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Be Wise With Money

Making an Adjustment

Disability insurance planning pays off for dentist

When Dr. Lyons started a family, her husband stayed at home to raise their kids while she opened her own dental practice outside Milwaukee. She already had a disability income insurance contract she bought during her dental residency years ago. But as she made more money and eventually bought her own practice, that contract only covered about 40% of her current income. Since she was the only one bringing home a paycheck, she realized that was a gap the couple needed to fix.

"I spent two years looking into different contracts, trying to learn about disability income insurance and what you need," Lyons says. Then she turned to Kirsten and Cesar Lemus, longtime friends and Thrivent Financial representatives in Sheboygan, Wisconsin.

The financial representatives took a look at the contract Lyons already had. Rather than replace it, because she had a low premium and good coverage, they recommended keeping it and purchasing an additional contract to fill the gap. "We just created a strategy to build around that," Cesar says.

To figure out how much more insurance she needed, Cesar and Kirsten looked at the whole financial picture, from bills to income. "I said, 'If something were to happen to you and you couldn't work, this is how much income you would need to pay your bills and keep your current lifestyle,'" Cesar says.

"Cesar was so gentle about everything. He said there are so many other things that could go wrong. I could fall skiing, get in an accident or come down with a disease," says Lyons. After considering her options, Lyons bought additional disability income insurance from Thrivent to bridge the gap in her existing coverage.

She's thankful for her decision. In February 2012, just a few months later, Lyons started to have severe hand pain. It was difficult for her to handle dental instruments. She first went on short-term disability, and when the pain got worse, she sold her practice and went on full-time disability.

While Lyons still looks for a diagnosis, she is relieved that she can pay her family's bills. "I don't have to worry about this part of my life for a while. I can focus on myself."

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