How Walt Disney Used Life Insurance to Fund his Dream

by: Lem Lomeda

Walt Disney was, and still is, a large part of everyone’s lives. His creative output produced all of the best memories we hold dear in our childhood, from beloved cartoon characters like Mickey Mouse, his feature-length animated movies, to family-themed parks all around the world.

However, all of these had the danger of not coming to fruition at one point in Disney’s life.

He was at a crossroads. All of his previous financial endeavors crashed and burned, and then he was forced to declare bankruptcy. He needed money to bring his vision of a crafty cartoon mouse and his friends into reality, but no banks at this time were willing to let him borrow money from them.

There is a famous quote attributed to him that said: “I could never convince the financers that Disneyland was feasible because dreams offer too little collateral.”

In other words, his dreams were too big and grand for left-brained money men to appreciate and take part in.

So in 1953, he borrowed from his life insurance and funded his earlier projects, one of them was to become Disneyland. He was able to amass $200,000 for his initial efforts, and soon some investors came to revalue his plans and also invested.

And in 1955, the first Disneyland opened in Los Angeles, California, and entertained more than three million people in the first year. It was an extraordinary success and further cemented Disney’s legacy in our collective hearts.

Bank on Yourself method

Walt Disney used the Bank on Yourself method to finance his empire (know more about it by clicking the link).

In short, he used his equity to get through his financial setbacks. It stresses the importance of whole life policy loans, which aided millions of people in saving their homes and businesses from financial disasters.

Are You Ready to Start Making More Money?

Today, I will share with you an opportunity to rise up from where you are and reach your full potential. I had promised earlier, that if you keep reading my posts, you will learn important things that could help you. On my previous post, Your Guide to Financial Freedom, I shared with you how to build the foundation for your personal finances. This time, I will give you an opportunity to learn how to make more money.

Are you familiar with Robert Kiyosaki’s Cashflow Quadrant? For most of us, we trade time for money. We put in 8 hours of work in a day, and we get paid for those hours. If we don’t work, we don’t get paid. We are working for money. If you aspire on becoming rich, you should learn how to make money work for you. That whether you are working or not, day or night, you keep making money. At this point, you are not working for money, but rather money is working for you. This happens when you start earning passive income.

The Cashflow Quadrant consists of these four below. Whoever you are, you belong to one or two of these:

  • Employee
  • Self-employed
  • Business Owner
  • Investor

Most of us, belong in the left side of the cashflow quadrant, those who trade time for money. These are the ones who have jobs and those who are self-employed. Take note that owning your own business does not automatically move you to the right side of the quadrant. If you don’t earn any passive income, then you are effectively self-employed. Only those who are able to earn passive income, are the ones that are privileged enough to belong on the right side of the quadrant.

The interesting thing is, the quadrant itself is the path to success. We typically start from the upper left quadrant as an employee. Our goal is to be on the right side of the quadrant, to become a big business owner, and ultimately, an investor. That’s when real wealth begins.

When our dreams start to push us forward, we feel the urge to try new things. Even if we have full time jobs, we may start with a side hustle. When we realize that we can earn as much from our side hustle as we do from our job, we may decide to become self-employed. As we get more successful in being self-employed, we also become better at becoming business owners. At this point we could start to scale, our business gets bigger, and we start earning significant passive income. As we begin to accumulate enough money to start investing outside our own business and start to earn more money through other investments, we become an investor, and our money then starts working for us. Until ultimately, we reach the goal where our passive income is enough for us to stop working, that whether we are dozing off, vacationing in some island paradise, money keeps flowing in our bank accounts.

Are you open-minded enough to consider that here at Ascend 99, we can show you the path to get from working for money to have money working for you? Are you tired of working 9 to 5? Are you unhappy with your job? Do you feel that there’s more to life than what you have right now? Whether you are a looking for a side hustle, working part time, or full time, we can help.

This might not be for you, but unless you contact us to find out how, you may never know if you are letting a life-changing opportunity pass you by. Please give us a call at (312)469-0016, email us at, or fill out the form below and one of our consultants will get back to you as soon as possible. Are you ready to ascend?

What to Do if You’re Company Does Not Have a Pension Plan

Back in the days, around the industrial age, companies used to invest in their workers more than they do today. If you needed a certain skillset, the company trained you for it. Companies did not hesitate to invest in their workers as the commitment between the worker and the company was assured. The day one left the company, was the day that worker retired. To reward him for his loyalty, he received a pension for life. At the time, life insurance companies were contracted to manage the workers’ money where they were guaranteed a certain income during retirement.

