in every country. You have backpacked in everything. That’s done. You have bought everything, you own everything, you live in your dream house. Take out all of the reasons we do, all of the things that we say that we want to do. You wake up one morning having done all of this. Now what? What are you going to do with your life when you’ve been everywhere and have everything?” The striving and the garnering and the gathering is where we spend the vast majority of our time.

After that’s done, what do you want to do? It’s fascinating to watch. They’re like, “I think I’d like to be my son’s baseball coach.” We go through that exercise then I would say, “Can you be a baseball coach right now?” After you’ve been everywhere and done everything and own everything that you have, how do you want to spend your time? That’s the message that I’m taking from what you’re sharing. Your vision is in alignment with my vision. Is this new thing in alignment with my vision? Is my vision crystal clear and written down? Not just a vision board, but a clear view of how I will spend my time once I am there, wherever there is.

We all have idea of what our ideal lifestyle will be. Even a lot of people will say, “I want to own a Ferrari and a house that curves with the Earth and everything else.” I’m not saying that that’s wrong. I’m saying that understand with given limited funds if that’s the only thing that matters to you, then fine. If you’re working 90 hours a week to have that stuff, then all you’re doing is paying for caretakers to watch over your stuff. I say this a lot. Having a boat is cool, but having a boat that sits in your driveway is not cool because you’re spending so much time on income generation and not on life output.

My whole view is I rent everything. I rent wave runners, boats, houseboats. I don’t want to own any of that stuff. I want to be able to finish my vacation and walk away. Especially assets that depreciate, are you kidding me? That’s not my jam. Let’s switch gears here and talk about your insider view, pulling back the curtain on commercial lending. We’ve talked about our vision. We’ve talked about clarifying that vision. We’ve talked about integrating a system or the infrastructure that’s going to do the heavy lifting, the bones, the skeleton of it, and then the process. If that is designed and our end game is to get into bigger projects, that $500,000 or more, $3 million, $5 million, $10 million, $20 million projects. What does my tribe need to know? What are the things that they need to watch for? I know that’s a very broad question, but just broad stroke if we can.

I had done a video a long, long time ago on my YouTube channel about having an intentional relationship with your banker. Many people treat their banker like they’re a bad friend. We all have that friend. It’s like, “How are you doing?” You’re like, “What are they going to ask for? They send you a Facebook message and they’re trying to get you to buy something. You’re like, “I never hear from you to check in on me like how you’re doing.” That’s how we treat our bankers, and then we’re super critical when they don’t go to bat for us at a loan meeting or a loan review. We’re only calling them when we need money. It was funny. We’re treating them like we’re the bad friend. It was funny because I would reach out to my banker every now and again to say, “How’s it going?” I like these small community banks for that reason. They appreciate stuff that’s going on in the community.

I talk about a community bank. It’s generally less than $1 billion in assets. That’s probably starting to get to a little bit bigger bank. I like the smaller banks because now they have the ability to provide a lot of the same services, the online banking stuff that most of the bigger banks would tout and say, “We’ve got online banking.” A lot of the community banks do as well. You’re talking with the individual, you generally talking with the guy or the gal that’s going to be making the loan decision. Start having that conversation with the commercial lender that’s in there and someone that you can generally connect with. There’s going to be people that you’re not going to connect with, but find someone that you can connect with. Maybe talk to other people in your community who have a relationship with a commercial banker and have that conversation. Say, “I’m new in real estate investing. I’m going to be looking to do some borrowing down the road. What kind of things do you guys run into? Are you trying to grow your bank?” I don’t know any bank that’s not trying to grow their deposits.

You can start bringing in a positive relationship over there. You can start referring to friends there. If they think that you’re a friend of the bank, when you start coming to the table then ask for some money, now they’re doing a relation. Now it’s a relationship that they’re nurturing. There are lots to know. Start getting smart on some of their vernacular. We can’t even scratch the surface on this stuff. When I start talking about cross-collateralization and they say, “We’re going to cross-collateralize this with your house,” and you don’t know what that means, you can ask them.

I don’t expect anybody here to understand what a hypothecation agreement is unless you’ve been involved in one. My point is there’s basic stuff like how they calculate the interest rate. Back in my day, they called it the CMTI. It’s the treasury index. Now, they call it the CMT. Sometimes they call it different stuff. Generally, they’re going to price it at 300 to 350 basis points above the 3, 5, 7, or sometimes 10 years CMTI. If you add that up right now what’s the CMTI like, it’s 0.6%. Back in my day, when I was in commercial lending, it was usually around 3.5%. You’d be looking at loans somewhere between 6% to 7%. You’ve got to understand that most of the types of loans that they’re going to be getting are not going to be 30-year amortizing. They’re going to be 20 to 25-year amortizing. They’re going to have roughly a five-year commitment on them and renew at five years. If you’re calculating your deal based on a 30-year amortization, which is longer term, smaller payments, if it’s a thin deal to begin with, all of a sudden you sit down at the closing table and you’re like, “The payments are a lot more than I was expecting. What’s the interest rate?” You’re asking the wrong question. Your interest rate’s fine. It’s the amortization that is different.

AYF 99 | Alignment With Vision

Alignment With Vision: It’s okay for our visions to shift as you get closer to certain things, but they should be an intentional shift.


Our objective at Get Fundable tribe is to become professional borrowers. Not rookies, not consumers, but professional borrowers. The entire model that I teach is relationship building. Reconcile bad banking relationships by doing the right things and then build new banking relationships. You and I speak the exact same language. What I hear you saying that I want to point out to my crew is that you guys need to be aware that business banking relationships start before the money is being requested. In the smaller realms of under $1 million where we teach how to put traffic into your accounts so you can trigger the automatic underwriting guidelines. You can look like somebody that’s worth them paying attention to.

That’s the flowers and the chocolate that we’re taking to our date’s door, and then how they respond. We then start this courtship and begin building a relationship with them that could last a lifetime. The best ones that I have, I’ve got twenty years on some of my banking relationships and we follow bankers wherever they go. If I’m at Chase or a community bank and they moved somewhere else, follow that banker, keep your relationship, nurture that one and begin to expand. Those are very key ingredients that you’re mentioning about building those relationships.

Real estate is a contact sport. You’re not going to do it in a box. I hear some of these people complaining like, “I didn’t get a PPP loan, and this and that.” I’m like, “Did you have a conversation with your banker before you needed it?” “No.” What are they expecting? It’s not like all of a sudden, you must be this guy’s best friend.

Real estate is a contact sport. You're not going to do it in a box. It is about relationship building.
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This isn’t Tinder for banks. This is relationship building. One last thing, I’m thrilled that you’re coming to the bootcamp. I can’t wait to get to have another conversation afterward because you get to fill in some of the blanks of our model. I’m sure we’ll do this again based on a deeper dive because I need to dust off some of my old commercial tomes in order to be able to ask intelligent questions. I don’t want to waste your time, but it’s been a pleasure having you here. Please send me a book. I need another copy of the book. I want my partner to have that as well. Please send me another copy of that. Please tell us where we can get ahold of you.

Honestly, I’m a social media scoundrel. You can reach out to me through Facebook. I’m on Instagram. You could always reach out to me directly. My email is I gave everybody a free strategy session. A lot of times it turns into more than that. I don’t like feeling I’m being sold on something. This isn’t like an hour-long sales pitch. I promise you, I’m going to give you actionable stuff. I truly like to help people. If it makes sense to go on with the longer relationship and coaching relationship, we can talk about that. I don’t like to be sold and I don’t like to sell.

That’s part of where the kinetic energy arrives. It’s about collaboration. If there’s something to collaborate on, let’s do it. If there’s not, Godspeed, God bless and do your thing. Thank you for being here for playing in my sandbox. I love having you come over and coach my team, my crew. I want all of them to know more than I know. I bring in all the people who know more than I know so that they can enrich their lives on their quest to their why, to their end game. Thank you very much.

It was my pleasure. Thanks so much. I appreciate it.

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About Mark Dolfini

AYF 99 | Alignment With VisionMark Dolfini is a veteran of the U.S. Marines and the author of three real estate books. Most notably, The Judge: A Landlord’s Tale, released in the summer of 2018. His much-anticipated 3rd book, The Time-Wealthy Investor 2.0, was recently released in January, 2019, which teaches the exclusive VIP Method of how to create a real estate business focused on Life-Output. It became #1 Amazon Bestseller in March of that same year.

He received a Bachelor of Science in Accounting at Purdue University, and worked for Marriott before venturing out full-time in the world of real estate investing. He is the Owner and Managing Broker of a property management company based out of Lafayette where he oversees the combined ownership and management of $40 million in real estate assets. He is also the founder of Landlord Coach, a real estate investor training company, and sits on numerous boards including the Better Business Bureau of Central Indiana, the National Federation of Independent Business, and is a Training Director for Central Indiana BNI Franchise – a networking organization.

He spends his free time pistol shooting and kayaking and lives in Lafayette, Indiana where he and his wife Jennifer are raising their two sons, Leland and Logan.

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If You Have A Good Lender, They’re Doing This… Tue, 02 Jun 2020 09:00:00 +0000 AYF 99 | Financial Paradoxes


There is a new lender playbook that is radically different than any other recession or depression in the past – a new financial data that is completely opposite of what has ever existed in the past. In fact, there are attitudes being expressed by lenders and by borrowers that have never existed before at the same time. On today’s show, Merrill Chandler takes a closer look at these paradoxes that exist right now in the financial world, especially involving lenders, as well as the importance of the lender-borrower partnership.

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If You Have A Good Lender, They’re Doing This…

I believe this is going to be an amazing episode. We’re talking about the paradoxes that exist in the country. The opposites are existing at the same time when they never have before. What do I mean by paradox? There are many strange things going on at the same time and they are opposite in nature. If they ever have occurred in our society before, at the same time, one usually precludes or excludes the other. We’re going to go through numerous versions of this because I want us to see that we’re living in strange times. There’s a new lender playbook out here that is radically different than any other recession, depression in the past. There are new financial data that are completely opposite of what’s ever existed in the past. In fact, attitudes being expressed by lenders and by borrowers that has never existed before.

That’s what we’re going to take a look at. Paradox by definition is where two seeming opposite variables exist at the same time, in the same space. Hot and cold. Can you be hot and cold simultaneously? If that were a condition to be hot and cold, that’s a paradox. Let’s take a look at how in the financial world. I’ve attended numerous and I have the details from a couple of online seminars that I’ve attended, where lenders are not throwing the baby out with the bathwater. I was in 2008, I had eight properties and there was a feeding frenzy to move to foreclosure the second you are 90 days late on a particular property. I had eight of them and we did our best to renter income and augmenting income.

AYF 99 | Financial Paradoxes

Financial Paradoxes: It’s such a waste that people are renting apartments when there are entire subdivisions of homes available that the banks are holding for sale later.


The Foreclosure Crisis

I’ve shared with you before, in 2008, when the markets crashed, I had every penny invested foolishly in the market. When it crashed, I lost everything. I lost it all and I lost the income because we would harvest off the sale from different securities and equities that we had invested in. We were making our payments as highly leveraged and making my payments. The second week any one of our properties hit 90 days, a notice of default was mailed to us. Some of them were literally like the old town criers back in the day. There it was taped to our front door, a notice of default.

Many times I’ve told you in the past, Brad, my partner in this endeavor, we’ve been doing things together for a few years. This is because of the securitization of mortgages. There were lenders who were trying to foreclose a mortgage that they didn’t own the promissory note. We had 32 lawsuits against unlawful foreclosure. I did like I do now. It’s like I offered my tribe here. To all my readers, I’m all about connecting the dots. I’m all about looking behind the scenes, between the blinds and seeing where the truth of the matter is. In this case, we were doing these foreclosure events and there were tens of hundreds of thousands of people. The second they hit 90 days late, foreclosure proceedings began across the nation.

Here’s what happened. When you went through the foreclosure process and your property went to auction, it was awesome for real estate investors to go to the auction, buy a property, some undervalued and some not, then be able to fix, flip, and prepare it. Even the real estate investors were holding on to properties for a long time. Many times, they went back to the bank, meaning at the auction, nobody wanted to buy it. Generally speaking, the values had dropped so much. The sale price at auction was the amount of the first mortgage. In the foreclosure proceedings, let’s say a house was worth $300,000. There was a note on it, let’s say Citibank had a note on it for $180,000, and it went to foreclosure, went to auction. Citi said, “I want $180,000 because I want all of my money from this note if somebody is going to buy it. Otherwise, I’m going to keep it in my inventory.” It’s an important word for this conversation.

Some got sold off. Some real estate investors had a heyday, but the vast majority of properties went into bank inventory. Some of you have seen The Big Short. If you haven’t, I highly recommend it. It is an excellent general review of the foreclosure crisis. Here’s the problem. One of the scenes in this, which I beheld with my own eyes in the Salt Lake County area, there were entire new divisions that had been built. Borrowers had come in, engaged a loan, the credit specs were not necessarily super fastidious. If you could fog a mirror, you got a mortgage. There were entire subdivisions that were sold to borrowers who may not have qualified otherwise if they didn’t plug them here. Here’s what happened, after all these properties get foreclosed on, there are entire subdivisions that were completely empty. It showed some of these subdivisions in the movie, The Big Short.

The salvation of our economy is the lender-borrower partnership where we are partners in this game, not adversaries.
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They were tumbleweeds rolling across the street, completely vacant. It took 5 to 7 years to reintegrate those properties into the markets again. For people to come out of recession, get reemployed, and be able to be in a position to purchase a home. There were new standards for purchasing a home. Fannie and Freddie went the full doc. You have to prove up now. Back in the day, it was almost similar to automatic underwriting, but there were no underwriters. It was like, “Let’s fill this out,” because they were selling these mortgages on the back end. Literal neighborhoods empty. Every time there are neighborhoods empty, there’s somebody not in a home, they would start becoming dilapidated. They would start eroding. The lawns would grow out of control.

The other thing is that part of our negotiations with these banks when we were doing foreclosure defense. The banks were saying, “We want them out of the house,” to say, “Why don’t we set up the rent.” Our argument was so that they could maintain the property because the property is only going to decrease in value. The land may stay the same value or grow over time. The value of the actual building, the house, the apartments for multifamily are going to become dilapidated, and it did. It was a scourge. There were many articles and things that were presented in the media of saying, “What a waste.”

Connecting The Dots

People are renting in apartments when there are entire subdivisions of homes that were available. The banks thought it better to grab these properties, hold them, and sell them later. That is all different now. The lenders, especially mortgage lenders, have a brand-new playbook from everything that I have been studying. Part of my genius, I’m only good at a few things but I’m brilliant at them, and that is connecting dots. Taking what appear to be random things from different industries, different markets, bringing them together, synthesizing what is the truth about a situation. That’s how we got to fundability optimization. I didn’t go to FICO school.

The whole point of this is in this dot connecting, I’ve been going to disparate seminars and training so that I can keep boning up on what’s going on out there in different industries. Yet I’m noticing some powerful things where I’m connecting these dots. One of them is that I attended a seminar for Mortgage Loan Servicing. What was interesting was that these mortgage servicers, remember there’s the originating entity, then there are the people who after they’ve been sold on the market, then there are professional servicers and mortgage servicers. They presented in this. There are three phases of deferments that servicers should be trained and prepared to execute three deferment processes.

One was a six-month forbearance agreement, which means you don’t make a mortgage payment and it’s a needs test. There is a needs test associated with it, but a six-month forbearance agreement. They do another. They explore options. They reinstate extend forbearance, do a repayment plan, deferral, loan mod, short sale, deed in lieu foreclosure, and foreclosure. They’ve got all these options, but the ones that extend through this entire time is what they’re offering. The sample timeline, there’s a 90-day foreclosure prohibition. No foreclosures are going to happen. They’ve pulled foreclosures off the table. There’s a six-month forbearance from the request offered by the lender.

How many of you were notified by your lender? If you need to take advantage of this, here are the rules of engagement, but many borrowers who wouldn’t have thought of it earlier. It was offered by the lender. The lender then from the forbearance request, there is a six-month period. They then reevaluate and explore the options. Some of these options are very short-lived especially the foreclosure deed, short sale. The ones that extend further in time, the preferential is the deferral or the loan modification. An additional six-month forbearance agreement is offered by the lender. This is unheard of. Forbearance back in 2008, you had this conversation with your lender and they would say no, but you brought it to the table. Now they’re offering these forbearance agreements and they’re doing them back-to-back. Finally, what the presenter presented was that after the second one, there is an opportunity for what was called a permanent forbearance.

Permanent Forbearance

Permanent forbearance is where there is a needs analysis for a borrower. It’s a minimum of quarterly basis, possibly even monthly, where until you are able to reengage and you’re looking for a job, you’re in a highly-employable industry, let’s pretend you’re a restaurant manager and restaurants are closed down by COVID, that may qualify. It’s completely out of your control and you have a job at the restaurant when it goes back. That’s what I mean by a needs test. It isn’t like, “I got laid off from a warehouse and I’m not going to go back to work because I have all of these benefits that are coming in. I get $600 a week extra, so I don’t need to go back to work.” There’s a needs evaluation.

What’s fascinating is that these lenders in this conference were talking about being able to provide forbearance until the recession/COVID isolation stuff retriggered growth in the economy. It’s unheard of. Now, the question is, “Why?” First of all, 5 to 7 years of fields of empty homes and the dilapidation, a degradation of the value of the property because those homes were empty, the lenders have learned from conferences that I’ve been attending. That was no man’s land. No lender wants to repeat that inventory of dilapidated properties. Even if they sold it at low prices to a real estate investor, that’s where we’re coming from. We want those properties. We want to be able to rehab the. We’re talking about fields of subdivisions, not just a fix and flip here and there.

AYF 99 | Financial Paradoxes

Financial Paradoxes: The lenders’ ability to mitigate or lower their risk is based on how well they take care of you and set up needs assessments.


They do not want empty homes for two reasons. One, the degradation of the value of the property and having somebody in there has the opportunity to keep up the place. The arguments we made back in 2009 and 2010 during the foreclosure. The suits that we were filing, they want to keep somebody in the home, who has a vested interest in the home, not a renter, but the owner of the property. Number two is they want to maintain positive and clear relationships with their customers. That’s also unheard of. Part of the paradox is, Brad in his research, part of our pivot is to completely look at all the big industries, credit card industries, the mortgage industries, the auto industries, and business lending industries. Every one of those is designed for us to continue our exploration and our research in what’s happening in all the ones that impact you and me.

The Lender-Borrower Partnership

It’s a panel of bankers. How do they pivot in this environment? Now, we’ve all had the impression that bankers don’t want to pivot. It’s like, “Give me my money. I’ll foreclose, I’ll repo, I’ll take my ship back and you go to hell. That is not the environment anywhere among lenders, both credit card, auto, mortgage as we’ve seen. They’re looking at what was the original cost of acquiring a customer. Their job as lenders is to minimize risk. Do you know what their new solutions are? To minimize risk, they’re waiving fees like late fees. Let’s say you owe $200 payment on your credit card but you’re struggling to make that payment. Right around the 15th, they charge you another $57 as a late fee. All these numbers are made up. Normally, what they would want to be able to write this off if it went to lose. Lenders are taking on a completely new framework. I’ve been preaching for years the salvation of our economy is a lender-borrower partnership where we are partners in this game, not adversaries. Preaching it from the heavens for nearly 25 years.

The credit card companies, many of them are waiving late fees and now we have big data to back this up. The big data says that if we don’t charge them more for being late especially in a needs test. We’re finding out that they didn’t just lose their job, but their job was pulled out from underneath them and that they have a job the second the economy turns around. We all had a job. There was only 3% unemployment. We all had a job. They’re saying risk management because it’s a risk of loss. If I don’t charge extra fees and if I’m willing to accept lower amounts against the principle and the interest, some are cessation, ceasing interest on overages.

In a previous episode, I said that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau suspended the demands that the Fair Credit Reporting Act puts on lenders to report paid as agreed, if only if it’s paid as agreed. Some lenders are exploring and some are beta tests. They’re exploring it, but if you owe $200 and can afford $125, they will take it and still say paid as agreed in the reporting? It’s never heard of before. These are paradoxical times. Stay tuned with your lenders because it costs them dearly to get you as a customer. 99.9% of these lenders want to keep you as a customer.

The ability to mitigate, to lower their risk is based on how well they take care of you and set up needs assessments. They can find out who’s defrauding them, who’s faking it and who are the great people who can pay, have paid faithfully and just needs help from their partner. I’ve been preaching the gospel of partnership forever. I’ve been saying even in my book, “Somebody’s got to go first. Somebody’s got to seek to reconcile this relationship first.” In COVID, lenders are choosing you first. You better acknowledge it in some small ways or in massive ways, they’re choosing to partner with you. I’ve watched four different things on the FICO seminar series. Four seminar presentations that are sponsored by FICO were all about nurturing the client in these times.

How do we take care of them? How do we keep them in the fold, still protect our portfolio, and still protect our investments? They’re choosing in. I don’t want this to be a loss. To finish up on the mortgage, lenders do not want empty fields of homes. They don’t want inventory. They want you or buyers, the people that they originally approved. They want you in that home and then do needs tests to make sure that when the moment is possible, they can start getting paid. Some are testing being willing to take smaller payments without doing a loan modification because a loan modification ends up on a credit profile and they know that you become not fundable to some degree if you have a loan mod.

