By Warren Dunham
This article is reprinted with permission from Steer. It was originally published in Steer Your Business, The Magazine in May 2019.
From an orphan on the streets of Chicago scavenging for food and selling drugs to a multimillionaire with a passion for helping people with their finances – this is the story of Genistar CEO, Jeff Lestz. Jeff worked with Primerica Financial Services in the USA – then part of the Citi group – from the early 1980’s. He was tasked to spearhead Primerica’s foray into Britain, initially known as Citisolutions. When Citi closed down in 2007, Jeff, together with a small group of determined people, started Genistar.
Now the fastest growing business of its kind in the UK, Genistar is a financial education company mis-
sion focused on helping families become debt free and financially independent. We do this through education and by involving YOU in the planning process. Instead of advice we offer something better: education to make the right choices.
The original company in the US was founded by a group of teachers who were fed up with the lack of financial education and decided to do something about it. Now a $4 billion company, Primerica draws clients from every walk of life, but they all have one thing in common – the desire to excel financially. Using the same model, Genistar prides itself on offering a distin- guishable service compared to others in the market.
As Jeff Lestz says: “Our market is average, everyday people who probably don’t have their wealth made yet. We believe in doing what’s right for the client 100% of the time, even if we don’t get the business”.
Genistar offers a number of financial services that both individuals and businesses can take advantage of. These include business and personal insurance, estate planning with wills and trusts, pensions, investments and mortgages. Where we can probably add most value to a business is by serving their employees in a financial education seminar and offering each employee a complimentary financial game plan. It’s a proven fact that the less stressed employees are about money the better their performance at work.
Debt is still a huge problem for low and middle in- come families. This where Genistar has really come to the fore for thousands across the country. Not only are we able to provide financial education so that people can understand such things as the ins and outs of bank credit and paying off mortgages quicker with the same money, but there is also the offer of earning good part time money by becoming part of the business. The business model is unique; it’s not multilevel marketing nor network marketing nor a sales organisation nor a corporate organisation nor a franchise. Many people have been able to lift themselves out of debt by not only following the principles we teach but through earning income helping families such as themselves.
Kevin O’Malley, one of the founders of Genistar, now an Executive Vice President and qualified account-
ant, said of his introduction to the business: “Initially the model really appealed to me – the ability to earn income while I slept at night and the social significance of what we do in helping families to learn about money, get permanently out of debt and build financial independence for themselves.” Jan Owbridge, also one of the founders, says: “Being part of an ethical company, offering ordinary people the opportunity to do some- thing extraordinary with their lives while helping others – you can’t ask for more than that from a business”. Another EVP, Barbara Anderson, is happy she took the initial plunge and testifies that Genistar has helped her to become debt free and financially free. A single mother, holding down two jobs and studying when she joined the business, she says: “I just never had enough. Now I’m building a legacy for my daughter”.
Getting a free ‘financial sat-nav’ or engaging in a business where family, continuous support and reaching out to others is the norm may well be what you are looking for. The horizon is bright!
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