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DON’T BUY LIFE INSURANCE FOR YOUR OFFSPRING

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Dear Dr. Tightwad - In your column and elsewhere I continue to hear that life insurance is not necessary for children.

My son died at age 21. I was a single mother with little income and no savings. If it were not for the fact that I'd had a life-insurance policy for him with a very low premium, and had he not had an insurance policy (minimal) through his employer, there would have been no way to have provided even the most basic burial.Help me, and all those younger people who are just starting families, to understand how it is at all logical not to carry life insurance on their children - especially when parents in our financial category are hardly able to pay the rent, much less be planning and saving for future education.

Are you only concerned with rich people?

Answer - Your letter demonstrates poignantly and pointedly the one event in which having an insurance policy on your child's life does pay off.

It's an event that no parent ever wants to experience. Fortunately, most parents won't. And it's that statistical fact, rather than any concern with "rich people," that prompts Dr. T and others to recommend against buying insurance on a child's life.

The purpose of life insurance is to protect your family against financial loss in the event of the insured person's death.

While the death of a child is an incalculable personal loss, it's unlikely to be a financial catastrophe.

On the other hand, the premature death of a spouse can leave a family in dire financial straits, no matter what its income level. That's why, when any family is parceling out dollars for insurance, covering the breadwinners should come first.

In the case of a single-parent family, the need for coverage is even greater. And with limited resources available to cover rent, food, college savings and other household expenses, statistics dictate that insuring a child's life should have a low priority.

Psychologically, of course, such insurance often buys peace of mind in case the unthinkable and unlikely happens. As your situation demonstrates, it can buy a decent burial as well.

The cost isn't high and there are far worse ways to spend your money. Just make sure you're not leaving your family unprotected in the event of an even worse financial tragedy.