They’re all working out because this has been a massive machine. They’re putting a little sand in the gears, to figure out new ways. In fact, one of the things from Brad’s presentation is they’re saying everything is about this pivot. Everything is finding out, “How do we handle and mitigate loss? How do we lower our risk? How do we take care of our clients so that they stay with us?” Here’s what’s fascinating to me. We were all pivoting because of COVID and the prospects of a recession. Thirty-six million people have filed for unemployment. Do you realize that in 8 out of 10 markets, appreciation is still occurring for real estate while we have 36 million people filing for unemployment?

This is what I mean by two things existing at the same time that are opposite to each other, that don’t belong in the numbers. I would love to be on the inside. I need to get to an economic conference. I would love to attend an economic conference to find out how they’re doing the math, what dots they’re connecting because you don’t have 36 million people filing for unemployment, and have appreciation continue to grow. The economy is slowing in real estate, at least in numerous markets, is continuing to grow. Fascinating times that we live in. It’s not the zombie apocalypse I was anticipating. These lenders are choosing in and experimenting with different ways to do so, including giving us credit for less than full payment and thank paid as agreed without renegotiating or doing an entire loan modification. Be on the lookout for those.

Stay tuned with your lenders because it costs them dearly to get you as a customer.
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Some of them are doing it behind the scenes. I’m attending industry seminars. They haven’t made any of this public. What you can count on from me is attending these insider conferences and finding out at least what they’re talking about. If you owe $5,000 and someone’s supposed to pay a payment of $200, there’s nothing gained by sending them to collections when it’s an external force and this is the math that the lenders are doing. If someone can stay paid as agreed since they suspended the Fair Credit Reporting Act, reporting rules, if someone could pay half of $200, three-quarters of $200, I don’t know where the cutoffs are. These are all experiments, all are whiteboard analyses so far. Imagine if paid as agreed is a partnership agreement like you do with a renter. When somebody walks in and says, “Can I pay you on the 10th because I get my bonus check?” You’re like, “That’s cool.” You’re a partnership. You’re figuring this out together.

Lenders on a nationwide basis, on an entire client basis, are looking at creating these exact types of relationships so that it’s more one-on-one where we can establish it. It’s freaking amazing. Deferment process, one deferral, the second deferral, and even in perpetuity deferral. In perpetuity doesn’t mean forever. It means that there’s not a timetable on it. There are multiple versions of risk and needs assessment with the borrower. These are parts of their risk management. They keep somebody who cares about the home. The children are in that neighborhood. They’re going to school. Your commute used to be X and now you’re looking for another job or your job is waiting for you the second the hotel opens back up. All of those are on the table.

Extended deferments and case-by-case, lower payment evaluations. Way back, when I went to FICO, I had that whole thing when I’m among the borrower side of the universe. Sometimes I can be one of the smartest men in the room. My commitment to you is to continue to be the dumbest man in all of these rooms. I’m here to learn what is in their heads, what is on their whiteboards, what is in their strategy sessions so that I can keep you updated on exactly what is happening. How we can continue to lean into their leaning in. This is about the partnership, it always has been. Now, we’ve been slapped across the face, both lenders and us, because now we need each other to be good partners with the other.

Another thing that happened because of COVID and sequestering, the shelter in place rules, there has been more people comfortable doing things from home. However, one of the things they’re working on risk mitigation is that when you were at home, your IP address at home or at work, all that stuff is a track when you’re communicating with a lender. It’s part of their fraud prevention. They want to know where you are what computer you’re using when you’re filing applications. That shelter in place may keep us home more but also, we may be doing things at other people’s homes.

I use it all the time, but going to Aunt Mable’s house, we’re taking care of Aunt Mable and we may do some of our financial work from Aunt Mable’s IP address. Lenders even have to open up. The bull’s eye is, you always do check your financial information and pay your online payments. Do all those things from one IP address at home. If that’s expanding, they have to figure out what’s not fraud because it’s a different IP address. All the big data, FICO leading the charge, they’re all working on collecting this data so they can process to see instead of being an approval or update, IP address as a bull’s eye. They now have to account for who’s who in a wider marketplace.

How many times did you work from home or you’re at home in the evenings, the weekends doing your finances or you’re at the office? The two IP addresses, 1 to 2 IP addresses may be the extent of us. Some people, I never leave. When we were in the office, everything we did, two IP addresses, all my lenders could count on those two IP addresses. They’re looking at ways in which to mitigate their risk. Lower their risk and protect their resources. I believe the language was, “A touchless white-glove experience.” While they’re tier two 80%, it could have been Capital One’s rep in this panel, because we’re all sequestered, a touchless white glove customer experience. Those words have not come out of the mouths of lenders before.

AYF 99 | Financial Paradoxes

Financial Paradoxes: Lenders have proven over and over through this entire thing that they want to lean in. They do not want to lose you as their partner.


Living In A Paradox

The end game is that we are living in a paradox. We have many things going forward simultaneously that are opposites. I want to end on this note that the reason why some people have asked me, “Why are there two deferment periods, six months and then six months?” Everybody who’s beginning at the time that this is published, their bars are opening up, restaurants, some hotels, more and more people are traveling. There is a huge belief that it is too soon and that is going to create a new wave of COVID and that wave is going to increase. It’s like a double-dip heading down, right here, another dip. Be careful. Do as little as possible. Be conservative with your health and wellbeing of you, your families, and your loved ones.

I don’t want a double-dip. I’d rather take it now, get rid of it and move on. There are a lot of people who want to get out. There was a rally at the State Capitol Building in Utah and there was one poster that said, “Give me liberty or give me death” Hold on because we have no idea where this is going to end. There may be another wave. We need to be prepared with our finances, to take advantage when new opportunities arise. The most important message of all is that lenders have proven over and over through this entire thing is that they want to lean in. They do not want to lose you as their partner, as their customer.

We need to be prepared with our finances. We need to be prepared to take advantage of new opportunities when they arise.
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They want to do everything that they can and are experimenting widely on how to nurture that relationship. In their words, how to give a touchless white glove customer experience to you through all of us and keep you loyal and wanting to be in a relationship with them. Lean in. Those are the words you always hear for me, always lean in and do the most you can. Don’t take advantage of a deferment if you don’t have to. Don’t take advantage of lower payments if you don’t have to. They’re coming to the table. You come to the table and say, “Thank you. That’s a generous offer and I can keep going.” I love talking to you about what’s going on. It’s fascinating to me. Be well and have a spectacular rest of your day.


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17 Questions Intelligent Home Buyers Ask With Jennifer Hammond Fri, 29 May 2020 09:00:13 +0000 AYF 98 | Home Buyer Questions


Getting a mortgage is painstaking work, but with the right broker at your side, things can be made so much easier. Today’s guest explains why it is essential to ask your mortgage broker some brutally honest questions so that you can work towards a win-win setup. Joining Merrill Chandler on the podcast is Jennifer Hammond, a real estate executive at TTR Sotheby’s and talk show host at SiriusXM satellite radio. Jennifer and Merrill go over the 17 questions you should ask your mortgage broker and reflect on how important it is to ask these questions, especially during this pandemic. Whether you’re going for your first mortgage or a refinance, the choice of the right mortgage broker can make all the difference as you go through the process. Make sure you know what to ask your broker to get the best out of them.

Watch the episode here:

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17 Questions Intelligent Home Buyers Ask With Jennifer Hammond

We’re going to be talking to Jennifer Hammond, one of my heroes and a real estate pro. We’re going to be talking about how COVID and how to grade, how to evaluate, how to make sure you ask the right questions of a mortgage broker before you engage.

I want to introduce you to Jennifer Hammond. She is my hero. I know her for years. I have a great story to tell that you may be even unaware about this. One of my goals back in 2013, I took a personal development course, and this personal development course was ten months long and the end game is you had to set a goal for what you could achieve at the end of this period. You knew you arrived if you had fulfilled this goal in ten months. My goal was to be able to leave my business and trust it to my associates, my team and everybody, so that I could go walk El Camino de Santiago, the 500-mile pilgrimage in Southern France and Northern Spain without having texts, not checking in, that I could trust my entire team to run the business without me.

I hit it, but while I was gone on the pilgrimage, Jennifer, who had seen or heard about me from various real estate conferences we’d both been at, but would never be introduced to each other, she calls in to my team and says, “I want to have Merrill on the show.” All of a sudden, I wasn’t there. She interviewed one of my partners the very first time and off to the races. Not only did I get to leave Jennifer, but you were like the icing on the cake. While I may be some of the personality of it, but this thing works without me being there. You were the prize. From my perspective, that’s how our relationship started.

Thank you so much because I never knew that story. It was so funny because I remember I have always wanted to ask you because when I first met your partner and had him on, I was like, “It’s interesting how it’s switched,” and it’s been such a blessing. We have many beautiful stories about people changing their lives. You’re one of my favorites on this show and one of the most popular because when you can change somebody’s knowledge of their credit and funding, you can change everything. Unfortunately, money and that funding is what makes this world go and helps us. I hate that it’s attached to money, but that knowledge of money is something that we don’t understand. The difference between credit and funding is such a profound thing. It can change people’s lives and help them live the life that they always want, whether it’s traveling, over on a mission, for your church, a dream you’ve always had on helping others with a business. You were able to have a fleet of trucks. I know you’ve helped truckers in your way to own their own rigs.

We’ve done so much together with your audience. I want to introduce you to her because Jennifer is a high-energy dynamic woman. She has her own SiriusXM satellite radio show for years. She’s invited me on there 2 to 3 times a year because we have so much in common. She wants to facilitate her listeners to not only improve their credit profile and their borrower status, but she focuses a great deal on real estate investors and help them take things to the next level. I am inspired by you. She’s also has a bestselling book, 101+ Resources for Veterans. She’s totally committed to the veteran experience and how to facilitate those amazing people who’ve done so much for us. Welcome, Jennifer, to our show. It’s funny we get to reverse roles because I’m always being interviewed and now, I got you.

We may do several of these but your last interview of me, you had introduced a gift that you’d been giving people who asked you where to send it. It was seventeen questions to ask a mortgage professional. COVID is upending a bunch of dynamics. There are a lot of things going on, yet we’ve had a huge amount of our clients who have taken down mortgages who’ve been able to qualify. As I like to teach, the target is getting smaller but if your fundability scatter chart is small, you’re going to be fundable no matter what. I wanted to go over these questions and let’s talk about them and how do we create a great relationship with a mortgage professional that can stand the test of time?

One of the biggest things for me as well as I’m always talking about you need to create your A-Team. I also call it your Yay-Team because I’m known for saying yay. I want to make sure that we’re always celebrating the yays that we have every day. They’re more than I think we realize and it’s become more evident that we’re seeing so much sadness, sickness, and death. It’s making it much more important to realize those yays. I always talk about building a team and you’re one of the people I think that everybody should have on their team because they need to understand. One of those people is your money person. It may be that you need a mortgage, so you need a money person in that, but you might also need funding for your business.

There are all sorts of people in there, including your credit expert and your funding expert, which is Merrill Chandler. When I was looking at COVID-19, I got started getting a bunch of these phone calls and I was on some other radio shows and people were saying, “I’m thinking about refinancing.” I thought, “Anytime you’re talking to a mortgage professional, you need to ask them certain questions.” When I was starting to interact with people, I realized, “They never even asked.”

People don’t know what to ask.

“If you don’t ask, you don’t get.” That’s Jack Canfield, Chicken Soup for the Soul. He’s also the author of The Success Principles. He always says, “Ask, ask, ask.” These seventeen questions grew out of that need to desperately want to help people no matter if you’re just looking to get a refinance or if you’re going to go buy a property. It could be a commercial property. These are specifically focused on residential properties. I know you said I’ve been in doing real estate as a licensed real estate agent for years, since 1997. In the Washington DC area, I’m licensed in three jurisdictions: Virginia, DC, and Maryland. I love helping people get the best deal on their mortgages. I’m not super popular with mortgage brokers. You should know that.

We want our audience to be able to say, “How do I find someone who’s going to serve my needs, and then we can build a relationship with them over the long haul? They first have to be somebody I want to work with.”

I’ve had some people do this and they literally emailed it over to their mortgage professionals. I was like, “That’s creative.” I recommend that you don’t email it to them. I recommend that you go through and you write the answers because you should have some back and forth with this. I will tell you that the mortgage professionals that have gotten a copy of this are not pleased with me at all. Talk about pulling back the curtain like the Wizard of Oz.

AYF 98 | Home Buyer Questions

Home Buyer Questions: Any time you’re talking to a mortgage professional, you need to ask them certain questions.


Take that as your first hint. This is not something you email and it needs to be conversational. When you ask a question, you make it sing-song. You’re like, “By the way, I wanted to know this too.” You make it conversational. You can’t read it or otherwise, someone’s going to be like, “I’m going to be hemmed in here,” and nobody likes to have that, especially how cool these questions are. I do want to tell everybody where to go so you can download your own copy of these questions. Go to It talks about a free gift. This is that opt-in. Give her your email so she knows where to send this and you’re set and you’ll have your own copy of these.

I wanted to address Jack Canfield, “Ask, ask, ask.” At least I have ideas about where it springs from. You and I have talked about this several times, but many of us don’t believe we deserve something. We will answer a question for somebody by not asking. We’re telling ourselves no so that they don’t have to and we don’t have to feel rejected again. A perfect example in numerous times, in my bootcamp I talk about how individuals literally are broadcasting with the lender, “Don’t lend to me.” Tell me your thoughts on this whole deserving piece. This is a heart piece and I never want any of my episodes to just be the tech. Tell me your thoughts about that self-denial or the process of not asking.

I am happy that you brought that up because this is part of the reason that I realized that by having my questions in their hand, they feel like they’re leveraging me and my expertise. They don’t feel worthy to even ask these questions. I am going to continue to expand on these questions for people. I know you’ve seen this as well, but I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen somebody who doesn’t feel worthy of $1 million line of credit or if they’re buying a house. I’ve seen plenty that are coming out and they’re buying their first multimillion-dollar house and still, they’ve made amazing success in their life. There’s something in our heart, in our mind, I also would say there’s a spiritual ridge there.

Everybody knows about my non-religious deeply spiritual convictions that there is something that vibrates us higher and higher or lower and lower.

I agree with you so much. It’s funny because I have that conversation with Jack Canfield about, I love it when you can find something that gives you, whether it’s music or whatever your grounding is. Right before you call a mortgage professional and have this, play your favorite song, get yourself pumped up, you need to hear the Rocky theme. Get Rocky playing in the background.

That’s why I love you is because you get it. We can move our energy such that we have a higher capacity to take the win. I did an episode called Take the Win where I had written my book. I finished my book and I literally sent it to the printer and then the next morning, I started on my next project. I didn’t even take a second to go, “I just finished my first book.” It didn’t take even a moment to take the win. Do you have any examples in your life where you avoid it? I want our people to know that they’re not alone. We’re all doing this in a way. Sometimes it short-changes us.

I would tell you one that I’ve never ever shared before and that you’re probably going to be surprised. I’m going to be vulnerable. I remember when they gave me the SiriusXM radio show, I thought, “That was a mistake. They don’t understand.” I’ve never done it before. Every single week I thought for sure there was going to be somebody who was going to call in and go, “She’s not professional. She hasn’t gone to whatever radio school.” I kept thinking, “They’re going to fire me.” I remember the last time I went in for contract negotiation with SiriusXM. I went in and my contract was about to expire.

Here I am years later going, “They were about to fire me. I think they’re going to fire me. Are they going to fire me?” This is going on in my head and all of a sudden they’re like, “We’d like to go ahead and give you a raise and we want to extend your contract to a longer contract.” I looked at them I had to turn so they didn’t see my eyes because I started to fill up with tears and I thought, “Are they really serious?” I’ve had some amazing stories of people not only from you, and that’s one of the reasons I bring you up is you’ve changed people’s lives. I have people who didn’t commit suicide because of something they learned on the show. That’s why like what you just said with our heart, we don’t feel good enough. We realize that we’re also preventing the world from seeing our light, vibrating at that high level, and sharing it because every single one of us has something to give and a beautiful gift to give. Just like these seventeen questions, I didn’t realize how powerful they were until I started seeing the feedback people coming back. I was like, “Those are good questions.”

They were powerful and thorough for me, it was so in their face that I’m like, “I haven’t had her on my show yet.” I’ve only been doing it for months, but I’m like, “Why isn’t Jennifer on my show?” Everybody needs to know these questions. Everybody on the planet needs to be able to ask a mortgage broker these questions. It triggered me to a whole new level. I’d always been the recipient of your generosity. You having me on your show and educating your people. Now, we get to flip that script. We get to turn it upside down and have you talking to my tribe because this thing is legit. I used to fly over the country going to different events or whatever and when you say, “Letting the light shine,” like The Good Book says, or at least vibrating at a higher level. When I’m flying in different parts of the country at night, you see one little light in this massive darkness. It could be cornfields in Kansas, you could still see the one light. The more lights that are glowing, pretty soon you can see they’re lighting up the skies from everybody. Every light counts and everybody has a message. Everybody has the right to ask somebody to give them a win and make it a win-win. Remember, doing a mortgage with somebody, they’re not going to not win. Do you get to win as well? I believe you deserve it. Jennifer definitely believes you deserve it.

That’s one of the first things is understanding, like you said, take the win. I’ve been doing a SiriusXM Radio for so long. People are learning things. Their lives are changing. It’s worth it. Take the win but make sure that you are also getting through whatever that spiritual ridge is. I don’t even know words to describe it other than it’s so easy for us to go. I know you shared a lot about your own childhood, but I had a rough childhood. I had a lot of people tell me I was stupid and I was never going to make it. They were many awful things that now when I think about it, I realized you have to have the Rocky theme that needs to go in your head.

Go for whatever inspires you and make sure that you have that attitude. You have many amazing things about working with credit card companies. When you are going to talk about money, money is something that for some reason, we have these scripts going in our head, “Money is evil.” No, it’s not all evil. If you’re too focused on it and you think about the things that have been said, “Money doesn’t grow on trees.” Maybe some of that stuff is just weird little things that are in your head and they don’t mean that you’re not worthy of an abundance of money. Every bit of money that’s out there, but you have to have that attitude. It’s an attitude of gratitude, but it’s also the ability to take that win. Because if you don’t, then as you’re going through these questions, I’ve also watched these seventeen questions, some people come back to me and they saved thousands of dollars. Other ones, they’ve saved a little bit here and there. Everybody has a win on it. The difference has so much to do with the attitude that you approach it.

How Much Skin Do They Have In The Game?

Let’s go through these and talk about each one of them. Question number one, how long have you been working in mortgages? Do you love it? Is it a passion for you to help people understand their options? Do you work alone or with a team? Tell me about that.

This question is very much about understanding the purpose behind that person. Is that person going to push you off on somebody else? Are they looking for you to do an online application in the least amount of interaction, the least amount of their time? You want to know how much skin do they have in the game. Are they interested in being an educator? Are they interested in, as I call it, to put you on the Yay-Team? Are they wanting to be on four financial teams to help you be better? You want to know what it is. One of the other things that I had somebody asked me is, “What should the answers be?”

Most people would rather spend at least one night in jail or have a full root canal rather than go through a mortgage process.
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What Are The Different Mortgages You Offer?

We want them to be yay. Remember the movie, The Big Short, it talked about the people who got into mortgages because people were making $20,000, $30,000, $50,000 a month doing mortgages because it was just a mill. All those people got kicked out of the business or they fell off when times got hard because they’re not truly about the win for themselves and for their borrowers. It’s how long have you been working in mortgages, and what’s your motivation? Do you love it? Are you just trying to get an app filled out? What are the different mortgages that you offer? Programs, VA, FHA, conventional?

This one’s important because you need to know what they offer. A lot of times, people might know of one program. They might know of a VA and they think that only one lender does a veteran’s loan and all it is a government back loan like a VA and an FHA. There are some lenders that do what’s called a Portfolio Loan and this is a completely different kind of loan. You need to understand what that particular lender has available. For instance, if they have a toolbox, this is their toolbox. They have FHA, VA, they have all the different kinds, but if they don’t have the kind that you need, if you’re a veteran and you need a zero down loan and they don’t offer it, or quite frankly if they don’t know it well, we could do that.

If they don’t do that very often, you’re probably going to want to go to somebody. You might not even want to go to question number three. That’s part of what this is. This is a way to weed out the good versus the bad. We should probably start by always looking at least two lenders if not three lenders when you’re interviewing, whether it’s a refinance or whether you’re just getting your very first mortgage, it doesn’t matter. Even if you like the way that someone answers the questions. There’s so much you don’t know. It’s worth it interviewing.

We’re going to talk about how to protect your profile and still interview these people because you definitely want 2 to 3 people to interview them. You don’t want them pulling your profile yet, and there are a couple of things that we can add in here.

One thing that I didn’t put in here but it is important is knowing when they do certain loans, are they somebody who likes doing those loans, which is part of one too? You’re going to find somebody who’s a veteran, who loves doing veteran’s loans, or you might find somebody who they aren’t actual real estate investor. They love doing these different kinds of streamlines, 203(k)s or special ones with renovation cash in there. You need to know what is it that not only do they do, but what do they like doing?

Are There Specific Mortgages For Me?

Also, what are they proficient at? They like doing it so they become very proficient at it. Number three is, “Are there specific mortgages for me?” Go through that, Jennifer, because this is a big deal. Don’t ask the question, don’t get an answer.

