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Planting for Tomorrow

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A Real Life Story of Karla Myers, Operations Manager at FIFS, LLC

karla and her dad

When I was a young child my parents built a house, and the first things my father added to the property were a garden and an orchard. On many summer evenings you could find him checking on the plants to make sure they were progressing as he had hoped. He may not have known the quote from Audrey Hepburn, “To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow”, but he lived it out in how he cared for the orchard and garden, and especially how he cared for his family.

In his early 40s my father was diagnosed with a spinal cord tumor and at the age of 45 he died, due to complications following a second surgery. My mother, brother (age 11), sister (age 18), and I (age 20) lost a significant member of our family and our life as we knew it had been uprooted.

My mother clearly recalls the day of the calling hours, when their insurance agent reminded her that my father had purchased a life insurance policy and that she would soon receive a check for the proceeds from that policy. The burden of how to manage daily expenses had been lifted, only to be replaced with the overwhelming task of properly managing the funds. Rather than try to figure it out on her own, she sought the advice of trusted financial advisors who helped her create a plan for both her immediate and long-term financial needs.

Because of my parents’ planning, my mother was able to pay the funeral expenses, medical bills not covered by health insurance, and a bank loan. She invested some of the money, gave a charitable donation, went on a service trip to Haiti, and took our family on a vacation to Colorado for the first Christmas following dad’s death.

With dad’s life insurance, I also received a gift of having the remainder of my college tuition covered by some of the proceeds. Instead of leaving college with a large amount of debt, I had a manageable loan from my mother for college room and board. I also had the comfort of knowing that my mother was financially stable and could stay in the house that she and my father built together.

Soon after purchasing my own home I wanted to be diligent in planning, so the responsibility for final expenses and debt would not be on someone else’s shoulders. An attorney helped me set up a will, and J.R. Hager of FIFS guided me in choosing the appropriate life insurance policy for my needs. My personal experiences are what have influenced the decisions I’ve made.

When I’m tending my garden, I often think of my father and what advice he would give me; and in my kitchen you’ll find a sign on my wall that reads, “To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow.” My hope is that all families plan for tomorrow because life can take unexpected turns.

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