Due in large part to the AIDS crisis, more than a million children in Kenya live without one or both of their parents. The number of Kenyan orphans reflects a disproportionately high death rate from AIDS among Africans. In fact, 46% of Kenyan orphaned children lost their parents to AIDS and its debilitating complications. Moreover, a number of Kenyan children are regarded as orphans not because their parents have died, but because they are wholly unable to care for them.
More than half of the orphaned children in Kenya are between the ages of 10 and 14 According to statistics, approximately 35% of Kenyan orphans are between ages fives and nine, with the remainder under five years old.
“The plight of Kenyan orphans saddens us immensely,” said Darcy Bergen, President of Bergen’s Mission, an organization that provides care and funding for those children in Kenya who lack parents to care for them. “We are gratified that we have the opportunity to positively impact so many young lives.”
For many of these orphaned children, neglect remains one of the most prevalent effects of the deaths of their parents. Even before their parents’ death, the children often suffer from physical and emotional neglect as their parents are too weak to provide for them. This can have a profound impact on the children for the rest of their lives. In addition, because they have lost the traditional family structure that is so important in Kenyan society, orphaned children may become disconnected from the rest of their community. The emotional trauma experienced by these children before the death of their parents and during the immediate bereavement period stays with them for years to come, and some experts worry that these issues could affect any children they might have. Another wrenching experience for Kenya’s orphans is their uprooting after the deaths of their parents. While there are an increasing number of organizations that provide care and hope for these children, some fall into less than ideal situations. As such, it continues to be vitally important that we support missions that care for orphaned children in Kenya.
Bergen’s Mission is a distinctive organization that aims to support orphans and orphanages in Kenya, as well as facilitate development in the region. Some of the organization’s recent goals include providing clean water to orphanages by drilling more wells near their locations. John and Eloise Bergen have traveled to Kenya to provide aid and work on many community projects.
John and Eloise Bergen have written a book about their experience in Kenya that led to the founding of Bergen’s Mission. They have also spoken at many churches about their mission to help meet the needs of the region. Bergen’s Mission has received considerable attention over the past few years for its story, raising awareness about opportunities to help Kenya’s orphans and orphanages.
The story of Bergen’s Mission has been featured in many newspapers, such as Canadian Christianity. Additionally, the story has received coverage by CBC, NBC, Listen Up TV, and more. To learn more about Bergen’s Mission, visit www.bergensmission.com.
About the Author: Darcy Bergen is the President of Bergen’s Mission. He is also a Certified Retirement Financial Advisor, with offices in Peoria and Scottsdale, Arizona. Darcy Bergen has been featured on radio shows such as Smart Money and Senior Money Matters, as well as on The Money Doctor on television. He also speaks at monthly Senior Money financial workshops, focusing on the importance of financial planning for senior citizens and retirees. Darcy Bergen is passionate about advising clients on a variety of topics, including wealth preservation and protection, annuities, and wills and trusts.
A recent LIMRA study shows less than 50 percent of Americans maintaining individual life insurance policies, a 50-year low. One reason for this may be that many workers receive coverage under employer-provided group policies. Despite the prevalence of this particular employee benefit, obtaining an individual policy is always prudent, particularly considering uncertainties in the employment market. Individual policies offer insulation from the risk of employment termination, protecting benefits that accrue to survivors in case of an unforeseen event.
Individual life insurance policies come in two primary types: term and permanent. Each of these presents specific benefits and drawbacks that warrant careful consideration. As its name suggests, term life insurance covers a specific time period, within which the death benefit is in force. Terms can extend up to 30 years and typically involve a lower premium than permanent life insurance, particularly at the beginning of the term. Some term insurance plans feature fixed payment schedules that never vary, while others feature annual premium adjustments. Flexible term life insurance plans may allow extensions at higher premium rates or conversion into permanent policies within the plan’s term. Insurers generally make the latter option subject to conditions related to policyholder age and policy minimum.
Permanent life insurance plans do not expire and guarantee specific death benefits as long as the policyholder pays the premiums as agreed. The higher payments required by this plan type are mitigated by the fact that premiums typically remain constant throughout the policyholder’s lifetime. The insurer sets aside a percentage of each premium payment in a tax-deferred, cash-value account, which accumulates at a guaranteed rate while the policy is in force. Policyholders may make withdrawals and loans from this accumulated cash value tax-free (up to certain amounts and with certain conditions).
For many retirees facing unforeseen life situations, the ability to withdraw insurance funds while still alive provides a valuable safety net. Loans and withdrawals from a permanent life insurance policy lower the policy’s remaining cash value and death benefit. Availability and cost of an individual life insurance plan depends on age, health, and the amount and term of the plan. For many of the insured, the policies provide a way of looking after family in case of the unexpected. I suggest discussing any life insurance plan thoroughly with a trusted financial advisor prior to purchase.
About the Author:
Darcy Bergen serves as President of Clear Solutions for Seniors, a financial advisory firm headquartered in Arizona.
By: Darcy Bergen
While there are a number of financial planning methods that seniors can use to optimize their assets, planning for retirement makes sense for people at all stages of their careers. Planning for retirement starts with simple saving; the larger your nest egg is, the more it can grow over time. Whether you invest your money or simply bank it, your funds grow over time, enabling a more secure retirement.
Many people base their ideas about their financial needs for retirement on outdated models. Consider how you want to live, and then set expectations about how much it will cost. For some people, this might mean moving to a different part of the country or simply an area in the region with a lower cost of living.
Employers often offer their staff the option of saving money for retirement via a 401(k) plan. This simple mechanism, which is usually accompanied by some level of matching contribution from the company, gives those saving for retirement such benefits as tax deductions on top of a steadily growing account. An IRA also delivers tax breaks while at the same time allowing for significant retirement savings. With a traditional IRA, you only pay taxes if you withdraw from the account; in addition, you get a tax deduction on the money you contribute to the plan. A Roth IRA allows investors to withdraw money without paying taxes, but does not provide a tax deduction on funds that are deposited.
Another important factor in planning for retirement lies in the allocation of your portfolio. Remember that stocks generate growth over the long term, while bonds provide the advantage of stability.
Because of the intricacies of planning for retirement, many people turn to an experienced financial planner. Working with a retirement specialist offers individuals the opportunity to enjoy the benefits of professional expertise.