This is important because you think about this with COVID-19. There are many amazing mortgages out there that are made specifically for firefighters, doctors, nurses, and the ambulance staff, all of these different ones. It’s important that you get that one because it will have some of the parameters. It’s important to know that they’re out there and that quite frankly, these are going to be things that are amazing to help you get into a position. These could be programs that are actually on your state level or even on your county level. There are programs that may be layered together, and that’s to get that specific mortgage. You need to know if that is a company that does that kind or if it’s just not possible. If they say they have no idea what you’re talking about for your mortgage loans, then you know that this isn’t somebody who cares or it’s somebody who’s doing like as many as possible.

This is especially important for first-time homebuyers. I had somebody who came through and she’s a Navy nurse. It was interesting because she was a first-time home buyer in Maryland. She wasn’t a first-time home buyer ever because she had bought something many years ago. The thing to understand is that first-time homebuyer programs are different depending on what states you’re in. They have amazing benefits. If you’re not looking for these specialized mortgage programs, you could miss thousands and thousands of dollars just in savings.

What Banks, Credit Unions, Or Financial Institutions Do You Offer Mortgages From?

Make sure that you review that they know who you are and what programs that the lender offerings are specifically suited for you at a federal, state, county, and by industry or by your employment type. Number four, what banks, credit unions or financial institutions do you offer mortgages from? These are the mortgage bankers and their programs.

This is an important question that people overlook all the time. When I talk to buyers, I always have a conversation. First of all, do you have a relationship? This could be that you’re with a particular relationship because you’re an attorney and you work for a law firm and the law firm has a relationship and that might be it. You might be with a teacher and they have a teacher’s credit union that has amazing mortgages. In the Washington DC area, we also have the “world bank” which they do offer mortgages for people.

The first time I ever had one of my clients and he was getting, and of course, the numbers are amazing because they do want the people that are coming from overseas to be able to own a place and not just rent. It’s a phenomenal program. If they didn’t know about that program or a federal employee, there are many amazing ones out there. It could be specialized being a credit union or bank and just like I know you teach, there are top-tier banks, local banks, credit unions, and all of these things have very different impacts for you in the future for buying others. If your dream has always been to be a real estate investor and you’re thinking, “How do I buy five more properties?” Who is that relationship going to be with it?

Relationship is everything. It starts at a credit card or a checking account and grows multiplexes being financed by the same outfit.

You said something that’s important. It’s also taken onto the dating element of it. Think about it, you’re not looking for a one night stand. You’re not looking for a one-time product of just being able to get one mortgage or one refinance. This should be an institution, whether it’s a credit union or what it is that you are actually creating a relationship with. This shouldn’t be somebody who cares about you.

Also, celebrate your wins with you, and you want to nurture and take care of that over the long haul. We need to do an episode just on the relationship metaphor. I need to do that and then we’ll translate it into an eBook on dating perfect lender because they’re exact parallels. If you’re a relationship builder, you can use those skills in banks. The other thing with banks and financial institutions, it’s like she’s saying. Make sure that you look at all the associations you’re a member of. United Plumbers Association, they may have a mortgage as part of either unions, associations, credit unions or veteran services. Find out who you are and see if they have things that are available for you.

It’s important to have relationships. I’m always talking about building a team. The relationship is key and you also need to know who you’re in a relationship with like your mama taught you. Those friends, they’re either good friends or they’re bad friends. I didn’t put this on the list, but one of the bonuses I would say is look up their credit ratings and see are these credit unions have a bunch of lawsuits against them? When times were tough, did they take care of their peeps? Did they take care of their people or do they not? That’s a COVID-19 bonus.

Which Type Of Mortgage/Refi/Equity Line Do You Recommend For Me?

That is a bonus question number eighteen. What’s their credit rating? How do they stack up and look at them? I love this one and I got some great questions for you. Number five, “Which type of mortgage/refi/equity or equity line HELOC do you recommend for me?” I’m going to throw this in here, especially for my tribe. If you have your myFICO credit report and you pull that, you have your mortgage credit scores. It’s not in the format that they know, but they are true legit mortgage credit scores. If you take those in and say, “Knowing nothing else but what’s on this profile, what can you do for me?”

This is important because I was doing this with a client. You want to make sure that you know what you have. It’s almost like having that confidence. This is a mind, heart and a spiritual thing of you’ve got to get through this ridge of you know that you are doing good. I don’t care if you have an 850. I don’t care what you think the number is. You need to have that Rocky theme or whatever theme going in your head because you are an asset to that. As you’re going forward with this, it’s important that you come and you figure out, you need to be able to look at a line of equity. I’ve had people think about this, whether they’re looking for some money for college tuition for their kids or they’re looking at doing repairs around their house. Is a refi going to be the best? You need somebody who’s going to tell you, “That’s going to extend out your payments for another ten years if you do this refinance.”

Look at what are all the fees and all the other things that are associates so that you need to put this on a spreadsheet. I know how much you love spreadsheets. You put it on a spreadsheet and look at a refinance, a line of equity and all the different ones that are here and which one’s better for you. I get this question all the time on the radio. I hate to throw up my hands and say, “It depends because it does depend.” The other secret sauce or the secret ingredient here is for you to have your own mortgage scores presented, email them over to them. These are real, these are not FAKOs.

One of the things that is fascinating to me is I want to ask you about these relatively new All-in-One lines. Talk to me about your thoughts about All-in-One HELOCs where they’re on the first position that used them as a sweep account. It has a checking account with it. Where are you on this?

It depends on what the other things is and how it’s going to impact you. Sometimes if it’s absorbing too much of your available credit, just like when you’re doing the spreadsheet. It’s absorbing too many of the tools in the toolbox. One time someone said to me, “Have you ever thought about shampoo and conditioner? They do two different things.” I understand the marketing side of that, but it’s the same thing with this, the all-in-one. You can’t be all things to all people. My opinion is you should be very careful about that. There are definitely situations where that would be a good thing, but for the most part, you want to be very cautious on that. I have found it’s not what it’s sold to be.

What Is The Current Interest Rate Available For Me For Each Different Type Of These Mortgages?

Number six, “What is the interest rate available for me and for each different type of this mortgage? The HELOC, the first, the second, that’s an installment loan. What’s the monthly payment for each?” I’ve used this a number of times for my tribe, but is a great place to go reality check what you’re asking your mortgage broker to do. Part of the reason why I love these questions, just like we do banks, we teach our tribe to vet lenders. Right here, you’re vetting a mortgage broker. One of the ways you test a mortgage broker is you do the math and then you send them to go do the math and then you reality check their numbers. What things that they’ve done added in or not that you didn’t add in? This is how you can reality check your things. What’s been your experience, Jen?

It’s important when you do this that you’re looking at it. If you look at my questions and I say, “What is the interest rate available?” I put in parentheses for me because I just had this happen with another one of my buyers where the interest rate that they were quoted, and then once we got into the deal, it was completely different. They were like, “I don’t understand.” I said, “It’s one of the questions. It’s why I put it on there is because what is the interest rate for you is different unfortunately.” That has to do with all sorts of other factors in there. You need to look at what that is and if there is, it’s a discrepancy even what they first told you to what they are telling you. You only have so many days to closing and now you’re stuck with this lender, “Sorry. That’s just what it is.”

A part of their game is to sew you up. Many of you may already know this, but here’s a simple and easy part. It’s not the whole part of what she’s referring to, but there’s what’s called the interest rate on the loan. Let’s call it 4%. There’s the effective APR, which bundles all of the fees and then divides it, and all of a sudden you get 4% and you’re excited about this loan. You take all of the fees over time that are being added on to the frontend and then they divide it out, then all of a sudden you’re at 4.65%. You’re like, “Where did this 0.65% come from?” Talk about that.

Mortgage brokers are always going to win. Find ways to deal with them where you win as well.
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It’s interesting because when I say that you’re looking even the question before like, “Is a refinance better than just getting a line of equity or the different things?” If you’re refinancing, are you actually looking at the whole thing? Often, the lenders have said, “Here’s the shiny penny, it’s the interest rate.” Yet, it’s all the other things that they’re doing. It’s almost like that. To me, it reminds me of a bully at school who’s patting you on the back. You think everything’s great and yet, what they did is they stuck a ‘kick me’ sticker on my back. It’s not fair, and yet you’re the sucker and then you’re halfway down. That’s why I suggest that you ask these seventeen questions of a mortgage professional beforehand because you’re going to get to know, even if you don’t understand what. Some people say they don’t understand what the answer should be. You should get a gut feeling on whether this person is willing to help you understand what you don’t know. You have the skill, the guy who gets to learn to be a fisherman rather than handing them a fish.

How Are All The Fees Associated With Each Mortgage Option?

That’s a great point that you may not know what the right answers are, but you will be able to find out their willingness to teach you of what it should be. Number 6 and number 7 questions go together, “What’s the current interest rate available for me?” Number seven was, “How are all the fees associated with each mortgage option?” There are insurances, discount points, originations and credit reports. That’s what we were talking about the 4% but you add all these fees on top of it, it can be a significant interest rate over time.

One of the reasons that I broke these out into two different ones is specifically because it still amazes me how often somebody doesn’t know what PMI, Private Mortgage Insurance is and how that’s going to factor in. The fact that you can get private mortgage insurance pulled off of your mortgage without having to do an entire refinance, which is another whole thing. We should do an entire show on that because it’s amazing how simple it is to get that done because it’s a federal law. The mortgage companies do not want you to know this information because they’re going to lose money on it. I hate that’s true. It’s been my experience and I’ve seen it from my own clients. I always want to hug them and keep them safe but unfortunately, it’s like, “Go swim with the sharks and it’s going to be fine.”

You’ve been to my bootcamp a couple of times where I talk about how auto dealers play the spread. PMI is the equivalent of how auto dealers shop your file, pick the lowest and say that’s approved at the lowest interest rate and then keep the difference. They’re trying to make more money in an unleveled playing field. Our whole point here is fundability means learning what you need to know and that’s why I’m so happy that you’re here answering these questions. These are the very things that are going to reveal whether or not a broker is truly taking advantage of us. Especially if you walk in there strong, you can actually negotiate a fair profit for the mortgage broker and come out of there with a win for both.

What you just said is important because both an auto as well as a mortgage, you have the power depending on how much knowledge you have. I was in my twenties and I was excited because I had finally made enough money where I could buy a Mercedes. I love Mercedes but that’s the very first salesman that I dealt with. I even brought a friend of mine who was also a real estate person. They took advantage of me in such a huge way. It was horrible and I ended up signing all the documents and I accepted it, and I felt like I had to take it. Part of it is that whole thing of me not feeling good enough and to have the confidence to stand up for myself. What ended up happening is in the Virginia area, after a couple of days, you can actually return it.

I went to another Mercedes dealership and I showed him all my stuff. The good news was he was a friend of one of my uncles. He sat down with me and he said, “Jennifer, you’ve been very taken advantage of. I would like to make this good.” They returned that Mercedes to that other Mercedes dealership and they gave me the exact same car but the financing was without all those hidden fees and all that stuff, which is the same thing with the mortgage company. The concept that I don’t want to go away without saying is that the one thing if you take nothing away from these stories is the fact that person in the auto dealership, the same way that a mortgage professional, know that they have all sorts of hidden ways that they can make money. That’s different like a licensed real estate agent or other factors you’re going to be impacted with in any kind of business. Know that the money people, it’s just the way the game has been rigged. It’s been rigged that way for a very long time. If you don’t know, you are in for it because they are going to take advantage of you.

The reason that question seven is important is because people will come back to me and they’ll say, “Why does it cost $80 for a credit report?” Those are questions that if you asked upfront, you’ve got answers and you know that your credit report with most of them is $20 or $30. Why are they charging you three times that? They knew they could take advantage of you and that’s why it gets me so mad that it still happens. You think that it’s not happening. I cringe every time I hear the word, predatory lenders. There are still lawsuits about predatory lenders. They seem like they’re being so friendly and fair with this whole COVID-19. You need to know these questions because if you don’t, you’re not going to be able to know if you’ve got a good deal.

AYF 98 | Home Buyer Questions

Home Buyer Questions: Always look at two or three lenders when you’re interviewing for a mortgage.


What Fees Can Be Lowered Or Waived?

You’ll be paying for your ignorance. The average mortgage refi is anywhere at least five years. If you’re holding it forever, that’s expensive. If you’re flipping it or doing a refi or something within five years, you’re still paying 85% interest in those first five years relative to what percentage of your payment is actually going to interest. I’ve been working with the same mortgage professional for years for every loan I’ve done. I did my version of this a long time ago. We’ve become friends. My personal home, my investment properties, we went through 2008 together. It’s a free for all. She’s an awesome broker. One of the things that I learned that she told me was that at that time, the mortgage credit reports cost them $15. I’d be $20 now. Anything above that make a little profit, but choose your battles. Ask your mortgage professional to choose their profit area. They don’t get a profit on everything. We go into number eight, what fees can be lowered or waived?

This is important specifically because we talked about the credit report, but also there are discount fees, origination fees, there are all sorts of fees. You have to separate these fees out too. I lumped a whole bunch together partly because I did this for everybody in the United States and it’s different. You need to understand there are closing fees with the bank and the bank has control over. Some things are actually with the lawyer or the title company or whatever that is in your area, but some of them are the county or city and they’re fixed. You need to understand those. I went through closing with somebody and I was shocked by him asking me very specific questions about things that there was nothing we could do. They’re literally the DC fees. We have nothing to do with them. We had gone through this and I realized he still doesn’t understand. This is a key part of all of these. If somebody gives you an answer and you nod your head and you don’t understand, that’s not okay.

It’s not on them, it’s on you if you are not willing to go, “I’m not quite there yet. Can we go over this again?” That’s where you get to stand.

You’ll have to take that on as your own responsibility. That’s another one that I love Jack Canfield talks about. If you want to be successful, you have to take 100% responsibility, especially in things like that. Even for me as a real estate agent with that example, I was giving, I thought he understood. I didn’t have a clue he didn’t understand. At settlement, he’s freaked out as he’s looking at these numbers and I’m like, “We’ve gone over these numbers.” He’s like, “I don’t understand why are the county and the city asking for it?” You have to be brave enough to say, “I don’t understand,” and ask for another example. Keep on going through that. I don’t care if you have to ask it seven times. That’s why you’re looking for a relationship with somebody because they’re not going to make you feel stupid for asking the question. It’s important that you continue to keep asking the questions until you understand. If you don’t understand, you’re not going to be able to go into action and make good decisions. You’re going to continue to make bad decisions and we don’t want that.

What Is Your Process?

It’s going to cost you not just in this loan, but you’ll be afraid next time because some of us, we don’t learn the lesson when we trip and fall on our face, which goes to number nine. “What is your process? How long does it take? What documents are required? Is it done on a secure portal? What about fraud? What systems do you have in place to protect my personal financial information?”

I love this one because the process is different. This is a perfect time to bring this one up is because, with COVID-19, these processes are very different depending on what’s happening in your jurisdiction. They can be impacted by the COVID-19 whatever things are happening. You need to make sure that you know their process. Because just like anything else, you want to set your own expectations if you thought it was going to be done in two weeks and it’s not done. The other thing is you’re asking them to be able to communicate with you. Often I’ve seen with lenders, they don’t say, “If you don’t get me that particular document, then this process is going to be extended.” They’re telling me and complaining about the buyer.

“Why haven’t we closed yet?”

The buyer’s upset because now they have to pay more money to reschedule their move and there are all these other consequences. They didn’t understand the process. If they don’t get the documents and if it doesn’t go to underwriting and we get it back from underwriting with whatever questions it is, what’s the process? Also in this question, when you’re looking at what’s the process, is this a small regional bank where underwriting is “in the house?” Is it someone where they can walk into their office and they can say, “What’s wrong with the file?” You’ve talked about this with credit cards as well. You’re on the East Coast and the underwriting is on the West Coast, it’s over in California. They’re trying to get back and forth. There are different time zones. You need to understand what is this process and specifically how is it going to impact you and the rest of the process around. Even if it’s a refinance, if you’re waiting to cash out money from that or whatnot, you need to understand what is that process because it’s a monkey wrench. It’s a landmine waiting to explode and not in a good way.

For all my bootcampers out there, you have seen where I go through. You need twenty points to get approved. That’s how underwriting works and how they want you to not have double-A or triple-A paper. This is important to understand what that process is so that you can shorten, and nothing’s more aggravating than being told to cut. It takes 30 days and it’s 90 days until you close. You’ve got to frame these questions in a way that holds your mortgage professional’s feet to the fire. Some of us literally feel like we just crossed a 100-mile desert without water by the time we get our mortgage complete. That’s not fun.

There are some statistics that say that most people would rather spend at least one night in jail or have a full root canal rather than go through a mortgage process.

How Long Will It Take For A Particular Mortgage Refi To Be Fully Approved?

Number ten, “How long will it take for this particular mortgage refi to be fully approved? How long will it take to get closing?” This goes back to what you were saying, where are your underwriters? Down the hall or literally across country that you have to coordinate all this.

Also, the other part here is there are two things that we didn’t talk about in the last one. Number one, fraud, which is happening a lot. You need to understand what are they doing in their process to protect you from fraud. Number two in this question, the other thing that’s important is understanding the in-house versus somewhere else. Is it the outhouse or is it the in-house? Who is responsible? Is it a robot? “I desperately want to talk to a human.” Unfortunately in this process, it’s important. The other thing though in COVID-19, here’s a secret question that is hidden in this that’s happened to me already twice with closings in the middle of this COVID thing is that they said, “Everything’s approved. We’re going to closing, everything’s fine,” but it didn’t get funded. I was like, “We settled, everybody signed, they traded keys and still, that loan was not funded?”

What Is The Home Loan?

Remember, closing is not funding. As she said, closing is where everybody signed the docs and everybody has affirmed that this deal works for everybody and everybody has signed it. Let’s add this to our little list of what is the promissory note versus the mortgage. Funding means you’ve engaged the loan, but no one has actually transferred the money to the seller. That’s what they call funding.

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A part of the process of this question is you have to understand that sending the money is not the same as money arriving at the attorney’s office and funding so that it goes to the seller. It has to arrive. All of these banks have different things. I’ve seen one where it’s seven business days on a wire. We all know that wire is instantaneous. This is not like dial-up internet where the money is arriving. This is critical and it can stop everything.

During COVID, I did an episode where I talked about mortgage servicing and how the lenders are preparing for moratoriums. There’s phase one moratorium of six months and they’re preparing for a phase two of six-month moratoriums. Some of the new loans like Wells Fargo, there was a New York Times article saying Wells Fargo has taken fundings off the table not for first but for HELOCs and seconds because those are riskier loans. If you have to get foreclosed on the second position HELOC or loan, it is more difficult to get back, especially if there’s a downturn in the values of homes. They said, “We’re out,” but they’re still doing first as I understand. You know something more than I do because you’re dialed in on a daily basis with this.

It’s funny because it changes. We had somebody speak on Wells Fargo and it’s interesting because they’re like, “We’re still doing portfolio loans.” This goes back to an earlier question of the different kinds of types of loans that they’re running, and it depends on how much money you have with them because they also are one of the banks that looks for relationship. Their idea of a relationship is all about money, “What kind of money do you have with me? How much money do you have with me? Then I’ll loan you some money.” It’s like Oprah Winfrey saying, she desperately wanted amazing clothes and whatnot. She didn’t have a lot of money. It was hard to get it. Now that she has this unlimited amount of money, everybody’s throwing free clothes at her. It’s the same thing with funding in that these relationships, especially with a Wells Fargo, they’re looking for, “If you’ve got a whole bunch of money with me, we’d be interested in talking to you.”

Is There A Software That Helps Indicate What I Can Do To Improve My Credit Score And How Will It Change My Mortgage Terms?

I know there is a software that helps indicate what I can do to improve my credit score and how it will change my mortgage terms, including the interest rate and fees. Do you have the ability to share this information with me?

I’ve had a lot of different lenders tell me that they have this amazing software and it’s proprietary to the lenders. What they can do is they can say, “If you go to your discover card and you pay $5,000 and then you pay $2,000 on Victoria Secret’s cards,” they can tell you. They have these amazing modules of being able to go, “If you do this and you do this,” but be careful because you also need to look at your big picture on what they’re doing. I have had many lenders told me to do blah, blah, blah because of this software. It didn’t work out so great for me in the long run. Even to the point though of them not getting the loan that they were promised.

This is called Rapid Rescore software. It happens in a couple of different ways. It’s a temporary version of software. They can say, just like Jennifer’s describing, “Pay this down.” What if this collection got paid off? What if this thing were true or not true? They can run scenarios. For all my tribe and for yours, Jennifer, if you subscribe to, you have a very powerful version of that same software. They run scenarios about what your score would look like if you did certain things because FICO is the one who gives it to the lenders. This insider secret that they have, you also have access. I’m telling you to make sure you take in your myFICO mortgage scores, but you can also show scenarios of what to do, pay downs, closure of accounts, opening up accounts, other things that will benefit. You can show that score, verify and find out what the lender would recommend for you to do as well.

It’s a balancing act and it’s important. These seventeen questions are scraping the surface. Your bootcamp is so much fun. I keep seeing twice now and it’s so much fun because it’s always different. I also realize that you have to realize it’s a little art, a little science.

What Could I Do To Get Better?

It is art and science. It is about the flourish here and the raw data here, which leads us into question number thirteen, “What could I do to get better?” This scenario software called Rapid Rescore at myFICO, use it with your mortgage professional. They will know what you’re talking about. The question is, “What can I do to get a better interest rate, terms or fees, and closing costs? What do I need to do? What is double-A and triple-A? What are the things that I could do to make this work better for you to make a profit and me to save as much as possible?”

