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Alan: All right folks, welcome back to another episode of Adjustments in Life. I want to tell you this is a pretty special episode for me. My guest today on the show is somebody that’s been very important to me throughout the last almost 14 years—actually a little bit before that.
But one of the things that I want to speak on and have considered speaking on for a while is: how to be involved in the industry with a family. So I’m bringing on the show today my wife, Mrs. Becky Olson, and she’s going to assist me in speaking on the topic.
So I want to welcome and have everybody welcome Mrs. Becky Olson.
Becky: Thank you.
Alan: You’re welcome. Hey so we started into this initially with a family; but I know that there’s a lot of people out there that are involved in the trade or are interested in getting into the trade, and they have real big concerns of whether they can do it with a family.
And I think the reason that they are concerned about their families is because, typically, you see adjusters out on the road all the time by themselves—maybe it’s the wife that’s adjusting or maybe it’s the husband that’s adjusting—but quite often it’s presented as they leave and go do the job and the partner stays home and takes care of the house and the family.
And they are concerned for a lot of reasons. I mean it could be a number of things from “how do we keep our marriage together?” “How do we live with one person always gone and the other person always at home?”
So I thought it would be a good idea—and you spoke about this with me several times. How do we relay how we were able to be successful as a family in this trade and come out better than we were going in?
I’m going to start us off here with a little bit of our backstory and then you can elaborate as we get going and voice your opinion here and there.
Becky: Okay, sounds good.
Alan: So correct me if I’m wrong, when we got in, we were in the trade and construction was slow. So we were looking for opportunities to continue to make good income for our family. So we got into the to the trade of adjusting.
I got my first deployment opportunity after licensing left and went out to do the job on my own, left you—and at that time we had four children
Becky: And one on the way.
Alan: And one on the way—and left you at home to take care of the children and went out to do the job.
Alan: OK—which was manageable—but left you at home to take care of everything.
Alan: OK, any elaboration on that on your end?
Becky: It didn’t work.
Alan: It really didn’t work all that well. Well it was hard. We’d never been away—never separated from each other prior to that—but I was gone all the time—not even coming home in the evening and that was it that was a change for our family.
So we were able to manage that, but about two months in—a month and half to two months—what happened?
Becky: I was done. Well we were a month away from having our fifth child and I think I called you up and said “I’m gonna put the house on the market.” And you told me “are you sure you don’t want to think about this? You are pregnant. Are you about sure this isn’t just the hormones talking?”
And nope, I had a knew that we where are supposed to be together and that it wasn’t gonna work with me at home with five kids—raising them by myself. And so I put the house on the market and we actually sold it the day we were having Austin.
Alan: In the hospital!
Becky: In the hospital.
Alan: Yeah, yeah. And I’m gonna be real truthful here, when she first brought it to my attention that she wanted to sell the house, it was a different feeling for me. I wasn’t sure if that was the right approach. I knew that we needed to make some sacrifices in order to gain success in the adjusting field; but I wasn’t sure that I was ready to sell our home and go out on the road full-time.
Becky: A lot of people thought we were crazy.
Alan: I think most of the people—especially family—thought we were pretty crazy. But we took some time and—at least I did anyway, she knew where she wanted to be and what she wanted to do—but I needed to look at all the options. I needed to make sure that that was the right thing for us to do.
And when we would sit and discuss she always had real valid points of how it would work and how we could make things work in. And I think, at the end of the day, looking back on it, it was more about how we needed to stay together—we needed to keep our family together.
Our kids were not going to be able to grow up healthy with her dad gone all the time. And I say that because I knew going in that I needed—in order to make a name for myself in this industry—I needed to dedicate the time it took to get out there and work.
And folks, if you’re not working, you’re not building a name, you’re not getting anywhere. You’ve got to be out in the field working.
And over a period of time, as we spoke about before, that can narrow; but in the beginning, you’ve got to be out there working. You’ve got to be going “OK so here we are. We’re looking at the options, but it just keeps boiling back to: we need to sell the house. There’s no sense in us being out on the road full-time working and making a house payment on the house that we’re not living in. It made financial—it made very clearly financially that that was a good move.
Becky: We also got the kids out of public school and started homeschooling. We didn’t have any animals to go with us or anything like that then; but mainly it was selling the house, selling all of our stuff—which was really hard to do at that time, for me—and then worrying about if I was going to screw up my kids by homeschooling them.
