Faith Meets Finance: Janelle Fuhrmann
For Janelle Fuhrmann of Appleton, every day is bring your faith to work day. As a CFP®, CHFC®, RICP® certified financial consultant at Thrivent Financial, her lifelong commitment to personal faith is what gives meaning to her work with clients who believe the Apostles’ Creed.
“Thrivent formed as a 501(c)(8) which is a fraternal benefit society, a legal entity where the bond is people who resonate with a specific set of beliefs.” Furhmann said. “The investment side of our business works with clients of all religions and backgrounds. But the products that Thrivent manufactures like life insurance, disability insurance and annuities which we use to fulfill planning needs can only be purchased to those who attest to the Christian faith.”
Janelle and her husband Scott moved to Appleton in 1999 where she spent the next 18 years in various leadership roles at Thrivent, including leading a region with more 150 financial representatives and staff.
This year, Furhmann’s life has reached a crossroads. She’s taken a new role at work and become an empty-nester.
“At the beginning of 2018, I decided to pursue my passion of personally helping individuals on their journey to financial security,” she said. “I enjoy helping people one-on-one.”
In her personal life, she and Scott are trying to figure out how to spend their newfound alone time. Their children, Brock and Haley, are both living out of the home.
“My husband just bought me golf clubs for Valentine’s Day,” she said. “So I guess golfing is definitely on the agenda!”
With a warm welcome into her beautifully-designed home, Furhmann shared more of her story.
Women: Tell me a little about yourself. Where are you from originally? What is your background?
Janelle: I grew up in Jefferson, WI. My father owned an auto repair business and was also the mayor of our city. My mother was an assistant to the administrator for Jefferson County. I graduated with a bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and spent 11 years in the Milwaukee area as a financial associate with Thrivent. I married my husband Scott in 1993.
W: Do you belong to any professional organizations or groups?
Janelle: The Women’s Fund of the Fox Valley Region, Kingdom Advisors and the Financial Planning Association.
W: When did faith and religion find you? What church do you attend?
Janelle: I was raised as a Christian. My parents were the basis. Now in my married life it’s the same – we’re very strong in our faith. We attend Mount Olive Lutheran.
W: What is the process for helping individuals become financially secure?
Janelle: The process starts by asking a lot of questions and listening. We go over their goals and objectives. Each person is different. I find out where they’re at now, what they’re doing. Then we talk about what they want to achieve. My goal is to help them see the big picture. If my clients feel they are at a place of abundance, they’ll give more. That’s important to me: an abundance mindset. A mindset like that helps people give more, not only their money, but their time and talent, too.
W: What brought you to Thrivent?
Janelle: I have a brother who worked for Thrivent who asked me to partner with him a year after I graduated from college.
I love Thrivent’s mission of helping Christians be wise with money and helping them toward a position of surplus which also benefits their communities – so it’s a perfect fit for me and my beliefs.
W: What would you want readers to know about the work done/services provided at your business?
Janelle: I’m able to offer all the services typically provided by financial services firms, including investment management, fee-based planning and financial risk management, but we are unique because our mission is to link faith and finances together and ultimately help people be secure in their individual situation and to lead more generous lives.
W: What’s your favorite part of the day?
Janelle: I would say evening time. I also spend most of my personal devotion time in the evening, and I love this quiet time to reflect and grow.
W: Do you have any significant projects planned for 2018?
Janelle: I would like to enhance my community impact by intertwining my work as a financial consultant and my passion for philanthropy.
I am an advocate for young women and have been involved in the Young Women’s Initiative as part of my role on the board with The Women’s Fund of the Fox Valley Region. We are helping to remove barriers that prevent young women from furthering their education through a collaborative effort with nonprofits and higher education institutions.
W: How has your job role changed over the years?
Janelle: The financial services industry has become more complex with the focus on holistic planning. This comprehensive approach is more important than ever in helping people achieve their financial goals. I enjoyed my work in the past of leading a team of financial representatives at Thrivent, but I’m excited to be able to work one-on-one with individuals to help them meet their unique financial goals and support
causes they care about. One theme that’s been consistent throughout my career: I will always continue to challenge myself and grow.
W: What are some trends you’re seeing?
Janelle: People are more compelled today than ever before to seek out help with their financial strategy. It has become apparent to many people that they are not addressing all the areas of planning they should in order to have a more secure future. I’m excited to help meet this need.
W: Do you think there are any misconceptions about Thrivent?
Janelle: Many think Thrivent only serves the Lutheran market, but it is anyone who believes the Apostles’ Creed.
W: Do you have a role model?
Janelle: My family members are my role models. My parents were hardworking people who provided for our family and raised my brothers and myself with an understanding of the Christian faith. I have two great brothers who know the importance of family. This has been helpful as we have faced adversity these last four years with the challenges of aging parents. And last but not least, my husband Scott is a role
model for me. He is always willing to help others and has given his time and talent to help in many ways, ranging from individuals that need help to community projects.
W: What do you do for exercise?
Janelle: I have a routine I try to do including walking on the treadmill and lifting weights. In addition, I occasionally participate in yoga for stretching purposes.
W: What are your “words to live by”? (Or favorite quotes?)
Janelle: All we have is a gift from God. Generosity is both a catalyst for and an expression of faith.
W: Do you like to get up early or stay up late?
Janelle: I am definitely more of a night person.
W: Tell me a little about your personal life and family.
Janelle: Our son recently graduated from college and works in Bloomington-Normal, Illinois and our daughter is at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota. Because we feel we have been so blessed, we believe in contributing to our church and community
through both volunteering and financial support. We love to travel as a family and will continue to do that as long as we are able. My parents are still alive so I hope to spend a little more time with them now that we are empty nesters.
W: You mentioned you believe it’s every Christian’s duty to help spread the word of God’s grace. What is that message?
Janelle: Every person should be told of God’s grace. They have a savior and it’s Jesus. If they put their hope and trust in him, they will be fine. They have something more than this life. It’s not about doing good deeds because we have to. We do them because He loved us first. w