Finding Your Career Path With Brady Lindemann Of Northwestern Mutual

When Brady Lindemann was growing up, he had a routine.


Every afternoon when he got home from school, he would head to the basement. That’s where his father, who was in the commercial insurance business and also did financial planning work, had his office. But unlike many kids his age who would do a quick pop in to catch up with their dads about homework or sports, Lindemann had a different agenda.


“I’d literally go down and talk shop with him about what he was working on, and I did it nearly every day,” Lindemann recalled. “Through our conversations, I got what I would call an ‘apprentice-level education’ about his business when I was still in my teen years.”


As Lindemann got older, he developed a true passion for the finance industry.


“I didn’t love the building insurance side of things – that was very commoditized to me,” he said. “What I loved was the strategy and the planning. I enjoyed learning how my father worked with the owners of companies to make sure their most valuable asset – their business – was not only properly secured but also given the best chance to succeed going forward.”


By the time Lindemann was ready to go to college, he knew he wanted to go into a similar line of work as his father, but he couldn’t find a school that had a degree or major program that was related to that field. Undaunted, he enrolled at the University of Minnesota Duluth and figured he would either go work for his father’s company, find a similar role on a different path or go into selling some sort of service or product after earning his diploma.


“What I knew was that I wanted to be a subject matter expert in the field I chose and that I wanted to be a high-value asset to a business,” he said. 


Everything seemed great at that point. Lindemann had a general plan for the future, along with the passion and drive to do whatever it took to be successful. 


There was only one problem.


“I graduated in the spring of 2010 in the middle of the recession and there were no jobs,” Lindemann said. “So I literally took the first one that I could find which was selling home and auto insurance. I worked in that industry for two years and I realized it wasn’t what I wanted to do.”


Lindemann began searching for something new, something that would reignite his professional spark – and then he stumbled across Northwestern Mutual in the spring of 2012. Suddenly, he knew he’d found exactly what he was looking for.


“The company was leaps and bounds beyond anything I had found in the area I had interest in,” Lindemann said. “I knew this was somewhere that I could actually become a high-value resource that business owners would rely on to help them with any issues they ran into in the financial space.”


Fast forward 10 years and Lindemann is now the managing director of the Minnetonka office at Northwestern Mutual and was recently recognized by Forbes as one of the top 15 financial security professionals Best-In-State in Minnesota. And he couldn’t be happier with the career path he chose. 


“I love the people I work with – they’re some of my best and favorite relationships and that’s been a very cool takeaway from our business,” Lindemann said. “Also, at the end of the day, a lot of our clients have also become friends, even the ones who started out as complete strangers. In general, I enjoy being able to solve problems for the people I care about and helping them overcome any obstacles that stand in their way.”


Additionally, Lindemann is thankful for the rewards that his career provides in terms of both compensation and flexibility. Instead of being chained to a desk from morning until night, he’s able to maintain a strong work-life balance that allows him to spend time with his family and friends. A job he loves with great people that pays well and has flexibility? Well, it’s a win from every possible angle!


If you’re interested in getting into the financial field as a new college graduate or you’re someone who’s been working for awhile and is looking for a career change, here are a few of Lindemann’s thoughts and suggestions:


  • Become comfortable with being uncomfortable: It may be a cliche, but nobody grows and accomplishes anything incredible by staying in their comfort zone, Lindemann said. “And our business is built outside the comfort zone,” he added. However, the beauty of it is that after a certain amount of time goes by, something magical happens. “Our business becomes our comfort zone and what started out as uncomfortable becomes comfortable,” he said. “That’s not something you can find everywhere. I see a lot of people in corporate America having to reinvent themselves to try to succeed and make more money. In our business, you actually become more and more solidified in what you do. Plus, you make more money so there’s no pressure to reinvent yourself in order to succeed at a higher level.” If you can find an industry like that, it’s probably one that’s worth sticking with for the long haul.


  • Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there: We’ve all heard the saying “It’s not what you know. It’s who you know,” and that adage has stood the test of time because it’s true. “Some amazing things have happened in my personal and professional life because I knew someone who ultimately connected me to something great,” Lindemann said. So how do you go about building up your list of contacts? If you’re early on in your career, he recommends finding your way into a profession that forces you to go out and build relationships. Sometimes, there’s nothing like diving into the deep end, right? However, that’s not to say that someone who has been in a solitary job for years can’t also pivot and get into a field that has more face-to-face interactions. It just means that it might be a bit more challenging to deviate from that path. But in either instance, networking groups or social clubs are great ways to get to know more people, and with a little practice, you can potentially turn new acquaintances into clients or partners. The key is to keep things low pressure, Lindemann said. “People want to view themselves as open minded, so I’ll ask them ‘would you be open to an introductory call or Zoom meeting or a lunch?’” he said. “It’s not about selling them anything because frankly, I don’t wake up in the morning thinking about selling something. I wake up thinking about getting to know someone who has problems that I have the tools to help them solve.” When you take things slowly and come from a place of helpfulness rather than trying to push an agenda, you’ll see relationships begin to blossom right and left!


  • Seek internship opportunities: Are you a college student or do you know someone who is? Northwestern Mutual recruits sophomores, juniors and seniors for its internship program and rather than having them push paper around and fetch coffee, they’re doing actual work. “They’re making live phone calls to people to set up introductory meetings, they’re conducting these meetings and ultimately, they’re getting clients out of it,” Lindemann said. “The hope is that they’re successful and when they graduate, they already have a career path that they’ve started to build.” Whether you’re looking to go into finance or another type of field, getting that boots-on-the-ground experience can be invaluable in helping you understand what you want to do – and what you don’t want to do – in the future.


  • Know that it’s OK to make a career change: Gone are the days when people went to work for one company and spent their entire careers there. Now, it’s not only common but acceptable to work in several different fields. If you suspect that your current role isn’t right for you, Lindemann recommends doing an audit to determine how well your profession fits your personality. Do you notice a lack of alignment? If so, it may mean it’s time to look for something new. “Our number-one hiring source is mid-career changers,” Lindemann said. “I recently talked to a man who is an engineer at a Fortune 500 company, but being an engineer is not his soul – it’s just what he’s educated in, and he’s tired of being that person.” Now this man is considering making the leap to Northwestern Mutual where can work in a role that allows him to be who he actually is – a solutions-oriented problem solver who has a high degree of social need for interaction. “He’s looking at reinventing himself, but really, he’s not reinventing himself in regard to his personality. He’s simply opening some doors that have had a lock on them because they haven’t been needed at his current job.” The bottom line is life’s too short to spend it doing something you don’t love. Take a chance. Make a change. Who knows what kind of happiness may be awaiting you on the other side?


Forbes Best-in-State Top Financial Security Professionals list (July 2022), based upon data as of December 31st of the preceding year.  Research and ranking provided by SHOOK Research. Northwestern Mutual and its advisors do not pay for placement on 3rd party rating lists, but do pay marketing fees to these organizations to promote the rating(s).  Rankings and recognitions are no guarantee of future investment success.

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