Mark Willis, is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, a #1 Best Selling Author and the owner of Lake Growth Financial Services, a financial firm in Chicago, Illinois. Over the years, he has helped hundreds of his clients take back control of their financial future and build their businesses with sophisticated, tax-efficient financial solutions.
Mark Willis specializes in building custom-tailored financial strategies that are unknown to typical stock-jockeys, attorneys, or other financial gurus. As co-host of the Not Your Average Financial Podcast, he shares some of his strategies for investing in real estate, saving and paying for college without going broke, and creating an income in retirement you can’t outlive.
Mark Willis works with people who want to grow their wealth in ways that are safe and predictable, become their own source of financing, and create tax-free income in retirement.
Who is Mark Willis?
Mark’s college years are where the story begins. It was then that Mark met his future wife as well as the first woman they rented a room to. The year that they graduated school was 2008 and they left with $120,000 in student loan debt. With no jobs in the middle of a recession that was a big problem. Over the next few years the goal of Mark and his wife was to figure out a way to build true wealth and be better than debt free.
Since then Mark has learned how to become the banker in his own life and become financially immune to recession.
What was the plan you were thinking about going into school pre-2008?
Like many students, Mark assumed that the money would keep on coming and didn’t think too much about the future. Studies have shown that the area of the brain associated with our future selves is the same part of the brain that’s associated with thinking about strangers, and how much are you going to save for a stranger’s retirement?
The problem is not just the 18-year-olds being handed thousands of dollars of student debt, the entire country has been on a trajectory to become a nation of debtors for generations. We have become a nation enslaved to bankers, credit cards, and debt and it’s not the interest that’s the problem, it’s the volume of debt that we are carrying around.
Unfortunately the current crisis has hit us at a moment in history where we are completely unprepared for it at a financial level.
Mark didn’t graduate with a finance degree and their journey began by taking baby steps towards becoming debt free. They went lean and put as much towards their debt as possible while also doing whatever they could do generate additional passive income. Figuring out the money situation became such a passion that Mark wanted to dive into on a professional level and started working for a CPA in the midst of the Great Recession. That was when he realized that the whole financial industry was a house of cards.
Where is it written that we have to put all of our money into things we can’t access, have no control over, and multiple people with our hands in our pockets? The moment where things completely changed was when a mentor of Mark’s suggested that the path most people follow could be wrong.
What needed to be different from what you were previously doing?
There were two things. The first was taking action immediately instead of waiting for the perfect conditions. You might make a few mistakes but it’s better than no plan at all.
The second was the realization that you finance everything you buy. You are already in the banking business. Either you buy something by getting a loan and paying interest on the money or you buy something with money that you could have been earning interest with.
Another big wake up call for Mark was that our relationship with the Wall Street machine is very similar to an abusive relationship. He realized that he needed another way to become financially free and the truth is anytime you lose money is unacceptable. Mark needed to find a place where he could get uninterrupted compound growth on his cash.
There are two things that can interrupt growth. Outside influences like the regular decline of the stock market and personal emergencies. Mark’s tool of choice became dividend paying whole life insurance after looking at over 450 different financial products on the market.
Whole life insurance allows you to access your money before you retire, grow your money on a guaranteed basis every single year, and use the cash value of the policy as a source of money to buy back your debt.
It starts with the understanding that you have the same 24 hours that everyone else does. The question is what can you do today to leverage those 24 hours to put you in the best position to maximize your potential. Lift off and activate your potential, now might be just the moment to do that.