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BIA Faces of Business:Mark Petersen – World Financial Group

The Interview

1. Business Name:

Mark Petersen – World Financial Group 

2. Your Name:

Mark Petersen 

3. How long have you been in business? 

3 Years

4. What made you choose your current location? What do you love most about Orléans?

Orléans always had a vibe of a very strong community, and when we looked at the available financial services in the area we felt that the community needed better support and options. I love that Orléans has a sense of independence and you can find everything you need here, and also a great environment for anyone to start a new, local business for all of us to support. 

5. Tell us about your business. Here are some questions that will help you respond.

Financial Group is a financial services brokerage, which means we’re not locked down by only being able to offer internal products. Instead, we get to shop around for the best possible insurance, investment, and mortgage solutions. I was actually a client of this firm for a few years before coming into business. I really appreciated the simple approach to financial services, and the way our advisor took very good care of our family. I was inspired to want to do the same thing for those I care about the most, which quickly grew to just wanting to help as many people as I could. My mission is No Family Left Behind; to provide as many people as possible with the financial education we should have received in school. In order to have the impact that I want to have in the Orléans and East Ottawa community I need to grow my agency to 300 licensed agents; I want it to be as easy for anyone to find financial education and support as it is to find a realtor. 

6. What problem does your business solve?

 Right now, more than 90% of surveyed Canadians state they will essentially retire at or below the poverty line. This problem stems entirely from the complete lack of education around financial products, and if we were taught about how to use these products and tools at a young age then everyone would be better off. We help people understand their cash flow, show them exactly how much savings they need to retire the way they want to, as well as show them how exactly to get there.

7. How many employees do you have?

We are just getting started in Orléans and have a licensed team of 6 agents, but about another dozen or so waiting to write their exams (delayed due to COVID-19). 

7. What is your favorite part of the business?

 I absolutely love the moments when I can see the stress be completely removed from the people I sit down with. We completely take the guess work out of retirement plan, showing them exactly where they are today and how to reach their goals. No one has to go through life with their fingers crossed, hoping they will have enough or that they will get enough to make ends meet through programs like CPP and OAS.

8.What service(s) or product(s) do you offer/manufacture?

 We don’t have any internal products. Instead we are partnered with dozens of different insurance and investment companies, some of the major banks, and other services such as home/auto insurance, commercial insurance, and mortgages. 

9. What is unique about your business?

 What makes us unique is our systematized, simplified approach to financial services. Everything is explained in a way that anyone can understand so they can make the decisions that make the most sense for them and their families. We also look at a complete financial picture and not just one element. Example: if we’re talking about life insurance we will understand how it fits into the rest of their financial plan, as well as fitting it into their existing cash flow. 

10. Why is your business important to you? What are you most proud of?

I have always wanted to feel like a person of value, to make generational impacts in peoples lived. I was never able to find a job where I felt like I was working towards a greater purpose. Through my business I can work with a family with a newborn and know that child will be able to graduate from school debt-free. I can show people how to put hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars into their family’s financial future. I can make sure that if tragedy strikes a family that they won’t have to worry about money. Knowing this is the difference I can make for someone every day is what gets me out of bed every morning.  offer garden consultation and installation services. We rejuvenate gardens and create outdoor planter arrangements

11.What inspires you?

I am inspired by my own family. We grew up in a dynamic where we were always ok, at the same time accepting what life threw at us. I look at everyone in my family and they are incredible, loving, and caring people, and all I want to do is be able to do more for them. I don’t just want them to be ok I want them to live the life, and to have the experiences, they’ve always wanted. If I can do that for them by making an impact and changing the lives of hundreds, if not thousands, of other families… I can’t think of a better way to do that. 

12. If you had one piece of advice to someone just starting out, what would it be?

 Live your life with intention. Everything you do should be for a greater purpose or goal. Time will keep going, so make sure your time is going towards something you decide. 

13. What is the most interesting thing about you personally that no one would know, that you don’t mind sharing? E.g. What do you do when you are outside the office? Do you have a hidden talent?

I am a huge gamer! Loved playing RPG style games growing up and I attribute a lot of my problem solving, critical thinking, and even social skills to my everyday life. I liked the idea in games that decisions had consequences, just like in real life. I have taken a pretty big step back from gaming all the time to focus on building my business, but that’s what my ideal retirement would look like: a business on auto-pilot, and being able to play some games guilt-free!  are proud supporters of Ottawa Dog Rescue and we give a portion of our sales to help every year. 

Is there anything else you would like us to know?

I was a terrible student in high school, college never excited me, and never liked math. I say this to show people that you need to lead your business from the heart first. It wasn’t until I understood the emotional impact that financial services can have for others that I started to take interest, and continues to be what drives me today.