Thrivent client Dorian Stephens has clear priorities that guide his day-to-day choices.
Dorian Stephens has seen his share of job changes and challenges. But his faith, family and commitment to providing financially for his family has carried him through.
A California native, Stephens and his wife, Rosie, live in Temecula, California, with their 6-year-old daughter, Eva Rose. After college, Stephens, a Thrivent client with membership*, partnered with his uncle to open a Cajun and Creole restaurant. Financial challenges a few years in spurred a career change to the Boys and Girls Club, where he eventually became a youth development specialist, then director.
More than four years ago, his career path took him to Baker Electric Home Energy, where he specializes in business acquisition.
How did you learn about Thrivent?
I met Candace Brewington, a Thrivent financial advisor, when she brought her kids to the Boys and Girls Club. One day she asked if I had life insurance. At the time, I knew I needed it, but I was overwhelmed by the choices and put it on the back burner, even though I knew I wanted to take care of my family. She invited us to make an appointment and then took us on a financial journey to understand what it means to be financially fit. We have learned so much already, and I think she can teach us so much more.
What’s your first memory of money?
It’s not a pretty memory. When I was a kid, I knew my parents didn’t have a lot of money. My dad was a long-haul truck driver who worked so hard to provide for us. Money was just something we never had. I didn’t want to have that same stress, to feel like money controlled my every move. Sometimes I still have flashbacks; that I have to save every dime. But now my concept of money has changed. It’s about how much can I possibly give away and still live with a sense of freedom.
What are your guiding principles around money decisions?
It has to make sense. We don’t live our lives running around and spending everything we can possibly spend. We know the needs of our family, and make sure those needs are met first. I do most of the budgeting. My mother-in-law has helped me understand our flow of money and identify extra money to put away. We use money as a tool to do what we need and then we focus on what we want. Our big money decisions need to be in line with what we value.
What’s the best piece of financial advice or wisdom that you’ve received?
First is to not hold on to my money, to give it away. Along with that is to be wise with it, to not be afraid to take risks and to invest in my future.
What’s your favorite volunteer activity?
We love working with children. We've seen the goodness of Jesus, but the pandemic has been so hard on our children. We are learning to enjoy, obey and operate like Jesus in every aspect of our lives. And we love encouraging our children to do the same with our brothers and sisters who we gather with at Restored Church Temecula.
How do you demonstrate gratitude?
Gratitude should be an overflow of your life. To me, I’m just standing in grace that has been poured out on my life from a Father who sent his son to the cross for me. It’s the overflow of that that we can demonstrate on a daily basis. Every day is living out being grateful.
What does it mean to you to thrive with purpose?
If you’re living your life purposely, you’ll thrive. My life is purpose-driven. I’m just an imperfect person chasing after a perfect God. I want my life to be centered around that. And after that, I want to thrive in my job. I want to thrive in my finances. I want to thrive in relationships.