Focusing on Full Service Retirement Planning, The President/CEO Of Forest Hills Financial, Author and Radio Host Is Dedicated To “Helping You Keep What You’ve Earned”
Grand Rapids, MI – March 12, 2015 - Hundreds of clients of Grand Rapids, Michigan based Forest Hills Financial and thousands of listeners across the state who tune into President and CEO Jaime Westenbarger’s weekly syndicated radio show, “Keeping Your Money,” owe a debt of gratitude to the high school teacher whose classroom stock purchase exercise sparked a lifetime of passion for financial services.
Raised in a blue-collar family in Eastern Michigan, Westenbarger came in second place among his classmates in the competition. Realizing how much he could have made had he truly invested in the stock, the industrious 16-year-old took money from his paper route, went to a local bank, and bought shares of Gillette (Proctor & Gamble) – because, as he says, “What 16 year old isn’t buying Gillette razors?”
After serving in the Marine Corps – where he learned the importance of discipline and integrity which he brings to his clients today – Westenbarger joined the Reserves while majoring in Finance and Business at the University of Michigan. He scored a plum job at a national financial firm, where he ultimately managed a team of advisors. On the plus side, he learned how to uncover what clients really needed. He had the opportunity to get to know them and their unique situations personally, and how he could best serve them. He also learned the ropes from some of the country’s top veteran advisors.
On the down side, he says, “I also learned that I didn’t want to be stuck there for 20 years.” He went into financial services with the idea of helping people, but the longer he was at the big firm, the more he realized he was just a glorified sales person.
Realizing that his clients (and their many generous referrals) were more interested in the way he was conducting business than the national company logo on his card, he put his innate entrepreneurial skills to the test, moved from Flint to Grand Rapids and launched his own firm. His goal was simple: to create a company that he himself would want to be a client of. Now an author, Westenbarger has a chapter in Steve Forbes’ best-selling anthology “Successonomics” based on this concept: “Why You Should Create a Business You Would Want to Be a Client Of.”
Naming his business Forest Hills Financial after the suburb where he launched his office was a built-in branding bonanza, with people in the community “certain” they had heard of the company (or assumed it existed for 15 years!) even though he was new in town.
Incredibly, Forest Hills Financial was able to grow revenue over 300 percent during one of the most devastating recessions in our country’s history. Westenbarger’s hands on approach and simple style of explaining hard concepts has led to extreme growth over the past eight years, including clients in 15 states and advisors in four offices. Additionally, the company continues to develop in size and influence on the financial community on a local, state and even national level. He was recently honored with the opportunity to speak to entrepreneurs hosted by Forbes in connection with his contribution to “Successonomics” and has many more speaking engagements lined up for 2015.
Beyond his growing firm and clientele, Westenbarger has also expanded his influence on the financial industry via his syndicated radio show, “Keeping Your Money,” which has helped thousands of people filter through the salespeople of the financial services world and focus on the information that can help them achieve their goals.
The hour-long show airs on its flagship station 107.3 WBBL (Greater Grand Rapids) and 1490 Big Talk (Muskegon/Lakeshore) from 9-10 a.m. on Saturday mornings, 1360 AM WKMI (Kalamazoo) from 9-10am on Saturday Mornings and on Sunday from 7-8 a.m. on 95.3 WBCK (Battle Creek). Westenbarger has reached an agreement to take it national in 2015.
“It’s the greatest thrill for me when my clients are excited knowing things will work out and that we have helped them solve their problems.” He adds, “Being able to guide them through the retirement process and watch their lives change for the positive is an exceptionally rewarding experience.”
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