Living a Richer Life by Design.
Jonathan Krueger is the CEO and Investment Officer of LionsGate Advisors.
LionsGate Advisors is a faith-based St Louis wealth management firm specializing in key investment and tax strategies for high-income earners.
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Welcome to The Thoughtful Entrepreneur Show. I'm Josh Elledge, Founder and CEO of UpMyInfluence.com. We turn entrepreneurs into media celebrities, grow their authority, and help them build partnerships with top influencers. We believe that every person has a unique message that can positively impact the world. Stick around to the end of the show; we'll reveal how you can be our next guest on one of the fastest growing daily inspiration podcasts on the planet in 15 to 20 minutes. Let's go.
And with us right now, we've got Jonathan Kruger. And Jonathan, you're the CEO and investment advisor at LionsGate advisors and you're the host of living a richer life by design podcast. Thank you so much for joining us. And thank you, Josh, for having me. And start off Tell me what LionsGate does.
Yeah, that's a great question. LionsGate is one of the only faith based St. Louis wealth management firms. That's really position to quarterback with networks, trusted advisors, a plan to execute key investment and tax strategies to be able to manage wealth for families that are high net high income earners that are occurring their wealth or for family offices and business owners that are have already accomplished that goal.
And obviously, you didn't start this right out of high school. So you see yet a little bit of a background in the space. And can you kind of explain your evolution and how you got to the point where you're able to start LionsGate?
Absolutely. So you know, it's interesting is that I spent some time in Russia back in 93 through 96. There was right after the perestroika and I was my senior year of high school. I had the opportunity of being there and saw the hyperinflation. When I first got there, the ruble was 50 rubles per US dollar. By the time I left, it was 5000 rubles per US dollar. So you can only imagine if someone was living off $5,000 a month here in the us think that they had a comfortable retirement. And then, you know, three years later, it wasn't worth the really, it wasn't worth anything other than a loaf of bread. It's really puts into perspective for the inflationary timeframe or deflationary timeframe for the dollar. And it impacted me in such a way because I saw a gentleman that was able to give out of his abundance, and be able to walk around so people that were in need as a minister to people, they're in St. Petersburg, and impacted me so much. I wanted to go into international business and finance, to really be able to live out my own faith and be able to give to others and that's really inspired me to go into business fast for 23 years, and he actually met him on a business trip that we had and come find out he's in the same line of work, and that was just too cool. thought he was an international finance, I had no idea that he was in wealth management. And you know, to kind of see that come full circle. So our goal and how we develop Lionsgate advisors was, we had worked my way up in the field of finance, working with Citigroup, and working with Citi was actually the marketing division of Citi group called primerica and where we've taught people how to become debt free and financial independence, through trying to help change behavior. But I very quickly learned that the system was set up to be able to be most beneficial to the broker dealer or to the firm that way I represented Yeah, rather than to the individual. And I knew there had to be a better way. So I started doing research on what it meant to be a fiduciary and how to align myself with the company or create a company that could ultimately do that to make the best decisions that's in the best interest of our clients and the consumer, versus just what the companies are trying to push for their bottom line. And so We started line gate, really with that perspective of how do we create this virtual office where everyone wants to have a quarterback, but no one really does. And an example of that is we found that most families were struggle struggling with three different areas, and across the board, regardless of their wealth, or the cumulation of that, and if you'd like I could share those with you.
Yeah, and and Jonathan, one thing that you've mentioned a few times now is the impact of faith on what you do professionally. And, and so you know, and there are many, many people who listen programming and they do let their allow their faith to kind of guide them, but they might be in in a job that they consider to be a little bit unfulfilled or unfulfilling. And so, obviously, you know, when you go out on your own, that requires a bit of faith that this thing's gonna work, right. But how did you and you know, how did your you know beliefs guide you during that process?
Oh, great question.
Yeah, I thought you'd like that. I love it. Most people the faith.
