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Craig Tharp: Charitable hearts finding purpose

Friday, February 26, 2021 - 17:18

When Craig Tharp’s client said she was looking for an advisor to tell her what she didn’t want to hear, he didn’t anticipate it meant persuading her to replace her broken iPad.

“Half the time we’re cheerleaders,” Craig laughs. He also encouraged the woman to buy a new car rather than get more repairs on her old model. “I had to say, ‘This is what you save money for!’”

The financial consultant met the client when she became the trustee of accounts he managed for her mother. He took things at her pace, getting to know what’s important to her.

“When you see their charitable heart, you start asking better questions,” Craig says. He is genuinely interested in discovering clients’ purpose for their wealth and builds on the trust that results. “Some advisors don’t ask about purpose, they just house the money,” he says.

A widow with no children, his client is a retired hospital administrator. Her deceased husband had been a business executive. They amassed significant assets, including farmland, a vacation home, appreciated securities and retirement accounts.

Craig recommended his client make a beneficiary proceeds gift to Thrivent Charitable Impact & Investing. Being strategic about timing the gifts will save her income taxes and taxable gains, and allow her to provide about $7 million to several causes related to animal and human rights, locally and globally, upon her death.

Giving proceeds at death offers her time now to affirm her choices. “She wants to be the best steward of her gifts by watching charities to see how they handle small gifts now,” he explains. “She likes the flexibility and freedom to change her mind.”

Meeting prospects on their own terms

To hear Craig tell it, he does his best work when he’s not prospecting. “Do the next right thing early in your career, and people will find out and be drawn to you,” he says.

That authentic approach has worked for nearly 30 years. At community events and other functions, he tells people what he does but doesn’t chase sales. “I don’t call them. I let them find me on their own terms.”

Social distancing creates new opportunities

Craig marvels at how quickly the industry has transitioned to Zoom calls and screen sharing. A client in Iowa introduced his brother in Missouri to Craig in an online meeting that wouldn’t have happened a few months ago. They’re creating an estate plan together.

“Out of necessity we’ve found some really good ways to be efficient,” he says. “This will become the new normal for clients of all ages.”

New opportunities that have presented themselves during the pandemic include an online Bible study Craig attends funded with Thrivent Action team seed money.