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How Jamie Sue Marshall uses life insurance to create a legacy

Haven Life customer Jamie Sue Marshall bought her coverage to protect her family from the worst and give her the peace of mind to contribute to her close-knit community.

The story you’re about to read belongs to one of our customers. It is told in her words, with her permission and in a way only she could tell it. If it inspires you to think about your own life insurance coverage? Great. If it inspires you to do something — anything, important for the ones you love most? Even better.

Not everyone is as prepared or as generous as Jamie Sue Marshall. She’s always been a financial dynamo.

Her senior year of college, Jamie Sue flipped a home when she was taking 23 hours of coursework at the University of Arkansas while simultaneously interning at Tysons’ Foods.

“I raised a beef steer each summer and sold them, so that’s how I had the money to buy the house,” Jamie Sue says. “I watched Fixer Upper and all that, and thought, ‘Oh, so much fun,’ right? No, I mean, there are so many unexpected expenses and things happening, especially me buying a 1950s home from the original owner that had not touched a single thing.”

The hard work didn’t stop her. Jamie Sue gutted the house in time to move in after college. In October, she decided to move back home to be closer to her family and join the family business.

Jamie Sue’s family runs a farm and produce company in upstate New York where she is a dispatcher for its refrigeration trucks.

“It’s a 12th generation farm, and we’re working together in the business, we’ve probably got 30 family members,” Jamie Sue says. “My dad runs the refrigerated freight. My mom is a grower of all the produce. My uncle has seven children, and now they’ve all got kids, so it’s pretty crazy around here.”

Jamie Sue, 23, enjoys working with her family and living in the small town of Elba (Pop: 2,370) where she grew up and led her high school basketball team to a state championship. “I call it ‘Smellba,’ though, because we’re the onion capital of the world, and then we also have a bunch of cows, so it’s a little stinky here,” she says.

Some people would be frustrated working with family, but it’s a source of pride for Jamie Sue.

“When you have your relationship with your father, he’s just your father, you see him when he comes home and how he’s working, but you don’t get to actually work alongside him,” she says. “So the highlight of my week is seeing him with his employees and how he is a businessman and not only a father. I also enjoy getting to work with my cousins, just being around my family and the people I care about.”

Preparing for the worst

The importance of being surrounded by the ones you love became clearer to Jamie Sue in 2017 when her large, close-knit family suffered a sudden loss.

Her young cousin, only 30 years old, was diagnosed with stage 4 gastric cancer while she was 6 ½ months pregnant. Two days after the diagnosis her cousin had to give birth to her baby at Golisano Children’s Hospital in Rochester, NY. Too soon after, her cousin passed away as cancer spread throughout her body leaving behind her baby girl, 2-year-old son and husband. “It was so life-changing for me. It encouraged me to make time for the little things like volunteering to coach in our town’s youth basketball program.”

After the tragedy, Jamie Sue wanted a large life insurance policy with a long term length to financially guard against whatever the future may hold. “We searched for reliable options to protect each other in case another life-changing incident like that happened in the future,” she says. “It was such an overwhelming and confusing time. My family helped me piece it all together.”

My parents, my sisters and I were just researching different options and we saw Haven Life featured in The Wall Street Journal.

Jamie Sue’s search for life insurance eventually led her to Haven Life.

“My parents, my sisters and I were just researching different options and we saw Haven Life featured in The Wall Street Journal,” she says. “When I was applying for a policy, we asked them some quick questions, customer service quickly responded to those questions, and I was instantly approved, which made it a perfect fit.”

Just starting her career, Jamie Sue, 21 at the time, bought a 30-year, $1 million Haven Term policy.

Looking to the future

People ask Jamie Sue, “You’re young, why would you need life insurance?” She’s not in debt and she hasn’t started her own family yet. She tells them if the unexpected were to happen, she wants the life insurance payout to “go back to my community.”

What does that mean? Well, after the death of her cousin, the town alumni association put together an alumni basketball game, where half the proceeds went to Golisano Children’s Hospital NICU in memory of Jamie Sue’s cousin.

“Now the entire youth basketball program wears ‘Torrey Strong’ jerseys that were made in her memory,” says Jamie Sue, who has taken over coaching the 5th grade girls squad.

Ask Jamie Sue what she would like done with her life insurance payout if something unexpected were to happen to her. “I’d like something like that done in my name because it’s a really sweet way to leave a legacy,” Jamie Sue says. She remembers her cousin, rallies all her girls with “Torrey Strong” jerseys on the court and sees how a small community with deep roots can make such a meaningful impact.

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About Tom Anderson

Tom Anderson is an award-winning financial journalist whose work has appeared in CNBC.comKiplinger’s Personal FinanceMoneyMonocle and Wired. He was a 2008-09 Knight-Bagehot Fellow in Economics and Business Journalism at Columbia University.

Read more by Tom Anderson

Our editorial policy

Haven Life is a customer-centric life insurance agency that’s backed and wholly owned by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual). We believe navigating decisions about life insurance, your personal finances and overall wellness can be refreshingly simple.

Our editorial policy

Haven Life is a customer centric life insurance agency that’s backed and wholly owned by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual). We believe navigating decisions about life insurance, your personal finances and overall wellness can be refreshingly simple.

Our content is created for educational purposes only. Haven Life does not endorse the companies, products, services or strategies discussed here, but we hope they can make your life a little less hard if they are a fit for your situation.

Haven Life is not authorized to give tax, legal or investment advice. This material is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for tax, legal, or investment advice. Individuals are encouraged to seed advice from their own tax or legal counsel.

Our disclosures

Haven Term is a Term Life Insurance Policy (DTC and ICC17DTC in certain states, including NC) issued by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual), Springfield, MA 01111-0001 and offered exclusively through Haven Life Insurance Agency, LLC. In NY, Haven Term is DTC-NY 1017. In CA, Haven Term is DTC-CA 042017. Haven Term Simplified is a Simplified Issue Term Life Insurance Policy (ICC19PCM-SI 0819 in certain states, including NC) issued by the C.M. Life Insurance Company, Enfield, CT 06082. Policy and rider form numbers and features may vary by state and may not be available in all states. Our Agency license number in California is OK71922 and in Arkansas 100139527.

MassMutual is rated by A.M. Best Company as A++ (Superior; Top category of 15). The rating is as of Aril 1, 2020 and is subject to change. MassMutual has received different ratings from other rating agencies.

Haven Life Plus (Plus) is the marketing name for the Plus rider, which is included as part of the Haven Term policy and offers access to additional services and benefits at no cost or at a discount. The rider is not available in every state and is subject to change at any time. Neither Haven Life nor MassMutual are responsible for the provision of the benefits and services made accessible under the Plus Rider, which are provided by third party vendors (partners). For more information about Haven Life Plus, please visit:

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