Quad Cities, IL/IA

Working with the community... for a healthier community.

Planning For Life with Modern Woodmen


Ruth Ahnen, from Modern Woodmen of America, has been featured in Healthy Cells every year since we started in the Quad Cities. Ruth is a financial representative with Modern Woodmen in Bettendorf, Iowa. She grew up on a farm in a small town in southeast Minnesota and moved to the Quad Cities in 1996 to accept a senior management position with Hy-Vee. Her outgoing personality and her desire to help other people quickly led her to her dream job at Modern Woodmen. I recently met with Ruth and asked her a few questions:

HC: What are a few things that new or current clients may not know about you?
RA: “Many of my clients are surprised to learn that I was in the military. I joined the Army Reserves in 1993 and was a part of the Armed Forces for six years. I was a medical specialist at first and then moved to field military police. I loved it! I am a supporter of the Honor Flight program and have been blessed to make a few trips with the Honor Flight of the Quad Cities.” Ruth also loves to golf, “I love to play and attend golfing events! I am not [as] good as I’d like to be, but I truly enjoy being outdoors, and I enjoy the peaceful atmosphere on the course.”

HC: What are you capable of doing for your clients?
RA: “I work with clients, young and old, and I’ve found that no two people have the exact same goals. I spend a great deal of time listening to my clients to see what is important to them. Only then can I help them to achieve the things that are important to them. This isn’t a “one-size-fits-all” type of relationship. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve had my clients say to me, “I am so happy I met you. I don’t know where we would be without your help!” How I help them reach their goals really depends on their specific situation. Modern Woodmen has a great program called Planning for Life that really helps me determine what things are most important to my client.”

HC: Is there a key area you want to focus on at this time?
RA: “Yes, life insurance. Life insurance is the foundation of planning, regardless of where you are in life. A sudden accident, death, or illness could leave those who depend on you in serious financial trouble. Life Insurance should cover more than final expenses and funeral costs. It can provide for many things, like a stream of income for those who depend on your income or education expenses for loved ones left behind. A detailed plan should also include an element that completes the plan, even if you aren’t around to monitor its progress. Life Insurance is exactly that element and many people are very surprised to see how affordable life insurance can be. Unfortunately, life insurance provided by your employer usually will not cover all the needs required by an unexpected death. I often ask my clients, ‘What type of life would you like your family to lead if you didn’t make it home tonight? Would it be important for your spouse and children to be able to stay in your family home, even if you weren’t alive to help pay for the mortgage and taxes?’ Once a death occurs (or even a serious illness), it’s too late to make changes to one’s plan. Life insurance must be planned in advance.”

“In today’s world, most families are like mine; two income earners. And, like most families, we depend on both incomes to enjoy our lives as we do. That’s why it is so important to protect everyone in the home, not just the primary breadwinner. Life insurance covers a variety of needs that arise with an unexpected death. Typical expenses that individuals cover with life insurance are: funeral expenses; the home mortgage or rental payments; other outstanding debts such as credit cards; education expenses for children; a steady income for those left behind; and, necessary living expenses. No one likes to think about dying prematurely, yet it happens every day to thousands of people. Proper planning can provide the protection for everyone in the family against life’s uncertainties.”

“Modern Woodmen also offers Life insurance for children. Which can assist them with a solid foundation for their financial future. Whole life and universal life insurance plans are available to provide permanent protection and guaranteed cash values for the life of an individual, which are backed by the claims-paying ability of Modern Woodmen, as long as premiums are paid.”

HC: What are some other things that you help people with, which they may not be aware of?
RA: “Many of my clients are business owners and they have some additional needs to be addressed. For example, what would happen to the business, or your family, if the business owner or partner died unexpectedly? With proper planning, you can secure the future of your business as well as the financial security of your family.”

