Joe Ceasar’s financial journey began in 1999 at West Point Military Academy after an injured teammate told Joe they were going to work for Merrill Lynch as a stockbroker following their discharge. His friend’s plan to work for a financial institution inspired Joe, but upon getting into his own financial institution, Joe began to notice that not many clients or financial advisors looked like him or came from the same background.
Joe had difficulty finding clients, and the clients he did have were smaller, such as individual accounts from people he knew. However, he didn’t feel like he was able to serve his friends and family since many did not have the assets to use his services. He learned about managing money, though, and this experience inspired him to teach people financial literacy skills even if they didn’t qualify for the investments his firm offered. From there, Legacy Institute for Financial Education was born.
Through the Legacy Institute, Joe shares the financial skills he learned with his friends, family, and community so they can implement these skills into their own lives. The business offers several services, such as income support coaching, employment coaching, and financial coaching.
Income support coaching helps clients apply for financial benefits. Employment coaching supports entrepreneurs and helps them develop a business plan, trains people with the skills to do a specific job, and finds institutions to employ people if they are struggling to find a job. Additionally, financial coaching helps people increase their net income, decrease their expenses, improve their credit, and build their overall net worth.
Additionally, Joe and the Legacy Institute offer several hands-on ways to teach invaluable skills through the Lifehouse, which houses their life skills program. Through this program, clients are able to create budgets and find better jobs.
The Legacy Institute also offers industry-specific training through their restaurant, Juzi Spot, their IT-specific Life Tech program, and the Lufkin Urban Garden and Market. Juzi Spot is a restaurant training-program for people who are interested in food management careers. Beyond training, though, Juzi Spot provides quality, vegan meals to people in the community at an affordable price. The Life Tech program also seeks to serve the community since in addition to training people interested in an IT career and giving them relevant certification opportunities, the refurbished computers and equipment the students train on are sold to low- to moderate-income houses at a discounted price. Finally, the Lufkin Urban Garden and Market seeks to build community by growing healthy, organic produce. In a joint effort with the Department of Agriculture, the garden has implemented the SNAP program to make the garden sustainable and offer quality produce at a discounted rate.
Through all these programs, Joe imagines a financial cooperate that involves even more businesses working together and paying attention to how the most financially vulnerable people in our communities are impacted and how they can work together to lift them up. For Joe, “it’s about the community helping the community advance.”