As life transitions, the client’s focus remains on giving back what he’s learned.
Jim Richert got a taste for construction from his dad, who owned a residential masonry business when he was growing up.
“But he wanted me to use my brain and not my hands, which moved me toward a civil engineering degree,” says Richert, a Thrivent client with membership in Southington, Connecticut. “I got into engineering and project management, and I met my wife, Tanya, on a project.”
Ultimately, Richert navigated to consulting in the insurance world and today is senior vice president, Subcontractor Default Insurance Profit Center Leader for AXA XL, an insurer for contractors. The Richerts have been married 21 years and have three children—two who attend Messiah University in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, and one who is a high school junior.
“We’re an active family—hiking, backpacking, mountain biking,” he says. “Everyone has things they like more than the others, but as a group, we’re all willing to try what the others like.”
Skiing is a huge part of their lives, he adds, with all the kids active in racing. And they all are involved in activities at Calvary Fellowship in West Hartford, Connecticut.
“I truly treasure the time we have together as a family doing all these things,” Richert says.
How did you first learn about Thrivent? I grew up with the organization. My parents bought each of the five kids in my family a life insurance policy when we were young.
What’s your first memory of money?
We were raised with the belief that doing chores is being part of the family. I didn’t get an allowance. But my first job was when I was 5. My dad would take me to work with him. My payment was $1 a day plus a soda at lunch. Maybe I made $10 over the summer. But I started to learn that if you do your job and work hard, you earn your way.
What are your guiding principles around money decisions?
With two kids in college, we’re at the next level of teaching them about money. And it causes you to reflect on yourself, too. Overall, it’s the idea of identifying what’s important, then saving toward that goal rather than relying on credit. That helps prioritize our money decisions. And sometimes, when we’re saving toward something, the priority shifts, and we find it’s not as important when we get there. We follow the idea that you don’t live outside your means.
What’s the best piece of financial advice you’ve ever received?
My parents taught honesty and to trust God in financial things. We don’t know every detail of what’s going to happen, but we give out of faith that God will provide and take care of us. I do know that credit is a challenge in our world, especially with wanting everything now. The best advice I got was to live within my means.
What’s your favorite volunteer activity?
Volunteering in youth athletics has absorbed a lot of time for the last 18 years. At this point in life, that’s becoming less and less. I’m looking more at our church’s fellowship groups and care ministries as places to get involved. We’re really looking to see how we can apply what we’ve experienced to the next generation of families. We see the challenges, our own imperfections, but we’ve also figured out how to make it this far. We don’t have to be perfect to give and help others.
How do you demonstrate gratitude?
I’m not always good at it, but sometimes it’s just remembering to say thank you. To communicate it. With the kids, it’s to be an encouragement. We give a lot of hugs in our family and to others. Everyone’s driven a little differently, so it’s finding a way to share gratitude in the way they need it. A big part of gratitude is creating time for the people in your life—parents, spouse, family and friends.
What does it mean to thrive with purpose?
It’s about being intentional. I’m guilty of waking up and hitting the ground running. The end of the day is here before I know it, and I haven’t been intentional about what I’ve accomplished. I think to thrive with purpose is to intentionally identify what drives where you spend your time and resources.
By Donna Hein