Fridays with Manny



Last Sunday, I received Happy Easter wishes from a friend (a client whom I recently helped to get a reverse mortgage). She is Catholic and I am Jewish and do not celebrate Easter. Nevertheless, my granddaughter was happy to find Easter eggs in her backyard.

The holiday commemorates the story of death and resurrection of a little-known Jewish preacher from the North of Israel, over two thousand years ago. Online I learned that Easter was first recorded in the year 384, and by the 10th century, it had gained general usage.

It took many years, different interpretations, and the infusion of Pagan traditions of bunnies and eggs, as well as Hallmark promotions, for this holiday to become popular. Regardless of what your religious beliefs are, one thing is for sure – every spring, a resurrection of nature occurs. It is manifested by the beautiful flower blooms, and young leaves on the trees.

As I am writing this story, I look into our garden where beautiful Calla lilies show their glory. You can see many of them in Golden Gate Park, by the Chinese Pavilion at Blue Heron Lake (formerly Stow Lake). Meanwhile, please enjoy these three images from our garden.

If you like flowers and would like to enjoy new ones every week, you can still order “53 Reminders:2024 Weekly Calendar” on Amazon. 

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Fridays with Manny



If you would ask our Labradoodle Max “Why do you love?”, and if he could respond in words, his answer might be, “I do not understand your question”, because Max’s purpose in life is to love. Meanwhile, humans are different creatures. And sometimes we forget that love can cure many problems.

Years ago, I had a business coach, who instructed me to stand in front of the mirror every day after waking up, and to repeat “I love myself” many times. It is a very important and powerful lesson, especially in our time when many young (and not so young) people express their feelings, which are opposite to love (I purposely do not mention these words), dividing the world into “us and them”, where “them” is a reflection of our own self. There was a reason why in the Bible it is written, “You have heard that it was said, “Love your neighbor and hate your enemy”. But I tell you, love your enemy and pray for those” (Matthew 5:43-48). But I question if those who express their feelings through social media and demonstrations blame others regardless of political affiliation, color of the skin, religion, gender or even the country they live in, read the Bible. Therefore, I would like to recommend reading The Surprising Health Benefits of Love”, which I came across while browsing the web.

If you need love or would like to give love to someone, it is a good reason to get hold of my book “42 Encounters with Love”. It is available for purchase at this link. Read it yourself and share it with those you really care about. In the meantime, please spare a moment to read this poem from my forthcoming book “42 Encounters with Illumination”:


I cannot be myself
Unless I share myself with others.
That is an eternal message
Which I received some time ago.
This message became my life’s mission.
It helps me to understand
What life is all about,
Who am I, and why I am here,
In this place and time.
What it takes to be
The son, the brother and the husband,
Father, friend, co-worker,
Man or woman, child and the older person.
Only when I realized that I am part of all these people
Who fill my life, and whom I love,
I was able to find myself.

Expression of Love can be found everywhere, as you can see from the three images I’ve chosen to illustrate this post.

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The Good News with Manny

Learn How to Help
Single Women to Retire in Comfort

Last week a friend of mine, Ms. Ildiko Pali, who is a real estate broker and who read my book “Retirement Solutions for Smart People™. How to accomplish Financial Comfort”, asked me to share with her some stories about single women who would benefit from the reverse mortgage. “Why do you need it?” I asked. “I want to help single women to retire,” she answered.

As it happened last Thursday, one of my clients, who fit the description, was signing her loan documents in my office for the reverse mortgage. Gayle Montalbano, who is 85, came to me first time a year ago. We discussed reverse mortgage, but she was not mentally ready. Her income was social security plus line of credit, which she used to supplement her financial needs. Unfortunately, Gayle used the same source to make minimum monthly payment. Realizing that this arrangement cannot last, she came back and a few weeks ago I interviewed her when we started the loan process.

It took about thirty days to get to the finish line. I used this opportunity to ask more questions during the short interview with Gayle and the notary public Kevin Ledbetter.

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Fridays with Manny


How to Set Goals and Reach Them

While driving, I listened to a podcast of someone interviewing Tony Robbins. During the conversation, the issue of setting goals came up. I found two definitions online:

  1. A pair of posts linked by a crossbar and often with a net attached behind (in football, soccer and some other sports).
  2. The object of person’s effort, an aim or desired result.

Have you ever wondered what these two definitions have in common? Well, if your goal is to get the ball between two posts, it may happen or not. After all, both teams might have the same goal. And what if instead of setting a goal to win, the goal would be to have fun playing and bring joy to the spectators? This might not be realistic, but this is exactly why so many goals are not attainable. For example, if you just want to lose weight, instead of setting a goal to reach a certain number, focus on the process, during which you are going to have fun. Do not set the result as a number; but rather, the reason why you want to do achieve the result. For example, to be able to fit into an old suit or dress for a dance with a special person.

I hope you get the idea. Try it and let me know how it worked.

