Insurance is a Hard Concept for People Who Have Lived without It

The concept of insuring yourself against loss is very much a part of the financial culture in the U.S. We insure our homes, autos, health and life. But the financial concept of financial indemnification sometimes is foreign to many immigrants.

Hispanics have not purchased primary insurance protection to the same degree as have others in the U.S. For example, in Mexico, if your home is damaged there might be some insurance, but often repair costs are much less and these expenses are simply paid out-of-pocket. Watch the interview featuring popular bi-lingual speaker and financial consultant Karina Gutierrez. Karina talks about educating immigrants on the value of insurance protection to foster an acceptance on covering property, assets and breadwinners.

That same mindset applies to life insurance. It is not as commonly available in Latin American countries and is not part of the financial thinking of many Hispanics. It is more commonly thought that if a tragedy occurs, family will be there to step in and provide the extra support. The family values in the Hispanic culture are extraordinary when it comes to being there for one another, but often that’s not enough to overcome the loss of income from a breadwinner.

In the U.S., a higher average standard of living and the cost of stepping into support family members can be much greater and can overwhelm the finances of other family members. Even collectively, it can be overwhelming. This makes life insurance a much more important financial tool for Hispanic families in the U.S. Many financial advisors working in the immigrant communities spend significant time educating families on discounted dollars it takes to buy life insurance to protect the family.

Talking life insurance is talking about death of a loved one. That’s just taboo. The perception is you’re inviting bad things to happen by talking about the possibility of someone’s passing. More importantly, many immigrants are not accustomed to quantifying their loved ones with an economic value. It’s like placing a price tag on a relative. It can seem like you’re saying a loved one’s value can be measured in dollars. Of course this is not true, but as Karina Gutierrez often says, “We are often simply not comfortable considering these ideas.” But in her practice as a financial consultant, she has an endearing quality to challenge her clients’ status quos through education and product implementation. Insurance is gaining acceptance as a value for financial planning and to secure the future.

Syndicated financial columnist and talk show host Steve Savant interviews popular bi-lingual and financial consultant Karina Gutierrez on Hispanic Culture and Money.

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