MARK WINGO AND HIS WIFE, RICKELE, ARE ENJOYING THE REWARDS OF sensible financial management; they are not letting past missteps derail their new sense of financial independence. The Woodbury, Minnesota, couple is an inspiring example of the adage "don't let your past destroy your future," especially when it comes to money.
Mark and Rickele are serious about making sure their family follows sensible money management principles. "We run our house like a business and manage our finances like a bank," says Rickele. "We include the kids in our monthly budget meetings and prepare grocery shopping lists and any family events for the coming month."
The couple even developed a set of economic principles that they follow to promote their financial prosperity. Termed "Wingonomics," the principles encourage each family member to generate multiple streams of income, become financially literate, rely on faith to overcome difficult situations, and to always be ready for opportunities by maintaining a professional image.
To keep focused, the family also developed a mission statement. "We started from the beginning by figuring out our family's purpose and goals, then we established our individual purpose and goals. We also focused on changing our perceptions about life and expanding our understanding of money. We knew if we focused on financial education we could increase our earning potential," says Mark, 32, now president and CEO of New Beginning Financial Group, a small tax, insurance, and financial services company just outside of St. Paul.
However, things weren't always going so well for the family. The fallout from an unexpected job loss caused Mark and Rickele to re-evaluate the way they managed their finances. Mark started NBFG as a part-time job in 2009, shortly after he lost his job as a financial sales representative for a large bank. Married for eight years and with two small children to support--Jalen, now 12, and Morgan, now 7--and a stack of bills, the family survived on Mark's unemployment benefits, Rickele's modest income from her job as an ambulatory coordinator for a local hospital, and credit cards.
As the bills mounted, the couple racked up nearly $20,000 in credit card debt (at an annual interest rate of around 19%) on three cards, in addition to personal loans and medical bills. Even before the job loss, they had fallen behind in their monthly $1,055 mortgage payments and were now facing foreclosure.
"The house was beginning...