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One Phone Call

Thrivent Financial representative provides reassurance to spouse after husband's death

While her husband was familiar with the household finances, Peggy Brown* was the one who managed them. The couple started saving money early in their marriage with the hopes they could retire early.

"My parents brought me up to pay myself first, so our 401(k)s were important to us, and it was fun to watch them grow," says Brown, who lives in the Midwest. "We were never big spenders. If we didn't need it, we didn't get it."

In the late 2000s, the Browns started working with Thrivent's Financial Advice Center (FAC), a group of financial representatives who help Thrivent members over the phone. The Browns had made a few investment mistakes after the markets went down, and through a series of phone calls, their FAC representative helped them update their financial strategy to get them back on track.

The Browns turned to FAC again when Peggy lost her job. "We talked about 401(k) and IRA rollover options," says Judy Maske, the FAC representative assigned to help the family.

Then a year or so later, tragedy struck: Peggy's husband died unexpectedly.

Peggy had been told many times by Manske and others at Thrivent that if something happens, she should simply pick up the phone. So, after her husband died, Manske was one of the first people she called. Manske immediately provided Peggy the reassurances she needed.

"I'm the type of person," says Peggy, "that if something is going wrong, I need someone to tell me not to worry."

Manske guided Peggy through the financial decisions that needed to be made after her husband died. "We discussed the changes to her financial situation, such as figuring out what the loss of her husband's income meant to her financial stability," Manske says. "She was not ready to make long-term decisions. We took baby steps."

Peggy had worked outside the home before her husband's death, and still does. But he was the primary breadwinner. She began receiving his small pension. "Her need is to know where the money is coming from to pay the bills and that she has money for emergencies," says Manske. "We're working together to determine the best avenue to generate enough income for Peggy to live comfortably."

It doesn't matter that the two women have never met in person. "It's just so comforting to have someone there who I can talk to with questions and concerns," says Peggy. "I know Judy is there for me."

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