October Financial Professional Perspective: Bryan Schmeling | InFaith Community Foundation

October Financial Professional Perspective: Bryan Schmeling

Lessons Learned: Charitable Planning Leads to More Business

Bryan Schmeling is always learning. In his 13 years as a Thrivent Financial professional, he’s learned three big lessons:

1) Include Charitable Planning in Your Practice

Bryan doesn’t hesitate when he’s asked about the value of charitable planning by newer financial professionals.

“It’s the core of everything we do at Thrivent and it sets us apart from other firms that may only have charitable conversations if the client brings it up.”

2) Uncover Your Client's Charitable Intent

Bryan also realizes that there is a process to uncovering a client’s charitable intent, even with clients he knows to be generous.

“Clients ask themselves if they are going to be OK,” he says. “We give them confidence by showing them that they have a solid retirement plan. Then, we look more closely at the tax-efficient options that are available with InFaith.”

He compares clients’ tax-deferred surplus to a balloon that’s about to pop. “They may not know they are charitable until I ask how they feel about donating money to the IRS,” he chuckles. “Sometimes their favorite charity is their children and grandchildren, but it’s never the government.”

3) Participate in Joint Case Work

He also recommends FPs learn from colleagues by doing joint field work. Bryan finds that Zoom meetings and convenient travel make it easy to collaborate.

“I encourage FPs to find joint work partners who understand the benefits of working together,” Bryan says. “The most experienced FPs realize that we're all still learning new strategies, and InFaith is a fantastic resource for us to gain that knowledge." 

Bryan’s Recent Case
When it comes to charitable planning, Bryan’s first step is to contact an InFaith gift planner with the details of the client’s circumstances.

In one case, his client had inherited an IRA from her husband who recently died. Since she didn’t want the required minimum distribution, Bryan showed the client how she could increase her charitable impact by using a gift of life insurance to support her church and reduce taxes in retirement. The life insurance contract is owned by InFaith and will eventually provide annual gifts to the client’s church for 20 years.

“With healthy, charitable clients, leveraging qualified charitable distributions (QCDs) can generate a substantial gift long after they’re gone,” Bryan says. “I have learned so many different strategies from InFaith to help clients with their legacy planning – it helps me grow my business in ways I didn’t expect.”

Get started. Contact our gift planners at 800-365-4172 to discuss specific cases or learn new ways of reaching your clients with charitable intent.