It’s a win-win scenario, but one of the things that you said that’s important is asking that question is even just like docking, “I know about this software you have.” I’m doing my side and I know it’s like knowing your score. I know what my score is. I know what hasn’t been removed. Hopefully, you’re doing what Merrill has taught you and you’re actually getting your name right and getting all your other stuff, so when you’re talking to this lender and you’re having this conversation, especially with this question, “How can I get a better interest rate?” You need to make sure that when you’re looking at the thing that most people look at, and a lot of times people are only looking at the interest rate and they’re not realizing, “The interest rate went down, but my fees went up.” You said it, “Where are they getting paid?” They’re not doing this for free. You’re not looking for charity when you’re looking for a mortgage, but you are looking to not be taken advantage of. This should be a relationship. This is not a one-night stand. This is one where you become friends. This is somebody like you said, you went through the hard times with.

Is There A Penalty On This Mortgage?

I met her in the run-up, 2005, 2006, 2007 and it was free for all. We had eight properties and a couple of million-dollar-plus properties. I took the roller coaster ride on the way down. I don’t know if any of you have been to Las Vegas, there’s this ride where you start out close to the space needle, and then it literally goes out over nothing and then dips down like you’re falling. 2008 for me in real estate was like dipping down but not coming to the block, me and my partner. You’ve got to know what you’re up against. You’ve got to know what you can do to do better, get the best possible things so that you can weather any times that are coming up. Number fourteen is important, “Is there a pre-payment penalty on this mortgage?” 2008 was the sad tale that I went through. Tell our audience what that is and we will talk about it.

This is why I put it on the list is because it’s not as common as it used to be, but it is still a question where every so often I’ll be sitting at a settlement like, “You’re on pre-payment penalty?” What it is saying is if you pay this off early, you’re going to be penalized and this could be a huge penalty. In the same vein, I went to settlement on a VA loan and it was also called Assumable. Those are two words that you need to understand. I don’t even think I put assumable on my seventeen questions. It goes into the same thing of knowing what you can and cannot do because most of us are not going to stay in that one house. When you’re going into it, know what it is like getting out of it and getting out of it before the full-term ends. That’s part of the pre-payment penalty. This could be a huge amount of money if you have a pre-payment penalty. Make sure you know what you’re getting into.

AYF 98 | Home Buyer Questions

Home Buyer Questions: Always be aware that the game is rigged and has been rigged that way for a long time. If you don’t know what you’re really in for, they will take advantage of you.


When Can I Lock In My Interest And Is There A Free Float Down On Interest Rate?

That’s a brilliant way to say it because the pre-payment penalty might be two years, it could be three years. You have to keep this for a minimum of X because they’re selling it onto the secondary markets and they’re guaranteeing a return for X period of time, 1, 2, 3 years. They want you to pay that payment faithfully, so they can pay the investors who bought your home loan. Ask about pre-payment. A great way to rephrase that is, “What does it take to get out of this? Are there any reasons why I can’t get out of this assumable prepayment?” Number fifteen, “When can I lock in my interest? Is there a free float down on interest rate?”

Some people don’t know this, Merrill. I can’t believe how many people called me and said, “I’ve got the interest locked in and now it’s a whole percentage point less. I can’t get them to lower the interest.” I was like, “Why not?” They come up with, “We want some additional fees to lower it.” I’m like, “What?” I realized that this is another way that the mortgage companies are making money on you. There are some chosen words I could use.

That’s bad Juju.

Why would you do that to somebody? You’re locking them in for this long amount of time and you won’t give them a free float down. I put it in my questions to make sure you have a free float down in whatever mortgage you’re getting. Lock-in is important. If you have a 30-day closing or you might have one that’s a 90-day. Especially now sometimes people are doing longer closings or if you’re doing new construction. If you decide and the alarm bells go off when I think about somebody who walks into a new construction place and uses the financing people that they have there. That makes me think, “What are you thinking? Why are you doing this?” That’s partly because these kinds of things they could in there all the time. A lot of times, they won’t even have an appraisal contingency. If it doesn’t appraise, you need to come up with that additional cast. There are all sorts of things. I need to know a whole one on new construction financing because it’s totally different.

Are There Any Programs To Help Pay For My Closing Costs?

Bring your own money to the deal. It’s like going to a dealership to buy a car, not knowing the game, then relying on their financing and they take advantage. Buying a new construction home and using the builders’ financing is a guaranteed loss. Unless you have the ability to bring your own money or know these questions to ask and negotiate a better with that lender. I did want to define what she means by a free float down is you can lock in your interest rate. If the interest rate goes up, you get to keep it for the entire term. If the interest rate goes down, you get to float back down and claim the new interest rate as part of your term before the closing. Number sixteen, “Are there any programs to help pay for my closing costs like bank programs, grants, local governments, nonprofits?” This goes back to the new buyer programs. Many times, new buyer programs can at least either help with costs or make sure that they’re minimized.

This is amazing because like in Washington DC, we have a lot of programs that will pay for all your closing costs. These programs are different because some of them are a grant where they just give you the money. This is another one that’s amazing because, as we all know, cash is king. One of the most fascinating ones is they give you the money for all your closing costs and you do not have to pay it until you sell the property.

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You pay it with your appreciation.

When the price of the house goes up and it’s worth more and now you’re going to sell it and you’re making a profit, that’s when you have to pay it. Not even any payments on that. It’s a great program. There are programs all over Virginia, DC, and Maryland like that. One of the neat things I love to do with first-time homebuyers is go ahead and find a grant for their down payment and then find some program like this where they don’t even have to pay their closing costs until they go to sell the property. Now they’re getting into this for no cash out of pocket. That’s part of the reason that a lot of times these programs are a pain. They are processed, they take time. Sometimes I’ll tease you like if it’s a nonprofit or even a government agency, and they’ve got stacks and stacks of all these applications, then you should be the one who brings them cookies and you should be the one that brings them flowers. You should be the one that is not the complainer.

Can I Get The Discounted Reissue Rate On Title Insurance?

It’s weird how we keep coming back to that. You’re going to build a relationship with a lender or the grant people. Number seventeen, “Can I get the discounted reissue rate on title insurance?” Teach us about that.

This is a huge one. It’s funny because often people don’t know about this one. This is a secret that I learned early on. Title insurance is something that usually your attorney and your title company are who’s going to issue this. However, there is an interplay between your mortgage company. It’s part of your funding, but they make 50% to 75% profit. I know they’re going to cringe talking about uncovering this. This is a huge amount of profit. In other words, if there’s a recent title search that’s been done on the property, they can have what’s called a reissue rate, which gives them a discount on insuring your property with title insurance. I’ve done the entire hour shows on title insurance. If you don’t know what title insurance is, you need to understand that because it protects your ownership and your rights in that without other people being able to come to take a claim on it. You can lose your entire property without title insurance. The lender requires their insurance, but the owner’s title insurance is one of the most amazing places where you can save an incredible amount of money but protect you in a way that literally could save you millions of dollars down the road.

It’s a good homeowner’s discount. Instead of waiting to prove to them that all this is solid and that you get a discount when they re-up the insurance, you’re getting that discount rate from the beginning.

It’s a little bit different because what happened is that it has to be done somewhat recently. For most of the things, it has to be done in the last few years. If the property has been in the last few years that was owned by one person, and then they can bring the title insurance. Meaning that there’s another company that insured it and said, “There are no clouds on this title,” and what they’re doing is you’re saving the lawyers, the title work on having to do that. They’ll do a certain amount again and in a new unit of time just to make sure, but because it’s already been insured and because it wasn’t very long, they’re very specific parameters that attorney has. It’s a little bit different, but it is because there are no other clouds on that title. You’re saving the attorney’s fees on it, so they will reissue it.

Unless you know about it, they will not give that away because this is a huge amount of extra income that a law firm gets, specifically in the DC area. I know it well. Title insurance though is all across the United States. There are two different kinds. If you don’t understand that, I could do an entire seventeen questions on title insurance because there are owners and there are lenders. You need to understand that the owners are not always required, but lenders are required if you’re getting a mortgage. Owners are very important. If you’re paying cash for a house and you’re not getting some kind of title insurance, you’re putting yourself in danger. It’s a huge amount of money.

AYF 98 | Home Buyer Questions

Home Buyer Questions: It’s important to keep asking the questions until you understand so that you’ll be able to go into action and make good decisions.


Especially for cash buyers, real estate investors who are looking to turn their property over and be able to do this. Readers, is she genius or what? This is why I love this woman. Her expertise is beyond compare. Thank you, Jennifer, for joining us. Tell us how to find you on the radio.

If they go to the SiriusXM app, they just search, Jennifer Hammond. You can also go to and you can find Jennifer Hammond. If you have Sirius XM, then you just look for me on the Urban View. I’m on channel 126. I’m on Saturday’s live. It’s 7:00 to 9:00 for two hours on Saturday morning, and then it replays from 2:00 to 4:00 Eastern, and then on-demand on the SiriusXM app.

8:00 AM is when I’m usually on her show and that’s 6:00 AM in Salt Lake. It’s always so much fun.

I always love the fact you’re waking up and I keep asking you more questions and you’re like, “Why are you so excited this early in the morning?”

You’re going to go to and tell her where to send the questions. It says free gift on the page. Jennifer, this is pure genius. Thank you so much for speaking with me and educating my crew, my tribe on things that I know how to do many of these on my own, but I’ve never taught my crew because usually, we don’t get this in-depth. This gives me an opportunity to train my team to help our clients at least know how to promote a better awareness inside of their mortgages. Any final words? Anything you’d like to tell my crew?

I just want to say thank you so much and remember that all of this like Merrill says all the time, the most important part is remember at heart, you are good enough. You are worthy of millions and millions of dollars. You are worthy to step into your life and know that you can learn any of this no matter if it sounded confusing. We can always find a way that you can learn this and apply this and have an abundance in love in your life. I hope that you will always spread smiles no matter where you go. I thank you so much, Merrill, for all that you do.

Thank you so much. It has been my pleasure to have Jennifer Hammond with us. Jennifer, you are a jewel. Godspeed, God bless you on your way. We will be doing this again. Thank you.


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About Jennifer Hammond

AYF 98 | Home Buyer QuestionsJennifer Hammond is a high energy dynamic woman who not only serves as a real estate executive; but also as a SiriusXM satellite radio talk show host, a best-selling author, and is a member of The Happiness Hall of Fame!

As a Vice President of TTR Sotheby’s – one of the country’s leading real estate companies located in Washington DC – she has helped hundreds of clients attain their dreams owning real estate for over 23 years and she has helped make the world a better place by educating, inspiring and empowering people by hosting The Jennifer Hammond Show on SiriusXM for over 10 years, and has aided thousands of veterans and their families in finding the help they need through her best-selling book “101+ Resources for Veterans”

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Quadruple Ds… It’s Not What You’re Thinking Thu, 28 May 2020 09:00:53 +0000 AYF 97 | Joint Accounts


When you get onboard into a marital relationship with someone, it only makes sense to have joint accounts, right? Wrong. As it turns out, there is absolutely no reason for a joint account, especially around revolving credit, and having one can cause you serious problems in the future. In this episode, Merrill Chandler talks about how divorce, death, and disability impact your relationship with your lender. He enumerates every reason why having a joint revolving account with your spouse could potentially ruin your credit profile should things turn out for the worse. Listen to the podcast and learn why it is absolutely time to divest your joint accounts now.

Watch the episode here:

Listen to the podcast here:

Quadruple Ds… It’s Not What You’re Thinking

In this episode we’re going to be talking about debt and contracts and how even a judge’s court order doesn’t do what we think it does. We’re going to talk about debt and explore some of the nuances and a ton of insider secrets.

What does debt mean? What are the nuances of debt? How can we get out from underneath debt and how can we not? What makes us liable for debts? We’ve got some great insider secrets and some things that you may never have known or for some of you, things you wish you would have known. Let’s start here. First of all, we’ve talked about it in my bootcamps and the book. Every time I opened my mouth, I’m talking about debt. There are two major kinds of debt, especially borrower debt, consumer debt. One is revolving accounts and one is called installment loans. Revolving debt is where you get a credit limit. You use that limit. You can charge it up and pay it off and then you can make a minimum payment or pay the whole thing off.

What most people don’t know is that if you make a minimum payment on $10,000 worth of debt, it will take you approximately 23 years to retire that debt, depending on the interest rate. Did you know? It’s a factoid. On installment loans, the other type of debt is where you borrow an entire amount and then you make it the same monthly payments. You can prepay it. Some have prepaid penalties, but you could prepay a loan like an auto loan, student loan, even a mortgage you have to, but there are common monthly payments that are the same over a certain period of time called the term. We have installment loans and revolving accounts or revolving credit. Here’s the deal, most people do this, but they don’t know the context in which they’re doing it.

Most people engage a loan by filling out an application and when you fill out the application, they pull your credit. After they pull your credit, they run you through, generally speaking, automatic underwriting software. In 30 seconds or 2 minutes, you’re approved or denied. When you’re approved, there’s a tacit agreement until you take the card. Most of us back in the day used to have to sign for that credit card or that application. These days when you fill out an application, the small print, the fine print of what you’re getting back is the second you activate the card, plus your electronic signature from your application is the contract. Sometimes it’s only one thing that has to be done but by and large, they carry your signature from the application over to the agreement. Notice when you get a new card and you’re approved, they don’t send you a form to sign and send it back. That is where you have a contract.

Contract law supersedes all other forms of agreements including court orders. We have two types of debt and you create a contract with this debt. That contract is for life or until one or the other of you writes a letter or communicate with the other party and terminate the relationship. Unless it’s terminated, it is for life. We’re going to be talking about survivorship, the three Ds, Death, Divorce, and Disability and how they impact this process, this relationship you have with a lender. A lender is anybody who lends you money. Sometimes they’re called credit card issuers. Bank of America is a lender. It’s a depository bank and it’s a credit card issuer. These are roles that it plays. Lenders are what we use to describe our relationship with this contractual relationship with them.

Contract law supersedes all other forms of agreement.
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Remember, just to be super clear, if you file an inquiry and activate the card, you have a contract. The problem is, when was the last time that you read the fine print of that particular contract? There are a lot of pages to it. They’ve tried to make it simple, what’s called Truth in Lending laws. I’ve also tried to have forced lenders to make the terms easier to understand. Most personal borrower instruments have the notion that if you can have bullets of benefits or requirements like the due date time-end zone is outlined. They may have bullets about what a balanced transfer interest would be or what purchase interest would be. I had a Chase card, where a cash advance was 26% interest per day.

There were many people complaining about not being able to read all the gobbledygook inside of these agreements, these contracts, the lenders with the Truth in Lending, amended accordingly, have to put the essence of those agreements in bullet form that is easy to understand. In two decades, there hasn’t been a single credit instrument, including a car purchase where I have not read the entire purchase and financing agreement for two reasons. One, I want to know what I’m agreeing to and more importantly, this is my jam. I want to get these things ready to go for you.

The Joint Account Dilemma

Now, you have a contract. You’ve engaged in this contract, not even by authorizing it or by activating it. That is your explicit agreement. The tacit agreement means that it’s in the background when you filled out your application and did your electronic signature. The explicit agreement is when you activate the card that is the intent to use. Why am I putting so much emphasis on this idea of a contract? It’s because contract law supersedes court orders by a judge. Contract law is the most fundamental of all law. If you’re in the first semester of law school, which I didn’t take, but I know the course contents. The first semester is all about contract law because it’s the fundamental law. It’s an agreement between two parties with terms and conditions.

That is the essence of a contract. Here’s what happens, when you sign that you’re going to abide by this cardholder agreement, your contract, a judge cannot pull the rug out from underneath that agreement. Let’s say there are two spouses before in a divorce court seeking a divorce. The judge says to spouse B, “I’m looking at all the balance sheets of the family and spouse B, and you are in charge of paying this credit card.” Spouse B says, “Yes, that’s fair and equitable.” Spouse B is like, “I’ve got to pay it.” Spouse A is saying, “That’s cool. It’s fair and equitable.” Let’s pretend that all of a sudden, spouse B does not pay that credit card payment. I have had innumerable clients come to me after the fact because those who come to me get coached exactly the way I’m coaching you.

People who have come to me and said, “I’ve got 30, 60, 90 days late. I’ve got to charge off on this credit card and I want you to remove it because I have a court order that says my spouse was supposed to pay this.” Like I’m doing to you, this is what I did to them, “I’m sorry that you were not taught the rules of this game but because you have an agreement and spouse A, spouse B are joint on the account, that means you are both individually and severally responsible for repayment.” Individually means they’re not going to charge spouse A. Let’s say there’s a balance of $1,000. Spouse A is responsible for $1,000. Spouse B is responsible for $1,000 but what happens is spouse A and spouse B do not see eye-to-eye and they’re not going to collect the same amount from both.

AYF 97 | Joint Accounts

Joint Accounts: There is no reason for couples to have joint revolving accounts. If you can both qualify together, you can qualify for each having your own.


Each of them, A and B, each owe $1,000. If spouse A pays $500, there’s only $500 balance left on that credit card, but both A and B are responsible for that $1,000. Let’s pay it down to $100. Spouse A pays some of the balance. No matter who paid what, both parties in a joint account are responsible for that balance. That’s what jointly and severally is. That means they’re everybody who is a party to that agreement. These are for joint accounts. This is why I don’t want husbands and wives, spouse A, spouse B, partners on the same revolving account. If we’re doing it right, we opened those up and they last forever. We keep the right tier-one cards open forever. We don’t close them down like we would an auto loan or a mortgage. Those will be refinanced or end at some points. We sell the house and both parties are free of the obligation.

Here’s what happens, we go back to our core scenario. Spouse B is charged by the court. It’s a court order that spouse B pay for that credit card. If spouse B does not, contract law demands that spouse A pay that bill or both of them are going to have a 30, 60, 90-day late and a charge off if they do not rectify the situation. Guess what my coaching is in every one of these situations? You can either be right or you can be happy. Spouses many times, fascinate me. The human nature to say, “No. The court said you have to pay that. I’m not going to pay for it,” and they ruin their credit because they don’t handle it.

Know that this is universal. There’s no getting out of this in a court order. The only court order that is an exception to this is a bankruptcy court order, which terminates the debt or at least Chapter 7 Bankruptcy terminates it. We’re not talking about a scenario. We’re talking about a divorce court that says, “By the way, spouse B is responsible for this debt.” Spouse B says, “Screw spouse A, I’m not going to pay that debt.” Spouse B is going to get bad credit when it’s 30 days late and so is spouse A. It is the worst version of mutually assured destruction that there is.

When is the best time to plant an Oak tree? Twenty years ago. When is the next best time? Now. The first thing we want is for no couples, no partnerships to ever have revolving accounts that are joint ever. There’s no reason for it. If you can both qualify together, you can qualify for each having your own. No matter what, I don’t care if you believe as a spouse, you’re going to be healthy, happy, and terrific and live forever. One hundred percent of married persons believe, but they’re going to be part of the 50% that don’t get divorced. I am not going to weigh in either way, but 50/50 is not good odds. I’m giving this one to you for free. Under no circumstance, I do not know of any circumstances where you should be joined on a revolving account ever.

Getting Rid Of The Join Account

If we didn’t have that education or foresight, if you didn’t have me in your corner before you got the joint account, then the time is now to get rid of that joint account. The way you do it is you call up and say, “We want to each have our own account.” They will run each of your credit to see what each of you can handle. One of you may keep the number and another one would be given a different account and a different number and credit card. The idea is that you should not be on a joint account for all of the reasons that we’ve been discussing. Don’t ever do it, but if you’ve done it, separate, disjoint. Call up your creditor. You probably have a 720 or higher score to ensure success and be sure each of your household income when you are applying.

A derogatory account is worse than no account at all.
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Most lenders approve household income. Now, you’re in divorce court and you still have a joint account. You need to make arrangements to disjoint that account as part of your divorce proceedings. You have to be amicable. One person may keep the account, the other may not. If you’re on two or more joint accounts, then divvy them up. Who gets what? Without adult supervision and additional coaching, I’m giving you the broad-strokes but get out from that situation because a derogatory account is worse than no account at all. No revolving account and no credit card is far better than having a derogatory account at least in our purposes in trying to protect you.

In this divorce proceeding, you need to make sure that if spouse B is ordered by the judge that they’re responsible for this joint account, then talk to your divorce attorneys about making conditions of removal and disjointing the account as part of the divorce. Both parties have to stipulate to remove one of you from the thing or get your own accounts at that same lender. That’s one thing you can do. The other is, if you’re not going to stipulate to disjointing the account as part of the divorce, then you need to know that if your spouse is responsible for a debt, you need to be on those emails. You need to be on those notifications so that they don’t pay it, you do. You’re saying, “The court ordered them.” You can be right or you can be happy and I’d rather you be happy. I’d rather you not have derogatory accounts so that you have a reason, an excuse to keep pointing the finger at somebody who you’re leaving for or leaving you for some reason or another. Don’t add more conflict to this situation.

We need to spin it down. We don’t want to spin it up and get it more aggravated. What you need to do is make it a part of the divorce decree that should an assigned party, an ordered party, not do their obligations under the divorce decree that there is a penalty that they have to pay. If you can’t pay the bill, then they have to pay for credit repair services or some stipulate, some penalty for not maintaining their obligation so that you as the injured party can figure out a way to recoup the loss and fix your credit. Do whatever you need to do. If you’re my client and if you’re my student, we’re going to stay as far away from this process as possible. You’ve got to put it as part of the agreement so that each party has the most amount of motivation to continue to pay the payment.

