Who is this Credit Guy?
I had sold the credit bureau that I started out of my car to one of the largest in the industry ten years ago. I was on the phone with the Texas rep Dianne in mid November 2010 and she told me that there was a bloodbath going on at corporate in Loveland, CO and ten other account representatives had been let go yesterday. Ninety days earlier our division of a much larger company was sold to a private equity firm and there was a company restructure going on.
I hung-up the phone and one minute later my bosses cell number popped up on my caller id. Ring Did I answer it or avoid him, Ring Maybe, I thought, if I avoid him all day I could still have the operation that I have scheduled months ago for the next day. RING I had been with the company for ten years and never had a bad quarterly review? Maybe he could be calling for something else. RING It forwarded to my cell phone and then the church bell ringer started maybe he wanted something else… I picked it up. He began to read a prepared speech, something about territory realignment and how I was not going to be part of it.
While he was reading the speech, I began to think how happy I was that two years earlier my wife and I started to buy, fix up and rent homes in a nice part of southeastern Michigan.
Our first one was what I would call a learning experience. As we went along purchasing our second and third rental, we became experts in buying and renting homes in this one small two mile area. We were at six homes when I got the call from my boss. They were producing $3478.40 a month in free cash flow. Things did not always go smoothly with the rental homes, but after a few years we found good tenants that paid on time without any problems.
After my call, I fired up a excel spreadsheet and entered all of our bills that had to be paid on a monthly basis. We had paid off our home long ago from the sale of my company and drove two cars that were purchased for cash. Total monthly expense $3179.95. I then punched in the details from the rentals total free cash flow $3478.40; we were out of the rat race and didn’t even know it. Now $298.45 is not a lot for vacations or to eat out or any of the other things that my kids were used to, but I cannot express how relived I was when that positive $298 dollars showed up at the bottom of that spreadsheet.
I now saw this as an opportunity of a lifetime. I could go in any direction: start a new career, switch industries or go to another credit bureau. I didn’t feel rushed because I knew if it took some time to get back to my old pay we would be fine. Maybe I could write a book?
There is only one reason we were able to get the financing we need two years before. Our credit report, because I had worked in the credit industry and helped my customers (Banks and Mortgage companies) improve their borrowers credit reports. I have always kept my credit at the top of the scoring range.
When we went to apply for the first non-owner occupied loan, we were in the middle of the housing meltdown. We were approved and closed 3 loans. Without our credit file, we would have not been in the position to get any of those homes and we would have been in the same spot that most of my former co-workers were in now. No job, no income.