Protect your loved ones: why life insurance is a crucial financial lifeline. 

New York Life | April 11, 2023

Above photo: Sara Mathews Dixon and her family.

Family first

Rich Terhune, a 17-year career agent, now Development Manager with New York Life in Connecticut, has seen how the death benefit of life insurance can offer financial stability for a family. One of his clients, Sara Mathews Dixon, never thought she would be a widow at 40 and raising three children on her own. When her husband, Jay, died, it was his life insurance that ensured she would be okay financially. “Rich helped us with our life insurance needs and made sure our policies were up to date,” relays Sara.

“Jay was a great husband and father, and a dedicated police officer,” says Sara. Like many young families, Sara and Jay found themselves juggling kids, school, work schedules, sports, meals and family time with sons Lorenzo, Anthony, and Nico. But the couple relished their family life. And it was Jay’s dedication to his family that also made life insurance a priority. “The kids were the most important thing in his life,” says Sara, and so they both purchased coverage in their late 20s, which included term life insurance, as well as permanent policies both for themselves and their children. “They eventually converted a portion of their term insurance to whole life one and a half years before Jay passed,” notes Terhune.

Jay was a lifelong athlete and spent time playing sports with his sons. But his active lifestyle couldn’t prevent a serious illness from damaging his heart, which eventually lead to a heart transplant. After the operation, life returned to a semblance of normality for the Dixons. Then came the afternoon of January 4. The couple were at home with the boys when Jay appeared to have a seizure. Paramedics were unable to revive him, and he died at age 40. “My world exploded,” says Sara. “It’s been traumatic, especially for the boys, who are now 12, 10, and 5.”

Above photo:  New York Life agent Rich Terhune, now Development Manager, and Sara Mathews Dixon.

Life insurance lifeline

But amidst all this, one thing she hasn’t had to worry about is money. “Jay’s life insurance has been a true financial lifeline,” she says. “It means we don’t have to move in with my mother or make any major changes right now after all that’s happened to us.”

Her advice to other parents is to consider life insurance early on before health issues make it hard or impossible to get. “We don’t control the universe,” she says, “and you don’t know what’s going to happen down the line. Life insurance can keep you and your children in your own world.”

Note: This beneficiary case history won the Life Happens Real Life Story program in 2022.

The experience of the people described in this material may not be representative of the experiences of other New York Life clients. Experiences obtained by these people are not indicative of the future experiences that may be obtained by all New York Life clients.


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Media contact

Kevin Maher
New York Life Insurance Company
(212) 576-7937