“Also, charitable giving is another area that a lot of people are interested in. You can create a legacy gift, often at a fraction of the cost. Your yearly premium payments may be tax deductible on your federal income tax return if you itemize them. This depends on your situation and certain factors, and it is best to consult a tax professional before making a decision. Best of all, your gift helps assure your charity’s future, providing funds for long-range needs.”

“Lastly, studies show that less than half of the middle market consumers (ages 25–64) have individual life insurance. Forty-four percent of those without coverage say they need it. The most common cited reason for not purchasing life insurance is cost. Sixty-three percent thought it would be too expensive. Interestingly, a recent study also found that consumers overestimate the cost of life insurance by nearly three-fold.”

HC: So, how can you help these people?
RA: “First, I want people to know that there [are] no fees or obligations to have a meeting. I will take a professional look at your present situation, listen to your goals, and help you to put a plan in place, to meet those goals in all eventualities. I get the biggest smile when I hear from a new client, ‘I was told by one of your existing clients I really need to talk to you. She said she was extremely impressed by your thoroughness and attention to details!’ That’s when I know I am doing my job right!”

Planning for Life — Meet Your Needs and Achieve Your Dreams and Goals Through All Stages of Life.

We Can Help You:

  • Protect yourself and your loved ones against life’s uncertainties. We have a variety of different life insurance solutions that can help provide the temporary or permanent protection clients need. I can come up with a plan to take care of your needs and stay within your budget.
  • Save for emergencies or opportunities and invest in your future. I encourage my clients to set up an emergency fund at Modern Woodmen Bank for those unexpected things that can happen. Our bank even has a program for kids to start saving early called Dollars and Sense. There are age appropriate lessons for school-aged kids from which they can learn to earn money for learning!
  • Retire comfortably and securely, with an income that can last a lifetime. I can help my clients build their retirement nest egg with a variety of options, and I can help them with the transition from work to retirement, even if they’ve built that nest egg somewhere else. Many of my new clients and potential clients ask me: “Do I have enough saved in my 401k to retire comfortably? How much social security will I get? When is the best time to draw my Social Security? What can I do with my 401k to make sure I won’t outlive my money? What else can I do outside my retirement plan to save?” I hear these questions all the time, and finding solutions to these questions is one of the most exciting parts of my job.
  • Preserve your estate and control how it’s passed to your loved ones. There are many misconceptions about estate planning. Myth: It is only for the wealthy — often families experience conflict when they try to divide a loved one’s estate, large or small. A clearly defined plan can ease the burden of the family and ensure you are leaving behind what you want, to whom you want.
  • Ensure the financial security of your business and family. I work with many business owners; the business owner has additional needs. They not only have their personal family but also their business family and possibly a customer/client family they want to make sure is secure. Many times, a business owner has a partner. We can set up plans to protect each partner’s share in the business, in the event of death. No one ever likes to think of this, but the family would still need to be financially secure as well as the business. A business owner needs to consider both sides of the equation — What would happen to their family if they pass away AND what would happen to their business and employees if they pass away.
  • Attract, retain, and reward quality employees. I help business owners set up small and large retirement plans for their employees. Employee retention is difficult and being able to offer some affordable or no-cost retirement options is key to many small business owners.

Ruth Ahnen is a local Modern Woodmen representative in Bettendorf. She can be reached at 563-508-0842 or Ruth.Ahnen@mwarep.org, to set up an appointment or to answer any questions.

Securities offered through MWA Financial Services, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Modern Woodmen of America. Member: FINRA, SIPC

Modern Woodman bank is a marketing name for MWA bank, a wholly owned subsidiary of Modern Woodmen of America. Annuities, insurance, retirement plans, mutual funds, and other securities are not insured by the FDIC or any other federal government agency, are not obligations or deposits for MWA bank, and are not guaranteed by MWA bank. These products involve risk, including the possible loss of principle invested. MWA bank, Member FDIC. Cash earned from “Dollars and Sense” is reported as interest to the IRS on form 1099INT.

All facts are from LIMRA’s life insurance consumer studies.