You’ve also got to be human about this like a heartfelt, compassionate human. If there’s a legitimate reason why your former spouse can’t make that bill, then you have to pay it. Make sure you stipulate in the divorce that there is a repayment of whatever interest and fees that you paid as the non-ordered party. That means you’re not responsible to the court to make the payment but you are responsible to the lender to make the payment. You have to put into the divorce proceeding that if you have to pay, the other party has to pay you back with some penalty. That way you keep the motivation up, but you’re not ruining your credit to spite somebody. We always hear the thing, “Cut off your nose to spite your face.”

Why would you ruin your fundability for 5 to 7 years? We did the mortgage episode where if you’re at 820 and you do a 30, 60, 90, it takes you 5 to 7 years to get back to that 820. Why would you do that? You’re already splitting up from your spouse or partner, why not make it as clean a break as possible? This is powerful juju. We talked about divorce. Make sure you seek to be happy and not right because too many people and couples have ruined their profiles for years because they didn’t understand it or they wanted to fight about it. Maybe I’m a Tin Man. I am too dispassionate about this because I have seen the heartbreak that it brings. I see how many people’s lives are ruined. You split up. You can’t get a house because you trash your credit with a 30 or 60, 90-day late because you believed the court instead of knowing what obligations you have and what the contract with a lender requires of you.

AYF 97 | Joint Accounts

Joint Accounts: If you and your spouse have individual accounts and your spouse passes away, you are not liable for their balance.


That’s not your fault but now you’re reading this. Now, it’s your fault. You’ve got to show up to make sure that you do it right. That’s divorced. Let’s talk about the other two Ds in turn. Let’s talk about death and the unfortunate and my heart goes out to those of you who have lost loved ones, especially the spouses that we lost that we didn’t want to divorce. Rightly so, I want everybody to be happy but there are people out there who are dead set on separating and divorcing somebody. There are others of you who lost someone that you would have never divorced nor do they you in your entire life. We can lose them too. Let’s talk about the rights and the problems with joint accounts when it comes to death. We’ll throw in disability here as well.

When a partner or someone who we are either a co-signer or a joint owner of an account, if our spouse passes, you are fully and absolutely obligated unless you bought death insurance. Some auto loans do it. Mortgages always do it, pay off in case of death, but you’re fully obligated on the mortgage, the auto, or the revolving account balance if you were a joint account. You lose your spouse and then within the next 30 days, all of your bills come due. We’re adding financial trauma to a horrible situation. If you have individual accounts, you have yours and she or he has his, you are not obligated upon the point of death, your life will be threatened within an inch of your life. If you have individual accounts and your partner or spouse passes, you are not liable for that partner or spouse balance.

I do recommend life insurance for mortgages, not so much on an auto loan if you have the resources. Let’s say you’re a full-time mom or stay-at-home dad and your spouse is the breadwinner, I would make sure for the big-ticket items that you have insurance on those particular things. Some people call it a rip-off. I’ve seen way too many people pay way too high of a price. One 30-day late, much less 2 or 3 of them or 60, 90s in charge offs will make you unfundable for 5 to 7 years. That’s not okay especially if because of death or disability, you’re now the sole breadwinner for the family.

The whole point of this is that you need to have separate revolving accounts both personal and business where possible mortgages. I always tell spouses if they can afford it to put a mortgage on one and then the next mortgage is on the other and split them. You can share them if you need to and you don’t have the resources to both have mortgages or you’re not in real estate investing like some of my clients where each of them is on multiple properties. My point is that you do not want to be obligated to pay something if your partner has passed the same as with disability. If your partner was a breadwinner and all disabilities don’t qualify for disability benefits from the Social Security Administration, you can be unemployable and not qualify for disability.

By separating these out, you at least cut in half your most dangerous debt load and you will end up with half of it instead of all of it. People ask me, “My spouse dies and I don’t have to pay their debt because we have individual accounts. How was that a benefit? What else is there that I can benefit from that?” Here’s one of the things that are subtle but I run into it with clients. When you have a death or disability, if you are paying this bill, you’re paying them on auto payment with a credit card and they pass, I tend to recommend that the more outgoing, the person who’s more out of the house, who has a more challenging or is more at risk, that you charge their account up before you charge the ones at home.

Do not have joint accounts. Divest those joint accounts as soon as you possibly can.
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The person, the stay-at-home mom or dad, I call it a nest egg borrower profile. Whereas, there is the risk-taker borrower profile. In the best scenarios, if you carry balances or carry loans on the more aggressive, the more risk-taking partner in your partnership, 1 of 2 benefits comes as a result. If that person passes, then the more aggressively used credit also passes and the stay-at-home mom or dad is not required for repayment. You have built this nest egg credit profile to launch again. Let’s say there are no three Ds, Death, Divorce, or Disability. If you take risks with one profile and protect the other one, then you can relaunch that nest egg profile if the worst-case scenario happens. For partners or married persons, that’s part of our soft landing. We designate one of the partners as the soft landing profile to reboot should anything happen to the more risk-taking profile.

I’m not an attorney, but I have probably been to more divorce proceedings or had as clients, individuals who brought me their paperwork, showing the math. I’ve been in the nth degree of these situations and I’ve approved language so that somebody who is my client could take it to their divorce attorney and include that language into the court proceedings. The bottom line here is that you can only lift someone from a height where you’re already standing. You cannot reboot your borrower capacity and your family finances. You cannot start over unless you are strong. Otherwise, you’re going to be sitting at the effect and the wheels are going to be coming off of your finances and you are no help to yourself, your children, family or loved ones. Revolving accounts, being joint on them is bad. I even reduced it in our fundability matrix and when we’re valuing accounts. I reduced it to the full 20% because that’s how harmful it can be towards your profile. Do not have joint accounts. Divest those joint accounts as soon as you possibly can.

If you’re in the mid-600s together as a couple, then do what it takes to build your profiles together so that you can then divest them because they will not let someone who is not fundable out of that agreement. They want as many parties responsible to pay that back as possible. If you’re in the mid-600s or high 600s, then do what it takes to make a fundable profile so you can separate your profiles. I want you to completely separate. Only engage mortgages or auto loans if you need both of your income to substantiate being able to afford that particular purchase.

If you can get away with it, one of you on one house, one of you on the other or alternate. Do not both of you be on any credit instruments and if you have to, it’s okay on installments. There is no reason whatsoever for you to be joint on a revolving account. I’ve been talking about the three Ds for many years now and it’s a thing. Please, take care of yourself and your loved ones. Play this funding game to win and keep bingeing because you continue to learn new rules and how to master this game and play it better and better. Thank you for reading and I hope you have a spectacular day. Disjoin your revolving accounts. Bye for now.

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The Fundability Freedom Path Wed, 27 May 2020 09:00:00 +0000 AYF 96 | Creating Freedom


It is so easy to think about freedom in the context of being able to do whatever we want. However, it is so much more than that. Merrill Chandler breaks the truth to us about what it takes to create freedom, particularly the freedom to masterfully create anything you want. He goes philosophical and talks about its relation to building up that competence and confidence and learning to express ourselves with the best of our abilities to be fully free to enjoy the results of our labor. Get inside this great episode to learn how you can start creating freedom for yourself while being masterful about your practice, including your fundability game.

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The Fundability Freedom Path

I’ve got a great discussion for us. We’re going to be talking about mastery and freedom from the rote and daily BS of our lives and how to create that freedom.

I’ve been waiting for the right moment to be able to have this episode. First of all, we’re talking about freedom. This is not the Braveheart, the political, or democratic version of freedom. I’m talking about the freedom to create anything you want masterfully. Let me break it down.

Practice Creates Competence Creates Confidence Creates Mastery Creates Freedom

I have a saying that I love to use when I’m doing my personal development training for people when I’m in my deeper fundability classes, the masterminds, etc. It goes like this, “Practice creates competence, confidence, mastery and freedom.” What do I mean by that? When I was eight years old, my mom put me into piano lessons. I was excited to start piano lessons because I could see individuals who got on the keyboard and were playing.

I went to a conservatory. My mom and dad hooked it up. I have nothing against piano teachers in the neighborhood. It was a conservatory. I did my lessons on a baby grand at this conservatory. My teacher was hardcore, demanding, and fastidious. My motivation for these piano lessons at eight years old was so that I could play like a master and free to play anything I wanted. The problem was practice took discipline and as a younger man, I was the most spontaneous and the most out there. Even my gift for gab in talking to people and enrolling them into my life and ideas, even the dark consequences of going to prison because I was out of control.

The seeds of all of those personality traits were alive and kicking when I was eight years old. For years, it was like pulling teeth for my mom to get me to practice. Neither of my mom and dad played the piano but wanted musical children. To this day, my sisters both play. My brother still has a musical bent and me, I only play the stereo and the online services. I don’t play, even though I still have a keyboard in my front room. What’s the point of this? What I didn’t know as an eight-year-old and I didn’t learn for decades later is the process of how practice fits into mastery and freedom.

Confidence is the juice that makes the squeeze worth it.
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When I was practicing, I was doing those little keyboard exercises. I was doing my scales and all my things. I was not taught at that age, but I did not make the connection that practice creates competence. If I’m competent at a particular song, we’d have recitals. You may have a similar background to mine. We have recitals to illustrate our competence given a certain level of lessons. The thing I missed is that competence creates confidence. Confidence in every one of us is that juice that makes the squeeze worth it. The confidence to be able to play a song was the feedback loop that would allow me to want to practice more at a whole new level.

We level up and I was good for years. I was playing Für Elise by the time I was ten years old at the recital, but the actual discipline of practicing, the lack of understanding, or the lack of maturity is I could not make that loop. Practice creates competence and confidence. Confidence is the feedback to take us to mastery, where I can master a level of playing.

How To Create Freedom

I’m going to wax a little philosophical here. This process is analogous. It relates to everything that we do. Somebody asked me a long time ago about freedom. I don’t remember what the subject matter was. What I learned from it was more important than the subject, but I retorted, “You love freedom. Are you free to play the piano?” His answer was, “No.” I said, “How free are you?”

In previous episodes, I’ve talked about how many crayons are in a crayon box. Some of us work with 8, 16, 32, 64, or 128 crayons in our box. If I only have eight crayons of the standard colors, am I free to color with seafoam green? No, that’s in the 64-color box. I am not free to color with that color. I am not free to play the piano unless I practice, which creates competence, confidence, and mastery, then I am free to play any song that I wish. There are two versions of freedom. There’s the freedom to do something and freedom from something. What I want this episode to focus on is the ability to be free to do things.

Free to express ourselves, survive a recession, and to qualify for the next home automobile business line of credit. If we have not practiced creating competence, confidence, and mastery over fundability, we will not be free to enjoy the results of our labors. When I was eleven years old, I wanted to play the rock and roll tunes that I was listening to as a young man. I was born in 1961. I was right smack dab. I was listening to all good burgeoning rock and roll movement at all levels. I was in love with that music. My fascination was I wanted to play on the piano Smoke on the Water by Deep Purple. I wanted to play Stairway To Heaven by Led Zeppelin and Dream On by Aerosmith. I wanted to be able to play these things to impress the fair sex so that I could be the man. All I did was practice the songs and not the theories. I only practiced 2 to 4 songs that I thought would be enough to wow somebody. I was quite the creature as a younger man.

AYF 96 | Creating Freedom

Creating Freedom: Practice creates competence creates confidence creates mastery creates freedom.


If we want freedom, there is a path to freedom. To be free to do something, we have to go through this process. To be free to paint, we’ve got to practice and create competence with the skills and the theory. Those skills and theory turn into personal confidence like, “You nailed it.” We get positive feedback about what we’re able to do. That confidence creates the loop where we can become masters and then we are free to do any art we wish. That mastery doesn’t come until we have dialed in the mechanics and the details and done the rote practice. That is what drove me crazy in most of my life.

When we translate it to the world of fundability or anything in the world, the problem is that we want freedom too without paying the price of technical learning and technical expertise. Another example is I’m in the middle of a mastermind. It’s a thing that we’re doing, an eight-week program, where clients get it as part of becoming a coaching program. You can subscribe to it without becoming a client. It’s designed to learn the principles of fundability and collect the data to make you personal and business fundable, but it is a pain in the ass. It is fastidious. The lenders measure data points in testily small movements in our borrower behaviors and all of these things. If we don’t go through the BS of collecting all of these little data points, we can never master fundability.

It’s interesting to watch me as an eight-year-old and my students and the people who are the masterminders, the bootcampers, the funding hackers, to watch them run up against the wall of, “This is tedious.” I’m like, “It’s tedious.” You’ve got to ask yourself, “Is it worth it to be free to be fundable, to take down any kind of credit line, business loan, and of large big-ticket purchase with the best rates, best terms, best everything and do it even during a recession?” Unless we have practiced becoming competent at what appears to be menial tasks, we will never become masters of the funding game. We will not be free to do the things that we say we want to do.

What’s interesting is I can still play 2/3 or 3/4 of Stairway to Heaven because it was the thing that I kept practicing. Many years later, my muscle memory still remembers that song even if I go years without playing it, if we have practiced and created the competence and confidence, we will master Stairway To Heaven. We will master revolving account fundability. We will master what it takes to thrive in the middle of a personal or global financial distress because you don’t lose your mastery. Mastery means mastery. “Will I play better if I practice Stairway To Heaven?” Yes. It’s funny when I see a piano in a room. We’ve done real estate events or whatever and some wedding had been in one of the rooms prior to the real estate conference being set up. There was a piano there. I sat down at that piano and started tickling with the ivories.

Whether you paint, play the piano, a mechanic fixing cars, creating designs for clothing, there is a period of technical discipline to master the principles. The last thing that I want to cover or review as part of this subject matter is you have seen movies. Maybe you’ve experienced it yourself, where you were listening to somebody who played the piano and it is technically perfect, but it is not artfully expressive. They flawlessly execute the song, but they can’t improvise. Mastery means we can improvise. I always envied people. I had my 3 or 4 songs I could play. I had a friend in high school. He would get on and he could play by ear.

Mastery means we can improvise.
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I was technical and I couldn’t play by ear. He is my exact same age and he hadn’t taken a lesson in his life. By ear, you could improvise. The thing is that while he was free to improvise music, he couldn’t read music. He would have to listen and that is his limitations. Remember we talked about it, for every new freedom, there’s a new limitation. They come in pairs. He couldn’t read music to get down a piece that he desired to play. He would listen to it and then he would do his estimation of it. As we know, if you’re a music fan or driving a stock car, there is a mastery that comes from practice.

He envied me that I could technically play certain songs. I envied him that he could riff like a madman on many songs. The thing is there are limitations and freedoms to both. When it comes to your life, this isn’t just fundability. I bring in fundability because that’s why you’re here. You want as much juice as you possibly can. That’s why you binge this show. The life lesson here is that whatever we’re doing, we’ve got to practice because only when we become technically capable can we master a song, an instrument, or a wealth strategy and then we are free to create. We have the entire 128-crayon box. We can do anything with those 128 crayons.

The texture, the tones, and the colors are available to us when we’re free to use 128 colors because we’ve practiced shading, the black and white charcoal, and we know the technicality of art, form, shadow, dimension, and perspective. Those are learned by most of us through practice.

Practice, Practice, Practice

The funny thing is Leonardo da Vinci, Michaelangelo, and some of the greats in the Western European Renaissance, we look at their art. They have it all down, but did you realize each one of those were apprentices? They devoted their lives. They apprenticed. They worked for room and board so that they could learn the technical details of the masters. There were some guys who faded into some of their students and into oblivion.

AYF 96 | Creating Freedom

Creating Freedom: If we have not practiced to create competence, create confidence, and create mastery over fundability, then we will not be free to enjoy the results of our labors.


Raphael, another amazing renaissance, was an apprentice and studied at the feet of Michaelangelo. You have to learn the details. You have to find out what your reporting date. Practice paying down debt to your perfect percentage on the day before the reporting date and to zero on the due date. You have to practice and practice. We become competent because of practice, but we get rewarded when we see our fundability and our scores continue to drive higher, and our confidence increases. We then become fundability masters. Remember in my book, if you haven’t read my book, I talked about the point of that mastery. We want to master the funding game. To use the sports analogy that I used in The New F* Word, every basketballer out there has practiced and practiced.

You then get Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant, bless his soul. You get these masters of the game. They are free to do anything on the court and play it masterfully. That’s free because they know every single nuance of the rules of that game. They practiced and practiced. Anybody who’s associated with anything, this is the process. This is one of my success principles. These are the rules of the game. Practice creates competence. You’ve got to become competent at it. When you’re competent, you get rewarded for it. Your confidence grows up. As you master, as your confidence goes and you practice even more and continue that loop, confidence creates mastery, and mastery creates freedom.

For every new freedom, there's a new limitation,
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I encourage you in raising your children, partnering in your business, living your life, and practicing the piano, whatever you do, take home the fact that practicing is a high yield endeavor. We need to remember that it goes all the way to the end to mastery and finally to freedom. I continue to practice because I want to be free to share in every possible way with tens of millions of people the value of this process towards making themselves fundable. You have a blessed morning, afternoon, or evening. Bye now.

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The Woes of a 30 Day Late Tue, 26 May 2020 09:00:21 +0000 AYF 95 | 30-Day Mortgage Late


One area for concern when trying to improve your credit score is a mortgage late report from your lenders. In this episode, Merrill Chandler has you covered on how a 30-day mortgage late will affect you. How does it affect the score? How long does it take to recoup? Merrill gets into those questions and gives you an answer while giving you a view on the degradation process, short sale, foreclosure, and more. He then shares some recession-proofing strategies that can especially come handy during this time. 

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The Woes of a 30 Day Late

I’m excited to be able to share with you some amazing FICO-driven, recession-proofing strategies that we could talk about. I will share with you some of my learnings from the live seminar series that I’ve been doing with FICO.

In this episode, we’re going to be talking about the degradation process of a mortgage. One of the courses that I took at FICO uses this slide deck. As a participant, we get access to the slide deck. I want to share with you since many people are concerned about mortgages, the moratoriums, and the deferral programs that the lenders are doing and how they affect us. How does a 30-day late affect score? More importantly, how does it affect recouping lost fundability? First of all, a shout-out to the lenders. They are doing it differently this recession than they did in 2008. Whereas then the second the economy crashed, they went into a panic mode and it prolonged the mess of everything. Now, they’re stepping up. They learned so much from FICO and from FICOs training of the modeling of who are resilient borrowers who are risky borrowers during the recession. They built their lending guidelines to tighten up the target and keep lending.

Everybody’s been working on who can I trust to lend to during a recession? It’s all the rage in all the training and everything that’s going on with the FICO training series that they’re going on, of which I am excited to be a part. I’m going to walk through some of the things that FICO is talking about in two ways. One, what is a simulated impact to a report on 30, 60, 90 days, short sales, etc., so we can predict what the fall of a score would look like for different consumer situations and how long it will take to recoup.

Impact Of A Mortgage Late Report

I’m going to be as descriptive as possible. This is a chart straight from one of the FICO training description decks, the slide decks in the presentation. On the left-hand column, there’s a starting score and there are four borrower models. They call them consumer A, B, C and D. We refer to them as borrowers. We want to become professional borrowers, not a rookie consumer. I’m going to use the parlance that I want to train you to use in referring to you and all the other borrowers that may be impacted by these mortgage late situations. It talks about a 30-day late, 60-day late, a 90-day late, and then a short sale or settlement and then a short sale with no deficiency balance and a deficiency balance, foreclosure, and all the way to bankruptcy.

This is the degradation that we talked about a few episodes ago about the tradeline accounts. This is specific to mortgages. The scores that we’re talking about for consumer A is 680, consumer B is 720, consumer C is 780, and consumer D is 820. On a 30 day late, if you have a 680, you’re going to drop approximately 60 to 80 points between 600 and 620 is going to be your score. A 60-day and a 90-day, you’re going to drop to the same level. What that means is regardless of whether you’re 30, 60 or 90, you’re going to lose an aggregate set of points of approximately 60 to 80 points.

AYF 95 | 30-Day Mortgage Late

30-Day Mortgage Late: Going to a short sale with a deficiency balance and doing a foreclosure are both going to affect you the same.


If you do a short sale, it’s going to be 610 to 630. Why does FICO give you more points for doing a short sale than going late? The reason is that you have terminated that credit experience. That tradeline is now terminated. Because it’s resolved, they’re giving you a 10 to a 20-point increase of that 600, 620. They’re giving you a boost in your score for having completed the transaction. To get to a short sale, you have to go through a 30, 60, and 90 late. Resolving it with no deficiency balance means that your score is going to go up from those delinquencies, the late pays.

If you do a short sale and there is a deficiency balance, it doesn’t matter how much the deficiency is. You did not pay the full amount that you owed on that loan. A deficiency balance means, let’s say you owe a note for $200,000 and then you sell it in a short sale for $180,000. You have a deficiency balance of $20,000. If you have no deficiency balance, your score goes up from those late pays, but if you have a deficiency balance in that short sale, you take a hit. You take another 5 to 25-point hit. You’re going to be in the 575 to 595 range.

Going to a short sale with a deficiency balance or doing a foreclosure is going to affect you about the same. A foreclosure is where they take the property back. Usually, when they take the property back, many times there’s a deficiency balance. A foreclosure means you didn’t try to resolve it. You didn’t try to get the lender’s money back. You didn’t show up as a true partner saying, “I want to take care of your needs like you’re trying to take care of mine when you lent to me.” Foreclosure and short sale with the deficiency balance are about the same because they usually have the same deficiency balance issues attached to it. The foreclosure alone, let’s say you don’t have a deficiency balance on that foreclosure. Even if you paid it off, it means they had to come after you to get the resources to pay back the loan.