But I thought that it was much more important that we were all together as a family; and I’d figure the rest out.
Alan: That’s right. And I think that in this trade across the board, there’s a lot of unknowns—there’s a lot of uncertainties—and you kind of just have to pick a direction you’re going to go with it and figure it out.
We didn’t know exactly how well it was gonna work—like I said earlier, this trade is primarily been a male driven occupation. But you’d very seldom would see you an adjuster with his wife and with his family out working because it takes so much time and effort to be good at what we do.
But that was a priority to us from day one to make sure that we did not lose our family because of the career. So we went the extra mile. We did things that people probably said—well we already know they thought we were crazy—but I would talk to other adjusters that would say “you what? You have your wife and kids with you?”
And just a quick insert story here—I took a deployment to San Francisco and rolled in a motorhome with my wife and all my children and the team manager at the time was so baffled that I had my wife and all my kids with me that she wanted to know how we did it all. She was just flabbergasted at how I could do what I was doing with everybody there.
Becky: Yeah! Well we did it. And here we are years later and it worked. We don’t do it that way anymore, but it worked. And it was probably—well the kids will say it was the best thing we ever did for them, and I would say it’s the best thing we ever did for our family and for our marriage.
Alan: I agree, I agree. OK so with that being said, how did we do it? How did we make it work when we were out on the road?
So at this point in time, we’ve sold the house, we’ve moved into the RV, and we’re now homeschooling, we’re full-time RVers, we do not own a home anymore.
Becky: We do not own on hardly anything anymore.
Alan: And I think we had—what we kept—we moved into a storage facility in our hometown; and anything else that didn’t fit in the RV, we got rid of. So I can see the puzzled look on everybody’s face right now; because, those that have been involved in adjusting, are going no way. How did you manage to do all those claims?
Becky: And mind you, we had just built a brand new house, just furnished a brand new house, and we sold everything that we put in that house and the house. That was hard. That was hard as a mom and as a wife and as a lover of stuff—that was hard.
Alan: OK so how do we do it? How do we get by? How did we make this happen in an RV while we’re out on the road adjusting claims?
Becky: So we set apart hate to kind of to accommodate you. I homeschooled while you were out inspecting; and then whenever you got home, if kids little kids weren’t napping, the kids and I would go swim. We would go on little outings. We would go see things. I don’t know; we just set up our day kind of around what you needed.
Alan: That’s right. I was just like any other adjusters at the time. I would get up in the morning; I would go out and do my inspections. And, like Becky said, this was her opportunity to do schooling where she could concentrate with the kids; they could do any activities they need to do in the RV; and then by the time I got done inspecting—which, again, for most of us, was after lunch maybe one 2 o’clock—I’d finally get done and roll back into the RV.
They would be ready to go out. They would be ready to go swim. They would be ready to go on a school activity—Becky would use the history of the area that we were in to teach history to the kids. So quite often they had a location they wanted to go see.
It open up an opportunity for me to sit at the RV where it was quiet, no distractions, her and the kids were out and about, and I can work and get everything I needed to get done accomplished. And a lot of times, I could do it by 5:30-6 o’clock maybe 7 o’clock in the evening.
By that time, they would all be back. Becky could cook dinner. We would quite often in the evening would go and enjoy the pool at the RV park.
And that’s another thing that we would do. Is nine out of 10 times, we would always search for a location near the area we were working to park the RV that had kids activities. We need to look for a place that had a pool, we need to look for places that had playgrounds, or near the the RV park would be a place that the kids could play.
That helped extremely because if we didn’t have kids activities, then they were cooped up in the trailer all the time. And that made it really tough for me to be able to come in and get work done.
Becky: Right well, and one of the things that we did was we went through lots of different RVs trying to figure out which one worked, but I think that we landed on an RV that had a bedroom in the front—and it was actually a toy hauler—and it had a bedroom in the back that had bunkbeds that would come down and they would they would go back up.
And so that room would, in the morning, would be a school room; in the afternoon, it was a playroom; and at night, it was a bedroom. So we made it work—even if you were in the RV working, they were usually in the back playing, watching movies, doing kid things.