But a shift happened. Wall Street was able to convince companies that it was in the companies’ best interest to have Wall Street manage their employees’ retirement investment. So pensions were replaced with 401ks. And today, companies that offer pensions are very hard to find.

So what’s the difference between a 401K and a pension? Well, the main differences are:

  • Pensions are funded by the employer, whereas 401ks are funded by the employee.
  • Pensions guarantee a monthly income, whereas a 401k does not.

You might say, wait a minute, I’m certain to get a monthly income from my 401k when I retire. Well, you would have to remember, any investment in the stock market is not guaranteed. Although historically the market does go up over time, there were millions of Americans who have lost their money for retirement at the time they were set to retire when the market crashed. A pension would never be affected with how badly the stock market crashes.

If like most workers across the United States, your company does not offer a pension, what are you to do? Well, you could hope that the market does not crash on the year that you are about to retire, or you can be smart and rollover your 401k to an annuity.

An annuity works just like a pension. And like a pension, you are guaranteed a monthly income. Whatever the amount of the income would be, depends on the kind of annuity plan you choose.

If you would like to know more about your options in making sure that you are guaranteed an income when you retire, please don’t hesitate to contact us at or call us at (312)469-0016.

Preparing for the Two Things that Most People Worry About

There are two things that most people worry about: 1) Dying too soon, or 2) Outliving one’s savings.

The prospect of retirement might not seem very real to you right now. But working in retirement homes for almost a decade, I’ve seen the consequences the elderly have to suffer for not having enough money for retirement. Residents who can’t afford to stay in these retirement homes end up staying in facilities that accept Medicaid. But before they are accepted in these facilities, they have to give up everything to the point of poverty. And these places are not exactly like those commercials you see on tv for The Villages. The fear of finding myself in a place like this when I retire is very real to me. Certainly, I won’t send my own parent in a place like this.

Now, if you were to die tomorrow, you might also think that’s not a big deal. You might think, why would you care what happens to everything else after you pass away? When you’re already gone from this world, you’re already free from all the consequences of your actions or inaction, right? That might apply to some people. But what if you are married or have children? Or both? Yeah, you might already be sipping champagne on that big banquet table in the sky, but if you left behind a family, they would be the ones bearing the cost of what you left behind.

If you have a mortgage, a car loan, credit card bills, or any other debt, who’s going to pay for all of those when you’re gone? Who’s going to pay for your funeral expenses? What about the medical expenses that you might incur prior to meeting your ultimate fate, or the unpaid taxes that year, or the legal expenses related to your estate administration? If you have kids, wouldn’t you want to ensure that they have money for their college rather than have them get into debt for over a hundred thousand dollars?

Between either of these two scenarios above: whether you pass away too soon, or live a long, healthy life, there’s really only one product that you can get that would ensure that you are prepared for either scenario: a life insurance with cash value. I’m talking about a life insurance with cash value that grows as if you invested your money in the stock market, plus it also gives you a guaranteed death benefit if the unthinkable happens. It’s a win-win!

Now, let’s say you’ve been very responsible with your money. You don’t leave behind any debt or whatever burden to your family when you pass away. Would you still need life insurance then? Why not? Life insurance guarantees the legacy that you leave behind to your loved ones. It ensures that your spouse has enough money to comfortably live the rest of her life. It helps your kids get a good start in life so they have money that they can use to start building a brighter future. If you think about it, what is your purpose in life anyway? To live for yourself? Or to help others?

If you live in Illinois we offer you a free consultation. Just send us a message below and include your best contact number. A consultant will reach out to you. We have professional staff licensed by the state to help you. Or if you prefer, you may call us directly at 312.469.0016 or email us at

Your Guide to Financial Freedom

There are plenty of blogs, articles, and books out there that give you advice on how to manage your money, how to save, and how to invest. However, I have never yet seen an article that gives you that signpost: Start Here.

In your quest to become the best version of yourself, to realize your full potential, where do you really begin? Where is the map to this journey you want to undertake? Where is the ladder for you to ascend the hierarchy of life to reach the zenith of self-actualization?

Please allow me to show you the way.

I’ve always felt there has to be more in my life than my 9 to 5 job. I’ve been dreading the idea of working 9 to 5 until I’m 65 years old or even 70 years old, trying to save along the way, and hoping that I have enough saved until I retire. As a physical therapist, where the job sometimes requires lifting a person almost twice my weight, I question if I would be as effective at my job when I’m in my 60s. At that age, the patients would probably start to look at me like I should be getting physical therapy myself.

