Thursday, September 18, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Italian family tradition obviates life insurance

DEAR HARRY: We got married in January, and now I am pregnant. My husband and I have been discussing the need for life insurance, and I discovered a most unusual family tradition. His family comes from a small village in Italy where family ties are strong. If a father dies, the surviving siblings develop a plan to care for the widow and children on a permanent basis. When his uncle died, his father was one of the "insurers" for the survivors. As a result, he sees no need for life insurance to protect me. Harry, this frightens me. Suppose they cannot afford to care for me? Suppose they don't like me enough? What is your take on this?

WHAT HARRY SAYS: A number of years ago, we had an employee who told me of this same tradition in his family. It was the custom in the small Italian town where his parents came from. I last saw him about three years ago, and he still insisted on no life or disability insurance. This is an unusual situation, and I suppose it can work, but the proceeds of life insurance are a far more certain source of funds for a widow.

I share your concerns. Insist on a renewable and convertible term policy to protect you and the new baby. You will be more secure and will feel more secure.


Email Harry Gross at, or write to him at Daily News, 801 Market St., Philadelphia, Pa. 19107. Harry urges all his readers to give blood. Contact the American Red Cross at 800-Red-Cross.

Harry Gross Daily News Personal Finance Columnist
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