Alan: And like Becky said, we had to work our way through several RVs to figure it out. But most of them that we had, there was a way to configure an area in the front bedroom or somewhere away from the kids—even if everybody was at the RV—I could generally accomplish getting work done at the same time.
And you were you were really good with working with the kids to respect my time that I needed to work. And that’s a must. That’s some thing that if the kids and the wife are going to travel with the adjuster, that’s a must—that is something that has to be resolved in the beginning and worked out—is there are certain times that work needs to be done; and whoever the adjuster is—whether it’s the wife or the husband—they need that time to get things accomplished even if everybody’s at the RV.
And you did a really good job at keeping the kids detained—for lack of better word. So that I can work in the RV at the same time.
Becky: Well there were times that you did have to go out to the car and make phone calls. I mean, we’re are not gonna lie.
Alan: Absolutely! But ,I don’t know how many out they are going to hear this that are in the same boat, but we had a pretty good size group. So if I can probably say that if we had had two kids—or even three—it would’ve been even simpler to make it happen.
There may have been a line where I could’ve done—not had to leave the camper. But when you got five rambunctious kids—three of them being under the age of six, yeah five or six and even one of those being an infant—it can get a little hectic. It can get a little hard to talk on the phone no matter where you’re at in an RV.
And the one that we settled in, eventually, was 40 foot long—so it’s pretty large RV. But we made it work, regardless of the situation. We made it work. There was a lot of things that we had to fill our way through; but we were always able to manage it, and we always figured out a way to make it work fluently.
Alan: So there is a way. If you’re that couple that is looking for a way to stay together, it is 100% do-able. Don’t let the fact that you’re worried if it’ll work or not—it will work. There’s sacrifices that have to be made, but the outcome of those sacrifices is incredible—or at least was very very incredible for us.
OK so I want to go into some of the things that it did—what we accomplished and the positives that came from doing it the way we did it. But before we get there, I wanna make sure I get a plug-in for The Adjuster Guy private community.
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We are there 24/7 on that—monitoring that Facebook page for you to reach out to with questions, concerns, whatever it may be. Me and my team of experts are on there daily to be there for you when you need that support. It’s a very small fee to be involved in that, but you can get extreme benefits from it.
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OK so it was four years for us; and again, I’m just gonna throw this out there because we had a lot of people think we were crazy for doing it the way we did it.
Becky: We might have been a little crazy. I was a month pregnant when we started into this.
Alan: By the time four years rolls around either thinking we’re really, really crazy or—
Becky: I think they just thought that we were poor; and we couldn’t afford anything else.
Alan: I think that’s a lot of it. I think that they saw us out there and didn’t think we were getting anywhere so we couldn’t afford to move out of our RV. And, from the outside looking in, I think I might’ve even been in that opinion too had it not been me. Had I been looking from the outside in, I might have, you know, “boy, I don’t know about that adjusting. They weren’t getting anywhere. They’re still in their RV four years later.”
But the reality of that was was—
Becky: We had accomplished a lot.
Alan: We had accomplished so much by doing it the way we did it that—I mean well first of all, I’ll just say this by Becky’s decision that she wanted to sell the house and put us in the RV full-time to go out and do this, her intent was to keep the family together and mine was too, but the biggest thing I think that that did was allowed me to have the opportunity to commit myself to being a successful claims adjuster.
We could deploy, we could go park there, and we could be there how ever long it was necessary to be there. And I wasn’t in a hurry to go home. I wasn’t looking to get done with my claim so that I could burn the road up and get home to my family—my family was with me.
So I was able to dedicate the time to work and work and work and work, which helped me establish my name. I built a reputation in the industry and became—from that—I became an A-list adjuster because I was always available—every time they said “we’ve got this. Do you want it?” “yes!”
I was able to say yes to everything they were able to offer me because it didn’t matter—didn’t need to go home. My home was with me, my family was with me, I could go anywhere they needed me to go, and we didn’t have any reason to go home other than to visit family.
Becky: Right. Well, we say that though. Once our kids started getting a little bit older and in junior high, they were able to play volleyball; and we wanted to let him do that. So we wanted to make sure that we were home every year for a few months for them to play.
Alan: We did. Again that wasn’t immediate—and she’s referring to our older girls which were 8 and 10 at the time I think. But the first few years, we weren’t doing any sports; but I started to sense that are kids—the only thing they were lacking was the friendship that they had from school and being able to play sports.
