A Millionaire’s Voice from Wieniewitz Financial
Trae Wieniewitz, founder of Wieniewitz Financial describes the challenges and obstacles he overcame to grow his business, not just once, but twice and shares what a millionaire’s day is like. He has some great tips on getting to and being a millionaire. In his own voice, here is his story.
I have a background in finance at Louisiana State University (LSU) and started out working for a Fortune 500 Wall Street Company out of school. I held the traditional stock broker/financial planner role. I realized after a few years in that environment, that a lot of what I was being taught was theory and not that practical. I discovered that my ability was being limited by the products and services my firm offered. Also the strategies I was taught to weren’t going to protect my clients in the event of a disaster.
Most wire houses have a selection of products and services to offer, but they can’t offer everything a client may want. Once realizing some of the wants of my clients were not being met through the traditional means of planning, I left that firm and started my own practice to focus primarily on the protection aspect of the investments as well as earning the client a reasonable return in the good years of the market.
As most anyone has seen, success in today’s market isn’t defined like it was in the 90s. It’s not about picking an investment with the highest growth potential in a given year anymore. In my opinion, success in today’s market is about getting a reasonable return when the market is good and not losing your shirt when the market corrects. It also doesn’t hurt to have a plan that’s simple and easy to understand. These things are what my clients want.
If I had to describe my average client I’d say they are just like the people you see shopping in the grocery store or the mall. They are just normal people that need some good advice. Their average investable net worth is probably $100,000 to $250,000. Honestly I have clients who have invested as little as $2000 with me and as much as $2M or more. It’s really not about how much money they have, but if what they want with some of their money is what I do.
I have always tried to grow my company slowly in order to give clients the service and relationship they need when it comes to dealing with their life savings. In the beginning I had one office, rented furniture, one beat up laptop, an $8/hr employee that worked part time (because that’s all I could afford to pay her), and a vision to help clients protect and grow their hard earned retirement assets from financial disaster.
As far as challenges and obstacles – I’ve had my share…in August of 2005, Hurricane Katrina was a big one. I had a public seminar planned the night Katrina hit. Needless to say, it didn’t have the seminar that night. The restaurant was featured on the front page of the newspaper a few weeks later to show the before and after damage.
Hurricane Katrina completely wiped out my territory, a lot of my clients homes, and turned the Gulf Coast into utter chaos. There was an estimated $81B of damage and I didn’t want my business to be part of it. I had to quickly decide whether to wait out the chaos or to take a business model that I believed in and move my family and business somewhere where the business could have a chance to work. More than anything, most successful business owners I know and talk to have one common trait – insecurity. I am very insecure personally and my drive for success is fueled by the fear of being a failure. That, as well as my family, drives me to work hard and succeed.
Six weeks after the Hurricane, I opened a brand new Knoxville, TN, office, 10 hours away from anyone that I knew. I believe that successful entrepreneurs have to be able to find the positive in every situation. They also need to be able to make good solid decisions quickly. Those aren’t always going to be great decisions, but you have to play with the cards that you’re dealt and make the most of every opportunity. That fine line is what separates success from failure.
Looking back I can’t think of anything I would change. Just like everyone else, I have my daily failures, but that makes you who you are. If you want to know the truth, my day starts around 12am at the moment and ends around 10:30pm. We have a new baby girl, Lexi, born March 4, 2011. My wife and I are still trading shifts of nightly feedings. Hopefully my day will start at 6am again soon!
At 7:45 am I get my 4 yr old daughter Abbie up, fed, and out the door to bring her to school before 8 am. Then I’m off to the office. My three full time employees are there at 8 to get the office open and line up my day. A normal day for me consists of meeting with 5-8 new potential clients each day, evaluating their current investments, and figuring out ways to eliminate fees on their accounts and protect them from the next stock market decline. After 5pm about 2 nights most weeks, I hold public educational workshops from 6pm to 8pm with a free dinner included to educate them about today’s economic environment and how sometimes “traditional financial advice” isn’t the best for everyone.
Home by 8:30pm or 9pm, I’ll grab a bite to eat, relax for a minute, check email, and help my wife Amber get some things done around the house and try to get some exercise in if at all possible.
If I were giving advice to the aspiring entrepreneur, I would point them in this direction. The one thing that I learned early on from my parents is that you have to balance your time between God and family first, professional development/education, and personal development/education.
I am an avid reader and have been for years of John Maxwell. I have subscribed to his monthly CD club to continually become a better person and leader. I’m also a fan of Tony Robbins.
Finding someone to mentor you professionally is a HUGE key to moving toward success. Today with the Internet’s capabilities,there’s no excuse for not investing in yourself. Find someone that has achieved what you desire to achieve and do what they do. Even if you’re not as good as them, you’ll have success.
Ultimately though, a relationship with God and joy in life will mean more than the many millions you can make in your lifetime. A wise man once said, “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul?”. Those are words we should all try to live by.
I have been at the bottom and broke. Fortunately now that’s not the case, but I by no means was an overnight success. I learned a long time ago to live beneath my means so that I could protect myself when an emergency arose. That has proven to work continuously in my life and I would think it might work in yours too.
Opportunities From Financial Success.
What has financial success done for my family? It’s allowed us to provide our children with a Christian education to instill some lifelong values into their lives. It has also allowed my family to do more of what we enjoy doing like spending time together. We love to travel, take vacations, but most of all try to make memories our kids will remember for a long time when they forget about all the stuff they had growing up.
Probably the biggest joy in Amber and my life is to be able to financially give to causes that have an eternal impact on people’s lives. No one achieves success on his or her own. There are always people along the way that help you out or give you a boost financially, emotionally, or spiritually along this rocky road of life. It’s nice that success in business has helped position myself to be that person for someone else. One of the legacies that I want to be able to leave is that of sharing what God has allowed me to have in this short life we live here. I have started sponsoring a citywide charity event here in Knoxville as a community give back program. Knoxville has been great to our family and is a wonderful place to call home. It’s called Crusin’ For A Cause. It’s a charity car show off that donates all the proceeds to the Knoxville charity featured on ABCâ019s Secret Millionaire, Special Spaces.(www.CrusinForACause.com)
What Changed After Financial Success?
All in all, my outlook on life and money management over the last ten years has not changed, but I have grown stronger in conviction about what I have believed for years. I have now lived to see the value of protecting a client’s principal in a volatile market. It’s not about how much you make it’s how much you keep. I am also starting to get a glimpse of how to position myself to have a positive impact on as many lives as possible. CS Lewis once said, “Nothing that you have not given away will ever really be yours.”
Wieniewitz Financial http://www.traew.com/ is a financial advisory services company serving the metropoliton Knoxville, TN area. Family Money Values is not an affiliate and derives no economic benefit from publishing the above information.