Escaping the Velvet Rut

How to get out of the Velvet Rut 

We seek comfort, familiarity, and routine. It’s natural. But recognizing when our patterns have become a rut, albeit a comfortable one or even reasonably productive is difficult. Meet the velvet rut.

Getting out is tough but worth it. You’ll likely find greater personal satisfaction, growing confidence, or increased income. Here are tips to get out of your own velvet rut.

Try these 5 strategies:  

Seek an outside perspective.

Identify what opportunities you’re giving up by doing the same thing each day, week, and year.

Remember your professional and personal aspirations you’ve put on the back burner while you’ve been in your comfort zone. Write them down.

  1. Decide what new choices you’ll make to get out of your velvet rut. Is it to put yourself out in the business community by joining your local Chamber of Commerce? Perhaps its to do your very first educational workshop or seminar. Maybe this means connecting with your local media and appearing on local TV or submitting a column about reverse mortgages.
  2. Track your progress and reward yourself.

Your Mission is to Search & Rescue

A serving mindset opens more opportunities 

This week we discuss the importance of reverse mortgage originators having the focus of a search and rescue team. Search for those with a genuine need or financial pain that needs relief and solve the issue if possible.



Paul Scheper: Lessons Learned in Reverse

Lessons Learned in My Year in Reverse 

Watch our exclusive interview with Paul Scheper- the man with the winning mindset in reverse mortgage lending! Here’s the lessons he learned in the last year in reverse.

Killing Time

killing time procrastination

Are you killing time or is it killing you?


Killing time. We all do it. If I’m in a long check-out line I’ll clear a bunch of emails. Perhaps you kill time in the evening by watching your favorite show or for some going down the rabbit hole of binge-watching Netflix.

Killing time is usually harmless but there are times when it’s not.

Killing time becomes a liability when we use it to ignore our pending tasks. Perhaps it’s an unpleasant phone call to a homeowner about an appraisal, or God forbid, a second appraisal. Killing time is a space filler- filling the space where we could be more productive or accomplished.

Here are some strategies to avoid killing time that kills your productivity.

1. Time-block your calendar. If you have a typical workflow throughout the week time block it on your calendar. When do you typically call applicants to update them? What are the best days and times to call on prospective borrowers? Fill the time-space before something else fills it.

2. Eat the frog first. Mark Twain wrote, “If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And If it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first”. He speaking to prioritizing both your time and energy. It’s best to tackle your most challenging tasks early in the day.

3. Make a list. Not necessarily a traditional to-do list but capture all of the things you need to do. Next prioritize them in categories. Perhaps it’s low, medium and high. You could also add categories such as in progress, completed, or discarded. Trello is a great tool to manage the myriad of things you have to do.

4. Take a short break. This isn’t wasting time but maximizing it! I’ll typically step out of my office and take a short walk for a few blocks near our downtown office. The important thing is to get out and get moving.

Time is our most precious resource. We spend time away from our families to earn a living to provide for our daily needs. We spend time with our loved ones because we know someday we may not have the opportunity. If you guard anything in your life or your daily schedule it’s time.

That’s One Small Leap!

How to leap ahead and dispel the illusion of disappointment


Every four years we recalibrate our calendar to better match the solar year with an extra day tagged onto the shortest month- February. Yes, that’s one small step. Julius Caesar began the practice in 46 BC with the Julian calendar. Pope Gregory used the same practice in the calendar we use today- the Gregorian calendar.

If you thought gaining an hour in the fall was great how about the extra day we had yesterday? Seriously, beyond the silly leap year tradition each of us can make micro-changes. One of those changes is to remove the illusion of disappointment. Many feel that gnawing sense of disappointment when they review their New Year’s resolutions made just two months ago.

Whether it’s our personal goals, loan production, or life in general here are 6 ways you can remove the illusion of disappointment and take a small leap forward.


1. Understand that negative moods have a silver lining. They push us to be more attentive and examine facts that we otherwise ignore when we’re feeling cheerful.  Ask yourself “What should have happened here?” or “Why am I feeling disappointed about this?”. 


2. Seeing where you have fallen short harness disappointment harness that energy to decide what choices you’ll make differently in the future.  


3. Question your expectations. Were they realistic? Were they dependent on circumstances outside of your control? Were my expectations flexible to adapt to changing conditions?


4. Find the teachable moments. What can you learn from the disappointing experience? What would you do differently next time? How should I set expectations in the future?

5. Take inventory. What skills do you need to develop? What tools do you need that would be helpful? What support should I seek to improve?

6. Step away. When you’re feeling especially disappointed take a step back. Or even better, take a few thousand steps and take a walk. Give yourself the time and space to clear your head.