And so we happened to have been home—there was a period of time where there wasn’t much to do—and we always had an RV park that was close to our hometown that if we absolutely didn’t have anywhere to go, we would go there. And that was kind of our homebase, per se, that we would go to if we didn’t have anywhere else to go.
And then the kids could see family, they could play with their friends, and so we noticed they wanted to get involved in a few sports and that’s what Becky is referring to is they got involved in volleyball.
And so then, again, this is a couple years into the for your stint; but we chose then to make it priority to get them home during the time the volleyball season would take place.
But I had also built a name by that time as well—just even that two-year period, I was able to establish enough, a name and reputation, that I could say “I wanna go home during this time.” And instead of being out on the road, I would go back to my hometown and one of the firms that I worked for would turn me on to daily claims in that area and I could work day claims from home during that time.
And it worked out really well. And it also gave our kids that bonding time with their friends and being able to play sports at the same time that we work full-time RVers doing the adjusting thing.
Becky: Okay so back to what it accomplished for us. You were able to become an A-list adjuster.
Alan: That’s right.
Becky: I think that we became closer as a family because we were together 24/7 in an RV—our family became a team. We all worked together.
Alan: Absolutely, absolutely. And the kids are okay with it.
Becky: They will tell you right now—they would love to go back and live in the RV and travel again.
Alan: Any day of the week! We’ve got one that’s almost to graduating from college now; and she would love to go back out on the road.
Becky: To live that old life.
Alan: You know, they grew a bond together as siblings that was incredible. I mean a lot of it is because they sat down on the floor of the RV together night after night after night watching movies and hanging out. They didn’t have separate spaces, we weren’t in the house, they couldn’t go to their own room, they couldn’t go hang out with their own friends and do their own thing, they didn’t even—a lot of times—they didn’t have any friends with them.
So they be depended on each other to be best friends. And it grew a bond that our kids have that I don’t think they would have grown had we done a different career or done it a different way.
Becky: Right. I agree, I agree. I think also that we have a stronger marriage for the years that we spent out on the road.
Alan: I think so too. I think that we have a stronger marriage all the way around—not just because we were out on the road, but we worked together every day—still do—but we worked together every day to build the success not only of my career but your career too with our family together.
Becky: Right. You know, I also got to see firsthand what an adjuster has to go through daily; so I have a huge appreciation for your job and what you need so now—now that we don’t go out on the road anymore with you—I know you know whenever you need to get off the phone and get back to work, I don’t get my feelings hurt because I know what you’re doing out there.
I don’t worry about you being out there because I know you’re working your tail end off. So I think that helped a lot—especially now, knowing what you have to go through to be out there. I got to see it first hand every single day.
Alan: That’s right and that’s huge. That’s massive actually, because until you’re out there—wives, until you’re out there with your husbands or husbands, until you have been out there on the road with your wives—in this industry, there is no way to fully understand what the daily responsibilities of a claims adjuster is and what we deal with unless you can see it first hand.
And Becky saw that, and she respects that. And that helps me incredibly; but it also helps me to respect her, because I know she’s recognizing the needs of what it takes to provide for our family.
So yeah, great point. I’m glad you brought that up because I think that’s something that a lot of spouses don’t know because they haven’t been there.
Becky: So our kids got to see—they didn’t just get to read about history—they got to see it. And that’s probably one of their favorite things to say whenever people ask them the question about what they like the best. “Well, we got to see the history. We didn’t just have to read it.
Alan: And actually we could sit on a whole other episode and explain all things that these kids got to see. Still today, when they decide to come out or now and then when I go out on the road, they choose to come with me. And so we may still see things that we haven’t seen before.
But again just the places these kids have been able to set foot and see—just in that four year period could be a whole other episode of you know places accomplished whatever you wanna call it of an average adjuster.
Becky: Of The Adjuster Guy!
Alan: Yeah, but you know what, all that being said we also were able to really humble ourselves in who we were and what we had. When you when you sell 80% of what you owe and you give up your home and you spend four years living in an RV, you realize what you really need and what you don’t need.
And that was a huge step for us to be able to humble ourselves and be very content with what we had and what we have been blessed with because we didn’t always think that way. We thought we needed possessions and we found out—or I found out anyway that I needed my family and I needed a security in my life.
