“… as long as I’m able to, at the end of the day – I’m a big ‘at the end of the day’ person – what have I done? At the end of the day, if I’m able to help that person or just give them some reassurance that I’m working on their situation, well yes, that motivates me to continue to explore the potential of what I’m capable of doing.”
Toni Reece: Thank you so much, Jason, for agreeing to be part of this Project, and before we begin, can you please introduce yourself?
Jason Biro: Thank you very much, Toni. I’m very happy to be a part of the Get Inspired! program. My name is Jason Biro. I am the author of Saving Your American Dream and the cofounder of a nonprofit organization with the same title, Saving Your American Dream, where we focus on helping people with their home and their finances.
Toni, have actually been in and around the mortgage and real estate industry for a little over 14 years now. I’ve had my own mortgage firm in Florida for about five years, helped over 2,000 families and individuals with home finance, and I am an advocate for home ownership.
Toni: Well, we certainly need that in today’s times, don’t we?
Jason: Yes, we do.
Toni: Jason, when you think of the word inspiration, who do you inspire, and how does that happen?
Jason: Well, I like to think we actually inspire two groups of people, Toni. First and foremost, the people that we actually help, the folks that are actually getting in contact with us through the book and through our nonprofit. These are people that they’re having financial issues, they’re trying to save their homes, they’re having mortgage issues, credit issues. They’ve maybe lost their savings, their 401, and really they don’t have many people to turn to.
Through the book, we actually help people to make these changes. And like I said, whether it’s saving their home or working on their credit, these things seem to empower people and it kind of gets them where they start making positive changes in their life because we’re helping them, they have the support they need, and they seem to get inspired and to start … like I said, it becomes that snowball effect where they are starting to make positive changes in their life and they can start to see things happening, and it creates motivation.
And really, inspiring people because we’re focused on helping and giving back really is inspiration really in its own. And being advocates of home ownership, teaching people about home ownership, how to speak to their lender, how to work on credit issues, things that they can do on their own, you would hope that creates that inner inspiration within them to make changes.
Toni: So really, it’s … the inspiration has to be in tools and resources that you provide to these people, but it’s also, I would think you have to inspire them to think a little differently.
Jason: Absolutely. I mean, they’re faced … nine times out of ten, they’re faced with issues and they’re not at their best place, so to speak, Toni. So they’re coming to us and it kind of is their last effort to whether it be save their home or make some changes that they need to do, and again, that’s empowering. It’s empowering for them.
And you hope that creates the forward momentum, which is much more positive than what they’re experiencing. So that group of people that we reach out to through the book and the nonprofits, it’s a goal we try to achieve every day, inspiring them to make those first steps.
Toni: How do you think by doing this and being in this environment and working with people this way, how does it help them to explore their potential?
Jason: To explore their potential … well, I think when people actually have someone on their side that’s actually directing them, that really empowers them. They gain that knowledge. They’re provided with the information and they can actually use that information to directly make those changes in their life, where essentially they don’t really know where to turn to.
They don’t even know if the information that they received previously is actually making a difference for them, so to speak, so by giving them the right information, it seems to unlock really a hidden strength in that it brings out the potential that’s always really been in them. They just really don’t know how to channel it. Again, it’s an unlocking type effort on their part which, like I said, is that hidden strength at the end of the day.
Toni: You know, in today’s times, it seems to be driving a lot of momentum and a lot of change and making a difference, and I think the word that you spoke of here of trust is huge, and because if things are falling apart around you and you no longer trust yourself, it’s going to be very difficult to trust someone else to help you out of it. How do you foster that trust?
Jason: Wow – and that is so true, that statement. I always default back to the unfortunate part of personal and home finance being really intimidating for most people, and especially now with all the talks of fraud and not knowing who to trust. Because our book is out there, we’re recognized as a nonprofit and people know that whether they read the book or not, they can come to us for help. They can write us. They can email us. We have a huge presence in social media in Facebook and Twitter, our online community, we’re always putting tips there.
So really that credibility – and hopefully this is answering your question – really that credibility and our presence in the community and everything that we’re doing is really kind of that trust endorsement, I would think, and that helps, and anything that we can do to further promote what we’re doing so people know.
What’s interesting about our book is that the book side of it, as well as the nonprofit is … anybody, like I said, can reach out and ask for help, and that’s really what we’ve established with the book is that open line of communication. And it doesn’t come with a price tag. You hear a lot of stories about law firms that may help you here and there, but they want $1,800 to do it. Well, that doesn’t happen with us. We’re doing this because, as I said, we’re advocates for home ownership and restoring faith in home ownership itself.
Toni: I’m really happy that we have you on the Get Inspired! Project, because this is an industry that hasn’t been talked about on the Project, people who work in this particular industry, and I think it is really important. I really like the words advocacy, trust, credibility, and it all comes down to that relationship as well. Thank you for clarifying the free part, too, that you’re not …
Jason: That’s always important.
Toni: Yeah, absolutely. So that’s fantastic. So Jason, what inspires you?
Jason: What inspires me? Actually, what inspires me really is in line with what we’re doing. I mean, we really are making a difference in someone’s life on a daily basis, so I’m motivated and inspired really by the help that I can give out there in the community. With 14+ years in the industry, I have compiled so much information in the book and in concert with our nonprofit, we’re just really reaching out to people.
