050: Mentorship as the Means to Career Success + Everything You Need to Know About Reverse Mortgages with Patty Alper and Steve Sless

In this episode of Saving With Steve, host Steve Sexton is joined by Patty Alper, who is president of the Alper Portfolio Group, a marketing and consulting company, and is a board member of both the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) and US2020, the White House initiative to build mentorship in STEM careers, along with Steve Sless, President of The Steven J. Sless Group of Primary Residential Mortgage, who is regarded as the "Go-To Housing Wealth Expert.”

Millions of Americans are looking for a new job right now, largely because they’re simply not satisfied with where they are. But how can you be sure that your next position will be any better? According to my first guest, Patty Alper, the President of the Alper Portfolio Group, there’s one KEY question to ask when you head in for the interview. She joins us today to discuss specific questions to ask during an interview to determine the accessibility to mentors throughout the company and why mentors matter and how mentorship leads to deeper learning and creates a stronger satisfaction in your career.

She also shares why the pandemic has created a larger need for mentors, and specific strategies for virtually interacting to get the best out of your relationship, as well as the best way to build an effective relationship with your mentor by connecting over specific projects that have a beginning, a middle, and an end.

“We all need to feel connected to a workplace. When there are mentors available for your career growth, they help pave the way for your success while also providing something deeper,” says Alper, a mentorship strategist with 35 years of experience. “Be sure to ask about the availability of mentors, and how they can help you in the new role. This will change your career trajectory.”

As you know, many seniors are wondering if they have enough money to last through their retirement and are leery of going into retirement communities, now more than ever, because of COVID. Some seniors can’t even get long-term care insurance due to COVID. Many of these seniors may not realize that their home equity likely represents a large portion of their net worth. 

In fact, homeowners aged 62+ saw their collective housing wealth increase. Understanding how to strategically and tax-efficiently incorporate this wealth into a comprehensive retirement income strategy may be the key to protecting and prolonging their nest egg with the funds needed for long-term care.

My second guest, Steve Sless, has nearly 20 years of mortgage industry experience, and has become a leader in his industry by educating people through seminars and videos. He joins me today to talk about the pros and cons of reverse mortgage loans, strategic use of housing wealth in retirement planning, leveraging housing wealth during economic uncertainty, and how a reverse mortgage can fund a more comfortable retirement.

Patty Alper is president of the Alper Portfolio Group, a marketing and consulting company, and is a board member of both the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) and US2020, the White House initiative to build mentorship in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) careers.

Patty’s experiences have led her to roles as a prominent speaker and the author of Teach to Work: How a Mentor, a Mentee, and a Project Can Close the Skills Gap in America. Patty’s 35-year career in business, coupled with two decades of hands-on experience working directly with youth, uniquely qualifies her to understand the growing skills gap from both perspectives: the employers who seek to build a pipeline and hire better-prepared youth for twenty-first-century jobs, and the youth who are often ill-equipped or ill-trained to enter the new workforce.

In her book and speaking engagements, Patty describes how Project Based Mentoring® brings together corporate employees, retirees, and businesses as a corps of knowledge practitioners, with the common goal of passing on skills to the next generation. Patty draws on her extensive philanthropic work to bring the business and education sectors together meaningfully, building on the strength of each to close the skills gap.

A trustee of the Alper Family Foundation for the last 18 years, Patty’s unique approach to entrepreneurial mentorship has been featured in Getting Smart, The Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, The Huffington Post, The Washington Post (twice), TIME, Philanthropy Magazine, and Parade.

Through her services on the national board of NFTE, Patty’s vision served as the groundwork for the Adopt-a-Class program she founded in 2001. During her years of service at NFTE, she invited countless business leaders to join her in a mentoring capacity, helping teachers across the country inspire and coach entrepreneurship students on their business plans.

Shortly after college, Patty spent five years working with incarcerated, runaway, and suicidal youth in Iowa’s Youth Detention System, and she served as a counselor to psychotic adolescents at Chestnut Lodge, a long-term psychiatric hospital in Maryland.

In 1980, Patty was one of the first women in the construction field as co-founder of a multi-million dollar project management company. The company specialized in building corporate headquarter facilities and high-end interiors for large businesses in the DC market.

That innovative spark led Patty to another niche, producing and hosting her own radio talk show, For Love or Money, on Infinity broadcasting. Today, the Alper Portfolio Group provides consulting services for the commercial real estate, financial, and non-profit sectors.

Patty holds a bachelor’s degree in English and Theology from Cornell College Iowa, and she has continued masters-level marketing studies at American University. She is married and has two stepchildren, as well as three grandchildren. She loves competitive golf, art, theater, and music, and continues her study of theology.

Steve Sless has nearly 20 years of mortgage industry experience, including 13 years devoted to reverse mortgages.

He is proud to have been named a Reverse Mortgage Industry “Game Changer” by Yahoo Finance, and to be one of the only mortgage professionals to have earned the CLTC®: Certified Long-Term Care designation.

Steve takes pride in helping homeowners and his team members every day, while leading the dedicated reverse mortgage division of Primary Residential Mortgage, Inc. (PRMI) -- a multibillion-dollar operation founded in 1998 that is poised to become a top reverse mortgage lender nationwide.

Steve also loves to speak out about reverse mortgage strategies as a conference keynote speaker for NRMLA (the national voice of the reverse mortgage industry), at seminars and learning workshops, in videos, and in media interviews.

His passion is educating and empowering homeowners 55+ and their trusted advisors on how the strategic and proactive use of housing wealth with a reverse mortgage can offer advanced retirement income strategies, protecting and preserving a retirement portfolio.

Steve's goal is to dispel myths and common misperceptions about reverse mortgages and show his clients and partners how to achieve peace of mind by helping them to secure the retirement they deserve.