What Is Your Choice?

 “To have free will, you have to be free to choose.” 


From the moment we wake up, we have to make a choice. We make many choices in life; what to wear, what to eat, when and where to go on vacation, whom to marry, etc. As life progresses, the choices we make change and we choose again.

Some believe that we have a free will, while others believe everything is predestined. In the movie, “The Adjustment Bureau”, Matt Damon plays a guy who is running for congress, but what turns out is that his life is actually run by outside sources (The Adjustment Bureau), who in turn follow a pre-designed plan that is set up by the boss—the Chairman, who is the only one who can change it.

The problem comes when the hero falls in love.

At this moment, he has to make a personal choice, but his choice will affect not only his life but also the life of the other person. (You will have to see the movie to find out the outcome.)


Meanwhile, how do we know what to choose?

Rely on our gut feelings, ask others, or Google the question? That is a choice as well! The more choices we have, the harder it is to pick something.  And besides, how do we know that our choice will give us the desired outcome in the future?

During the presidential elections, we chose who to vote for. It is not only a political preference; it is an economic consequence, which affects all of us. On July 21, 2010, President Obama signed the Dodd Frank Act. I am sure he had in mind what he said:

“And finally, because of this law, the American people will never again be asked to foot the bill for Wall Street’s mistakes. There will be no more tax-funded bailouts — period. If a large financial institution should ever fail, this reform gives us the ability to wind it down without endangering the broader economy.  And there will be new rules to make clear that no firm is somehow protected because it is “too big to fail,” so we don’t have another AIG.

That’s what this reform will mean.  Now, it doesn’t mean our work is over.  For these new rules to be effective, regulators will have to be vigilant.  We may need to make adjustments along the way as our financial system adapts to these new changes and changes around the globe.  No law can force anybody to be responsible; it’s still incumbent on those on Wall Street to heed the lessons of this crisis in terms of how they conduct their businesses.” (President Obama, July 21, 2010)


To implement the Dodd Frank Act created by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), one of the tasks the CFPB had was to create new regulations for the mortgage industry. The problem was that those who created these regulations did not seem to be experts in the mortgage industry, and perhaps did not realize just how complex the mortgage business really was.

After the economic meltdown at the end of 2008, the lending industry changed. Mortgages became more difficult to get, safer for the consumers, and a number of foreclosures dropped. Nevertheless, the CFPB (to justify their existence) came up with the Qualifying Mortgage (QM), which will start on January 10, 2014.

In my view, the government wasted our money and created more complications for the borrowers. At the same time, Wells Fargo Bank (a firm “too big to fail”) followed by the other major banks, are planning to offer mortgages for wealthy borrowers, which will not follow QM standards.

You have a choice—to become wealthy.

On December 3, 2013, the Wall Street Journal’s article “Shift on Nonconforming Mortgages” discussed this.


As far as I am concerned, I have made my choice. Not to pay any attention and not be emotionally attached to any outcomes of the laws I cannot do much about. Instead, I choose to focus on helping my clients to have joy in their lives.


When I chose to grow a moustache to honor Movember, we were on vacation in Kauai and I did not have to shave every day. Somehow, my beard grew along with my moustache, and I chose to keep it.

Since then, I have received many compliments.

Some said that I look like a professor—or very serious. Some women suggested that it looked sexy.

I did not know what to choose—to keep it or to shave it off in December. The answer came while reading a story in the Torah about Joseph’s release from prison to interpret the Pharaoh’s dreams.

“So Pharaoh sent and summoned Joseph, and they rushed him from the dungeon. He shaved and changed his clothes, and he came to Pharaoh.”—(Genesis 41:14)

Since I meet with the “Pharaoh” (my clients) daily and have to interpret their dreams (mortgage scenarios) to find solutions, I choose to be clean-shaven and in clean clothes.

The result—a process of the transformation, you can see in my self-portraits.



In the New Year, I wish for you to make the best choices for yourself and your family.

Have a Happy and Joyful New Year!

Do Not Keep Me as a Secret.