My personal goal is to help more people to enjoy their retirement. This is why I’ve written “Retirement Solutions for Smart People™. How to Accomplish Financial Comfort”. Let’s have fun helping others to reach their goals.

I suspect that during the basketball game the spectators’ goal was to have a good time, since none of us could affect the results. The three images, showing above, might attest to that.

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Fridays with Manny



I am currently helping a young woman, who was born in India, to buy her first condominium in San Francisco. Her name is Isha which in Hebrew with the accent on the last letter “a” means a woman. She told me that in Hindu (with the accent on letter “i”), her name means God. Online I found out, it is actually “a gender-neutral name of Hindu origin, meaning “one who protects”. It comes from a Sanskrit word, which means “the ruling Goddess”. The word Isha also has Arabic roots which translates to “life”. Since Hebrew and Arabic both belong to the same Semitic language family, they are very similar languages, so we can see that everything connects.

A woman who protects and rules her family life and by extension, is part of the large family of the whole world. And this brings us to the celebration of today’s day – March 8th, which is International Women’s Day. When I was growing up in Riga, Latvia, The Women’s Day was an important event, which allowed men an official reason to drink vodka so as to toast for women’s health.

I was blessed to live all of my life surrounded by women. Besides my hard-working and loving mother, I had a sister who was twelve years younger, and I was her babysitter. Then, at twenty, I got married and moved to live in an apartment with my wife’s mother, who became my new mother. Shortly after, our first daughter was born. After immigrating to Israel, we were blessed with the birth of our second daughter. We came to San Francisco in 1980, and in 1985 together with my wife Elfa, started Pacific Bay Financial Corporation, which we manage together to this day. And now we added one more female to our family – our 3.5 years young granddaughter. My assistants and processors are women, so are many of my clients. One of my life’s rules is “my wife is always right” (from time to time I try to challenge this rule, just to arrive to the same conclusion). In my view, we do not need a special day to celebrate women, we can do it all the time. 

These three beautiful images of flowers are my gifts to every woman.

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Fridays with Manny



Usually when it rains, most of us hide. While rain can be very destructive, which could result in fallen trees, landslides and power outages, we cannot exist without this gift from the sky. Now just think about what else in your life has a similar duality. The reason this message might sound poetic is because I write poems. If after reading what comes next you suggest for me to keep my day job, I will remind you about duality. This poem was inspired by my 3.5 years young granddaughter, who lives in Portland, Oregon, and likes to splash in puddles during the rain (our daughter and son-in-law send us videos of her adventures).

The Rain

The rain drummed hard on my window.
I awoke and fell asleep again.
Was this the response to our prayers
To fill the thirsty earth with water
We all pray for the drought to end.
However, when the rain comes,
We do not like the weather,
And hide under our umbrellas
Instead of running barefoot
On the wet grass with shouts of joy.
Perhaps this is the domain of little children
For whom the rain is the new excitement.
Because for them every day is the opportunity
To have new experiences,
Since in their early age they know
That the rain will stop tomorrow.
The sun will come out again,
The time to get out to play.

If you are looking for a unique gift regardless of the reason, then my book “42 Encounters with Love” can be a perfect choice. It is a marriage between photography and poetry. The poem you’ve just read is from the new book I am currently working on – “42 Encounters with Light”. Meanwhile, enjoy my other books which you can find on Amazon. Rain might have another advantage – adding something special to the existing beauty of nature, as you can see in these three images of flowers I have posted for you above. There is always duality.

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Fridays with Manny


We Become What We Think About
Most of the Time

When I got into the mortgage business over forty years ago, I had to learn a lot. Not only did I have to learn about the mortgage programs (at that time there were not many choices); but I also needed to learn how to sell, as I had no previous experience doing that. The most important part of my education was to learn how to think. I had many coaches and attended many seminars, and I constantly listened to the audiotapes and various “gurus”. One of them was Brian Tracy (who still teaches today). His quote, “You become what you think about most of the time”, helped me become who I am today.

The question is how can one make a choice of what one thinks about? I had to learn it in photography. Regardless of which camera or lens you use, the result will always depend on what you focus on. Since my focus in life is on sharing love and beauty, my photo images reflect that. You can see that in all of my books and calendars. Even in my latest book, Retirement Solutions for Smart People™. How to Accomplish Financial Comfort, you will find images of beautiful people and nature.

Additionally, I’ve created “53 Reminders”, a weekly calendar of my photo-images of flowers, as well as my quotes. One of them is: Ask yourself who is the next person to whom you will say,I love you. To share love and beauty with yourself and others, please order this life changing beautiful book here. The three above images of Nature did not make it into the book.

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Fridays with Manny



Two weeks ago, we invited friends to our house for dinner. My wife Elfa was preparing a delicious meal. And then suddenly, before our guests arrived, there was a power outage. Fortunately, we had many decorative candles and lit our home with beautiful lights. The dinner was a success, and our friends decided that when they will invite us, they will also light many candles. Inspired by this experience, I wrote a poem. I started writing poems when I was working on my book “42 Encounters with Love”.