Disappointment is that reliable passenger that accompanies us in our sales endeavors. Knowing how to better leverage it can help us rebound, regroup, and find the small wins despite setbacks. Before you go be sure to thank our sponsor


How to Flip the Script of Your Internal Dialog

How to Flip the Script of Negative Self Talk

It’s time to lose the script. That self-defeating, highly critical voice in your head that sabotages us. The internal dialog that says “You can’t do that. You’re not cut out for it”, or “Everything is going wrong so why try?”.

The truth is at times we all screw up, lose our temper, or act selfishly- despite our best intentions. I certainly have

Here are four tips to lose that inner critic and get control of your inner dialog.

!. Watch your mental diet. Does what you watch upset you? I may very well if you’re a news junkie. Mindfully limit how much negative media you consume and you’ll likely find yourself more relaxed, positive, and fulfilled. Social media is a cesspool of negativity. Droves of people are just waiting to make a snide or rude comment or want to provoke you. Don’t engage.Take control.

2. Use silence to your advantage to monitor your thoughts. We drown out our thoughts with stimulation. We listen to music, a talk show, or an audible book in the car. That’s fine- but also try driving on your next errand or home in silence. Listen to your thoughts or inner dialog. It’s difficult to process our emotions or thoughts if we constantly expose ourselves to stimulation. Silence is indeed golden.


3. Rewire your mindset. Neuroplasticity. Yes, you can teach an old dog new tricks. Embracing and practicing new behaviors can actually rewire how our brain responds to stress, disappointment, or frustration. It’s all about recording over the ineffective and damaging tape that’s been playing in our heads for years, even decades.

4. Be your own best friend. This one is the hardest for me. If you’re friend messes something up do you berate them? Do we tell them what a fool they are? Of course not. Many times we are our own harshest critics. Does that help? Instead, try saying to yourself what you’d say to your best friend. “It’s okay, you’ll get it next time”, or “We all make mistakes”, are just a few of the phrases we can begin practicing saying to ourselves.

As we close consider the words of Pythagoras. “No man is free who cannot control himself.” Freedom begins and ends between our own two ears. We can improve. We can flip the script.

How the HECM will be impacted by inflation, the national debt, and monetary policy


The economic forces that will shape HECM lending in 2024

Recent economic news has been a mixed bag.

First, the good news. The U.S. gross domestic product or GDP increased at a 3.3% annualized rate in the fourth quarter of 2023 fueled in most part by consumer holiday spending. Regardless, the GDP has exceeded economist’s expectations.

The bad news is that January’s inflation report shows consumer prices rose 3.1% from one year ago pushing the Dow Jones Industrial Average down over 700 points last Tuesday closing down 525 points by the end of the day’s trading. The inflation report undermined investor expectations that the Federal Reserve would cut interest rates several times this year as early as spring. Higher than anticipated inflation also led the 10-year Treasury yield bo jump 15 basis points last Monday. But when investor confidence is low, bond prices increase and yields fall, as there is more demand for this safe investment.

Consequently, HECM professionals have seen a modest erosion of gross loan proceeds in the first weeks in February as higher expected rates reduced HECM principal limit factors. This comes after 10-year Constant Maturity Treasury rate fell from its high of 4.98% in mid October to a low of 3.79% by the end of December.

Yet larger economic forces are likely to present headwinds to any significant drop in treasury rates. The San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank’s report entitled The Long-Run Fiscal Outlook in the United States sounds the alarm on the national debt and it’s long-term impact on interest rates.

“The U.S. federal debt is now roughly as large as the country’s annual GDP. A high and rising ratio of debt to GDP not only raises government borrowing costs but also risks pushing up long-run interest rates”, says the report.

In addition, investors buying treasuries are likely to demand higher returns as federal spending continues to surge. The greater the perceived risk the higher the rate. Also 10-year treasuries expose the investor to long-term risks, chief among them inflation as the return on the investment could be lessened or even erased by inflation.

The last time our national debt was nearly as large as our nation’s GDP was at the end of World War II as a result of defense spending. The debt-to-GDP ratio fell steadily from over 100% in 1945 to a low of 25% by 1975 thanks to economic growth that exceeded our interest paid on the national debt. Without a significant reduction in interest rates it’s likely that the U.S. debt will continue to grow pushing the debt ratio even higher, that and both parties in Congress who continue to push federal spending to record highs.

This doesn’t mean that treasury rates won’t retreat this year, however, there are considerable hurdles to any sizable reduction in the 10-year Treasury rates due to current market conditions. That said, we continue to see modest fluctuations in rates with future releases economic data.