– Author’s, Innovators, Philanthropists –
How Financial Crisis Saved Us!
Our back-story is what lead us up to getting into real estate and eventually co-founding Green Fin, Inc. and then Green Fin Realty, Inc. At the time, our lives seemed to plunge into financial darkness very fast but thank God it did. Without the trials we encountered, we would have never ended up on our current path and would have never been able to help so many families through the same difficulties we encountered and avoid foreclosure.
Our story started in the fall of 2009 when we entered into some challenging times. Little did we know at the time that this would change the course of our lives. Linda and I both worked in corporate America, and were doing pretty good, all things considered.
Life was comfortable
And to be honest, that’s what we liked at that point in our lives. Todd had been courted by a competitor for a long period of time before finally agreeing to leave his secure and comfortable career of 10 years go to work for this new company. His last day was November 13, 2009. Linda had enjoyed a successful career and was doing very well as a Senior Account Manager, but due to seniority, was laid-off with severance pay. Her last day was December 30, 2009.
This is where our journey started. We had severance from Linda and everything seemed normal for a while. We had both made comfortable incomes, but when you lose 50% overnight, your world starts to come down around you, and it didn’t take long. We had in a sense, buried our heads in the sand and pretended everything was okay but in reality, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Time passed by quickly as it often does and we had let this go too long and things had to change rapidly. Linda was desperately trying to find a job only to be repeatedly turned away time after time for being “too qualified”.
So here we found ourselves, unable to pay our bills and scared at the realization of what was bound to happen. “How did this happen?”, was the recurring question in our minds? We felt profoundly ashamed, embarrassed and humiliated. When you study the cycle of a Typical Crisis Pattern, like clock work, we fell into each category.
- Phase 1: Impact
- Phase 2: Withdrawal / Confusion
- Phase 3: Acceptance / Adjustments
- Phase 4: Reconstruction / Renewal
We quickly exhausted our savings and then we found ourselves in the position of not being able to cover our expenses. Difficult decisions had to be made as we decided which bills to pay and which bills to let go. We decided to pay all bills with the exception of the mortgage payment as the housing market was in utter turmoil and our house was seriously under-water.
Linda set off on a quest determined to work with our mortgage company and get a loan modification. We were so hopeful in the beginning and it gave us a temporary hope during that time which was our only life-line.
Linda would call into the mortgage support line almost every day and they would read their mandatory script about us being in pre-foreclosure and the call would be recorded, they were attempting to collect a debt. It was humiliating, humbling and a constant reminder of the predicament we were living in.
We were turned down for a loan modification once and then a second time and our hope started to wane
as what we thought would work out was quickly disappearing before our very eyes. We were downsizing our expenses at a rapid rate but the mortgage payment was just too large, and it seemed inevitable that we would lose our house.
A very vivid memory, 9 months into the process was the realization that we had been turned down for the 3rd time for a loan modification program. At this point, Linda was an expert at speaking the banks language, getting them updated bank statements each month, revising the hardship letter for each new program. We sat in bed one night, utterly defeated and said, “We’re going to have to tell the kids. We’re going to lose the house. We’re are going to have to move out.” It was an extremely low feeling, and one of pure defeat. We felt we were letting our kids and family down. They didn’t deserve this. We’ve failed them.
During this time, the new job Todd had moved into wasn’t working out so well. Things were going very slow and the CEO was not happy about it and had little patience. It was a tumultuous time.
In retrospect, it was exactly what we needed even though we didn’t know it at the time. Let me explain; when you look into the rear view mirror of your life, you can now see things for what they are.
We were comfortable. We were complacent in life. We weren’t growing.
For those of you that know us, (Todd & Linda) you know we are deeply committed Christians. However, during this time, we were not. We knew God but we were not following him, not trusting him, not even talking with him. He had been trying to get our attention. He was trying to help us to depend on him, to show us how to hit life’s reset button and follow him.
So here we find ourselves, about to lose our home, Todd’s on the verge of getting laid-off himself. Being literally broken spiritually and emotionally, we realized we could not carry this burden on our own anymore. We decided to give it to HIM, to trust HIM. We started to tithe which was very difficult considering our current financial situation. We started to get involved in our church. We started being present with friends and family and not be so wrapped up in our own struggles that we had become oblivious to the struggles of those around us.
Our realization that we needed to depend on God to get us through this and make us into the people he needed, not what we wanted or needed was the beginning of the required change-process for us and ultimately what provided our way out and the path to freedom.
A few weeks later after having that conversation while sitting in bed that one fateful night, Federal Express showed up at our door unexpectedly with a letter. We opened this letter to find out we had been accepted into a brand new loan modification program where they dramatically lowered our mortgage payment, modified our interest rate and helped us with several other items as well. It was a surreal moment as it was exactly what we had asked for; exactly what we had been praying for for the past 10 months. This only happened through our dependence on God and his empowering Linda with unrelenting determination, countless calling and paperwork gathering.
Her GRIT made it happen and she was unbelievable!
And although this was one of the hardest periods of our life; we wouldn’t trade it for anything. You see, through this, Linda learned a very valuable skill. She learned how to speak the bank language.
She learned what to say and when to say it. She learned how to fight and advocate for our family. This is a skill that she now uses to protect and help countless families in the same situation we had successfully come through. People who were at the end of their rope, hopeless, frustrated, embarrassed and ashamed. We’ve learned our mission is to help people through the despair that we once went through. This experience led us to Real Estate investing and then ultimately, Green Fin Realty, Inc. was established and the office opened on May 5th, 2014.
During this time, Todd’s career had taken off. That very slow start had finally paid dividends, it had just taken time. Without those difficult financial times where his salary had dramatically dropped, we would have never depended on God to see us through it and teach us a new skill; one of helping others. At the height of his career, professionally and financially, Todd left it behind on March 31, 2015 to follow his true passion of Real Estate and be side by side with his soul-mate Linda, and build a dream.
Together, Todd and Linda have been blessed with a blended family of 5 children and 7 grandchildren. With one still at home, Luke will be graduating from High School in June and will be off to Cal Poly in September.
We’ll be bringing you stories from our life through this newsletter so that you can get to know us better and we’re so excited to do so. To be completely authentic and transparent with our lives. Our mission is to come from a place of giving and it has transformed our lives. We’re happy to have you along for the ride.