I don't want to tell you about this too. First, though, I absolutely love it. You know what Josh for my wife and I, we really took the opportunity and prayerful consideration whether or not we should operate our family moved from Colorado Springs to St. Louis. And, you know, we really went through to identify, are there any roadblocks? Is there anything that was said suggests otherwise? And so we went to once a Lord in prayer. And then we also really stake their claim on what promises do we have for knowing that guy's directing us? And whatever endeavor that we have and Deuteronomy in the Old Testament of the Bible, there's a book called Deuteronomy, it's within the first five books and Deuteronomy chapter 28. verses one through 14, really talking about the blessing that God has planned for us, and we we believe that God's blessing some promises both to the Jewish nation, as well as ourselves are fulfilled through the finished work of Christ Jesus. And so, for us being able to live out that faith really meant be able to walk in obedience of saying, Yeah, when there's an opportunity, and all the doors are open, let's walk through that door prayerfully and with bold, being bold and courageous, and lay hold to a promise and plant our flag. And man, if we had not had that clarity, Josh would be able to move out here to St. Louis and be able to build something from scratch. It would have been easy just to be able to tuck her tail and go back home. Right. And as so many of us know, as entrepreneurs when you have to build something based off of a dream and what you feel a call to take requires everything of you in order to do that. Well. And
yeah, I would imagine that there's some significant investments. I mean, you've got did you start off with the office space and everything?
Well, my business partner and I, he has been living in Colombia. Missouri. He, his wife is a family physician. And so he had had a practice in Columbia, Missouri. And it shows that he wanted to partner with someone more as a succession plan. And so he and I went into business together. His name is Jason Ingram. And we opened up our office here in St. Louis. And yeah, it was the full capital requirement of opening an office, you know, the building, the Rebuild of that, as well as the furniture and all the marketing and collateral costs. So really, it wasn't, it wasn't walking into a system that was already in place, is having to build everything from scratch.
Now, and of course, the biggest thing that is building up your book of business and so what are you doing at the beginning to start drumming up business?
Well, as most people, I would hope that they go out and start networking. Right. And we had to get really clear, you know, I felt like in Colorado, we kind of felt like the big fish in a small pond, where anything we touched turned to gold and what it was doing direct mailing. or through networking. We just had a great response. But when it came to the St. Louis, I didn't realize the competitive nature and the environment. And you know, St. Louis itself has the third highest concentration of financial advisors in the nation
in the neighborhood.
So, we literally in Chesterfield alone, there's over 2900, financial advisors and insurance agents and in the greater St. Louis metro area, there's over 34,000. And if I gotten those numbers mixed up, then it would be the other way around. It'd be 2400, financial advisors in Chesterfield and 39,000. In St. Louis. Sometimes I confuse myself, but the point is, it's a high concentration third highest in the nation, second to Boston, Boston a second number one is New York. So when we came into the St. Louis market, we had no idea. The first thing we did was try all of our original marketing strategies that we use in Colorado with during the sales seminar. educational events, client events, and joining the local bi as well as the Chamber of Commerce. And really, from, from the beginning, it wasn't easy kind of learning how to be able to position and posture ourselves for creating additional value meant that we had to build unleash hell, if you will, from the standpoint of that movie from Gladiator Maximus, to stand on my mark on leash at all, and to win the battle, and we had to go out there willing to build to sacrifice a little bit of lifestyle in order to be able to create the momentum that helps us build the systems we have in place today.
Yeah. And so, you know, again, you're you're out neck networking, you're doing the events. So when do you start to accumulate some decent activity because I know today you're very successful. But But how did you? What were the steps to kind of gain that momentum?
Yeah, and that's a great question. You know, we started a book club with our staff early on Each week would read a chapter of a different book. And we've been doing that for the better part of four and a half years now, almost five. And we've had different staff members come and go. And so the team has grown and developed. But what's been consistent is having a that, that Kanye attitude the cost of memorizing
your Tony Robbins guy.
Yes, sir. Yes, sir. And so really be able to use and identify books kind of as a resource, almost for prescribing a drug or a prescription for what our team needed to help grow to the next level. So there are two books that really helped us one. One book is called secret service that really helped us identify how do we create a Ritz Carlton type of experience for our clients as well as our staff. Another was really taking a look at the great game of business that helps us identify How to have an open book management with our team, and then dialing in for reading of the book profit first by Mike mccalla wits, looking at how to be able to use that same money envelope kind of budgeting system that you might have personally into a business to build to help mitigate the seasonality of cashflow. And so when we did that, as a team and grew the team, and most recently, over the past year and a half, went through those books, and those exercises we put in place, we didn't just read it, we actually put in place the processes and systems to help us build and leverage what we learn.
