Making the Transition

Making the Transition

No one expects to meet the love of their life at age 11. But that’s how it unfolded for Jeanie Kazemier. Tom was her brother’s best friend growing up, but it wasn’t until college that things turned serious.

When they got married in their late 20s, they knew the fit was right. “Opposites attract,” says Jeanie. “Tom helped me become more focused and thoughtful. I helped him become more spontaneous and enjoy life.”

True to his role, Tom got Jeanie involved in their finances, which included getting life insurance. He wanted to ensure Jeanie and their children, Kennedy and Aiden, would always be OK financially.

Unimaginable Loss

And true to her role, Jeanie encouraged Tom to go on his yearly snowmobiling trip with friends, despite a full plate at work. He called her from that trip, saying he was having the time of his life. Tragically, that was the last conversation they had. He was hit by another snowmobiler, who was driving drunk, and was killed instantly.

The world collapsed for Jeanie and the kids. Grief overwhelmed them and Jeanie admits she felt lost. Thankfully, her insurance professional, Barb Pietrangelo, reassured her that Tom’s life insurance would help them make the immediate transition, paying for the funeral and ongoing bills and expenses.

Barb also helped put the life insurance proceeds to work for the long-term. It paid for mental health counseling so the family could cope with their grief. It covered private health insurance Jeanie now needed. And it set them up for the future so they could continue living in their home, and plan for college, retirement and even family vacations.

“Tom’s motto was: Be prepared. You don’t know what life will hand you,” says Jeanie. “Our situation now would be totally different if he hadn’t had life insurance. It’s a godsend that Tom had that forethought and planned for our future.”

It’s a True Financial Lifeline

It’s a True Financial Lifeline

Diligent, hardworking, civic-minded, a family man. These are all terms that Sara Mathews Dixon uses to describe her husband, Jay. And it was those qualities that made a great husband and father, and a dedicated police officer.

Like many young families, Sara and Jay found themselves juggling kids, school, work schedules, sports, meals and family time with sons Lorenzo, Anthony and Nico. But the couple relished their family life.

And it was Jay’s dedication to his family that also made life insurance a priority. “The kids were the most important thing in his life,” says Sara, and so they both purchased coverage in their late 20s, which included term life insurance, as well as permanent policies both for themselves and their children. They eventually converted a portion of their term insurance to whole life with their insurance professional, Richard Terhune.

A Turn of Fate

Jay was a lifelong athlete and spent time playing sports with his sons. But his active lifestyle couldn’t prevent a serious illness from damaging his heart, which eventually lead to a heart transplant.

After the operation, life returned to a semblance of normality for the Dixons. Then came the afternoon of January 4. The couple was at home with the boys when Jay appeared to have a seizure. Paramedics were unable to revive him, and he died at age 40. “My world exploded,” says Sara. “It’s been traumatic, especially for the boys, who are now 12, 10 and 5.”

But amidst all this, one thing she hasn’t had to worry about is money. “Jay’s life insurance has been a true financial lifeline,” she says. “It means we don’t have to move in with my mother or make any major changes right now after all that’s happened to us.”

Her advice to other parents is to consider life insurance early on, before health issues make it hard or impossible to get. “We don’t control the universe,” she says, “and you don’t know what’s going to happen down the line. Life insurance can keep you and your children in your own world.”

In Good Times and Bad

In Good Times and Bad

Cory and Asia Schroeder are the most unlikely couple and, yet, the most likely couple. They met under the saddest of circumstances, but now married 13 years, they have used their relationship to transform the unimaginable into the possible.

You see, Asia was the widow of Peter, a Marine that was in the same unit as Cory. He was part of an elite bomb squad and died in the line of duty while stationed in Iraq. Asia was just 23 and their son, Jacob, 3.

Grief gripped the small family, but thankfully financial concerns weren’t an issue. Just before deploying, Peter purchased an individual life insurance policy that essentially doubled the coverage he had through the military. His wife and son were at the center of his life, and he wanted to make sure they wouldn’t suffer financially if he didn’t return.

The Future Unfolds

“When Peter died, it felt like I was watching a movie— it’s something that happened to other people, not me,” says Asia. “His life insurance was instant assurance that everything was going to be OK financially.”

Cory offered solace and help to Asia and Jacob as they looked toward the future. Friendship turned to love and a new family unit was born when Cory and Asia married. But the power of life insurance didn’t end there. The couple purchased policies, including permanent life insurance, because they had seen what it could do firsthand.

As they continued to build their dreams together, Cory and Asia tapped the cash value of their permanent life insurance policies to use as a down payment on a new commercial property.* They wanted to expand their 24-7 gym and transform it into the prosperous business they knew it could be. “It has allowed us to follow our passion and do something we enjoy,” says Cory.

The Schroeders know firsthand the power of life insurance. It has been there to support their life, their dreams and their future through good times and bad.

*Withdrawing or borrowing funds from your policy will reduce its cash value and death benefit if not repaid, and may result in a tax liability if the policy terminates before the death of the insured.

A Life Changed, a Lifestyle Remains

A Life Changed, a Lifestyle Remains

For Scott Rider, it wouldn’t be a stretch to say that running was his life. In college he was a three-time Big Ten Champion, two-time All American, and later competed in the Olympic trials. His running sustained him as he charted out his career in financial services. It was also a constant as he and his high-school sweetheart, Kelly, married and raised their three children.

Running is also how he found out his life was changed forever.

It began subtly, when Scott’s toes didn’t “work as they should.” It eventually interfered with his running, and after several years of being misdiagnosed, he learned he had Parkinson’s disease.

“I remember the day I found out. As I stood outside the doctor’s office, on the sidewalk on a warm fall day, I knew my life—and my family’s—was changed forever,” says Scott.

The Life They Knew …

His day-to-day routines have changed drastically since being diagnosed at 47. Cognitive and physical limitations mean he had to give up the profession he loved. And he now relies on Kelly to help him with tasks most people take for granted, like tying his shoes.

One thing in his life has not changed, however. He and his family have been able to maintain their lifestyle, thanks to the disability insurance he purchased. He got it when he was just starting out in his career and added to it as his salary grew.

His disability insurance now replaces a significant portion of the income he once earned. It has allowed Kelly to remain a stay-at-home mom and now be a caregiver. Plus it helps them meet Scott’s growing medical needs.

In addition, the couple has been able to put their three children through college and give their daughter the wedding of her dreams. They’ve even reached a retirement goal of moving to a warmer climate. All of this was made possible by Scott’s disability insurance.

“Without it, I don’t know where we’d be,” says Scott. “I feel fortunate that I understood early on that my income was my most valuable asset, and that I needed to insure it.”

Paradise Found

Paradise Found

It’s paradise. That’s how Linda Billings describes her new home in Sarasota, Fla. Most days you’ll find this Virginia transplant out walking along the beach, attending a fitness class, meeting up with friends, and yes, still working part time.

At 68, Linda doesn’t want to give up what she loves to do: write about astrobiology for NASA. “I find it endlessly interesting and challenging work, but I just don’t want to do it full time anymore,” she says.

Thanks to the strategies she’s put in place for her retirement, with the help of her insurance professional, Linda doesn’t have to work. As part of the planning they did, Linda purchased several annuities, which now cover 100% of her current and anticipated monthly expenses.

“What appealed to me about annuities was their security and dependability—the peace of mind of not running out of money in retirement,” says Linda. And she adds that as a single woman, there’s comfort knowing she’ll have a guaranteed income stream for life.

“I don’t worry when I get into bed. I don’t fret about my financial situation anymore,” says Linda. “How many people headed for retirement are able to say that?”

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