A Wealth of Knowledge
Lamkin Wealth Management CEO Talks Financial Market, New Bearno’s 502 Venture
Writer / Shannon Siders
Photographer / Bee Buck
Louisvillian Mark Lamkin is quickly becoming a household name in the East End. In addition to serving as CEO of Lamkin Wealth Management, he is a regular fixture on local news programming discussing the economy and financial markets and has continued to expand his entrepreneurial portfolio, including the opening of two new Bearno’s 502 sports bar concepts.
“I want to be an integral part of the East End community,” says Lamkin, a resident of Hurstbourne whose office sits just off the Blankenbaker Parkway. “I spend most of my time here, so I want to become a bigger part of the fabric of the community.”
Lamkin, who was born and raised in Bullitt County, is a 1991 graduate of the University of Louisville with a degree in finance, and a die-hard Cardinals fan. He even brought on former Cardinals basketball stars Luke Hancock and Mike Marra as employees in 2015, though both have since pursued other ventures.
With an MBA from Bellarmine University and status as a recognized Certified Financial Planner, Lamkin takes his role seriously and has a personal passion for the work he does.
“I had a family member who went bankrupt, so I knew I wanted to be in finance,” he says. “I didn’t know what area, but it was a wake-up call at that point and I’ve been in financial planning since that day forward. I want to make sure no one’s parent or sibling will ever go through what we did as a family.”
“I decided to partner with LPL Financial, the nation’s largest independent brokerage firm,” Lamkin says. “I’m in business for myself but not by myself.”
The first year was not exactly smooth sailing. PNC came at Lamkin with a lawsuit after a large number of clients followed him to his new business, a severe facial injury during a July recreational softball game set him back, and the tragic events of September 11, 2001, sent world markets spiraling. On top of that, Lamkin had his wife and two young children at home to support.
“It was a tough first year, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything,” Lamkin says. “It gave me the confidence to know I could do this.”
Lamkin was initially drawn to the East End and Jeffersontown because he saw an underserved market and had heard great things about the area from his uncle John Carney of Carney’s Carpet Gallery.
“I could have gone the corporate route in New York or New Jersey for the last 27 years,” Lamkin says. “Instead, I’ve worked with hundreds of retirees and helped them live the retirement they want and to enrich the world through their legacy.”
The staff of 16 at Lamkin Wealth Management includes several certified financial planners, with more than 100 years of experience between them. The firm has been ranked as a Top 10 investment firm by “Louisville Business First,” along with an array of other accolades.
“We get to change lives,” Lamkin says. “Our mission is to create a financial blueprint to allow retirees to live the life they want.”
Lamkin and his team work closely with prospective clients to build a comprehensive plan to ensure they will not run out of money in retirement and to plan for any legacy giving to their children or charities. They then work with the client to update the plan accordingly as life changes happen once they are on board.
“That’s one of my favorite parts of the job,” Lamkin says. “Eventually that lightbulb goes off and you hear a sigh of relief because the person knows they are in good hands and have a plan they can follow now.”
The Dow Jones saw a sharp decline in February, including its worst point decline in history, and Lamkin and his team worked with their clients to minimize any potential damage to portfolios. Their plans for clients differ based on how long the client has until entering retirement.
“If you have 10 years or longer left until retirement, you’re hoping the market goes down another 20 percent because you should be continuing to add to investments and 401k plans,” Lamkin says. “You’d rather buy when the index is low because you get more shares for your dollar. There can be a lot of opportunities there.”
Lamkin noted that there is some fear in the market but that economics are pretty sound right now, lending hope to those who have around 10 years left until retirement.
And if you’re just five years shy retiring?
“If you have five years or less left to retirement, don’t make decisions with emotions,” Lamkin says. “Create a detailed plan with an advisor.”
For those with little to no experience in the investment world, he recommends checking out works by best-selling American author Dave Ramsey.
“It’s a great starting point, and his plan can really help you get your life on track,” Lamkin says.
Aside from retirees, Lamkin also works with business owners, an audience that is all too familiar to him. A self-proclaimed serial entrepreneur, Lamkin’s latest venture is the opening of a new sports bar concept for Bearno’s at two East End locations. Lamkin was frustrated by the long delivery times to get a Bearno’s pizza – his favorite in Louisville – to his Hurstbourne home and decided to take matters into his own hands.
The project is something of a redemption story for Lamkin, who bought a small pizza store in Maryville, Kentucky, in 1992.
“I tried to run the restaurant absentee, and we ended up closing it,” says Lamkin, who wound up losing about $25,000 on the venture. “It was one of my only losses, but I learned as much from that business failure as I did from my MBA.”
Lamkin and his partners are excited to reinvigorate the Louisville staple pizzeria that has been around for more than 40 years. He helped handpick the staff and aims for the Bearno’s 502 sports bars to become a premier destination for family-friendly fun during big games.
With a career that has been built upon being well connected, Lamkin even has ties to the White House thanks to a stint on season four of Donald Trump’s reality hit “The Apprentice.”
“I had zero interest in going on The Apprentice,” Lamkin says. “But it was my mother’s favorite show, and she said, ‘I’ve never asked you to do anything, and I’m asking you to win The Apprentice.’”
Although he got the axe with the dreaded words “You’re fired!” in week six, Lamkin loved the experience and said he is happy he had the opportunity. The exposure helped his brand and began to position him as a go-to resource for both customers and media seeking subject matter experts for finance. He was even approached to appear as a contestant on the mega-hit “Survivor,” but did not end up joining the show.
When not at the office or launching a new business venture, Lamkin enjoys spending time with his wife of over 20 years, Jennifer, (who is also an event coordinator for Lamkin Wealth Management), and their two children, Zachary and Sydney. Despite the family’s strong ties to UofL, Zachary and Sydney both attended the University of Kentucky. Zachary graduated with a degree in economics, and Sydney is currently in nursing school.
On top of that, Lamkin takes his commitment to the community seriously by donating his time and money to various charities, serving on boards, and supporting Blessings In a Backpack.
“Whenever there’s a need, we’re willing to get involved with the community,” Lamkin says.