And by being out on the road, by getting into adjusting, doing it right, saying yes, working hard, and keeping my family close with me—I got to get the best of everything. I got to grow in my marriage; I got to grow in my relationship with my kids; and I got to be able to have the opportunity to financially set myself up for the future to come out in the most positive way I could’ve ever come out.
Becky: I totally agree, totally agree. That was humbling ourselves and realizing that stuff was not going to make us happy; but our family was .
Alan: That’s right.
Becky: That was huge; and being able to set ourselves up where we were financially secure was huge for me just because we had gone through the years prior of the economy crashing. And you know us barely making it—you know I wont say barely making it but getting a job just to pay the bills.
Alan: That’s right. Yeah, dealing with trialing times were money wasn’t always there. You know, and don’t get me wrong, there are seasons in adjusting that are more profitable than others; but we worked really hard to not only stay busy, we worked really hard to manage our money properly.
And again, we were living in the RV. We didn’t have a house payment anymore. We sold the house, but we were able to stock pile everything we made in that four year period.
And I’m kind of circling back here because those friends of ours—our family—that thought we were still living in that RV because we didn’t have any money, well come to find out we had worked hard, stayed busy. And we had stock piled enough money that when we made a decision to get off of the road full-time, we were able to pay cash for everything that we wanted to buy.
OK and that they didn’t buy us our dream home; but that set us up in motion to be able to own what we had and stay financially strong to this day. That gave us the capital to work with—to financially be strong from that point forward in our lives—as long as we maintain our same attitude of still working hard or still managing money properly.
We’re going to continue to reap the benefits that our goal was to have when we made the decision to go ahead and sell the house and get out on the road and then make a name for ourselves.
So I just have one last question for you because I want to know what advice you would give to a young couple or another a wife of an adjuster that is still on the edge or on the fence about—is this the right career for my husband? We need to make a change? Is this the right career for my husband and can I make this work?
Becky: Okay, so I would say that my best advice would be whether you believe it now or not, you are your kids mother—you know what’s best for them. And there is no better teacher for them than you are—as well as you are your husband’s life mate—there’s no better person to help him or to love him then you.
And I guess the last bit of advice is there is no better feeling of fulfillment then humbling yourself and putting your family first and letting God lead you.
Alan: That is fantastic, fantastic. And I think that if there’s any women out there that hear that, I hope that that’s a huge inspiration to them to jump in and go and then be lead.
And I know, I don’t speak much about religion or faith on this program because I’ll leave that up to you to make that decision; but that’s a huge part of our lives. And we want to relay that to you and let that be a part of your lives if you feel like you’re being lead in that direction.
I don’t know, I want to summit up by just saying, if you’re on the fence about doing this is a family, don’t be. It’s very beneficial, it’s very positive—we need more family-driven adjusters out there to open up doors and let other people see that it can be done.
It doesn’t have to be a doom and gloom deal where your husband has to leave all the time, and you never see him. Go with him, enjoy life, make good family time out of all this.
Becky: Make it a vacation.
Alan: That’s right. That’s exactly right. That’s what it felt like is we were always on vacation. So don’t be afraid to jump out there.
We established a Adjustments in Life email now, and I’m gonna share that with you right now. It is pod mail—firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have any questions, concerns, topics you want us to speak on, email us.
Again it’s email@example.com. We want to hear from you.
Becky: If you have questions for me.
Alan: Yes, if you have questions for Becky—anybody, whatever you have. Becky is welcome to share with you her experiences and her life as the wife and partner of a claims adjuster and dealing with family and understanding all that. Feel free to reach out to her. She’ll be happy to answer any of your questions.
If you have any other questions about any of the topics that we spoke about on Adjustments in Life, please email us. If you listen to it on Spotify or Apple podcast, please get on there and leave us a five star review. We would love to hear what you have to say about the program.
We would love your support by scoring us on where you think we should be. And again we just thank you for tuning in consistently and listening. We love what we do, and we want to continue to keep pushing this good content out to you. And we’re adding positivity to your life, and we’re encouraging you to be a better claims adjuster in what you wanna do.
So well, thanks again folks. We will be back again in two weeks, so between now and then stay safe; and will see you down the road.