Thrivent Adviser Helps Ease Financial Stresses
by Sheila Julson
While growing up in Flagstaff, Arizona, Ethan Hulme didn’t think much about money and the relationship it has in the everyday lives of people. Guided by parents that instilled in him a sense of helping others and doing the right thing, Hulme went to college and discovered how he could guide people to use their finances to best serve themselves and the common good.
Hulme attended Pacific Lutheran University, in Tacoma, Washington, where he earned a bachelor’s of science degree. Through friends, he met his wife, Erin, an Oklahoma City native who was studying at the Mayo Medical School, in Rochester, Minnesota. Hulme also had a desire to go to seminary. To be closer to his wife, he attended Luther Seminary, in St. Paul, Minnesota, and it was there where he developed an interest in how people interact with money and how that can affect their overall wellness.
“I took courses in faith and finances, and the meaning of money in our lives,” says Hulme. “That solidified the direction I was headed.” During that time, he worked for Thrivent Financial, a Fortune 500 Company that is a not-for-profit, member-owned fraternal benefits society that began as a Lutheran organization in the early 1900s.
While working as a full-time pastor, Hulme continued to work with Thrivent’s philanthropic division, helping people with their finances, charitable giving and assisting churches with endowments. He and Erin returned to Oklahoma City, and he became a full-time licensed financial adviser for Thrivent.
“I never thought I could have as much impact as I do in people’s lives. Money is such an issue that affects people positively and negatively,” Hulme notes. Today, Thrivent is a Christian-based organization that has more than two million members and no shareholders. Its tax status allows it to use what it would normally pay in corporate taxes to donate to charities and give back to the community.
“Thrivent is a big supporter of Habitat for Humanity,” explains Hulme, “and our members are able to designate where they want money to go. They can donate to their church or to a charitable organization. We have an Action Teams Program that allows every member to apply for a $250 gift card to use for action in his or her community. It’s very grass roots, and people can use those dollars toward causes important to them.”
Hulme offers retirement consulting, life insurance, disability insurance, charitable giving planning, socially responsible investing and managed accounts. “I work with people holistically and look at their whole finances,” he says.
Hulme also notices financial mistakes people make that can be avoided. Those include spending too much, thus living beyond one’s means. “There’s lots of pressure in our society to spend,” he remarks, “so discontent makes people go out and buy things on credit that they don’t need. It really doesn’t make them any happier, and it can get tough to break away from that cycle of debt.”
Hulme also notes that many people don’t save for retirement and often kick the can down the road. “Even a small amount today can make a big difference in the future,” he says. He puts clients’ needs first and focuses on listening to their concerns and helping them achieve their goals. He strives to create a professional yet home-like ambiance in his office so people feel they’re in a safe place to discuss finances. “Money is a very sensitive and personal issue. I want to make people as comfortable as possible to discuss that,” he affirms.
Hulme leads free monthly workshops covering financial topics. His next one will be from 6 to 7 p.m., January 12 at the Edmond Community Center. He acknowledges that while many people don’t like thinking about the role money plays in their lives, it’s important to change financial habits to lead to a secure future.
“I love what I do,” Hulme says. “When I can help people remove their fears of money and get them to realize they’re in control of their finances, instead of feeling like money is controlling them, it’s amazing to see people go from a fear mindset to a generous mindset. That’s my biggest accomplishment.”
Thrivent Financial – Ethan Hulme’s office is located at 13901 N. Harvey Ave., in Edmond. For more information, call 405-242-2122 or visit Thrivent.com.
Sheila Julson is a Milwaukee-area freelance writer and contributor to Natural Awakenings magazines throughout the country.