That’s not a great message to your lender partners. After a 30, 60, or 90-day late, if it goes to bankruptcy or if you include that mortgage in a bankruptcy, you’re going to get an additional 50 to 70-point deduction off of that short sale. There’s a degradation of the scores for each one of these areas that you go through. Here’s what’s interesting. Let’s go to consumer B. They start with 720. It’s 40 points higher and that is reflected across the board, all the way down to bankruptcy. What I mean is that you’re going to lose about the same number of proportionate points. You’re going to end up a little higher on a 30-day late. Here’s a great thing. If you have a 720 and you’re 30, 60 or 90 days late, you’re not going to fall as much as you do if you’re at a 680. You get points for having that original higher score. It’s still down in the low 600s, but it’s not as low if you started with a 680.

Where it all becomes even if you do a short sale with no deficiency balance, you’re in the same category as if you had a 680. A 720 doesn’t help you. It helps you if you only go through lates and then recoup and get back on plan. If you go all the way to a short sale with no deficiency or a short sale with deficiency, foreclosure, and bankruptcy within 5 to 10 points, you are in the exact same place. Your 720 did not help when it comes to selling the property, going into bankruptcy or foreclosure. Those are important things and that goes across the board no matter how high the score. Let’s look at consumer C. If you have a 780, most people think it’s a smoking score. The good news is a 780, if you stay in the 30, 60, or 90 late, you’re going to be approximately 650 to 690 and you’re going to stay a relatively decent score.

Become professional borrowers, not rookie consumers.
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To compare consumer C with consumer A, if you have a 780 to start with, you may be down with the consumer A scorecard group of people and group of borrowers after 30, 60, or 90. The cool thing is at 780, there is a significantly higher score for each one of the degradation levels. Instead of having 600 on a 30-day late, you get to keep your 670. Instead of a 60-day late that goes to 600, you’re going to have a 650 to 670, etc. Where it also supports you is having a 780 with a short sale with no deficiency, you’re going to stay in that same 650 to 675 range. It’s going to help you significantly all the way down until bankruptcy. All bets are off and you’re going to end up within 5 to 10 points of all the other scores at bankruptcy.

Bankruptcy is the great equalizer when it comes to making arrangements or non-arrangements with your lenders to pay them off. You’re walking away from the debt. FICO cleans within 5 to 10 points. It levels the playing field of all people who are in bankruptcy. Let’s go to consumer D at 820. This is now statistically significant, less than 5% of all borrowers are above 800, but it’s the same drop in points. An 820 takes you to 710. You’re still losing at 710 to 730. That means you are still losing that 60 to 80 points. It’s that when you have a fundable 800-plus profile, any negative impact is going to lose the same number of points, but it doesn’t affect your fundability as drastically.

If it goes to bankruptcy, all bets are off again. There’s lots of forgiveness on a 30-day late. If you have a 720 and you have one 30-day late, you’re at 710 to 730, but in a 60-day late, you’re in the 665 to 685 range. A 60 and 90 days late, you’re higher than a 680 consumer at the starting point. You could be 60 to 70, 80 points higher, but now you’re in that tier three, tier four unfundable land. If you only keep it to a 30-day late, then you can stay in relative fundability even though you may have to prove up in other ways to make sure any future lender lends to you.

The score maintains some stability. You still lose 80, 90 points, but you’re above 700, and 720 and 740 for a mortgage is still a fundable score even though FHA, Fannie, and Freddie require a minimum of three years to re-lend to you after 30, 60 or 90. At least you’re starting from a strong spot. When it comes to short sales with deficiency, balance, foreclosures, and bankruptcies, you’re mid-500s and you are completely out of the game. Having said that, remember, this simulation assumes that nothing else changes.

Recouping From Fundability Loss

Not multiple lanes, not multiple foreclosures on multiple houses. This is one thing that is changing on your entire borrower profile. Let’s look at the recoup times. First of all, we’re using the same consumer scores and we’re going down. The left column is still the same, starting scores and 30, 60, 90 late short sale with the deficiency. Meaning with the balance remaining, short sale without foreclosure, and bankruptcy. Notice that the time for the score to recover from the following actions gives you a framework. Thirty days late on a mortgage, if you’re at 680, given no other considerations, no other movement. It’s going to take you nine months to recoup to a 680. If you have 720, it’s 2.5 years to come back.

AYF 95 | 30-Day Mortgage Late

30-Day Mortgage Late: Bankruptcy is the great equalizer when it comes to making arrangements or non-arrangements with your lenders to pay them off.


Seven hundred and eighty is three years and an eight hundred twenty is seven years. We’re not talking fundability, this is a score simulation. To be honest, this is part of FICO’s and the lender’s shiny object. They want us to see the score impact. I want you to see the score impact. You may not hit 820 for approximately seven years after a 30-day late mortgage, but you’re going to be fundable far sooner than that. That’s why we focus on fundability and not score. Think of it this way and notice this logarithmic. You’ve got 9 months to 2.5 years. A 720 and a 780 are going to have the same number of years to recoup a 720 to 780.

It’s fascinating to me because you’ve got 60 points. A 720 is a tier-two for a mortgage. A 780 is a tier-one plus for a mortgage. It might even be close to a double A. The recoup times to get back to 720 and 780 is the same. On consumer D, if you have an 820, it’s going to take more or less seven years to recuperate from anything, and bankruptcy is 7 to 10 years. Meaning you’re fundable after seven years but it’s going to stay on your report for ten and therefore it would be counting against you. Think about that. To get back to a 680, some people will think, “I’m glad I have a 680 credit score because I will be back to a 680 shortly within 9 months, 5 years for a bankruptcy.”

The problem is that score doesn’t represent a highly fundable profile regardless. While it may take a shorter amount of time to get there, you’re also going to be spending another year or two going from a 680 to a 780. Especially if you’re working with us, on average, we’re 100 to 150 points a year in building a fundable profile points that are reflected by myFICO. The coolest thing for me is that no matter where you are, a 30-day late to get back to an 820 all the way down to foreclosure is going to take approximately seven years to recoup and get back.

Why does this matter? Why am I reviewing this? First of all, I want you to know the negative impact of going late on a score. A mortgage is a secured loan. As I’ve said dozens of times throughout all these episodes that real estate-backed loans and lines of credit, a HELOC, do not move the needle as much as unsecured. There may be a more significant impact. This was score based education from FICO about mortgages, not revolving accounts. Those unsecured accounts, especially higher amounts that you would have a deficiency balance, a charge off that isn’t paid may impact negatively far more than a mortgage does. A mortgage is a secured instrument and straight from the chief scientist at FICO.

Recession-Proof Strategies

It does not move the needle as much as unsecured does. Take a look at that 820. I want you to understand that. Let’s talk about the recession. I’m sharing this with you so that you have the ability to create a strategic review of your finances. Remember implementing the doom day protocols. We talked about it in the bootcamp. You’ve got to do the doomsday protocols because you need to know what your cashflow is for your world, for your business world. What is frivolous? What is not relevant? What can we get rid of? You need to do everything you possibly can to protect this financial reputation, to protect your profile and those payments. One of the great things that we’ve talked about before, and I’m going to mention it again. The only thing we do not use to protect your financial reputation is the thing that you can’t recoup.

Protect the investment you've put into your fundable profile.
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You can buy another house. Sell a house, take the proceeds, and maintain your financial reputation. You can sell a car, a motorcycle, lots of things to garner income and maintain the payments if you’re in survival mode. What you can’t do is you can’t get another 10 years, 25 years’ worth of pension or retirement account money. Our formal stand is that we draw the line at your personal liquid savings and personal liquid retirement accounts. If those are two separate things and you’ve got prospects for further employment or being able to pick up the pieces, then use your savings to protect your investment because you can always accumulate more. When I say investment, protect the investment you’ve put into your fundable profile.

You can always garner more savings. You’ve spent 5, 10, 25 to 50 years on a retirement account, be deliberate about using those funds to protect your financial reputation because it takes a while. It’s easier to let your financial reputation and your partnerships with your lenders go than it is to gather another IRA or retirement account with tens, dozens, hundreds of thousands of dollars. You can’t get those back. If it’s once in a lifetime thing, like a retirement account, then we don’t sacrifice that. If it’s multiple in a lifetime, cars, home loans, investment properties, and apartment complexes. You can get those back on the other side because you will have protected your financial reputation and you will have proven up to the lenders that you are a solid and incredible partner to them and they will lend to you after the recession.

I share these mortgage things with you, this degradation process with mortgages because we got through doing one in our series about collection accounts, tradelines, etc. I wanted to make sure we had a representation of the relationship you have with mortgages on the same. Comment about this if you like what you’re reading. If you have questions about this, go to the Get Fundable Facebook page, like it, and ask questions there. Join us in that conversation. That’s our tribe and we want to make sure that you’re getting your questions answered and that you can participate in all of these further learnings that we get from FICO. We have the honor of sharing it with you.

I’m thrilled that you’re joining me. Keep bingeing. There are many things that are here for you not just to understand and learn, but ways in which you can implement. Go to if you would like a synthesis, the strategies, or the principles of fundability so you know how this game is being played. Go to if you want to find out how to implement those strategies and start building your financial reputation. I will see you in the next episode. Have a spectacular day.


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Forget The “New Normal” Mon, 25 May 2020 09:00:24 +0000


The so-called “new normal” in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic is hotly debated among people all over the world. As is natural, people have varying visions of how we should recover and recuperate. Still, the main sentiment that runs through all these opposing ideologies is that we have to move forward somehow. Merrill Chandler shares what he believes the new normal should be post-COVID-19. We might be staggered at the various ways the world changes after we’ve somehow mitigated the pandemic, but we’ve got to roll with those punches. The new normal has to be one where we collectively move forward into a future with more kindness, compassion, outreach, and safety.

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Forget The “New Normal”

We’re going to be talking about the new normal. Will there be a new normal? How do we address the new normal in our lives, both individually and our response to this oncoming or onslaught of a recession?

The Power Of This Pandemic

There’s been a lot going on that’s been triggering positive experiences and what is happening here when it comes to the new normal. First of all, I’d like to update some of the information sources that we’ve been giving you at least 2 or 3 times a week. Let’s take a look at this and understand the power of this pandemic and the next domino, which is the recession and how it’s been impacting us. At the time I did this episode, another 3.2 million people filed for unemployment. That total is for the weeks beginning of the shutdown. There have been over 33 million and that is a significant number of people. The weekly numbers have been declining since the seven million claims that were in that last period of March that we reported, and that was the peak.

Every week, there are less, even though it’s gargantuan. For example, in February before the pandemic, there were about 200,000 people a week filing for unemployment. That sounds like a lot but as a percentage, it’s very low. The economy was more robust and so people were coming in the pipeline and then leaving the pipeline as they found new opportunities for employment. Here’s the challenge. We say 3.2 million, the thing is the monthly job report that’s coming out from the Department of Labor. The 8th of May will record the month of April’s total unemployment rate. It’s expected to be likely significantly over 15%. That is Depression-era numbers. Twenty-five percent was the biggest unemployment percentage in the nation. Remember, there were significantly tens of millions fewer people in the United States.

On the individual impact to individual persons and families, this means that there are tens of millions more individuals who have been affected by the virus, the contraction and the tsunami of recession. That’s approaching. The Depression level era means that the max was 25%, but it went 10%, 15% all the way up. It took literally dozens of years to move us past the high point of 25%. If it comes in at 19%, 20%, 22%, this is going to be a big deal. We’ll be reporting once again so we can take a firm look of what the monthly numbers come in at because they’re far more accurate and take more into account.

We are all responsible for creating an effect on the world around us.
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A study by the Economic Policy Institute found that roughly 50% more people that have filed claims in the four-week work period qualify for benefits. That means 50% of the people are not being represented as unemployed because they didn’t try because the process was too formidable or they got stymied because of the sheer amount of time it takes. Remember, the system was not designed to process millions of people per week. Hundreds of thousands, I don’t know, but let’s say a million a week, but not 3.2 to 6.9 million people per week. It wasn’t designed for that. Not only is the system showing its tolerances of how much it can handle, but the study showed that there are 50% more people that are unemployed could receive benefits if they went through the entire process.

Fifty percent more when we’re sitting at a minimum of 15%, that’s 23%. If our numbers come in at 20% of unemployment and 50% more haven’t even filed for benefits, the economy is not being moved forward by all of us contributing way higher than 25%. This is significant. Two hundred thousand people, it’s very different. We’re an order of a magnitude and a half of people applying for benefits now than before this started. There are some more facts. In the weeks before the pandemic, states around the country, before they started issuing lockdowns, we were already starting to spend less, we were starting to travel less and dine out less. Remember that the lockdowns didn’t come for 2, 3 and in some states, 4 weeks after they closed down the cruise lines. Before that, people started withdrawing.

We need to remember this because this is part of what we’re talking about in the new normal. People started withdrawing or contracting not going out as much, not traveling as much, and spending less. In many states, while the lockdown orders are still legally in place, the enforcement orders are still there. Economic data shows that there are businesses, workers, and consumers that are already going back to the old normal routines. We’ve had several states say, “We’re talking days, not weeks, to lift the shelter in place orders, the sequester orders or the no travel orders. There are many people whose businesses are technically reopening when there are still shelter in place orders.

As Fundable As Possible

This brings us to number two. One of the things that we talked about here is that even in Utah, there was a rally at the Capitol building. The range was broad. This is a FAKO virus, to use our credit score parlance. Conspiratorial out there are saying that it’s just a ruse. This is just a manipulation by big pharma. I don’t weigh on any of these things. If the country is going to shut down, I help my clients be fundable. That’s as far into the politics or ideology that I get. My job is to make sure whatever’s happening, you are as fundable as possible.

AYF 94 | New Normal

New Normal: The economy was more robust, so people were coming into the pipeline and then leaving as they found new opportunities.


We go from the ultra-conservative saying that we’re being played all the way to the people saying that, “Be free. It’s not as bad as we think.” There are places and times that we don’t know all the facts. There were almost 2,000 people all gathered, no mask, no social distancing, no nothing. The signs literally said, “Give me liberty or give me death.” The whole gambit was there. Everybody was saying that it’s not necessary. I’m a hermit because I live in my own space and I work in my own space. I support and love and take care of my loved ones for my own space. I don’t have to weigh in on these things. It’s not my jam.

Also in the State of Utah, the numbers were declining. In our cases, we’ve now had a spike. This is in our news outlets here locally, exactly two weeks after this gathering, we now have a spike in cases. The reason why I bring that up is not to say one thing or another about the people who have gathered. What it says is that our actions create an effect. We’re all responsible for creating an effect. If we got a spike in cases here, then that means that the downtrend is now temporary. The downtrend was simply meaning the new normal requires that we be deliberate. Outside my home, I overlook the Salt Lake Valley and the street in front of my house is a very popular biking and jogging street because it’s beautiful. You get to see the entire valley for miles around. It’s the Bonneville Shoreline Trail. People go through here and it’s absolutely beautiful. It’s the reason why I live here.

The thing is that people are walking by the front of my house with masks on, even though they’re with their companion, their jogging buddies or whatever. The new normal is even though there are businesses that continue to open, the people have varying degrees of support. They’re like, “Give me liberty or give me death,” or they’re social distancing to an extreme. Let me tell you a story about extreme. One of my friends, he was one of our first team members at Lexington Law in 1992. He’s the brother of one of our founders. He had an amazing thing to share with me because he came down with COVID-19 and his effects were in the pneumonia category. He was being treated with the new leprosy.

He was cured and he got a clean bill of health. It took him ten days and he was cleared of all contagion. The thing is what he wrote to me about. He said, “If you feel to share it, Merrill, share it.” He follows me on social. He was saying that the bubonic plague level, the Middle Ages level response is still true. We have the cavalier on one end and then we’ve got the people who are afraid to breathe the air. They’re in their cars by themselves and still wearing a mask. I’m not saying one thing or another. There’s a huge range of response to what’s going on. Where there’s not a huge response is the level of compassion and kindness that are being displayed to people who may have been part of the contagion, that have been infected and are recovering or even have recovered.

The new normal better include more kindness, more compassion, more outreach, and more safety.
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Being a social pariah, being pushed away, being considered like you have the air equivalent of leprosy. One of the great teachers of all time, his ministry was about the infected with a number of social or physical diseases. I’m not saying you have to go and have everybody breathe on you. I’m saying if we’re not willing to be compassionate, then this is demonstrating to us who we are. If the new normal doesn’t mean more loving, more compassionate, more willing to support and love and be kind, then what’s the point? Many of us describe our why. Part of our pivot that we’ve been talking about for a month now, pivot hard and find the opportunities.

We had an entire episode on what does your why mean now. I want to have the time and resources, I get a passive income and I get to coach my children’s soccer, football, basketball teams. That’s my why. Right now, there’s not a lot of soccer team things going on. What’s your next why? What’s your Z? May I even propose? What comes after Y? If it doesn’t include compassion, love and kindness, then your why and my why are completely meaningless. I have $1 billion and I’m not more kind, more benevolent, more open, but less judgmental, less prejudiced, less caring. If our why doesn’t include those character traits, then we have missed the entire point of this pandemic or any pandemic.

What is the point if social distancing means alienation? I don’t believe they’re mutually exclusive. You can be socially distanced, but you don’t have to alienate anybody, especially those who believe differently than you do. It was so funny to watch because they had a demonstration on TV and stuff like that. You’ve got two radically different groups of people all co-mingling for the same purpose. I don’t believe this thing is real or I don’t care that it’s real. Give me liberty or give me death. What is the new normal? No government reopening is going to make people feel safe. In those states, COVID may continue to traipse along like this. In social distancing, I’m encouraging don’t alienate. Be wise but be harmless and be kind.

Healthy, Wealthy, And Wise

There were the signs of a contraction before the states drew down hard lines because people don’t want to be harmed by whatever malady or thought, idea, belief, sickness or otherwise. Most of us want to take care of ourselves and our own. Be healthy, wealthy and wise. It starts out with healthy. We’re protecting ourselves. Where does protecting yourself move into being mean or dismissive or pushing people away who may have been less fortunate? You have a job, they don’t. Does that make them less vital as a human being than you?

AYF 94 | New Normal

New Normal: The new normal is that even though there are businesses that continue to open, the people give and receive varying degrees of support.


One of my team members was sharing with me. We have one-on-ones every month with each one of our team members. One of my team members was talking about what I shared with her which was survivor guilt. She’s a twenty-something and she was comparing that people going to school aren’t going to school and they’re studying online. There’s relatively little social engagement. Her friends have been laid off, had not been hired back or they’ve been furloughed. They’re the part of the group that aren’t even qualifying for unemployment because they have zero-hour schedules that we’ve talked about before. They haven’t been formally laid off even and they are miserable. They’re having a horrible time and she’s part of an organization that knows how to pivot.

She’s part of an organization that is literally the gatekeeper to the growth opportunity for all these millions of small businesses, the gatekeeper to funds and funding. She’s like, “I love what I’m doing. I love what’s going on. I talked to my friends and they are hurting.” I call it feeling a little survivor guilt. Four people in a car crash, three don’t survive, one does. Why me? Why do I get to survive? How do I take care? How do I relate to? How do I treat my friends when I’m talking to them on the phone or Zoom because they can’t do anything else yet? I’ve said it a dozen times, I’ll say it a dozen more. If you’re open to it, if you’re willing to let me show you your blind side like you get to show me mine. Are you willing to open your heart, open your mind, and take care of you and your loved ones and do everything possible to take care of those around you? Give them the leg up, give them an opportunity. How do you talk to them so that your heart is compassionate and full for their plight, for their experience?

We have 15%-plus unemployed and 50% more that are unemployed but haven’t registered. We have no clue who they are. This is no bueno as a country. Not the unemployed part. We’ll always do this. Our attitude towards them and the influence that we have as we look out, sitting among our friends and our families. I want each one of us to take a deep look. There is a new normal. That new normal better include more kindness, more compassion, more outreach, safer otherwise, more love and more opportunity. My friend who sent me a message on Facebook said, “I’m cured. I now have antibodies. I can’t get infected again. I’ve been shunned because people are afraid.” I don’t judge your fear, but is there more for us? That’s what the new normal includes for me. Think of it as cautious and compassionate. They are not mutually exclusive. Please take care, be wise and be kind.

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The #1 Transparency Secret to Getting Approvals Sat, 23 May 2020 09:00:14 +0000


Most business owners are of the belief that whatever goes on in their business should stay under wraps—the only people privy to the information being within the company. But that approach has some severe drawbacks when it comes to your finances, and with the need for many small businesses to take out loans, sooner or later, your company will have to bare it all. Merrill Chandler is joined by Tom Hazzard, the Co-Founder and CEO of Brandcasters, Inc. Together, Merrill and Tom talk about why transparency in business can only help your fundability. This is an important subject, so make sure you don’t miss this conversation.

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The #1 Transparency Secret to Getting Approvals

We’ve got part two of our series about why lenders are not lending and the shutdown of the SIC codes. We’ve invited back Tom Hazzard, who’s going to weigh in on even more insider secrets.

Tom Hazzard, welcome back. You have some more information from the last SIC Code, SBA and everything that’s going on with the lack of fundability of certain codes. Catch us up. Will you go back a little bit and cover the highlights for those who didn’t get to that first one? Then let’s get to know what’s going on now.

