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harvesting grapes

The challenges we’ve faced with the pandemic over the past nearly two years have been difficult for a lot of us. Personally though, I’ve been relatively lucky as the time spent at home and not traveling on a weekly basis has given me a chance to re-evaluate my goals and figure out what I want to do in the future. It has allowed me to optimize my objectives in life and begin to create a brighter future focused on what is important in life. One of these core things is finding partners like Golden 1 Credit Union to work with who are experts in their field and can help make my goals a reality.

For my wife and I, financial security is an area that we spent a tremendous amount of time examining. Not simply “it might be time to go and get a job” or “how do we make more money blogging” but a longer view of where we want to go and how do we get there.

harvesting grapes in a vineyard

For us, one of our shared dreams is to own a winery. We’ve both pivoted a bit so we could go back to school, and we are working on business plans, marketing strategies, and consumer insights.

Wine is something I have enjoyed drinking for decades, but I didn’t fully understand or appreciate it until this year. However, as I delve deeper into the wine industry, I begin to realize just how much the process of making a fine wine is like creating a business itself.

sorting table grape harvest

For instance, the process is relatively easy – crush grapes, add yeast to transform the sugar into alcohol and you’ve got wine. However, just like with creating a business it is far more nuanced than that if you want to create something people will want to buy, share, and talk about.

Thankfully we both have managed to find professors, classmates, and winemakers to learn from but unlike many aspiring winemakers – I don’t have millions of dollars to spend opening the winery of my dreams. It’s going to be a long process that starts with restructuring our expenses and hopefully beginning to build equity again, instead of spending 10’s of thousands of dollars each year on rent.

Finances is one area where we continue to seek assistance and frankly no matter how many commercials the big banks broadcast about them being a good community partner or helping small businesses … credit unions just simply do it better.

I suppose if my “small business” was 30 employees and had a million dollars in revenue then maybe the big banks would be a good fit, but when it comes to things that are important to me, my family, and my micro business struggling to grow, credit unions like Golden 1 Credit Union are a really good option.

happy for harvest

Golden 1 Credit Union is on my side and believes in people over profit. In fact, they are a not-for-profit entity where any earnings are returned to the members. The level of personalized attention and assistance for folks trying to make their lives better is something that has made credit unions a great choice for decades.

Additionally, unlike the big banks – Golden 1 Credit Union is right here in California and branches are designed to truly be part of the community, not simply a corporate entity with policies set thousands of miles away.

vineyard view

For example, in our case as blogger / influencers, it is challenging for us to get a mortgage or even a car loan since despite having cash flow, it is impossible to provide a pay stub or employment contract showing how much we earn. Without this financial history established with a mortgage and the ability to start building equity, there is no hope for us to one day open a winery.

As a result, we’ve been rejected from corporate banks or have been told we need to put extreme amounts of money down – even though the mortgage would be less than the rent that we’ve been paying for many years as renters.

While Golden 1 Credit Union isn’t magical and isn’t going to make frivolous decisions just because I am nice guy, they have a greater level of flexibility when it comes to evaluating loans to people like me. This is because they have more power locally in our community as well as simply being able to take the time to better understand the needs of their members.

sweet success sipping wine

That ultimate goal of one day harvesting our own grapes and turning them into wine is something we aspire to. Instead of simply working to help others, this freedom would allow us to begin creating something that is ours. It will be a lot of hard work, sweat, tears, and I’m sure plenty of frustration, but we’re ready for the work. It is important for us to find a partner that can help make that happen, rather than simply rejecting us.

The saying “Golden 1 is on my side” is more than just a tagline, it is something that is integrated into the business.

So, if you are a Californian looking to help re-prioritize your future following the pandemic and need a local partner to help you take an idea to the next level, or you are simply looking to get a more personal level of service than you have right now with a corporate bank, we encourage you to check out Golden 1 Credit Union. They have branches throughout California, and you can visit their website to learn more

This is a sponsored post on behalf of Golden 1 Credit Union