First I am not a professional writer or blogger. Writing this blog is a kind of therapy for me. It a vehicle to allow me to express my thoughts in a creative manner. Writing about something that is concerning me grants me a different perspective and helps me manage my daily stress. The same as stepping back for a minute and looking at it from a distance.
While I hope someone finds my blogs helpful, this isn’t a side job for me. This blog is just as the tagline says, it’s my journal.
So who is the Grateful Banker (GB)?
Since I find writing in bullet points the easiest, here is quick background:
- Starting this blog in Fall of 2017
- I am in my mid-forties as I start this blog (mentally I still feel 9 sometimes)
- Married with two wonderful kids (they still drive me crazy from time to time, but generally, they are good kids).
- GB and I share the same beliefs on frugal lifestyle. She doesn’t take as much interest in investing as I do, but she grew up with a family that made do with what they had and didn’t waste anything.
- 20 year veteran of real estate financing and private / community banking. My area of expertise is commercial real estate lending, having worked on well over three billion dollars worth of various commercial real estate loans in my career and likely turned down even more than that.
- I run the credit department for a Community Bank in the southeast with a focus on private banking. My primary responsibility is approving loans and keeping the Bank’s balance sheet free of problems, but I really seem to be the solver of all problems that can’t be solved (hence some of my stress). During the great recession, I had the unfortunate privilege of being what is called a work-out officer. Meaning I had to resolve complicated loan problems when a client could not pay back the Bank on the originally agreed terms. I didn’t keep accurate records, but I believe I resolved over $250 million in problem loans and worked through 100 foreclosures or short sales. I have quite a few good stories from this time in my career. Maybe I will write a book someday.
- GB and I currently own 16 single family rental properties. Some financed, some owned free and clear, all cash flow positive and have been from purchase. We have been purchasing rental properties for the last 10 years.
- My real estate investments started 15 years ago with buying and selling tax liens, tax deeds, and real estate contracts. I do not actively invest in tax liens today, but still, have a one large lien paying off at 18% interest rate. I will write about this in the future, but the primary reason I don’t invest in them today is the return isn’t worth the time.
- My free time is a work in progress. I focused too much time on my career in the past and I am rediscovering what having a hobby means. My son and I have been fishing lately and I am looking forward to getting back into hiking again. Reading and learning is something I like to focus my free time on. I do watch TV, but it is usually a documentary or sports related.
- My volunteer time is spent currently in working on various issues, including low-income housing, mentoring, & food banks. I have worked as both a teach and mentor in the past, but I am currently exploring what I am passionate about.
- Stress – you will notice that this is a reoccurring theme in my blog. Now let me say here, that I am lucky. I have a good paying job and a loving family. My life is easier than most. I worked hard to create this life, but sometimes I feel like my work plays a bigger role in my life than it should. I have struggled with work stress for over 6 years now. My stress has resulted in my having to seek help from my doctor and was a big motivator for making significant lifestyle changes. I still worry that this stress will affect my health in the long-term, but I am doing everything I can, to make sure that doesn’t happen. If sharing my experience, helps one other person to deal with similar stress, then I would be exceedingly grateful.
I hope the above summary gives you a little snapshot into who is writing this blog. Likely everyone else I am more complicated than a bullet point list, but it’s a start.