And when we actually help them … and sometimes it may even be just an hour’s worth of my time helping someone maybe construct a hardship letter or decipher something that’s on a credit report that they were having a hard time with, or learning the language to speak confidently with their mortgage lender because they need to work on a loan modification or a workout.
By just giving even simple little tips like that … I say simple – simple to me – but giving tips like that and helping someone … and I use the word empowerment a lot because it empowers people to make better decisions, but empowering them. Also knowing that there is someone on their side that will give them their time to help them, my God, that’s just so inspiring to me. I mean, I’m inspired every time I can help someone, and it just makes me want to help more people with our initiative.
And really, I’m also inspired a lot by the nonprofit world, which, you know, being introduced to the nonprofit world and being able to offer different people services that we may not provide, that’s pretty inspiring as well.
Toni: Jason, there’s been an unintentional outcome of the Get Inspired! Project with all the dialogue that we’ve had and conversations that have taken place around passion and purpose. Again, this was not the intention; it’s what has come out of it. When you listen to you describe the work that you do, has this always been a passion of yours?
Jason: Well, I’ve actually always been passionate about home ownership, and when I first started out in the industry – meaning real estate and mortgage – I feel I grasped the industry a little better than most people. I was always really intrigued by finance, what it meant and how you are lent money, what you do with that money, the home as a long-term investment as opposed to something disposable like it’s been over the past couple years. So I’d like to say that I was always more passionate about it because I actually took the industry much more seriously than most people in the industry.
I’ve been licensed since 1998, so I’ve been around a while and I’ve seen a lot happen. Even before that when I was under the wing of other professionals who were on their way out of the industry, I just learned a lot because I wanted to be able to help someone with probably one of the biggest purchases of most people’s lives. Like I said earlier, as intimidating as financing is, if you don’t have someone that’s explaining finance at a detailed level and they’re not confident enough to do that, they really aren’t comfortable going into that purchase or that mortgage. And I always wanted to be better than that, and I always wanted to be, like I said, that passionate person about my industry. I hope that answers your question.
Toni: It does, it does. The final question, the fourth question of the Get Inspired! Project is, what are you doing now to explore your own potential?
Jason: What am I doing to explore my own potential? That is … I’m sure you hear it a lot – that is a good question.
Toni: It’s a tough question, and we do hear that a lot.
Jason: Yeah, I’m sure that you do. Well, sometimes … you know, we just get people that actually call in and they don’t even … the book really is an open invitation to actually write to us via the book and via our website to actually ask for help. But sometimes we actually get people that just write in and they have situations that it seems it may be impossible to fix, and when they write in, it’s almost like they’ve already written off their situation.
Well when that happens, for me, that creates just this element of challenge for me because I don’t like to see anyone homeless, or I don’t like to hear that someone has thrown in the towel without actually getting a professional and someone with years of experience behind them to at least try to help them. I always say that you may be looking for a certain type of help – and you may not get that, but you will get some help.
I believe I can help anyone, honestly. It may not be the help that they need directly, but I can help them. So with that philosophy, when I get someone — a reader or someone who comes directly through the nonprofit — that just feels that their situation is unfixable, really motivates me to find any type of resource, anything in my power to help them. And nine times out of ten – or I should say closer to ten times out of ten – like I said before, I can help them. I’m able to find them some resource to better their situation.
Sometimes some of the stories are people that are so close to foreclosure that they’re at the steps of the courthouse and their home is being auctioned off in three days, and literally, physically, I can’t do anything. But I had a situation a few weeks back where that happened, but I was able to get this woman some help via a nonprofit attorney firm. Coincidently, she had already been turned down by the same firm, but by just getting involved and listening to her real issue, I was actually able to get her the help.
She saved her home and she wasn’t out on the street with her dog, and she had already thought that she would be living in her car with her dog. And it was so sad, but I just felt so compelled to do something, thinking outside of the box of what I do and, just like I said, doing whatever I can to make a difference for this person. She’s kind of an emotional situation, and when you think about someone that actually calls you and says “I’m going to be living on the street with my dog,” it really does motivate you to try to help them.
And that’s just one example but that just happened, so I figured I’d give you that example. But it really does empower me to make a difference and really do whatever I can. So that motivates me, and I think that helps me and really does explore my own potential.
Toni: And your potential probably even gets even more extreme when you try to make these connections for people. You may not have the answer as obvious to you in that moment, but it sounds like the research that you’re doing in order to help that person continues … explores your own potential so that you can pay that forward.
Jason: And it does. I may not have the answer right away, but it’s a timely process. and it does take a lot of steps like you just pointed out. And as long as I’m able to, at the end of the day – I’m a big “at the end of the day” person – what have I done? At the end of the day, if I’m able to help that person or just give them some reassurance that I’m working on their situation, well yes, that motivates me to continue to explore the potential of what I’m capable of doing.
Toni: Well Jason, thank you so very, very much for being part of the Get Inspired! Project and the work that you’re doing. And we will have those links at the bottom of your transcript for people to be able to check out this nonprofit, because I’m sure there’s a lot of people in need that would just benefit from knowing that it’s there and reaching out.
Jason: Well thank you again, Toni, and again, I am glad to be part of the Get Inspired! Project. It was completely my pleasure.
Toni: Thank you, Jason. Take care of yourself.
Jason: Take care.