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Shmuel Shayowitz (NMLS#19871) is President and Chief Lending Officer at Approved Funding, a privately held local mortgage banker and direct lender. Shmuel has over two decades of industry experience, including licenses and certifications as a certified mortgage underwriter, residential review appraiser, licensed real estate agent, and direct FHA specialized underwriter. Shmuel provides a uniquely holistic approach to comprehensive real estate and financial matters that goes well beyond any single transaction. Shmuel is an award-winning financier recognized for maximizing the short-term and long-term objectives of his client. As a contributing writer to many local and regional newspapers and publications, his insights have been featured in the media for many topics, including mortgages, personal finance, appraisals, and real estate trends.

I read an interesting article a while back which quoted Randi Zuckerberg, a prominent entrepreneur and former Facebook director of marketing development (also sibling to Mark Zuckerberg – founder of Facebook) who tried to identify the most important priorities of a successful business executive. Ms. Zuckerberg challenged her social media followers asking them, “Maintaining friendships. Building a great company. Spending time with family. Staying fit. Getting sleep…. Pick 3”. I was most surprised at the choices, and even more shocked at some of the answers. Certainly she isn’t the first business coach or life coach to broach the topic, and definitely is in good company with all the myriads of people ‘out there’ trying to teach “priorities” in life and life balance.

What I find interesting about her perspective is that it’s coming from the vantage point of a “successful” entrepreneur. In fact, upon further researching the topic, I saw a report by the US Trust company which surveyed almost 1000 high net worth individuals (those with over $3 million of investable assets) asking them, their top 3 priorities in life. An astonishing 98% of those surveyed said that health was their most important priority. “Health, family, and financial security” were the top responses, in that order. In that survey I was most surprised at some of the reasons and explanations given for why these affluent people choose the answers they did.

Recently, I saw a cute video online which painted the following picture – imagine you are at home on the weekend and suddenly hear your baby whimpering, the door bell ringing, the water in the kitchen sink running profusely, thunderstorms outside with your children bikes out in the rain, and your cell phone ringing—all at once you. The video then asks, which would you tend to first, second, then third?! The video then goes on to claim that depending on the order of your reactions—that is the best indication of your priorities in life. Interesting anecdote.

All of these articles and videos got me thinking more carefully about this topic, and I organized some of life’s major priorities into the following “F” categories: Faith (religious beliefs and spiritual pursuits), Family (spending time and efforts with members of one’s immediate family), Finances (pursuit of wealth, career advancement, financial well-being; or personal sacrifice so that your spouse can pursue financial gain), Fitness (weight watching, exercise, developing good eating habits, or the like), Friendships (maintaining old friendships, nurturing old friendships and interacting with companions), Fun (relaxing, enjoying life, traveling, and pursuing enjoyable moments), Favors (doing acts of kindness and generosity, or being involved in efforts to help others), Furthering (investing time in fixing, building, nurturing, expanding, relationships and experiences with others). I believe these categories include most of life’s pursuits and priorities. Please let me know if you can think of any others.

Throughout it all, I realized, being in my own business, and being in a business that helps people achieve so much of their priorities in life, truly gives me a great deal of satisfaction and responsibility. Understanding my role in the pursuit and development of people lives is a serious undertaking, and one which a professional (in any industry) should be attuned to and sensitive to throughout their dealings with clientele. In pursuit of a mortgage to buy a home or to refinance a home, people don’t usually express their “F” objective, but in asking “important” questions in my consultation, the “F” curse, or “F” factors start showing themselves, and I am able to guide my clients accordingly to help them achieve their priorities and objectives in life. Hopefully I am able to channel their true aspirations in life and keep them away from some of the lower priority “F” curses. What is your F’ priority?!

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