January 13, 2016
Written by: Marcie Good
Bob Rennie faced adversity head on and worked around the clock to get his career back on track.
“In 1982, I left my core competency of real estate and invested in the stock market—and I lost heavily. Interest rates went to 21 per cent and we had a mortgage on our home. Being a realtor that was selling pretty well a house a day, I had to swallow my pride. I came home and I said to my then-wife, Mieko: ‘Here’s the problem. We can afford the mortgage payments but we’re absolutely throwing our money away. So let’s sell the house.’
The worst thing was that we had just had our first child, Kristopher. Mieko was recovering from a Caesarean birth at her sister’s, and I had to move us from our big new fancy home on Burnaby Mountain into a rental at $1,200 a month. We still owed money on the stocks. But I had this thing—it’s not just ego, but in building a family business we could not go bankrupt. I could never ever go bankrupt. When my son was one year old, the bank actually called our loan, and I met with the bank in tears and said, ‘Would you leave me alone for six months, let me do what I do, and I will get the payments back in line?’ And they said OK. The market was a mess because of interest rates. I worked from 7 a.m. to midnight Monday to Thursday, and 7 to 7 on Friday, and I did two open houses each day on Saturday and Sunday. It was a tough time. But I really believe that you learn more through adversity than through success. It built a brand. And I was in hell with amazing people. To this day we go away once a year—my partner, Carey; my ex-wife, Mieko; and our three kids. My son Kristopher runs the company. I think when people go through a storm together, that support never goes away.”