I was helping out in a rehab one weekend and there was another physical therapist working there who looked like he was probably in his mid to late 50s, if not in his 60s. As he wheeled a patient in a wheelchair into the gym, he grabbed ankle weights and exercise bands, grabbed a stool, sat down, and bent over to wrap the ankle weights around the patient’s ankles. Throughout the whole time, as the therapist stood up, sat down, and bent over, I could see that he was struggling, even getting short of breath. It was then that I thought, I couldn’t grow old in this job.

So I started looking for answers. As Morpheus of The Matrix asked Neo to choose between the Blue Pill and the Red Pill, Robert Kiyosaki’s book, Rich Dad, Poor Dad was the red pill that opened my eyes: Working 9 to 5 was not the way to get to where I want to be.

Patrick Donohue’s book, Heads I Win, Tails You Lose, gave me the roadmap to my journey. And I’m going to share that with you. As I’ve always been intrigued by Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, Patrick Donohue also alluded to this hierarchy and presented his own. He calls it The Hierarchy of Wealth. As Maslow postulates that one can’t reach self-actualization unless the other foundational needs are met, Mr. Donohue proposes that you shouldn’t be expecting to achieve financial freedom unless your financial foundation is built.

The Hierarchy of Wealth has 4 tiers, with the first tier as your foundation, where your money should be allocated. For each tier, he suggests which portion of your earned income you should allocate, and which portion of your assets you should use for investing. As getting into the details of this hierarchy would be too lengthy, I’m going to give you the crux of this financial strategy:

  • Tier 1 — is where your money is most secure, with no risk of loss.
  • Tier 2 and 3 — are where your money, your assets are relatively secure, but have a greater chance to grow.
  • Tier 4 — is purely for speculative investment, where you could potentially lose your money.

Remember, your 9 to 5 job is not going to make you rich, but it’s the money that you allocate in investments that would pave the way to your road to success.

If you want to know more on how to budget your money, how much to put away in savings, your emergency fund, and your investments, please don’t hesitate to contact us. Please call us at (312)469-0016 or send us an email at, and a consultant will reach out to you.


I call it the Insurance-based Investment Strategy. There are plenty of resources out there that talk about this strategy in detail. To read more about it, you can start with these books:

  • Heads I Win, Tails You Lose – by Patrick Donohue
  • Money. Wealth. Life Insurance – by Jake Thompson
  • Live Your Life Insurance – by Kim D. H. Butler

These books mentioned above promote the idea that instead of borrowing money from the bank for whether you want to buy a new car, for a vacation, or even for an emergency, you borrow from your own money, which has been invested in life insurance.

To be as succinct as possible about this concept, IBIS promotes life insurance investment as a vehicle for a stable, reliable, and even guaranteed growth as opposed to the unpredictable nature of the stock market. Instead of keeping your emergency fund in a savings account that gives you dismal annual percentage yield (APY), or having a 529 plan for a college fund, or even just to save money for investing, your foundation, you open a life insurance account that accumulates cash value. Patrick Donohue calls it the Wealth Maximization Account, some of the benefits which are:

  • competitive growth of investment
  • tax favorability
  • and insured or guaranteed from loss.

Depending on which type of life insurance you choose to invest in, and depending on which insurance company you buy your life insurance from, your money either grows at a fixed, guaranteed rate, or grows as the market grows but does not drop when the market drops, or even continue to grow even as the market drops.

If Warren Buffet advises one to never lose money, these types of insurance-based investment strategy is probably the only type of investment where zero loss is a certainty.

If you want to know more about this type of investment strategy, don’t hesitate to email us at or call (312)469-0016.

My Journey Towards Financial Freedom

I’ve always been reckless with money. But the day that I read Robert Kiyosaki’s book, Rich Dad, Poor Dad. It changed my life forever.

My Dad was poor. When Robert’s Poor Dad said to him, “Money was the root of all evil,” I couldn’t believe it. It’s exactly what my dad used to say. My father was born poor. And he died poor.

Today, is my birthday. I resolve that on my birth date of this year, I will be reborn. So on this day, May 4th 2021, my journey towards financial freedom begins.

From here on, I will be sharing lessons that I’ve learned, my goals, and the challenges along the way, to document my path to success. I hope that you will share this journey with me. And together we will reach our goals. Together, we ascend towards the heights of self-actualization.

Let the journey begin….