After five years as Marketing Manager of a mountaineering clothing and equipment manufacturer and retailer (a great way to enjoy your 20s), Lou Barnes built 45-broker, two-office Spruce Real Estate in Colorado from 1978-83, spending most of his time guiding the firm through extremely high interest rates. The world of money was more fun for him than real estate, and Barnes sold Spruce and joined investment banking ranks for five years as Managing Partner of RCM Government Securities, a broker-dealer working on the early flow of mortgages to Wall Street and their related derivatives. Two of those years involved work on the heart of the savings and loan meltdown -- one of the "consultants" commuting to Texas, Arkansas and other Southwestern garden spots (fortunately, he spoke the language: his family were Okies), he was asked to figure out how deep the hole was going to be. He wrote one of the earliest accurate estimates of the ultimate cost in 1986, and was one of the first to address the necessary asset workouts. Some people thrive in a career on airplanes, and Barnes was not one of them. In 1988 the homebody began another career as a mortgage banker in Boulder, just in time to catch the terrible peak of foreclosures afflicting the greater "Oil Patch" and "Savings and Loan Belt." The firm, Boulder West, survived and thrived as a small mortgage bank -- very old-fashioned, strictly "A" paper, and based on long-term relationships with Realtors and past clients. Even with that strength, Boulder West closed in 2009, and Lou and many of his colleagues joined far-larger Premier Mortgage Group. As a marketing tool and for sanity, Lou has written a weekly column on the financial markets every Friday for 20 years.