Merrill, thank you so much for having me back. It’s fun to be here. A little recap, you should go back and read that other episode if you haven’t read it where it talks about the SIC Code. I got a call from QuickBooks Capital because I’m the owner of the business. We had two previous QuickBooks Capital loans, working capital loans in 2019, it was six months loan to get some capital to pay it off. We paid perfectly, there were no problems. They called me because they knew the second one was about to be paid off within days. They said, “As soon as that’s paid off, you can apply for another one.” They’re in the business of lending money, that’s how they make money.

This is key. They called him to set up for the next loan because it was a flawless execution of two previous loans.

I said, “That sounds good. I was thinking we would do that anyway. It was a good thing for us.” Keep in mind, this was before everything got shut down and before the Coronavirus came. In about the week of time that passed between they called me and invited me to apply and then I applied, I was denied. I was like, “That’s funny. I wonder what’s going on here?” When I called them, the reason it said was, “We don’t lend to your type of business.”

By the way, in my bootcamp, I have a whole little section on the SIC Code introducing where I circled that where they can’t deny you for sex, religion, age or whatever, but they can deny you because of the type of business that you’re in.

It was puzzling to me because they had lent to us twice in 2019. I was like, “We were the same company we were then. Why aren’t you lending to us?” I dug deeper more because I was puzzled by this and of course being a student of Merrill’s, you need to know what you don’t know, you’ve got to know the rules or else the system is rigged against you, all this good stuff. I called into QuickBooks Capital and I worked my way up to a very high-level manager in QuickBooks Capital. He gave me his email, so I emailed him and I got his direct dial number. He said to me, “It’s because of your SIC code.” What he told me is when Congress, in a hurry, passed the first PPP, which is the CARES Act with the PPP Loan Paycheck Protection Program, in advance of that being passed, the FDIC knew it was coming. Because QuickBooks Capital, among most lenders in the country, is FDIC insured, they made 78% or 73% of all SIC codes unfundable and no lending institution is allowed to lend any of them.

They flipped the switch and said no to any of them. Remember, the rationale that we talked about last time, there were several reasons. We’re connecting the dots because we weren’t at the table with the FDIC but I’m telling you, I know that they wanted to keep the pipelines open and the books open for all the lenders. They want lenders to be able to push out this PPP loan like Wells Fargo, they had a low asset cap so they couldn’t loan as much unless you stopped lending to all the actual real commercial loans. You have to stop the commercial loans to make way for this behemoth that was coming down the pipe called PPP.

That’s what we learned. First of all, the big issue with us is our SIC code was incorrect and that illuminated to us, we needed to get that fixed. My thinking at that time was I need to get the SIC code changed and then I’ll be able to get a conventional loan because I’ll be in that twenty-some odd percent that they can lend to me. QuickBooks Capital admitted they want to lend to me. They’re in the business of lending money. They don’t like it any more than I did that the SIC codes couldn’t be lent to. I went on that path for a few weeks and I did not apply for a PPP Loan in the first round of the $350 some odd billion in the CARES Act. I didn’t do that. I kept playing this up for a few weeks, I said, “Let’s get the SIC code fixed.” QuickBooks Capital were helping us, “We’ve identified the proper SIC code for you is this but unfortunately, we’re still not going to be able to lend to you right now.”

They’re still not going to lend to you because they switched them back off after days open.

Weeks passed and I’m keeping in touch with the people at QuickBooks Capital, which I have to say has been a great experience working with them. I had the direct dial number, not cell phone number, of QuickBooks Capital’s manager who seems to be very high-level. He was in meetings where they’re dealing with PPP and then learning about things. This is all new and all that. I could tell you the date, it was on Friday, April 24th, 2020 that I had a call with him and he says, “You qualify for PPP.” I was like, “I know but my business is not one of those that’s desperate and suffering.” We’re doing well and I felt like I shouldn’t do the PPP but what he made clear to me is he said, “It looks like the FDIC is going to continue to make these SIC codes unfundable as long as the second round of PPP is going on. It won’t be for a few weeks after that before you could get a conventional working capital loan.”

You put yourself at a disadvantage when you're not transparent.
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When you told me that, that is where I did the math saying they have to keep the pipeline open because the first round of $349 billion, FDIC and the Fed Credit Line was not set up yet. Every lender was filling up their asset and hitting their caps before they could sell those loans back to the Fed. They were tapping out to help the process. They’re shutting down the freeway called the funding mechanism and leaving it only open to the PPP. It’s Martial Law for funding.

It’s been an amazing experience because I learned many things. There’s about the underwriting process, the information you have to communicate to them to apply, and this is all the important things we need to share. He convinced me and he’s like, “Tom, your business qualifies for PPP. You’re not going to be able to get any other capital right now. You should do this for your business.” He didn’t need me to do it. The QuickBooks Capital is going to lend all the money they possibly can. This is the first thing I learned. This is when the second $250 billion had been passed by Congress, the second wave of PPP. He told me that QuickBooks Capital has been allocated $2 billion of that.

That’s barely under a full percentage point of the entire amount was given to QuickBooks Capital because it’s an equalizer. Tons and tons of small businesses use QuickBooks Capital and the access to your books makes it easy for the future.

I learned so much about this. I want to make this clear. Our company uses Intuit QuickBooks to keep our books. It’s electronic, it’s online and we keep it up-to-date and reconciled on a monthly basis. For any of you business owners out there, if you’re not doing that, that is an absolute must, then you’ll understand why you want to do that. Since our books are kept in QuickBooks system and QuickBooks Capital is a part of that company, they’re all connected, they’re sharing all the same data, they were able to go into all of our books and see how much payroll we had in the last three months, how much rent we paid, how much utilities we paid, all the things that qualify with this PPP program.

Tom, what’s that called? Automatic underwriting matching data points. That is weird that automatic underwriting speeds and they trust the data a hundredfold more than any of the forms or spreadsheets or whatever else you’re sending them.

They have all our data. We’ve been doing business with them for years since the beginning of this corporation we started, it’s been on QuickBooks and it’s also connected with our bank accounts. They know everything about us financially. We’re people of integrity, we’re not doing things we’re not supposed to do. They’ve got all the information. It made the application process a breeze, literally five minutes on the QuickBooks Capital tab in your QuickBooks account. They did all the calculations. They take all those expenses and they average them over three months, multiply that by 2.5 and that’s the amount of money you qualify for with PPP.

To update everybody because they haven’t run out of money yet. I don’t know what the pace is but know that it’s the company insurance, it is payroll. It is at least lease and your lease or rent that you’re paying on a traditional building or space, multiplied by 2.5. They want 2.5 months to get through this COVID peaking before it plains out.

I decided I’m going to apply. I’m not going to shut myself off to Capital. I’m in the business too.

Especially when it’s a grant.

Yes because you did that and now having gone through it, it’s not that hard to make it forgivable. Even if it weren’t forgivable, it’s 1% interest. Tell me how you’re going to get a loan from for 1%. I applied and it was a quick process. They had all the information. Basically, I had to confirm my identity and company’s EIM. The important is put your bank account information in there where the proceeds are going to go to, your routing number, account number and apply. This manager for QuickBooks Capital was on the phone with me as I’m doing it and he said, “Let me check.” He was typing on his keyboard. He goes into the backend and then he says, “Your application is in. You’re set as long as the SBA doesn’t have a reason to refuse you, then you’re approved for loan.” I said, “How do you know that already?” He says, “We know because we have all the data and you qualify. The system knows, it’s the software.” This was interesting, he told me, “Now that you’ve applied, your money has been taken away from our $2 billion allocation. It’s reserved.”

I want us to pay attention to the words that are coming out of Tom’s mouth. What we’re getting is a human being confirming the process of automatic underwriting. We’re getting Tom’s data points get measured up against the criteria that have been set up by the FDIC and the Feds and literally say, “Check.” Remember in the bootcamp, everywhere I talked about, “Check, green light, approved.” That’s exactly this process. We happened to have human confirmation of how it works.

AYF 93 | Business Transparency

Business Transparency: It looks like the FDC is going to continue to make certain SIC codes unfundable.


Thank you, Merrill, but I’ve got to tell you, there’s more to the story. I know you geek out on these details and things. I do too. I somehow developed a good rapport with this manager at QuickBooks Capital to the point where he’s like, “You’re one of four companies that I’m hyper being aware of and your QuickBooks account is in a tab on my browser and I’m watching it.” He gave me his cellphone number, not just his direct dial number that’s VoIP line that gets forwarded to him when you called. I’ve got his cell phone number and he said, “I’m going to keep in touch with you over the weekend.” Remember this was Friday, April 24th, so I’ve got Saturday and Sunday. The other interesting stuff is that all of the data from loans that QuickBooks Capital has had people apply through them and they’ve been approved through automatic underwriting were starting to be transmitted to the SBA on Monday, the 27th of April 2020 at 7:30 in the morning Eastern Time. He says that’s when it goes in. I also learned some other interesting stuff. They worked in conjunction with a bank in New Jersey called Cross River Bank.

The SBA does or QuickBooks Capital?

QuickBooks Capital decided to further with that.

All FinTechs have a depository institution.

They had developed a relationship with Cross River Bank in New Jersey specifically because of a little-known electronic system called eTran, which the SBA uses to transmit loan information, loan data and then for the SBA to transmit back approvals or denials. It’s a pipeline. It’s a conduit into the SBA, a mechanism of transmitting all this stuff. They worked with Cross River Bank because they had a particularly robust infrastructure for doing that. You’re not pushing paper to get loans for this all electronic data.

I want to tell you to compare contrast. We always talk about manual versus automatic underwriting. I have clients who send emails to me that are saying, “I’m still waiting for my PPP.” The email from Wells Fargo, while the second half was being approved said, “We’re waiting, you’re in line.” Another email they sent and said, “We’re now processing new loans. We have mobilized hundreds of team members to ensure that we get you through this process.” I’m sitting here going data point and QuickBooks on a tab in the application versus $20, $30, $50 an hour to mobilize hundreds of employees, game over. Here’s the thing, in commercial lending, Wells Fargo is a superstar when it comes to automatic underwriting but it’s vertically integrated with systems that are not what we’re talking about here. It isn’t pivot in seconds and be able to add some fields on your website, fill in those apps and off to the races we go. This is a perfect compare and contrast of what’s going on out there.

One of the things I was impressed to learn about QuickBooks Capital, I’m a customer there, I’m not being paid to push them. I’m impressed by them.

This is amazing.

The thing about the PPP is here’s a law that was passed by Congress in a rush the first time. There were no systems in place to process this loan. They’re all new rules. What I learned is some differences happened from the first round of $350 billion roughly to the second round of $250 billion. QuickBooks Capital had to reprogram certain things in the process on their website and how it happens. Interestingly, I get a call from QuickBooks Capital, not from my inside contact, saying, “The SBA is now requiring some additional information on your application in order for it to be processed properly. You need to log back into your QuickBooks account, go to the Capital tab and provide this other information.” I said, “I’ll do that.” I got that call before it was possible for me to go in and do anything because they hadn’t programmed it yet. They were programming it on the fly. What it ended up being was the SBA had learned from the first round that there were some foreign corporations that do business in the United States that were applying for PPP loans and getting them initially. They wanted to make sure the person applying, the owner of the business, was a US citizen number one. It was about US citizenship.

One more thing about identity. Notice that identity is the number one that moves you through automatic underwriting or it cuts you off. Identity is always central to this. I jump up and down about it all the time because I’m the geek, but as we come to this awareness, everything they ask for is more about data. Is this truly a person that we want to lend to and who’s backstopping this loan grant, whatever it is that we want to call it?

I made sure I filled out that information. I texted and called my inside guy and said, “I did all this. You want to make sure it looks good? As long as I have you to be able to communicate with, let’s verify it.” He said, “I verified it. Everything looks good, no problem.” We kept in touch throughout when the money went in and we were communicating every other day, every third day for the following week to ten days. What I noticed in my QuickBooks account online, it said, “Your application has been received,” but the status didn’t change. That’s not a big surprise because they haven’t programmed this thing with a lot of experience. Even though they have this very fast pipeline and they communicate everything, the SBA was throttling the transmission of data and only taking so much at a time and who they’re taking it from. I don’t know how they do all this, but it all got communicated in.

There are an awful lot of lending institutions that are not modernized as much as they need to be.
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A couple of days down the road, I’m talking to him and he says, “You’re approved. Unless the SBA comes back and finds you have some disqualifying event in the last ten years, you’re going to be approved. In fact, all the denials came back from the SBA first. If you applied and you had a disqualifying factor in the eyes of the SBA, that came back first and your QuickBooks Capital tab for the loan because you would have said you’ve been denied.” Those of us that did not have a denial after a couple of days, you knew you were getting approved.

It’s the processing time to hit every one of it. What’s fascinating is as you say that, it does make a lot of sense because denial is going to come back like identity and citizenship, or you’re a corporation. We did a Facebook Live about how many big corporations like Shake Shack and all these big huge corporations, Ruth’s Chris Steak House, were getting millions of dollars that didn’t deserve, they’re not small businesses and they got approved. It makes sense that the denials would come first simply because they’ve got their underwriting criteria down the second round compared to the first.

They learned a lot from the first to the second. Eventually, even my guy was using me as a beta tester for their software and their system. He said to me, “Can you check your QuickBooks Capital tab and tell me if it looks any different?” I was like, “No, it looks the same.” “I’ll get back to you.” They were doing stuff. Then the first notice was an email that said, “You’ve been approved. Click this button to review the terms whether you agree to the terms, understand the repayment obligation, the requirements and how you get it forgiven.” We reviewed it and I’m like, “What’s not to love about this? I’m going to accept that.” It said, “Your money will be transferred within a couple of days and then you’re done.”

It went through the whole process. What it illuminated to me is if you’re a company that uses a payroll system other than QuickBooks Capital, even if you did your books there but you use a different payroll service, there are lots of payroll services out there. There would be another level of verification that have to go through to make sure that information is verified with the group. To me it was like, “There are a lot of companies out there that for whatever reason have decided they’re going to do their books in a certain way, that they’re going to use certain systems to do it. They’ve never ever considered automatic underwriting in the decisions that they’re making.”

In the old days, when you were getting commercial loans from them, the reason why it was such an easy process is because they have all of your books. Some people get nervous saying, “This is all private. I want this to be private.” I don’t disagree with them. What I teach is that if you’re going to play this game, you’ve got to get into the game. You’ve got to suit up, you’ve got to get the right equipment, you’ve got to practice and train to play this funding game. One of those is access and transparency. We talked about transparency for your QFE, your Qualified Fundable Entity. They need to be able to see through to you and what you did with QuickBooks is exactly that. Identity was clear, citizenship was clear and it was a clear vista. It was straight through. They could see through your entity, see through your books to be able to fund you. To me, the rewards and being able to capitalize on capital is worth far more, especially as I’m going to give those books to the Feds when I file my taxes or otherwise. I give them to investors if someone’s looking to invest. They’re not private documents if you want to scale and become more and more influential in your space.

You put yourself at a disadvantage if you’re going to not be transparent, and maybe you’re still a person of integrity and your business is completely on the up and up on the right side of the legal line of things and that’s fine. Clearly, there are businesses out there that are not in integrity and on the right side of the legal line of things, and that makes them disqualified easily. It’s cliché and it’s a little bit old but I’m hearing Al Gore on my mind about the information superhighway. Remember when he called the internet that? The reality is that’s what this all is. It’s an information data superhighway for not only doing business properly as a company. That makes things easy at the end of the year when it’s tax time to figure out your taxes, you don’t have to try to reconstruct your books from a whole bunch of money. You’ve got it up-to-date because you should and you need it up-to-date.

It’s transparent between your banking accounts, everything that’s coming in, it filters all your expenses because you tagged them already.

I feel like I took a supersonic jet across the Atlantic Ocean to the UK and got there in a couple of hours, rather than taking what could be a boat.

I’m telling you, if funding is at the other end of this transatlantic journey on the supersonic, then I’m all in because transparency is transparency and everybody’s going to look for and know. I used to be way more interested in what I called privacy. There’s a lot of mythology around what privacy is. I’m not saying everybody should know everything about everything but I am saying that if you’re going to go into Wrigley Field and you’re going to go up against the Cubs, you’ve got to suit up. You can’t bring a football, you’re bringing a baseball. You’ve got to play that game. We can’t stand on the sidelines or out of the park going, “Why can’t I get any money?” You’re not willing to get in and play the game that’s being played. I’m all in on that. That’s what I love you being able to come back and share with me with this whole new level.

I’ve been saying more lately than I typically say but I’m enjoying being right. I thank heavens I’m humble and gentle shoeshine boy. It’s awesome to be able to see the validation in stress times and recession times when we’re coming up against the more and more times where the funding target is getting smaller. If we’ve already been hitting the bullseye in our fundability, we don’t care about that it’s shrinking. We’re still fundable here in this middle. Tom, thank you so much. Any other bits and pieces from this conversation or what you got as a result of all of this?

The biggest thing that I got is that there are an awful lot of lending institutions that are not modernized as much as they need to be efficient in this. The reality is we learned that the government, I don’t know what part of the federal government Treasury is, but it allocates percentages of the total funds to different institutions. It’s not that all one bank that communicates the fastest has all the money. That’s not true. We learned that. There is an efficiency and there is an advantage. As a business owner, I see completely the benefits of being transparent. I have to be honest, Merrill, years ago, I was of the mindset that privacy is more important than transparency. My thinking has changed on that. It’s because of the rules of the system. I learned a lot of this from you and your bootcamp because we did not use our resident’s address as the address on our driver’s license as the billing address for our personal credit cards, and all that stuff. After going through your program, we had to unwind all that and change it because we were trying to be private about our residents regarding that. You can choose to do that but it’s going to come with a price.

AYF 93 | Business Transparency

Business Transparency: As a company, doing business properly, the right way, makes things easier at the end of the year, when you get to tax time.


I’ve come to the same conclusion like your thoughts and your a-has on privacy. I love my privacy. I also know that I want to play this game and I play it big. I coach huge teams of people who all want to play it big. I go back to the same hard press metaphor. If you’re going to play this game, play it to win, that means you’ve got to go all in.

You’ve got to go in, you’ve got to be transparent and I highly recommend keeping all your business finances, your payroll and all that in an integrated system. It makes all of this so much easier because I want to align myself with the software that’s going to say yes now than get kicked out in the manual underwriting, have somebody take ages to make a decision and then I get less and less for a higher rate and all this stuff. What’s the algorithm? Let’s do it.

Tom, as always, it’s a pleasure. We have a blast. I love it when you texted me and say, “You’re not going to believe this. This is awesome. I can’t wait to share this with you.” I know we’ll have you back. Thank you again, Tom. Get all this information, find out as much as possible, then go to and find out the principles. Go to, find out the strategies to start implementing because what we’re talking about here is high-level stuff and you learn it all in these platforms. Thanks again, Tom. You’re my superhero.

It’s my pleasure. Thanks for having me on, Merrill.

Be well and see you later.

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About Tom Hazzard

AYF 93 | Business TransparencyAward-winning strategic product design & development expert, Tom Hazzard, is a forward-thinking entrepreneur with great sales conversion skills. In addition to co-hosting the Forbes-featured fast growth WTFFF?! 3D Printing Podcast and the Feed Your Brand Podcast, he successfully launched over 250 consumer products raking in over $2 Billion at e-commerce and mass-market retailers with his wife and business partner, Tracy.

He believes that the goal of any product, service, marketing or business launch is to make “it” sell itself, that is why he often talks about streamlining business processes to keep marketing expenses at a minimum. Tom loves being in podcasting because he gets to meet people from many varied industries, and because he gets to broaden his perspective from all the widely different areas of interests he encounters at work.

Tom loves to work on his 1972 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia, a car that was handed down to him by his Grandmother.

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Can You Really Trust Your Gut? Fri, 22 May 2020 09:00:57 +0000


One of the ways people who are new to a certain field or industry can do to become successful is to take advice from those who have been around the block and know the ropes. But where do you draw the line between taking advice and listening to the voice inside of you? Merrill Chandler teaches you how to determine when taking advice, whether about fundability or not, from someone else is the best path for you. It’s all a matter of learning to play things by ear and adjusting your approach when needed. Don’t miss out on this great learning opportunity provided by Merrill.

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Can You Really Trust Your Gut?

Internal Versus External Authority

In this episode, I’m taking on some cool things. I’m going to challenge you to take a deeper look at what’s going on. We’re going to be talking about internal versus external authority, taking and receiving advice, that blind spot that we talked about before.

I’ve got something to say about this particular topic specifically. We’re going to be talking about internal versus external authority. What do I mean by that? I’ve been preaching for decades both professionally and personally, with my children, teammates, partnerships, and my love interests, and in every way, there are two frameworks that we operate from. Sometimes we get confused. Sometimes we completely missed the boat on what’s happening to us or for us, and how we can create a better effective way of dealing with our lives especially in times of stress. Let’s define our terms. Internal authority is where you can generate a self-possessed and well-considered thorough evaluation of what’s going on in your life or when you’re up against a particular issue. Let’s take a doctor. We’re going to use the doctor’s example throughout this entire process. Internal authority comes when there is self-possession, self-confidence, clarity, and gobs of experience. External authority is what a doctor would do when he or she goes to a medical school. You don’t just go into a brain surgery environment. You don’t walk into the operating room and say, “I know how to do brain surgery. I have a gut feeling that this is what needs to be done.”

