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Crisis at early age motivated NAR leader

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Vicki Cox Golder went into real estate, she says, for the same reason that many others cite: It seemed like a good place to make a lot of money. But she had a lot more motivation than many other aspiring real estate agents. By the time she was 20, both of her parents had died and she faced the prospect of raising her three sisters, ages 9, 11, and 13, herself. Today, she regards her unusual and occasionally rocky road through the parenting of her sisters and two now-grown sons as a success. "Basically being a teenager myself, it was a challenge, but a challenge I would do all over again," says Golder. And inarguably, real estate also ended up working out for her -- she has long owned her own brokerage and now serves as the 2010 president of the National Association of Realtors. But in the beginning, there was a steep learning curve. "I jumped into real estate at the wrong time," Golder, 59, recalls. "It was the early '70s. We were in a recession, tho...