Thrivent Financial

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Apr 15, 2008 6:04 pm

Hello everyone,

I was wondering if anyone had any information about Thrivent Financial for Lutherans and whether or not they are worth starting a career with. There is a local guy from my families area trying to recruit me to work for him but have no information about this organization.

I’m a recent college graduate looking into the field and have had past sales experience due to family run business.

I am about done with Edward Jones interviews as well but would be placed away from my ‘natural market’, which does not bother me.

Thanks for the help.

Apr 15, 2008 6:18 pm

I’m going through the interview process with EJ as well.  Unless there’s some reason you think you could really benefit from going with Thrivent (I’m not familiar with the company) I would go with EJ.  The main reason is because of the training you’ll receive at EJ.  You could always work hard and build up your business for 3 years with EJ and move over to Thrivent if you still wanted too.  From everything I’ve heard and read though, the training at EJ is very good to people like us who are new to the industry.

  Good luck with the decision and career!
Apr 15, 2008 11:08 pm

Thrivent was created a few years ago with the merger of AAL and Lutherine Brotherhood.  They primarily prey on Lutherines that are foolish enough to think the firm has their interests at heart.  If you want to be limited to annuities and proprietary mutual funds, this is the firm for you.  I have had a couple more than dishonest run-ins with this firm.  The worst was a client that did a pro rata withdrawal out of one of her annuities to capture the death benefit while leaving only a couple thousand in principal.  Thrivent (Lutherine Brotherhood at the time) called and told her she couldn’t do it, and if she did it would be a terrible decision.  They then sent her a form to sign to cancel the liquidation form, without the request of the client.  Long story short, I finally got it taken care of.

Apr 15, 2008 11:59 pm

You will only be able to recommend their products.  Rankstocks missed that they are big on insurance -- they used to be a fraternal insurance company, not sure if that changed with the merger.  A disadvantage is if you ever want to move to another company (perhaps to have a wider range of services and products for your clients), your clients will have proprietary products that can't transfer to you. 

Apr 16, 2008 7:56 am

Based on my experiences with Thrivent’s victims (it’s hard to call them clients, given what I’ve seen), it would be career suicide to take a position with them. The previous posters have been too charitable in their descriptions of Thrivent. I’ve yet to see a Thrivent investment performing in a satisfactory manner. Given the two options, there’s no question you should take the EDJ opportunity. While it’s possible you’ll end up unhappy there also, the odds are much lower for a bad outcome with EDJ than with Thrivent, and I believe even the biggest Jones haters in this forum would agree if they have any experience with Thrivent.

Apr 16, 2008 7:58 am

To elaborate on Oldlady’s comments about being a fraternal organization, the deal breaker should be the realization that your prospects, in order to become clients, must be eligible to become a member.  To be eligible, one must be a Lutheran.  

While I love Lutherans as much as the next guy, I would not want to have my prospect base limited by any such criteria.  And I say that from the perspective of someone who lives in a state with a significant Lutheran population.

It’s hard enough finding good clients without worrying about what their religious affiliation is.

Apr 16, 2008 9:57 am

While I agree with the group about the choice of EDJ over Thrivent, nobody has mentioned the positive side of working with Thrivent.  Every Lutheran congregation has their Thrivent guy.  He's attached to the church.  The congregation is very loyal to him.  They feel that when they work with the Thrivent guy for annuities or funds or insurance they are giving back to their church.  This business is about emotions.  People feel good believing they are helping their own financial situation and the church at the same time.  That's the reason people with stick with Thrivent in the face of sub par returns.  It's the same reason they will invest money with the new guy in the congregation.  

Apr 16, 2008 11:54 am

Bottom line is you are doing a disservice to your clients by going to Thrivent.

Apr 16, 2008 12:38 pm

Spiff is right about the referrals.  Occasionally I run up against someone who won’t move because he is loyal to Thrivent, regardless of how crappy his investments are and the fact that he has never even met his current advisor.  However, the referrals can’t be all that good, because it seems like around here the Thrivent guys never lasts more than a year or 2.  I know one older guy who keeps trying to retire, but can’t find anyone to give his book away to.  Usually if I see a Thrivent statement, I know that I will soon have a new client.  Even most of the loyalists will just keep a small account there and move the bulk of it when they see what they have been stuck in.

  Poor products and poor training, but a good market to guilt into giving you business, even though they would be better off with someone who has better products and some clue what he is doing.  You can make a living that way, but I wouldn't want to.