Our gut feelings and our ability to connect the dots are linked to having all the data first.
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That’s an interesting way to come across that, “I know it needs to be done because I have a feeling that this is the right move.” I’m not going to say that it’s not true. I’m going to say that the likelihood or probability of success in that operating room is tightly linked to your skillset. Our gut feelings or intuition and our ability to connect the dots are specifically linked to having all the data first. We go to medical school and we rely 100% upon known operating procedures and anatomy evaluations. We work with cadavers so we can gain experience with the human body, but it’s all external to us. We don’t know jack about brain surgery. What we do know is little by little, we collect experience, more information, and knowledge.

Our intuition then comes in and says, “What about this?” We start connecting dots more effectively the more we know. What is suspicious to all of us and what we don’t trust in the world is when somebody comes in and they don’t know what they’re talking about. They create a line of thinking, a set of recommendations, or specific tasks or strategies that don’t do anything for us. They don’t help us at all. A perfect example of this is in previous episodes we’ve talked about the mythological way of getting business credit. If you do it the way that’s out there, before you learned about the Get Fundable way, you found out that you’re trying to build a Paydex score. That score requires eighteen months of building credit accounts. Those credit accounts are Uline accounts and FedEx accounts and all these different types of little accounts.

AYF 92 | Fundability Advice

Fundability Advice: Internal authority is where you generate a well-considered evaluation of what’s going on in your life when you’re up against a particular issue.


In the end, you find out, “I can have a 100 Paydex score, and still Bank of America is not going to give me a $50,000 business line of credit.” We can believe and implement the faults of external authorities. We’ve got to be careful where we’re studying, what we’re looking at, and who we’re listening to. I believe you and every person you know needs to be as critical and cynical as possible about what you listen to. External authority can be and has been highly deceptive when we don’t have enough information. Think of it this way. People said, “Aren’t you afraid when somebody is trying to take apart your strategies or questioning your fundability way against all these other methodologies?” I simply looked at him and said, “I love cynics and critics. If they’re honest with themselves, when they see something that works that is viable and transforms everything that they’re trying to accomplish and gets them the results they’re looking for, they become my greatest fans.”

I welcome cynicism. In every possible way, I welcome their critique. I don’t know if it’s going to be the 5th or 25th thing that they learn about. Every one of us, if you’ve been bingeing the show, you went, “This is a thing.” Either this works because you implemented things or you’re like, “This makes too much sense.” This has to be worth following up on and doing more with. You then check out my book, the bootcamp, the mastermind or you get involved because you begin to believe it. The more you do and the better the results you get, the more phenomenal you get. You become a superhero at fundability and I get to be your cape. My team and I get to support you looking good while you implement all the tasks. When it comes to fundability, I may be your external authority. You’ve had lots of them when it comes to business credit perhaps. Even the subtle things that we look at it in the book, podcast, or bootcamp, you may be having greater comfort and confidence in your ability to connect the dots that I, your coaching team, or your advisors provided you.

Every once in a while, we run into clients, students, and people who stand up and say, “I love everything you told me, but this thing, I’m going to do it this way.” That’s okay. Especially if somebody says, “My gut tells me that this is the right way. I’ve got to do it this way.” I’m going to outline my case and I’m going to tell you what I believe works based on the hundreds or thousands of cases that have worked, but I’m never going to tell you, “Don’t follow your gut.” I’m going to say, “Can I back up a little bit when the landmine explodes or the collision at 60 miles an hour on a rocket sled into a brick wall?” I want to back up a little bit where I can help pick up the pieces. Every one of us has somebody. I don’t like the judgment word. They’re not pigheaded, stubborn, or willful. Those don’t serve me or any of us. I don’t believe those words.

What I believe is that some people are enthusiastic and committed to running that sometimes they didn’t have the football. One of my dear friends from ages ago, he was his awesome man. He may have met others since he told me this when we were kids, but he goes, “Merrill, you’re the only guy I know who can run down the football field and have everybody follow you and not have the football.” That stuck with me because that meant that I had influence. There are people who were willing to believe me. I’ve spent a lifetime dotting every I, crossing every T, making sure in every way that I did not say a word to a soul unless I had five times more evidence than I needed.

We're running completely blind to the 180 degrees behind us.
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You didn’t hear about FICO after we went because I wanted to make sure that everything that I was learning verified and validated what we were doing. We made certain subtle shifts because the scientists and the FICO teams gave us great feedback that we were like, “This is good, but you could tighten it up over here.” I’m like, “I’m all in.” One of my life goals was always to have the football if I was going to run down the field. The question is for you, “Do you have the football when you’re running down the field?” I’m not alone in this. My enthusiasm and bull in the china shop are certainly capable in every way of knocking over dishes when I’m running through there.

How do you overwhelm your external authority for what you believe to be right? You don’t have all the case studies. You don’t have everything and all the information you should have before you start doing or implementing things. How much education? The balancing act to that, the internal authority versus external is, “How many of us and you spend so much time gathering, external authority, training, but then you don’t execute anything or very little?” There are the seminar hoppers where we learn more and we tell ourselves that learning more means I’m doing something. In fact, we’re not doing something. We’re only learning more.

You don’t need more education, especially those of you who’ve done bootcamps. You need to take bootcamps and training. You’ve chosen a wealth strategy and paid tens of thousands of dollars for the training. We’ve got to do something about it. We’ve got to exercise our internal authority and start taking what we learned and implementing it. There are times where we run into clients, students, and readers of my book who were like, “Thank you so much. I’m going to do a blank.” I’m like, “How did you get that out of the conversation? I don’t understand how you got that out of that chapter of the book or that part of the bootcamp or even our coaching clients.”

When we say, “You need to do X, Y, and Z.” They’re like, “A, B, and C are awesome.” We’re like, “X, Y, and Z are appropriate in this strategy.” They’re like, “I’m going to do A.” It’s unfathomable to me, but it happens. There are times in which as bootcampers, no one’s ever sent me the book back, but we’ve said, “Bless your heart, Godspeed, and God bless.” I’ve tried to weigh-in as often as possible. I can’t be a part of this train wreck that is coming at you. Because you’re not doing what I am recommending based on hundreds or thousands of cases that I know work and succeeded brilliantly, I can’t take you on as a student or a client because it’s going to be nuclear.

This is not going to be a little kapow. What you’re doing is going to screw up your situation in crazy hard ways. My team and I were talking about this. We had our daily team meetings. We had an example come up and this was a while back. They said, “What do we do?” Part of the question was, “Why is this a thing? It’s clear. Step-by-step, dot this I, cross this T. Pull this plug and funding or hire fundability or, “Look at that, $20,000 business credit card to offload your personal credit card balances.” As a group, what we came to was that during times of stress, some of us overwhelmed the facts with what we want to be true. If I do this and then all of the good external authority, all the good teachings, all the great proof that’s out there, we listened to it, filtered, and shapeshifted it just enough so we can say we’re doing that thing in our mind but bulldozing ahead.

Right Or Happy?

I’ve said this in my bootcamps and a couple of episodes, we can be right or we can be happy. We get to be both rarely. Anyone of us, you and me, any time we are committed to a course or a path that goes against all of our coachings, all of our advisors, all of the external authorities that tell us, “This is a nuclear path.” How do we not do that? That goes back to our blind spots. We’re completely blind to the 180 degrees behind us. I wanted to use this opportunity. I want to yell on the rooftops, “Learn what you need to do. No more, no less.” Go inside, find out how it serves you now to do something about it and then implement it.

One of the things we were talking about, we shot this amazing masterclass on Surviving the Crisis on how do we do recession management, survive, thrive, and recover if the worst situation occurs. One of the things that came out of that was if we’re on a slippery slope, how do we dig in? Most of us tend to throw the baby out of the bathwater like, “It’s no use.” We took care of that idea. That’s the horrible worst idea ever. At the same time, when we’re looking at a recession square in the face, it could be a personal financial struggle or it could be the nationwide global that we seem to be facing.

The question is, “What is it that you want? Who do you depend on? Part of the throwing the baby out of the bathwater is not throwing away the voice of reason that the people who know the strategies, who’ve done this a dozen times, and know how to coach you. I am blessed. I’m stunned that there’s no contraction with our clients. Everybody gets that this is the time. If they didn’t work on the fundability when they should have, everybody’s leaning in because they know that great opportunities are facing us shortly, the next 12 to 24 months. Do you know how hydroplaning works?

They have been crossing from the UK to France. They have these huge boats that go so fast that they start hydroplaning. They’re up on planes and they go faster for less energy because they don’t have as much surface area. They only cruise across the channel. Race boats use hydroplaning to get less drag. The first instance when you hit the gas is it goes down. It was like the wrist rocket idea that I’ve shared where the slingshot effect apparently pulls back. In hydroplaning, to use that metaphor, it feels like there’s a subtle drag. It then launches and shoots you forward. That’s what our recession is.

Many times, we look at what we’re facing. If we get nervous, uncertain, scared, or if we make some wrong decisions, all of a sudden, we want to contract personally. When we get scared, we start throwing away the advisers that are here to help us get through this because they’ve done it before. I’m thrilled that as a tribe, Get Fundable and Credit Sense are an art. More clients are getting more results and are spending more time getting fundable because they see that great opportunities are on the horizon. My podcast universe, Funding Hackers and tribesters, how do we learn what we need to know?

It is unlikely that you will ever know everything that I know about fundability, but you don’t need to take down $1 million in business lines of credit. That’s the point I’m making. You don’t need to know what I know. I need to know what I know because I serve 1,000-plus clients. Everybody who has differences in what they need to hit that $200,000, $500,000, or $1 million. I love this stuff. I’m dedicated to learning it and giving it to you when you need it to solve a problem. You don’t need to know everything. You need to know enough to make a decision about how to implement it. That’s why it’s always been fun.

AYF 92 | Fundability Advice

Fundability Advice: If we don’t have enough internal authority, we blindly follow anybody out there. If we have too much internal authority, then we’re a bull in the china shop.


The book is The Principles of Fundability. It has seventeen chapters on how the game is played. There are no strategies in there. When you go to the bootcamp, it’s all about strategy, but the strategies are the ones that work for everybody. Coaching and the mastermind that’s included with it, that’s where we are solving every tiny problem that we need that stands in our way. Not only getting $100,000 or $200,000, but how to get $300,000, $400,000, $500,000, $700,000, and $1 million.

If we don’t have enough internal authority, we blindly follow anybody out there. If we have too much internal authority, then we’re a bull in the china shop. We all know which one I’ve faulted too since I was a young man. That’s the range in internal authority. “I follow anybody I got and I believe everything I hear. It’s on the internet, so it must be true.” There’s the bull in the china shop. “No matter what anybody else says, I’m going to do it my way.” The dynamics of external authority is to keep going, study, and learn data. That’s one extreme. The other extreme is, “I don’t learn anything. I don’t want to know a thing. I’m going to follow my instincts.” Notice the two patterns.

I’m going to quote Aristotle because that makes me cool. Aristotle said, “Good is the mean between the extremes.” We don’t want to be on either extreme, the bull or the sycophant, the one who listens to everybody and has no opinion for themselves. We don’t want to be either one of those. Good is square in the middle of that. Learn everything and do nothing. There’s a perfect middle there as well. As we look at this, back to the surgery. How many of you are trying to do brain surgery without enough information? How many of you keep studying WebMD, but not going to a medical school? That’s the dilemma that we all face. I highly suggest if you’re in the fundability game if you love this stuff as much as I do or even close, then come to fundability school. It is awesome.

You don't need to know everything. You need to know enough to make a decision about how to implement it.
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Go to If you haven’t ordered it, get it. If you haven’t been to the bootcamp, it’s $97, Come and join and find out the strategy level of what you read in the book. If the strategies are not enough. If you want more than some awesome, insanely cool things to blow away $97. If you want more for your life. If you want to be at the top of your game, let’s do this, be a resident. That is what we’re talking about. I’d love to have you come and join me. Every day, I do want to come and talk to you. Every day, I do an episode. It fills my heart with wonder because more people are sharing more episodes and the word is getting out. I want to thank you for doing whatever you’ve done to refer someone to come here and find them their truth about how to maximize their dreams in their life and the funding to back it up. If nothing else, call me Dr. Fundable and you can be a resident. Let’s make sure that we get off of WebMD. It is not serving you. Let’s learn what we need to know and then put it to work. You guys have a spectacular morning, afternoon, or evening.

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Crisis: Your Time To Shine Tue, 19 May 2020 09:00:09 +0000 AYF 91 | Greater Opportunities


There is always a beautiful version of yourself. Discovering it may be a challenge but can be worth your time and effort. Merrill Chandler takes us into an emotional realization of seeing the light in these dark times. Those experiences where limitations create new and greater opportunities. In this episode, Merrill reminds us of the opportunities we have despite the global financial crisis. He believes that even the darkest night can be turned into the brightest light.

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Crisis: Your Time To Shine

Every Adversity Creates Greater Opportunities

In this episode, it’s time for another heart-to-heart. You and I are going to be talking about my several experiences where my limitations created new opportunities and where new opportunities created new limitations. I can’t wait to share. A lot of things have been going on since this whole COVID-19 started and that looming experience of a recession that’s out there in the wings, unemployment and job shutdowns. Our entire infrastructure is shifting. Everybody’s talking about a new normal. There’s a massive degree of uncertainty. I speak about it every once in a while, but the first episode here, we’re in the 80s or 90s in episodes and I have not spoken about my time in federal prison. I speak about it in my book, The New F* Word. The beginning of every chapter, there’s a paragraph at the top that takes you through what my experience was, but it’s what my experience was as it applied to fundability.

That’s what’s been my passion, my project. It was the nuts and bolts of my life and it was wonderful to talk about, plan, dream of and bring out into the world. My time in prison was instrumental in helping me understand and see my blind spots. I’ve spoken in a previous episode that the only people who have a perfectly clear 20/20 vision of our blind spots is the person sitting across from us. My whole life I’d been given feedback. I’m a bull in a China shop. Sometimes, I’d been shamed and other times I’ve been celebrated for being this passionate go-getter. When I got married years ago, we’re in the line, bride and groom, standing together and people are coming through the line. My mom comes through the line. She takes my former wife’s hand in her hand and leans up and kisses her on the cheek and then pats her hand and says, “He’s all yours.” It was like the formal handoff of having to be a Chandler handler. To wrangle my stupidity and my mad genius that I talk about in the dedication of my book.

As we talked about in the introduction, opportunities and limitations come in pairs. Ask any member of my team. They are ecstatic and some have been here the better part of ten years with me forging. There are times that they are angry and frustrated because what my genius brings also brings this whole truckload of foibles, weaknesses, things that I don’t do well that anybody would say, “You’re a genius here. Why can’t you be a sixth-grader even over here?” Some things I miss, I don’t know what it is. I don’t have the genes to be this thing over here, but I’ve got a 100-fold. I’ve got mine and 40 other people’s genes to do the things that are easy for me. That’s a gift for me. That’s the opportunity to be brilliant at what I’m brilliant and I’m not alone in this. You know this. How many times have you been chided, shamed, put down, minimized and discounted for some things and yet you’re brilliant, beautiful, spectacular in others?

Fundability is the path to self-awareness, which is then the path to your version of success.
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Opportunities And Limitations

On a Facebook Live I did, I talked about opportunities and limitations that with every new opportunity comes in equal limitation. Napoleon Hill had that same quote. Napoleon Hill said something to the effect that, “For every heartache, every tragedy, every challenge that we face, there is an equal or greater opportunity that comes with it.” Napoleon Hill’s been an inspiration. His books, his philosophy guided me since I was a young man and I frame it that they come in pairs because we cannot do one without the other. We live in a dualistic world, a binary world where every up, there’s a down, wherever there’s a left, there’s a right. Everything that we do, there are opposites to it. Everything has its opposite, but they are designed to support us. If we know how to surf and we’re good at surfing, then we will love waves but if we don’t know how to surf and swim, we go out there and a 6 or 10-footer comes to us, we may die because we’re unprepared.

When it comes to this opposition, this dualistic experience we’re having, it’s no clearer than in the fact with our prosperity periods and recessions. Prosperity and recession, if you look at them at various levels, they’ve been coming almost every ten years. I talked about in 1991, we’re coming ’86 to ’91. There was a devastating crash in real estate and started building back up, built all the way back up then there was dot-com loss in 2000. Eight, 9, 10 years give or take, depending what you’re calling the line in the sand, where it starts and stops. After the dot-com that we have 2008. In 2009 and 2010, where it was horrible but 2008 was when credit markets froze, crashed and burned in the indexes, in the markets. We’re back down and they always go up. We down some correction and then it goes higher and another correction.

Every ten years here we are, we’re walking into 2020, six weeks after 2020 starts, it wasn’t market influences and it wasn’t anything out there. It was a pandemic, a health crisis that starts somewhere in the world. It doesn’t even matter where and has taken over nearly every country and state. Here we are, ten years and once again, we are in the middle of what a recession is looming. It could be a depression because we’re over 25 million unemployed and climbing. We were on our way to the greatest unemployment rate of all time. There’s no end in sight.

AYF 91 | Greater Opportunities

Greater Opportunities: With every new opportunity comes unequal and equal limitations.


The thing that I want to share is that for the depth of despair that I felt when I was in prison, I’ve also built an entire lifetime. That was years ago. I was arrested on August 31st, 2000 and here I am a few months away from August 31st, 2020. When I was in the darkest night of my soul, spring this light, this opportunity, this vision of doing something that mattered to the people that I loved, and I taught them this. They’re like, “Merrill, this is awesome.” It grew and grew. Now, we have a tribe of people who not love it but have implemented and are changing their lives and children’s lives.

Light In The Darkness

We have people buying boxes and boxes of my book so that their children can read it, so that their friends and family can at least understand that the game that’s being played, we can be professional players on it. My darkest night turned into my brightest. There was a personal development training I went to years ago, and it was awesome. It was life-changing, game-changer about focusing my vision. I came out of prison with knowing what I wanted, but how to focus, develop and create it into the real world, that took some honing.

I have advisers too. I have people who craft my soul like I hope I’m crafting if nothing else your finances and your fundability. I let people work on me and help me with my blind spots and help me look at my soul. We were working on a vision statement. What was the vision statement? What is it that you do for the world? I’m a metaphor guy. I was looking for all these different ways to describe it. What it came down to was that my mission in life is to illuminate the path so that others have the fewest possible obstacles to their goal. Whatever it is, I’m teaching it, fundability. Whether I’m teaching my success principles, whatever it is, I can’t make somebody walk.

Do not fear the process of becoming your next beautiful version.
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I can’t make you walk a path. I can cheerlead. I have no power over you and your choices but what I did know that I could do is I could shine a light. I could shine 50,000 candle watts because I was built to focus that much energy on whatever I did. I was here to focus my light to shine on a path that you might tread. I’m here to illuminate the path to fundability, which is the path to self-awareness and your version of success. That light gets to shine and it’s illuminating the path and more and more people are finding their way to this path and this path gets to take them to their dreams.

In the world we live in, I’m not defining success by anybody’s terms, but most of us have some financial component that allows us our success. Whatever our why is, whatever our end game is, if I can illuminate your path, that’s what I’m here to do. My greatest darkness creates my greatest opportunity to shine this at least this illumination. Your deepest, darkest moments is birthed the change you will make for yourself and your loved ones in the world. It’s in that dark place is where it happens. That may be financially constructive. First of all, we have rhythm to the markets. In 2030, count on some reset if you’re wise, you’ll prepare then and we’ll get better and better at being able to ride the wave of these markets every ten years. What is it that you have found is your darkest place? Was it a complete financial collapse? Was it divorce, death of a loved one, the loss of a child or the rejection of someone who loved you? What’s that dark place for you?

I’m telling you the seed, the light of your gift to the world is being born right there. For me, it has for every single person that I know personally. It has for many clients who come to me sharing their stories because you know me, I’m here. The greatest strength we can have is, be vulnerable with each other. Ultimately in a relationship, I talk about lenders, borrowers and everything. Somebody gets to go first. I want you to know that I am here. It’s not about money. It’s about what money can do for us in our goals, in our end game. What it is we want for our lives? Some call it something pithy, time and money freedom. Some people know that it’s coaching their children’s soccer teams, Pop Warner teams or whatever. There is something that is driving you and we’re doing all this crazy stuff, so that we get to do that beautiful thing. I ask you as I ask myself on a regular basis, does financial matters? Is that a contributing factor for you being able to have the dark night of your soul?

AYF 91 | Greater Opportunities

Greater Opportunities: It’s not about money; it’s about what money can do for us and our goals.


It sounds contrived and even manipulative. What if the rhythms are here? What if the ups and the downs are here so that we can stay humble, focused and clear? We’re going to use the dark night of our soul to end that pressure and recession. Those losses of family, friends, money or whatever, it is to use those losses to birth the next greatest version of you. What if that is the create tricks, the womb of your next greatest version of yourself? I know it has been for me and I know that I will never let go of the rhythms because the rhythms keep me humble. The rhythms keep me clear, the ups and downs of finances, life, opportunity, relationships. Everything that you and I face every day, every week, every month can gut us and they can be the that the pressure that creates the coal into the diamond of our next beautiful self.

Do not fear the process of you becoming your next beautiful version. Do not fear the loss even though it is freaking painful and ugly. Don’t fear the loss. Don’t resist that Refiner’s Fire, to use the good book. Don’t resist your evolution because we have a beautiful monster tsunami of a recession coming at us. Let it guide you and craft you and your soul so that you can be a better, more beautiful version of yourself for you, for your loved ones and for the world around you because your message is as important as mine. Your gifts are as big, bold, brash and beautiful as mine. I’m your fellow traveler along the stupid, ugly, beautiful, magnificent road. We’ll see you next time. Bye.

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