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Be Wise With Money

An Early Start Pays Off

Spouse is well taken care of after her husband dies

Joe and Nancy Bartholomy were in their early 20s when they married in 1984. But before they even said "I do," Joe and Nancy bought their first insurance contracts from Thrivent Financial.

"Our goal was to be financially independent by 55 so that Joe could scale back or not work if he wanted to," says Nancy, 48.

While Joe grew his masonry business and Nancy helped as a bookkeeper, they met twice a year with Thrivent Financial representatives to keep their retirement strategy on track. "We had good representatives all along the way to make sure we planned well," says Nancy.

However, Joe didn't get to enjoy that retirement. One morning in December 2012, Nancy left to teach Sunday school. When she returned home just an hour and a half later, Joe, 51, had unexpectedly died. In the midst of the tragedy, Nancy also was concerned about her finances. Joe was an independent contractor, and the couple's only income came from the business. Now that Joe was gone, so was that income.

Tom Kirkpatrick and Bob Bell, the Bartholomy's Thrivent Financial representatives, called Nancy shortly after Joe died to make sure she was OK.

"We also assured her that all of the good things that they had done meant that she was financially taken care of for life," says Kirkpatrick. The life insurance the couple had purchased years before and added to along the way, along with a short-term bond fund added after Joe's death, will replace Joe's income in the short-term. Other financial investments the couple made, including variable annuities, mutual funds, traditional IRAs and the 401(k), along with Social Security income, will help with retirement. The business is in the process of being sold, which will also provide additional money.

"Luckily with everything we've done, my working is not an issue," says Nancy.

Today, Nancy is still healing from her loss, helped by her faith and her church community. She's been able to stay in her home and even keep the family's vacation homes. She spends her days taking care of her mother, who lives with her, and volunteering at her church.

"When the doctor told me that Joe didn't make it, I didn't cry because I knew where he was: in heaven with Jesus." says Nancy. "Because I've been OK, my boys and my husband's family have some security and peace with it, too."

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