Name: Mark A. Wingo – Mr. Wingonomics, 1 of America’s Top Financial Experts
Profession: President & CEO of New Beginning Financial Group L.L.C.
One Word That Describes You: Encourager
What does being one of the BEMM 100 Men of Distinction mean to you?
Oh my God, it’s an honor to be among a prestigious list of gifted, talented, and courageous men. I believe everyone has a unique story that needs to be shared because you never know who is out their paying attention. It may be someone out there who needs a little more motivation to create change to overcome a situation and your story can help them in that transition. Thanks BEMM for giving us the platform.
What are some examples of how you turned struggle into success?
I was raised by a single mother who had no idea how to raise a boy into a man, let alone how to be financially responsible. So, growing up, I struggled in the classroom and barley graduated high school. Luckily, I had the ability to play basketball and earned a scholarship to a junior college were I eventually dropped out after a few years to be a father to my son. As an adult, with absolutely no financial understanding, I found myself struggling financially. My situation was odd because I actually worked in the banking and finance industry, and I thought I was being taught how to be financially responsible since I was consulting with consumers as an employee of two of the largest financial institutions in the country; but that wasn’t the case. I found myself going broke safely using the same advice I was taught and giving. We had bought our first home but it eventually went into foreclosure. The foreclosure led to having three payday loans, overdrawn bank accounts, auto loans, credit card debt, unemployment, and a shattered American dream.
In February of 2009, things changed once I found myself unemployed and depending on my unemployment income and my wife’s modest income. It was the worst few years financially, but the most rewarding years mentally, spiritually, physically, socially because it allowed me to stay still, take a few steps back to find my passion, and have a clearer vision to walk in my purpose to be more productive in the years to come. Out of that struggle, I created “Wingonomics” by volunteering at the Union Gospel Mission—a transition home for women—to teach a financial literacy class. While volunteering, I thought I was in a position to encourage these women living well below poverty [level], but they encouraged me as a speaker and financial educator to turn my story into a book. That’s why my motto is “Have the courage to encourage” because you never know who needs it in their day or life.
While giving back, I had no idea I was working toward building a financial empire while being an unemployed stay-at-home dad, and working from my dining room table. Once the kids were in school, I began working my financial business and I published my book Wingonomics to tell my story. The book was a success and landed features on MSN Money, in Black Enterprise magazine, on Forbes and a host of other publications. My tax, insurance, and financial services company began growing across the country and my brand became Mr. Wingonomics, 1 of America’s Top Financial Experts simply because I had the courage to encourage people by starting the financial conversation and being transparent by telling my personal financial struggles.
What is an important quality you look for in your relationships with others?
Integrity – I am an encourager who loves collaboration. In order to collaborate effectively we have to be honest and loyal. Integrity is one thing I look for when having a relationship with someone or even a potential client.
Curiosity – I am always curious about the possibilities. You have to be a positive thinker. One that believes for every problem there is a solution, but it starts with having the right mindset. As a financial professional, we come in contact with a lot of skeptical potential clients who are uncertain about the changing economy. Our job is to present them with financial curiosity, and a potential financial outlook that gives them control over their finances to create their own economy.
Work Ethic– This quality is very important because everyone has a work ethic but everyone’s work ethic is not the same. I personally surround myself with others who are self-motivated but need a little guidance, and those who are problem solvers. I am motivated by those who are more concerned with getting things accomplished than being perfect.
What are some immediate projects you are working on?
We are currently passionate about two initiatives:
(1) to eliminate over $10 million of debt over the next 10 years and increase individual retirement accounts by up to $100 million.
(2) $100 Million Promise (death benefit) of new life insurance policies by 2017.
We are also working aggressively to build our tax preparation division. We currently have helped more than 20 entrepreneurs across the country open a tax office with our My Tax Business In A Box Coaching Program; our goal is to help more than 100 new entrepreneurs open tax offices by November 2016. We have also expanded our financial planning company from one office in Minneapolis to opening satellite offices in Atlanta and Chicago. We have plans to hire and train 50 or more financial sales representatives. Another immediate project is, for myself, to complete my Series 65 exam to serve as an Investment Advisor Representative, followed by expanding my company as a Registered Investment Advisory that is fiduciary responsible and acts in the best interest of our client’s assets we are managing.
What is the best advice you ever received?
Don’t be afraid to share your story. People need to hear how you overcame your struggles so they know they can make it out of their storm too.
What is some advice you have for other men who want to make a difference?
Always follow your heart and surround yourself with like-minded people who will hold you accountable to the change you are trying to make.
How do you prep for an important business meeting and/or event?
I always start with prayer to remove any doubt, followed by an uplifting self-talk for confidence. I am also really big on looking at the man in the mirror, and speaking daily affirmations.
As a busy Modern Man, how do you unwind on vacation? Share a story about your best vacation.
Wow! A real vacation is something I have yet to experience but now that my business is doing well I think it’s time to enjoy a nice vacation and unwind. I have taken a vacation-like trip to Las Vegas a few years ago. It was one rare time I turned my cell phone off, enjoyed myself and reflected on my journey.
If you could travel and stay anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
Turks and Caicos. I grew up in Minnesota, the land of 10,000 lakes, so I’m a big fan of the sound of water. It’s one of the most peaceful sounds in the world. I’ve only seen pictures of the island but it looks like a place I could relax and enjoy the sounds of the ocean.
Anything else you’d like to say?
Being mentioned on the BEMM 100 list is definitely one of the highlights of my year.
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