I’m honored to be able to share the following story that my colleague, Louis Puglisi, recently shared with me. It is one that Louis likes to share with others to help them understand how life insurance can truly bring peace of mind to families.
As Father’s day approaches I am reminded of my dad, the importance of family and the importance of life insurance.
My dad, Dominick, born to immigrant parents, was the only son and youngest of three. He grew up very poor in Brooklyn, NY. His dad died at an early age and he needed to help financially support his family. His first job was selling paper bags for five cents. He never finished high school, but maintained an incredible work ethic. His first real job was working for a textile plant.
He went from loading trucks and working as a stock person to eventually managing the plant with 75 employees. He never made much money, but was dedicated to raising his family the best way he could. My dad never wanted to owe money, so he would wait to buy things unless he could pay for it.
He married my mom, Fortunata, when they were both 18. As a newlywed, he was approached by an insurance agent because of the life event. He bought $50,000 of life insurance. Imagine an 18 year old with no high school diploma, making very little money, getting married and seeing life insurance protection as a priority over buying material things.
Over the next nine years, my parents grew their family and for each of their three children my dad bought life insurance. It wasn’t much, but enough to make a difference.
During the 40 years he worked at Bristol Textiles, he always paid the premiums on these life insurance policies treating them as necessary as paying the mortgage.
In 2005, my dad asked me to look over his finances and insurance. He said that at times my mom didn’t agree that life insurance should have been a priority, especially when I was born. It was November and the holidays were right around the corner. My mom thought that toys under the tree meant more than a life insurance policy. He told me he did it anyway because it was the right thing to do and much more important than a few more toys.
Later that year he got very sick very quickly and died. Ironically, he had a lung infection from the fibers he had been breathing in for 40 years at the textile plant.
After he died, I helped my mom settle things. She was very concerned about money and I reminded her that my dad had kept the four policies he bought so many years ago. The look on her face was of great relief. She told me that back when I was born, she told my dad that she wanted to use the money to buy Christmas gifts rather than pay the premiums on the policy.
She said, “Thank God your father did the right thing. The toys are long gone, but now I have peace of mind knowing I can pay my bills.”
My dad’s best advice to me was to build and maintain a good reputation, work hard, have good credit and care about everyone. One of the best examples he set of that was keeping his life insurance policies in force and protecting my mom. Dad, thank you for those lessons. Happy Father’s Day.