Twenty-five to life



How I survived in perfect conditions

By Elliot Chan, Opinions Editor
Formerly published in The Other Press. Jan. 28, 2014

This year I turn 25. I don’t feel a day older than 18—that is, until I stand beside someone who just graduated from high school. I don’t feel that young either, until I stand next to someone with kids, a spouse, a mortgage, a pension plan, and a will. When I look back at all I have accomplished in my 25 years of life, I realize that my achievements are internal. For a quarter of a century, I’ve been living the Canadian dream and if I could go back in time and tell the six-year-old version of myself what I’ve done, I think he would be proud.

I dreamt big as a child, as most children do. I wanted to be an actor, or at least someone with the opportunity to be creative. Here I am—not an actor, but definitely creating. I feel pretty accomplished in that sense, not because I have achieved anything extraordinary (anyone with an opinion can write for the Other Press), but because I’m persistent and I’m staying true to my values.

Regardless of your age, I hope you are too, and that you’re not looking down on me for doing so.

I think reaching the 25-year mark still aiming for the goals I had as a child is remarkable. After all, think of all the other stuff getting in my way. Yes, the real life shit: money, education, relationships, entry-level jobs, parents, and peers. I see my high school friends, all of whom are turning 25 this year as well, moving out, getting engaged, and being promoted. They’re settling down with their lives, and it makes me so happy to see, because another trait I want as a 25-year-old is to be supportive—the same way I want my friends to support me and my silly choices.

But does that mean I’m a failure because I don’t have any of those things my friends have? Not at all, because like I said, what I have achieved is inside of me. It’s my own investment.

If the objective of life is to get a mortgage, then sure, I’m failing so far. And by the looks of it, I’ll continue to fail until, well, maybe my mid-life crisis. Yet, I have succeeded in recognizing that I would trade in a small two-bedroom house in exchange for travelling or writing a novel or getting a robust education. I believe when I’m 65, I’m going to be proud that I’ve indulged in life as a 25-year-old instead of taking roots in an existence I have no desire to grow old in.

I glance back on my successes and failures, and dwell a little bit on the failures. Yes, I wanted to be an actor and failed. I wanted to be a film director and failed. I wanted to be a standup comedian and failed. I made money as a dishwasher, a barista, a background performer, a sandwich board advertiser, and a door-to-door canvasser. I look back now and I can’t believe I did that—the same way I can’t believe I went bungee jumping. It’s weird what I’m proud of: not my successes, but my failures.I can’t believe they felt like the right decisions at some point. I can’t believe I did those things. But I did and I survived and it’s a part of me.

Up until now, my life has been a wrestle with adversity. But man, what an experience that’s been. What a great 25 years I’ve lived. What fantastic people I’ve met along the way. What wonderful privilege I had for being able to chase my dream and for being able to continue doing so. I don’t care what your age is, you should still be able to chase your dream. Or maybe I’m wrong. Maybe I’ll never grow up.

Revo Mortgage Collaboration System Helps Brokers Close More Deals

Formerly published in Techvibes. 

The old survival tactics of mortgage brokers used to be an independent way of living: brokers venture out of their office, find clients, secure a deal, fill out the paper work and follow up—essentially the broker will be in charge of everything start to finish. The new way of living is different.

Today the mortgage broker industry is a team environment. And Calgary-based Revo Mortgage Collaboration System is a new dashboard platform assisting all team members in communicating effectively and staying organized.

“Mortgage brokers are hunter and gatherers,” explains Philip Slen, president of Revodoc Inc., in an interview with Techvibes. “They bring in the business and in house assistance, underwriters or administration will take care of the rest. That frees up the mortgage associate’s time to have more customer face-time, more sales activities to generate more business and to do what they do best, which is selling mortgages and advising customers—instead of being tied down with paperwork.”

“Our system came about because there are no tools to help them collaborate on deals,” he added.

Deals get passed around from one member of the team to another, then back to the clients and then handed off to another member. Often times with no successful way of organization, certain works get lost or misremembered. Revo is designed to keep every member associated with the deal in the loop. So when the customer calls in, the brokerage team will have the information at the fingertips, instead of having to deal with the heinous chore of ruffling through file folders.

Security is a prime concern for most mortgage brokers and emailing documents is not always the wisest choice in communication. The Revo platform enables brokers to send customers secure-links, which will allow the customer to access information, not as a downloaded source, but from the actual deal.

Each deal, condition and customer is different, so that makes communication key. Important notes are taken all through the process and brokers will now be able to use Revo to underwrite these key information where applicable so that in-house underwriters and assistance will already have that information captured.

“There has been origination systems for a long time, but those are just systems where you route your application to a lender,” says Slen. It doesn’t allow you to do anything more; there is no workflow, no progress tracking, etc. It makes it very difficult for the brokerage team to collaborate when they are working on deals.”

Revo jumped upon the demand and created a standard for mortgage brokers. Before this platform has been created, Slen had noticed that many brokers were simply using different systems to address different situations, such as using Outlook calendar to send reminders or Excel spreadsheets to do tracking.

“Whatever database they have,” notes Slen, “they create it on their own. The tools are really only for proprietary use. It’s not an enterprise system that is cloud-based where everyone can have access. Our system allows them to grow and scale without having any influence with IT.”

Many consider mortgage to be a complicated undertaking and there is often gratitude for those who can simplify the task—Revo Mortgage Collaboration System may create many grateful brokers in the future with their workflow and organization system. After a brief tour through the dashboard I noted the many different conditions and categories to handling a mortgage deal, as well as the importance of clear, concise communication.