Todd Larson, CFP®, CKA®, ChFC®, CRPC®, APMA® CLTC®
Todd Larson is a man on a mission to change the adjectives that are associated with the finance industry. From greed to good, from covetous to compassionate, and from grimy to godly. This is not the story of a ladder-climbing tycoon who has surmounted a series of emblematic challenges to attain success. No, this narrative is of a humble and faithful leader who, in the tenor of Jesus Christ, wants more for people, not from them.
While this magnanimous posture is contrary to the traditional and widely accepted conduct of the finance sector at large, Todd’s faith-infused business model has impressed and secured a spate of clients, who, like him, believe in changing the status quo. In that vein, Todd makes a practice of doing what his competition won’t—he pre-qualifies his investments. “When I decided to be a faith-centric company, I knew that “screening” was a real risk and one that could lead to bankruptcy, but if I was going to talk the talk, I had to walk the walk. Since we guide our clients from a biblical perspective, I could not, in good conscience, profit from services that subtract value from mankind, such as payday loans, pornography, and tobacco,” he explains.
While Todd has two official titles—Certified Kingdom Advisor, and private wealth advisor for Larson, Reynolds and Associates, a private wealth advisory practice under Ameriprise Financial Services, LLC—he is more adequately described as a “master craftsperson.” Over the past 20 years, he has helped people gain clarity, confidence, and understanding of their finances as the steward of a practice offering Christian financial strategies for retirement income and planning, investment management, small business, charitable giving, executive compensation and benefits, and tax/estate planning. However, his clients are not just those of the Christian faith. In fact, many are non-secular and work with Todd not because he’s devout, but because he’s great at what he does. He expounds, “Over the years, I’ve served lots of clients, earned many designations, a couple degrees, trained about 2,000 advisors, and been somewhat successful. But when I retire, what I will be most proud of is the positive impact we had on so many families. I’ll think about those we helped through the loss of a loved one, the relationships we healed that were fracturing over money, the impact we made on multiple generations, the trust we’ve earned over the years with not just clients, but other professionals and local media, and the lives we’ve changed through our generosity.”
This is a story we were compelled to write! We spoke with Todd, eager to learn more about his ideals, strategy, and influence in the field.
Todd, we found the title of Certified Kingdom Advisor intriguing. What exactly is that?
Great question. Kingdom Advisors is an organization that trains and equips advisors to work with Christian clients, so from a biblical worldview. It’s a designation you can earn from that organization through training. It’s for people who want to be serious about living at the intersection of faith and finance.
How is your integration of biblical stewardship and financial advising unique from the approach of other firms?
Unlike other firms, whose models are geared exclusively to wealth accumulation, our focus is on strengthening relationships, generosity, the elimination of debt, and a novel approach to retirement. We believe that work brings people a sense of purpose, and being idle in retirement can lead to depression, divorce, and feeling worthless. We advocate for transition—finding new meaning and value for this new phase of life. I find that our approach leads to thoughtful introspection and a mutually gratifying purpose that is inclusive of spouses and family. We’re addressing the emotional side of retirement planning, not just the financial aspects.
Many faith-based leaders are hesitant to shine a public light on their Christian values. What advice would you give them?
I think there’s a general fear that someone will be called out as a hypocrite, that they’d be accused of not meeting expectations. These are dark times, and the media is saturated with negativity. It’s time to let the light shine so people can see good works and give glory to God. Some leaders think, “I didn’t realize that I could be faith-forward and not offend anyone.” When you counteract fear with conviction, good things happen. The tenants of the Christian faith are based on goodness, and I believe this is what the world needs now more than ever.
How does your faith influence your investment style?
Most people I speak with want to “qualify” what they invest in, and conventional advisors don’t offer this option. We provide what’s called a “faith-based investing screen” so that we can avoid profiting from pornography, payday loans, alcohol, tobacco, marijuana, etc. I don’t care if someone drinks or smokes, I just don’t want to benefit from it. I want to capitalize on opportunities that bring value to mankind.
How are you influencing your peers?
People know me for being a Christian advisor and for thriving in that space. I led the effort to create an eight-week, small group-study program for Ameriprise advisors to teach them to serve not only clients, but also their teams, community, corporate partners, vendors, and themselves. It was almost two years in the making, but we received great feedback from our first 30 enrollees. We expect to register all 1,100 members of the Christian Affinity Group within Ameriprise in subsequent offerings.
What do you enjoy most about your work?
There are many things that drive me, but creating something that’s unique and honors God is foremost. When I can help families transition wealth effectively to the next generation and carry on their family values, purpose, and generosity, this motivates and excites me. I enjoy meetings where grandparents bring in their grandkids, which is common here, because it offers a panoramic view of their future, and I like to believe that I’ve made a valuable contribution to their financial, emotional, and spiritual well-being that will endure.
Todd Larson is a Certified Financial Planner, Certified Kingdom Advisor, Charter Financial Consultant, Behavioral Financial Advisor, Accredited Portfolio Manager, and Charter Retirement Planning Counselor. He holds certification in Long-Term Care™, a B.S. from Purdue University, and a master’s in financial services from The Institute of Business and Finance. His awards include Forbes’s Best-in-State Wealth Advisor for 2019, 2020, and 2021, and the Ameriprise Client Experience Award, 2021.
Todd Larson, CFP®, CKA®, ChFC®, CRPC®, APMA® CLTC®
Private Wealth Advisor, Larson, Reynolds and Associates/Ameriprise Financial Services
Certified Advisor, Kingdom Advisors
The views expressed here reflect the views of Todd Larson as of November 30, 2021. These views may change as market or other conditions change. Actual investments or investment decisions made by Ameriprise Financial and its affiliates, whether for its own account or on behalf of clients, will not necessarily reflect the views expressed. This information is not intended to provide investment advice and does not account for individual investor circumstances. Investment decisions should always be made based on an investor's specific financial needs, objectives, goals, time horizon and risk tolerance. Past performance does not guarantee future results and no forecast should be considered a guarantee either.