Financial adviser: Don’t wait to put a plan in place

| March 8, 2017 | 0 Comments

John Tetzloff has served many people in his 20 years at St. Paul-based Catholic United Financial. As an advanced case specialist and trainer, he meets with about 100 families every year about estate planning and charitable giving. But one particular couple stands out in his mind.

“I met with a married couple in their 70s at their place. They had a rundown farm and house,” said Tetzloff, 52, who works out of Nicollet. “I got to know them well and found out they were worth a couple million dollars. Never assume.”

John Tetzloff

After working with the couple on an estate plan, he connected them with an attorney and attended meetings with them.

“After we left the attorney’s office, the wife gave me a big hug and said, ‘We could never have done this without you,’” Tetzloff recalled. “It’s so fun to work with so many different kinds of people.”

Tetzloff said he helps everyone from farm families in succession planning to people wanting to leave a gift to their church to seniors entering a nursing home wanting to protect their assets.

Formerly the Catholic Aid Association until 2010, Catholic United Financial is a nonprofit fraternal benefit company that works with people on retirement savings options while providing opportunities to impact their Catholic parishes, schools and community.

Tetzloff’s best advice to people wanting to increase their wealth and philanthropy is to know what they have — the assets and what they’re worth — how they feel and what they want to see happen. He asks clients how their objectives and feelings fit into the big picture and then brings in other specialists such as attorneys and certified public accountants.

“It’s like we’re the captain of the football team, and we have all these assistant coaches,” Tetzloff said.

When he meets with clients, he asks them questions to get an overall view of their goals, helps them understand their options based on their goals and then together, they implement a plan.

Tetzloff said that although the process takes courage and time, it’s important to meet with a financial adviser at some point. Otherwise, people lose options.

“In life, we have to rely on people who know things we don’t,” he said. “Once they sit down with us and get over that initial fear, it’s usually an easy process. I stress, too, doing nothing is a plan as well, but do we want to leave things up to chance?”

“We need to have a vision for the future,” he continued. “By planning ahead, it gives us a lot of options to work with. People save money in taxes, and communicating to our heirs ahead of time prevents leaving decisions to grieving family members.”

Tetzloff typically meets with a client two to three times and then follows up annually to ensure plans are on track. He said that even after people have a plan in place, they’re able to change it.

In addition to meeting individually with clients, he presents approximately 50 seminars each year at Catholic parishes across Minnesota, Wisconsin, North Dakota and South Dakota.

Read Tetzloff’s blog at

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Category: Family Financial Planning