Let's Work Together

Ready to meet with a financial professional? Here are some tips on what to expect and how to prepare.

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By Donna Hein • Illustration by Alessandro Gottardo

No matter where you are in life—just starting out, growing a family, thinking about retirement or already in retirement—you may encounter a tension between living out your faith and the reality of managing your finances. It’s to be expected as we pursue more content, confident and generous lives.

Sometimes this tension is uncomfortable, and you may find yourself hesitant to turn to a financial professional for guidance. You might not be sure where to start or what questions to ask. You may have had a bad experience in the past. And, even more, you may be anxious about what questions may be asked of you or what documents you’ll need to share.

There’s no reason for worry.

Meetings with a financial professional, whether it’s in person or over the phone, should be about sharing about yourself. That’s initially more valuable than your 401(k) statements or other paperwork you can provide.

That’s not to say your financial statements won’t be vital later. But at the beginning of a relationship with a financial professional, and even in ongoing meetings as your life situation changes, it’s more important that the conversation be about you, your values and aspirations.

It’s only when your financial professional understands how your faith and values inform your financial decisions that he or she can help you line up your goals and your day-to-day money choices and collaborate with you on the next steps to take.

There are many things to think about in the different phases of life. Consider the following questions that you may be asked or that you could ask when meeting with a financial professional.

Just Starting Out

You may be asked:

  • What’s important in your life today?
  • What do you want to accomplish for yourself and your family?
  • What worries you about your financial future?
  • How do your values shape your financial goals?
  • How was money used when you were growing up? What was healthy and what wasn’t?
  • Do you have anything that’s important for you to do that will require a financial commitment in the next 10 years? 20 years?

You may want to ask:

  • How will you work with me in support of my goals?
  • What are things that could derail me or keep me from achieving my goals, and how can you help me?
  • What should I be thinking about that I might not have considered yet?
  • What are your areas of expertise and what resources do you have to help me?

Growing Your Family

You may be asked:

  • When do you plan to retire?
  • Will your parents need financial support, and how might you plan to help, if needed?
  • If you’re married, how do you handle financial questions or concerns between the two of you?
  • Do you have a will, a power of attorney and a health care directive in place?
  • What’s your philosophy for helping others? What role does charitable giving play?

You may want to ask:

  • How do I determine what role life insurance and disability income insurance play?
  • How should I think about the question, “How much is enough?”
  • How do you work with people to plan for their children’s education goals?
  • What resources—people and tools—do you have available to support me in all stages of my life?
  • How do you work with people to help them think about topics such as: investments, insurance, retirement, paying off debt, saving?

Approaching Retirement

You may be asked:

  • What would success in retirement look like to you?
  • What did retirement look like in your family, such as parents or grandparents?
  • When do you want to retire?
  • How much financial risk do you want to take with your investments and savings? Has it changed as you’ve grown older?
  • Do you have a plan for how to start spending money once you’re not earning it anymore?

You may want to ask:

  • How do I figure out how much is enough, and how much I need?
  • How do I create a vision for what’s next?
  • What should I be doing with what I have; how do I decide?
  • How do you help people think through turning savings into income, or applying for Social Security?

In Retirement

You may be asked:

  • What type of financial legacy do you want to leave?
  • Is your current retirement budget meeting your needs?
  • When were your wills, powers of attorney, medical directives and beneficiaries last reviewed?
  • Have you considered your options if you need in-home care or assisted care at a facility?

You may want to ask:

  • How do you help people make sure they don’t outlive their assets or income?
  • How do you help people deal with inflation and taxes?
  • How do I decide how much to pass on to my children?
  • How can I best support my grandchildren’s educational goals?
  • How do I leave a legacy besides passing money on to my children?

This is just the tip of the topics to consider when meeting with a financial professional. The bottom line is: It’s important for your financial professional to understand your short-term, mid-term and long-term goals and priorities, and how your faith and values inform those goals. When they understand how you want to be a good steward of your time, talent and treasures, they can help you be wise with money and live generously.

It’s Time to Connect

Have you experienced a life change? Perhaps you:

  • Recently got married.
  • Welcomed a new child into your home.
  • Got a new job/changed careers.
  • Are planning for retirement.
  • Have experienced a change in your health.
  • Are helping a family member with a health issue.

Or maybe it’s just been awhile since you’ve chatted with a financial professional. Now’s the time to reach out. Start by reaching out to your Thrivent Financial professional.

3 Questions for Every Life Stage

No matter where you are in life today—just starting out, growing your family, nearing retirement or already in retirement—there are three questions you should consider as you strive to be wise with money. Consider reflecting on them—either alone, or with your spouse or your family.

  • As Christians, we want to be wise stewards of all the gifts we receive from God. Often that means managing the tension between this desire and our day-to-day money choices. So ask yourself: What’s my enough?
  • We manage God’s gifts wisely by putting our values and plans into practical action—using tools and products to help with things like creating a spending plan or creating a retirement strategy.
    So ask yourself: What can help me move forward?
  • We don’t have to wait until our finances are perfect to give of our time, talents and treasures. We want to give generously now. So ask yourself: How can I help?