“I don’t need life insurance…my wife can just remarry.”

gravestoneFor a moment I was speechless. The journalist who said these words obviously thought he was being perfectly logical. He thought life insurance was a scam and he was too smart to fall for it.

In a way, what he said was kind of flattering. He obviously thought his wife would have no trouble finding his replacement.

The reality, though, is that middle-aged women with kids aren’t often a hot commodity on the dating market. And even if she were the suburban version of Angelina Jolie, the underlying message was disturbing. He was putting his wife in the position of having to remarry for money. If she couldn’t find someone suitable, she’d face a lifetime of reduced financial circumstances.

That’s a hell of a legacy to leave behind, particularly when term life insurance is so cheap and easy for most people to buy.



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  1. Daaaaaang.

    That’s really all I can say.

    My head is spinning trying to imagine how this would play-out.
    I wonder what his wife would have to say about his statement.

    And what about life insurance on her?
    “No problem, I will just remarry, my new wife won’t have any problem taking over running the house and raising the kids.”


  2. Jerome Barry says

    Hello Liz, Shortly after we married in 1983, both my wife’s grandmothers passed away in their early 60’s. After the passage of 10 years, my wife had stopped working and become a stay home mom and my income had more than doubled. Interest rates had fallen by more than half, and we had purchased a nicer house. Evaluating her future in the event of my early death, I decided that she and the kids deserved a decent chance to start over so I purchased life insurance on me. The sales personnel, who were all men, persuaded me to buy a life insurance policy on my dear wife just in case she preceded me. After a few more years, I bought more life insurance on both of us because it was cheaper, my income had increased further, college had become more costly, and I didn’t need a Corvette. At this point we have fewer dreams and less hope, so the various life insurance calls I have amount to one simple fact: One of us can have a nice retirement.

  3. That journalist must think of himself as awfully, well, replaceable….It never occurred to him that his wife might be so grief-stricken that she wouldn’t even CONSIDER dating.

  4. Shuck off your mourning gear and slap on some lipstick, honey! Show those gents you haven’t forgotten how to work it.

  5. Ok, I just did some math and even assuming a rate of return of 10% the money we spend on our term policies would not generate nearly enough money to help one of us out if the other died. So putting it into savings is not a better option for us. I am ok with letting go of the $30k that we will spend over the 20 year term of our life insurance policies because if one of us ends up having to be a single parent that person will need all the help they can get. In case anyone wants to know we each have a term life policy in an amount equivalent to 10 years worth of earnings.

    • Death of a wage earner (or caregiver) is usually one of those catastophic expenses that you can’t self-insure for. (The exception is people who have saved enough to support themselves for the rest of their lives…which I can confidently say does NOT describe most people reading this blog.)

  6. Ro in San Diego says

    The widows I know didn’t run out and remarry. And it took years for them to find, if they did find, a suitable mate. Middle aged and older women don’t usually have scores of men to pick from, and may want to treasure the memory of their dear departed rather than hurry up to marry someone so they don’t starve to death.

    I have a friend who let her husband’s life insureance lapse many years ago. Soon after he died unexpectedly leaving her and her daughter destitute.

    And, marriage isn’t all that popular any more. Many people choose to skip it. So then what. What a guy. I’m glad I’m not married to him. The way my husband shows me he loves me – he buys life insurance. I show him I love him the same way. I’m insured too.