And then it sounds like as well, Jonathan, one thing you've done a lot of great work around is culture. And can you talk a little bit about you know, obviously you know, constant, never ending improvement, you know, personal development. Sounds like faith is a big part, obviously, of the work that you do. Any other things that you You would advise to other leaders who are looking to instill this, this culture within their organizations.
Yes, you got to be consistent. Right? And so there's not a book called The slight edge and really talks about
man. Yeah, man, we
we have been in the same circles. Oh, well, he had connections to primerica.
Well, I didn't know that I just was introduced to him by his book. Yeah.
And Jeff man, he wrote a great book that really talks about those things that you do consistently over time, and what the edge that will create for you and your team, and a culture is the same way. You've really got to be able to defend your culture, partly. And part of that would mean what do you do consistently to build the culture for each week, on Wednesdays, or every other week, I should say we'll do a sharpen the saw and we'll look at one of those things. things that we're doing well now who can we praise for those things that have been exemplified for the values that we have? And then what are areas that we can be able to continue to grow in. And so it's looking for an opportunity to continue to develop. And it's built around our core values, our core values, our relentless execution, excellence and empowerment. And by being guided by our core values, it's helped us be able to maintain and continually develop a culture.
Yeah. And so in terms of your success of your office right now, would you would you mind kind of sharing maybe you know, who you serve the kind of volume that you guys are doing today, just so people go, Okay, all right, these guys are doing well. Right.
Right. And so thank you for that. You know, we've really primarily focused our business towards the alternate or high net worth. The affluent families and business owners, those who have tax problems, where they're having to pay more than 50,000 a year in taxes seems to be where a lot of our strategies start to unfold, to really collaboratively work with their CPAs, and attorneys, whether business attorneys or estate planning attorneys to develop key strategies to mitigate the tax liability that they have. Each of these tax strategies can be utilized for anyone that's having to pay them pay taxes. Of course, we'd all like to keep more of what we make, and how to be able to be good stewards of what we have. And so we've just found that because of the amount of time that we have this great, it's easier for us to focus on working alongside with, we are a multi family office, we serve other family offices as the life insurance asset manager. We found that most policies that were used for estate planning or as an alternative asset class, were 90% of policies were structured poorly, were not funded correctly had the wrong ownership, or currently we're mismanaged. We also found that the when we're working with families around seven expectations for communication within the family. Most families had thought about how to build to develop a plan based off their own goals for legacy generationally that would go on in perpetuity. So was working with families, you can have a family with little net worth to a significant net worth, that really needs that guidance. And that's where we focus our attention.
What is it? What do you do to attract the attention of high net worth individuals and how is that unique? versus just like mass marketing on sides of buses and stuff?
Yeah, well, we haven't found mass marketing to work really well.
I know a lot of advisors are turning towards,
you know, doing radio or TV. We've found that it really comes from developing those centers of influence. Yeah, and the relationships and really having an incredible service to follow.
you know, doing radio or TV. We've found that it really comes from developing those centers of influence. Yeah, and the relationships and really having an incredible service to follow.
Yeah, so one of the books I absolutely love and you Josh, you probably know him. Do you know john? Rulon? I know the name. Okay, you've got to meet john. JOHN wrote a book called gift ology. Yeah, yes. Yes. I have read that. Yeah. And I saw him speak it Social Media Marketing World. Yeah, yeah. John's a friend of mine. He's part of our CNC 12. He and I belong to a C 12 Group, which c 12 is a Christian CEO peer advisory board, similar to that of eo or Vistage, but more from a biblical worldview. And we're a part of that group together and just his insights on how to be able to incorporate a gifting as part of the follow up and far part of how you differentiate yourself in your marketplace. And that truly has been a game changer for us. Yeah,
yeah, we need to talk. I'll share with you what we're doing. It's like in that same vein, and it absolutely works. One thing I know about high net worth individuals is they are not going to spend time in a traditional sales funnel. So if you're just doing Facebook ads, and you're going to try to, you know, get buy a book, you know, free plus shipping, and then you know, it's like they're going to attend this webinar. They're not going to do any of that stuff. You're too busy. Right?