For Granted

There are certain things

In our lives we take for granted.

They become our habits,

Our way of living.

And suddenly things change.

You are driving home from work,

The rain is pouring.

And you are happy to get to your destination.

But what happened with the garage door?

It doesn’t open. Is it jammed?

And then the heavy thought crosses your mind.

It is probably a power outage.

You are trying to remember

Where did you hide the key.

There is no light, the home is cold,

So is the stove.

But the fridge is getting warmer.

You remember about the flashlight

In the kitchen drawer,

And some decorative candles

Left over from the last year’s Christmas.

But where are the matches?

You cannot charge your laptop,

Nor your Tesla.

The battery on your mobile phone is dying.

It is late.

Stores are closed.

In the dim light from the candles

You prepare some cold food.

But what is there else to do?

There is no TV to watch, nor browsing the internet,

Since your laptop died.

Too dark to read.

Perhaps to go to sleep?

What time is it now?

Oh, no, my phone battery just died as well.

Flash battery is also dying.

In the candlelight you brush your teeth,

And close your eyes in the cold room

With a heavy feeling.

And suddenly you awaken.

What happened?

The light on the alarm clock is blinking.

Hooray your life is back.

You turn on the light,

The plugged in cell phone shows the time.

The fridge is beeping, getting back to life,

And the electric car is charging.

You will be able to drive to work tomorrow,

And start taking your life again for granted.

Rain gives us great photo opportunities. You can see three of my encounters captured on my camera and posted above.

Please check Amazon for my books, which can be a good and lasting gift when you are visiting your friends.

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Fridays with Manny



On Saturday, February 10th, 1,425,671,352 Chinese people, including about 180,000 residing in San Francisco, will start the celebration of a new Chinese lunar year, named according to the Chinese Horoscope, The Wood Dragon. The holiday ends on February 24th, 2024. Online I learned that “The Wood element will bring evolution, improvement, and abundance, it is the perfect time for rejuvenated beginnings and setting the foundation for long-term success”.

The Chinese people have a very interesting history connected with our city. The first immigrant from China arrived in what will become San Francisco in 1840. They worked in railroad construction and agriculture. As San Francisco was evolving, Chinese immigrants concentrated in the area known as Chinatown, which has a fascinating history. Descendants of this first wave of immigrants played a significant role in creating the city’s wonderful and unique qualities.

The Chinese New Year Parade in San Francisco will take place on Saturday, February 24th. Let’s pray it’s going to be a beautiful sunny day, since it’s worth attending. As far as the Chinese New Year prediction, it fits me perfectly. After writing my new book “Retirement Solutions for Smart People™. How to Accomplish Financial Comfort”, I decided to focus on helping people to retire with financial comfort. In addition to paper back copy and e-version selling on Amazon, this book is now available in audible format. You can get it for zero cost by subscribing to a limited time offer.

The three images which you can see above are of people I encountered in San Francisco’s distinctive Chinatown.

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Fridays with Manny


How Do You Know What You Think You Know?

When I walk with our dog Max or drive alone in my car, I listen to podcasts on YouTube (my wife Elfa prefers to listen to classical music). Though there are many subjects available, my preference is history. I like to listen to smart people talking about how the past affected today’s reality and about people who helped it happen. And I’ve learned that some people today might have different opinions based on their limited knowledge about the past.

It turns out that Christopher Columbus was not a bad guy, after all. Nor was Teddy Roosevelt, who in his time was considered progressive. Winston Churchill, who besides other accomplishments of saving Europe from Hitler, received a Nobel Prize in Literature. Progressives of our days removed all three of these people from the pedestals, which brings to mind recent events close to home. Exactly three years ago, The San Francisco Board of Education voted to remove George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Diane Feinstein and a number of others from the schools’ names. When the story broke out, it was revealed that to make their decision, the Board members consulted sources on Google. The irony is that the San Francisco International airport was named after Diane Feinstein, recently.

A year ago, I was working on my new book “Looking Forward Through Looking Back: 42 Encounters with Pioneers”. I used biographies of those people who came to San Francisco in its early days, going back to 1847. When I sent bios of the pioneers to my editor, she was surprised that there were no book references. When I told her that I had used Wikipedia, she said that this was not a good source of information for the book. Since I did not have time to do the research, I put the project on hold.

That is why while working on my new book Retirement Solutions for Smart People™. How to Accomplish Financial Comfort, I had read twenty-two books which I have listed in my publication. I’m writing about this because some people seem to have no time or desire to do the research and choose to rely on the information fed to them by social media without bothering to check sources or reliability of the information. This includes the subject of reverse mortgages that I cover in my book which is available on Amazon. It also includes images of retirees photographed in the entourage of nature. You can see three of them here.

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