Profile: The evolution of a Buddhist broker

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It took a while – and a few cracks at different business models – for Layth Matthews to settle into the one that helps him achieve both his personal and career goals.

“I was an investment broker for 10 years earlier in my career. I had friends who were mortgage brokers, this was back in the early-mid 90s, and I was always impressed by the fact that they could make things happen,” Matthews, broker owner of Rate Miser, told “That stuck with me. The industry was still getting going at that point and it wasn’t quite an A-side business as it can be today.”

Matthews’ first foray into the broker business was spurred by his experience developing an investment website.

“I got a glimpse of the internet business model. The tech bust caught up with us and I found myself looking for a new situation. Rather than pound the pavement, I thought maybe I could start a mortgage brokerage on an internet business model,” he said. “So I launched with the idea that I would grow it on the internet and make it a national brand.”

However, it didn’t quite play out as he had expected.

“I had a lot of lessons to learn and one of the things that happened: I was excited about the leads I was getting through Google AdWords,” Matthews said. “I was getting nine preliminary applications a day through my promotion online but I was green as grass. I didn’t know how to convert them. One thing I learned early is internet leads are ephemeral and you have to jump on them.”

So he hired some friends to help handle the leads.

Matthews spent a lot of time and money training those friends but, as he learned, those individuals just weren’t cut out for the business. He is still friends with them, but he has since scaled down his business to make it more manageable.

That has provided a lot of time to pursue a bevy of interests outside of work. And find him the model he believes fits best for him.

“I’ve shrunk down my business model to operate from my house and take care of my clients. I have done more with the freedom; I’ve written a book,” Matthews said. “Right now I’m at a point in my life where I’m making a big investment in stability. I choose lenders that use trailer fee models. Long-term I plan to build a base that will be more consistent.”

That book, The Four Noble Truths of Wealth, married Matthews’ views on financial advice and his Buddhist beliefs.

“It’s interesting to find ways to see what we do every day in a bigger light. When we work with people, if we’re seeing their strengths and illuminating that for them and giving them a path, I find that very fulfilling,” he said. “You can do that for them without advocating materialistic neurosis.”

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