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Looking at money through a new lens

Thrivent client Emilia Gutierrez and her daughter working in their garden
Thrivent client Emilia Gutierrez and her daughter

Regardless how many years have passed, it’s likely you still can recite your favorite nursery rhyme or childhood song, apply the fundamentals you learned in grade school and recall the ideas and beliefs your adult family members expressed while you were growing up. You can thank—or curse—your childhood brain and the power of repetition for that.

However, not everything we pick up during our formative years applies to “adulting.” That’s especially true when it comes to finances.

Thrivent client Emilia Gutierrez can attest to that.

As a child, the nonprofit leader, wife and mother of two often overheard family conversations about money, and they weren’t always positive. Emilia recalls finances being a source of stress and not a topic to be discussed in public—an attitude fueled by previous generations’ mindsets of fear and scarcity.

“I had no financial education growing up. There was almost a sense of shame around the concept,” she admits. Emilia is not alone.

According to a recent Family Financial Foundations survey by Thrivent*, 45% of those surveyed said money was rarely or never discussed during childhood, and 30% said it was only discussed when it was a source of conflict or concern.

45% of people said money was rarely or never discussed during childhood, and 30% said it was only discussed when it was a source of conflict or concern.
Thrivent's Family Financial Foundations survey*

By contrast, Emilia’s husband, Ben, frequently talked to his parents about money. “He knew his parents’ [financial] advisor and understood that having a financial strategy was key to accomplishing and experiencing the things you want in your life,” she says.

And that empowering attitude is what Emilia and Ben want to instill in their daughters.

“We want them to know that just like you go to the doctor annually, you should have regular financial check-ups because a portion of your overall family health is your financial health,” she says.

Making financial health—and education—a priority

Much like choosing a family physician, it’s important to find a financial advisor you can feel comfortable with and develop a trusting relationship. After all, you’ll be sharing your most private financial information with this person—budgeting, spending, and short- and long-term goals.

Emilia met her Thrivent financial advisor through a professional networking group. As they got to know one another better, their conversations evolved, and they began to talk about the different products, programs and services Thrivent offers. They also discussed tools that could help their family be intentional about their future.

Emilia liked what she heard, and after introducing him to Ben, the financial advisor became their family’s financial partner.

And that has transformed the way Emilia and Ben look at their finances. “ It was truly a transition to go from being intimidated by conversations about money to understanding that conversations about money can be exciting.”

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Financial Lessons | Emilia’s Story | Follow Your Heart with Thrivent

Adopting a new money mindset

Emilia also learned that having a financial strategy isn’t a luxury reserved exclusively for the wealthy; it’s for everybody.

And that fresh, new perspective is perhaps the greatest takeaway of their client-advisor relationship.

“I’ve made the transition from viewing financial conversations as stressful and secretive, to being empowering and enabling—even exciting—as we plan for our family’s future,” she says. “That’s been a game changer for a family like ours that's following a budget. And it has helped us get excited about and take advantage of ways we can give back to our community.”

Preserving, passing down family values

When thinking about serving others, Emilia's thoughts immediately go to her grandmother and the impact she had on Emilia's life.

“Service and a focus on community and family were at the center of the way my grandmother lived her life,” Emilia recalls, “and it became a way of life for me and my family. Her legacy definitely influenced my direction in my life (as a social worker and nonprofit leader), and I want to light that spark of generosity in my daughters.”

Emilia’s nonprofit, Do-All Inc., provides employment, training and outreach opportunities for people with intellectual disabilities and mental illnesses. And thanks—in part—to what she learned about Thrivent’s unique mission and generosity programs, Emilia’s family is following in her grandmother’s gracious footsteps as well.

For example, her daughter’s school wanted to teach students about food and where it comes from. So, Emilia and her family hosted a volunteer project with support from a Thrivent Action Team to purchase supplies to create a school garden. Students learned about planting, harvesting, preparing and sharing food as well as planning, budgeting and decision-making.

The experience ties closely to one of Emilia’s favorite sayings inspired by her grandmother's heart for others: Build a bigger table, not a higher fence. “After all, we’re all members of the community and have a responsibility to look out for each other.”

Emilia credits her Thrivent financial advisor with helping her follow her heart while keeping a keen financial focus. “I’ve learned no matter where you're starting from, you should—and can—have financial goals," she says.

Want to do more? Learn about Thrivent membership

In her story above, Emilia shared how Thrivent helped her family create a school garden. Thrivent’s unique membership programs help eligible clients, like Emilia:

  • Spread the joy of generosity through volunteering and monetary giving opportunities.
  • Gain greater financial clarity, thanks to a variety of valuable tools and resources.
  • Provide care and comfort to loved ones during difficult times with step-by-step guides and resources.

If this sounds intriguing, explore the benefits of membership and apply to become a Thrivent member.

*This poll was conducted in August 2023 among a national sample of 2,214 adults. The interviews were conducted online, and the data were weighted to approximate a target sample of adults based on age, gender, educational attainment, race, and region. Results from the full survey have a margin of error of +/- 2%.

Member benefits and programs are not guaranteed contractual benefits. The interpretation of the provisions of these benefits and programs is at the sole discretion of Thrivent. Thrivent reserves the right to change, modify, discontinue, or refuse to provide any of the membership benefits or any part of them, at any time.

The client’s experience may not be the same as other clients and does not indicate future performance or success.