Women and Makeovers: Foundations for Financial Security

Jan 14, 2010, 15:00 ET from MassMutual

SPRINGFIELD, Mass., Jan. 14 /PRNewswire/ -- One woman did it for her daughter. One woman did it for her twin sons with special needs. And one woman did it for her business and the future of her two children.

What is "it?" They all got makeovers -- not cosmetic, but financial. And they found that the biggest secret to a successful financial makeover is the combination of acting on their instincts, finding good guidance, and building a plan on a foundation of long-term security.

"Getting started doesn't have to be overwhelming," said Beth Wood, assistant vice president, U.S. Insurance Group, Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co. (MassMutual). "A little advance planning can put you on solid footing for weathering the inevitable life events that all of us -- and women in particular -- go through."

Research shows that the majority of women are underinsured, leaving both themselves and their families at great financial risk. And because women often live longer and often assume the role of caregiver in their families, they are more likely than men to experience major life events. In a survey conducted in 2008 by AARP Financial, Inc., nearly two-thirds (65%) of women age 40 to 79 said they had already experienced a major life crisis such as job loss, divorce, death of a spouse, or serious illness or disability of an immediate family member or themselves, and in the vast majority of cases, the event had a significant impact on their finances.

However, by planning for those life events, women can reduce the likelihood of financial hardship. Consider the stories of three women from different walks and stages of life who overcame real life challenges with makeovers.

  • Nancy Griffith-Cochran, of Purcellville, Va., had a gut feeling about a need for financial protection for her young daughter and convinced her husband to explore options for greater financial security. The couple subsequently divorced, and her ex-husband unexpectedly died soon thereafter. But the cost of their daughter's college education has been covered by the benefit from a Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual) policy purchased while the couple was still married. Watch Nancy tell her story at massmutual.com/customervoices.
  • Ann MacLaren, of Fortville, Ind., worried about providing a sound financial future for her twin sons with autism. Working with a MassMutual Special Care Planner, she developed a life-care plan that benefits her sons with autism and their siblings. That plan includes a Letter of Intent that spells out plans for day-to-day care and her hopes for the future, as well as a Special Needs Trust funded by whole life insurance to permanently provide for her children's needs in the future.
  • Nicole Curreri, of Savannah, Ga., wanted to provide her two grown daughters with the means to continue running the kitchenware business she started. She especially wanted to give them enough resources to be able to take their time to make good decisions about the business and not be forced into a sale of it. She put in place a plan funded by a permanent whole life insurance policy that gives her peace of mind and provides her children with financial security.  

Each case shared three common elements: acting on their instincts by enlisting the guidance of a knowledgeable financial professional, and putting life insurance in place that created a solid foundation for the makeover plan.

"Our planning has made such a big difference in the life of my family that my only regret is that I didn't start 10 years earlier," said MacLaren. "Particularly as a mother of children with special needs, it's crucial to realize that getting started early can have a huge positive impact on the lives of your kids."

In many cases, the best way to get started is by talking to a financial professional who can help you sort out what your goals are and how to take steps to start addressing them, according to Wood.

"It's always smart to protect yourself against life events -- such as death, the loss of a job, or the loss of health -- that we might otherwise be inclined to put off until we're faced with them, and then it's too late," said Wood.

To help women get started, MassMutual conducts educational seminars, entitled "Pearls of Wisdom," that teach women about the importance of planning, examine typical challenges for each life phase, and discuss potential strategies for addressing various scenarios.

To learn more about the financial needs of women and how to address them, visit massmutual.com/women. To find a financial professional near you go to massmutual.com/secure/locateanoffice.

About MassMutual

Founded in 1851, MassMutual is a leading mutual life insurance company that is run for the benefit of its members and participating policyholders. The company has a long history of financial strength and strong performance, and although dividends are not guaranteed, MassMutual has paid dividends to eligible participating policyholders every year since the 1860s. With whole life insurance as its foundation, MassMutual provides products to help meet the financial needs of clients, such as life insurance, disability income insurance, long term care insurance, retirement/401(k) plan services, and annuities. In addition, the company's strong and growing network of financial professionals helps clients make good financial decisions for the long-term.

MassMutual Financial Group is a marketing name for Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual) and its affiliated companies and sales representatives. MassMutual is headquartered in Springfield, Massachusetts and its major affiliates include: Babson Capital Management LLC; Baring Asset Management Limited; Cornerstone Real Estate Advisers LLC; The First Mercantile Trust Company; MassMutual International LLC; MML Investors Services, Inc., member FINRA and SIPC; OppenheimerFunds, Inc.; and The MassMutual Trust Company, FSB.


Karen Lavariere-Sanchez



SOURCE MassMutual