Right. Yeah, it really comes out of having a need and awareness of what you do. And that's, I think that's where we stand out.
Yeah. Well, great. Well, Jonathan Kruger again, congratulations on all your success. You know, you certainly have a you have a lot of industry accolades as well, you know, both within the investment world and then you know, it looks like you're pretty involved in your local community as well and making sure you're well connected there. But so congratulations on all that. Again, you're the CEO and investment advisor at Lions Gate advisors, your host of living a richer life. I'm sorry, what's the name of the full name of the podcast, living nurture life by design,
living a richer life by design. So as you're listening to this podcast right now, you just hit up in your podcast directory, you can find that same podcast, and Jonathan, what will they hear on that podcast? And also, if you would maybe share where else people could kind of begin that relationship with Lions Gate. Oh, thank you, Josh. So we developed living our true life by design podcast, from out of a need that we had for our clients to peel to pass on some of the information that we're teaching financially on to their kids and their grandkids. And so we started really kind of looking at how do you develop not only financially but also social responsibility, whether it be new worldview, or a biblical worldview, or taking a look at experts on different topics of economics, or health, or psychology, and we build out living a richer life by designed to bring on those published speakers to be able to discuss those topics at large And really smell a lot of fun. I think we're just close to 100 episodes now that we've recorded our congratulations. Thank you. And so we found that to be helpful for both individuals, families, and also business owners, as we've interviewed me people like yourself that are experts in their field. And so one of the things that we've done outside of that to be able to help families or business owners kind of get an idea of what is their asset, if they're, you're a business owner, you're looking for, what is my business really worth? Right, either one day to sell it or to build, pass it on to your kids. And so we've had a on our website, a link that allows for you to get a free valuation of the business. And that's also where you can find living richer life by design. You can go to our website, Lions Gate, which is not the entertainment company. This one the Lions Gate advisors, was spelled the same and you go there, you're able to click on a link that would allow you to have a free valuation of the business. Oh, So to
tell people where how they get that, so you go to Lions Gate advisors, because Chuck, you're doing that for free. That's, that's like a 1500 dot. Like, that's a pretty standard 1500 dollar value. Yeah, to do a basic valuation. And so I'm on the page right now. So you go to Lions Gate advisors.com, hover over services, and then click on business succession. And that's how you get that there's a little gold button right there. You click on that. And, dude, let's let's partner. Yeah, let's do some stuff, because I would love to have a valuation. So be having diverse what's gonna jump on that?
Great. Yeah. And you know, Josh does something you could go on, you can get started. And then you can send a link to your CPA or bookkeeper. Yes. And have them fill all the data, right. Yeah. You're running a million miles an hour. You just delegate that to Your CFO or one of the other folks on your staff that has all those numbers, and they can plug in, then that'll generate a report. And I'll be back in touch with you to be able to review that with you. And what shows this is not a certified valuation. So certified valuation is something you would take to court to be able to say, Hey, I'm in a divorce or I'm in a settlement, this is what it is. But this is certainly something that we're using with banks and CPA firms currently, and the CPAs. Typically, if they have the time, they're going to charge a greater fee for that. And it's about 1500. dollars for a full certified valuation. You may spend 30 $500. Yeah, with this. We're providing complimentary but certainly provides that value of if it wasn't certified for a court purpose, but you need to have a benchmark, and you certainly can use it with your bank. This would be a great resource for you.
brilliant, brilliant. Jonathan Kruger, thank you so much for joining us again, the website LionsGate Advisors,com, hover over services and then click on business succession for the for the free valuation. Thank you. That's very, very generous. And again, as part of that, you know, give first philosophy at absolutely works. And marketers don't really get that at this point. They're going to painfully get that point as we continue in the years ahead. So thank you so much, john, for joining us.
Oh, thank you, Josh.
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