There are situations where your local Catholic United Financial Representative could use help if a Member has a complex financial situation. That’s when the Rep calls on the expertise of an Advanced Case Specialist (ACS). It’s a benefit of membership that you might not know you have, and now we’ve made it three times better.
The ACS is a veteran member of the Catholic United Financial sales staff with several years of experience in the financial services industry. Working jointly with the local Rep and the Member, the Advanced Case Specialist makes sure the complicated aspects of a Member’s plan are managed to their satisfaction. And the best benefit? The services of the ACS are always free for our members.
Knowing that the demand for these kinds of planning services is always increasing, Catholic United Financial leadership recently promoted three of our Sales Representatives to the position of Advanced Case Specialist. We sat down with David Schonhardt, Joseph Johnston and David Stang to talk about the role, and what this work means to them.
Question: What does an Advanced Case Specialist provide to a Member when you are brought in to help their situation?
David Schonhardt: With all Catholic United Sales Representatives, a Member can expect a high degree of respect for his or her situation, professional treatment, care and attention to detail. As Specialists, the three of us draw on a particular set of expertise and experience that is centered around more complex situations. The Advanced Case Specialist provides a deeper awareness of regulatory situations and legal circumstances, and a better understanding that helps the Member meet their particular desires.
Joseph Johnston: In this role, we provide to our Members the holistic approach covering everything: estate planning, retirement, income, investments, asset protection, charitable giving strategies, and anything else that comes up.
Question: What excites you about taking on the role of an Advanced Case Specialist?
David Stang: I am really excited to be able to help people and use the mentoring I received from the previous Advanced Case Specialist, John Tetzloff. When he asked me to take the position, I thought, “Yes, I get to see more people in different areas and work in a specialty area.” In a recent case, I helped a couple with a pretty significant estate: over three and a half million dollars. They were farmers and they had no plan whatsoever. I explained to them the estate taxes and we ended up saving them over a hundred thousand dollars just by putting an estate plan together. They were really happy with us getting that accomplished.
Johnston: With any kind of promotion, it’s exciting. It means that I’m doing a good job. But all that aside, I really enjoy sitting down at the kitchen table or at the dining room table with a family and just having a conversation with them about their needs. Schonhardt: What most excited me was the idea that I’d be able to spend a lot more time problem solving. The thing that I’ve enjoyed the most in my job in the last nine years has been being able to look at a situation, look at a family’s circumstances, and solve the problems they have.
Question: What types of problems do you help a Member solve when they sit down with you?
Stang: I want to help the Member get to where they want to go as quickly and as easily as possible. There’s an easy way to do everything and there’s a complicated way. I feel like I have an easy way of approaching complicated cases.
Schonhardt: There’s a couple I’m working with right now who want to leave a significant portion of their estate to their local church. And it’s fantastic. Their generosity, their charitable interest—it’s just heartwarming to see. But the way that their trust is written right now could lead to some significant conflict in their family in the future. I’m helping them simplify how they can do what they want to with their charitable interest in their parish, without having a problem among their children. By delving in and figuring out who the players are, we can make sure that what the member wants to have happen does happen without causing problems later.
Johnston: There’s probably an infinite amount of things that we can help clients with, but I think if you were to generalize it, it would just be to make a plan and talk in simple terms so that people can understand you. We make a plan for them, explain it to them, and then hopefully move forward with that plan.
Question: How does having access to an Advanced Case Specialist bring added value to membership in Catholic United Financial?
Johnston: Just a couple of weeks ago, I met with a gentleman. After 40 years, he’s retiring in 2022 and didn’t know what to do. He’s got a sizable chunk of money sitting in a 401(k) retirement account. We did sit down and talk about that holistic approach: estate planning, retirement, goals, risk tolerance. We made a big overview, then nailed down a specific plan. We were able to bring some money over to Catholic United. We were able to use the Agency LLC that Catholic United has as well. Our member couldn’t have been happier. It’s exactly what he wanted, and it was all because we had a conversation and listened to what his goals were.
Schonhardt: Catholic United Financial is an organization committed to building up the communities in which our Members live. What I do is help make that happen. I help a person see how they fit into that goal and see how they can help build up their community as well. At the same time, what we provide is that connection, that financial security.
Stang: We now have three Advanced Case Specialists on staff. We feel very strongly that a good plan saves everybody a lot of time and money. That is a very strong benefit. I look forward to meeting with Members. I really enjoy the original meeting in just getting to know them, and what they have, what their plans are. When you get done with the process, it’s probably three or four meetings with them, and we can go to the attorney with them. When it’s done, it’s almost a high-five type situation. They accomplished it! It’s just a nice, warm feeling that I get when I help put that plan in place.
A resident of Eden Prairie, Minn., Joe Johnston is an Advanced Case Specialist and Sales Representative serving the St. Michael, Buffalo and Monticello areas. During his free time, Joe likes spending time with his wife and two little girls, which Joe says is both fun and the cause of his gray hair. Joe has been with Catholic United since 2015.
David Schonardt is a Sales Representative and Advanced Case Specialist serving southern Minnesota, South Dakota and Iowa. He spent the beginning of his Catholic United career serving the Sioux Falls, S.D. area. David currently lives in Tracy, Minn. with his wife Alicia and their seven children. David has nine years of tenure on the Catholic United Financial sales staff.
According to David Stang, he lives “in the big, huge town of St. Nicholas. It has one large church and about 20 homes.” He serves central Minnesota, southwest of Saint Cloud as a Team Leader and Advanced Case Specialist. He’s been married to Annette for 28 years and they have two grown daughters. In his spare time, you can find David on the golf course or in his woodworking shop. He’s been a member of the sales staff since 2010.