It strikes like a bolt from the blue: Unwanted, unexpected, unwelcome.
Unfortunately, many of us are totally unprepared for the financial hit that disability can bring.
A Real Life Story
Monica had it all by the age of 37: A successful career in the financial field, a wonderful son, and big dreams for the future. She never dreamed a disability would change her life forever.
But, in January 2003, Monica stepped off a porch and slipped on the wet ground. She went down, trying to brace her forward fall by stretching out her arms for support. Her right elbow, shattered in a dozen places, needed to be surgically repaired.
After initial recovery, Monica developed osteonecrosis, a condition known as “dying of the bone.” Monica’s humerus bones started to crumble and she became confined to a wheelchair. Monica eventually hired a caretaker to help her do basic daily tasks, such as bathing, eating, and dressing.
Imagine if you were Monica. You slip and fall and break your arm. You need surgery and then you develop a disease, which renders you unable to work.
Without an income, you quickly exhaust your savings or build your credit card debt, and undermine your family’s financial security.
The money you’ve managed to put away for a vacation, the kids’ education, and your own retirement now has to be spent on gas, groceries, and other necessities. The worry is suffocating.
The stress and sleepless nights can seem unbearable.
Protect Your Income
And it can happen to you. In fact, it happens to one-in-four working adults.
Worse, it could continue for a long time. Long-term disability lasts 31.2 months—or two years and seven and a half months—on average, so the long-term financial burden can be devastating. More than half of all personal bankruptcies and mortgage foreclosures are a consequence of disability, according to a 2005 Harvard study.
Most Americans live paycheck-to-paycheck. There’s little or no money left for unexpected emergencies such as an injury or illness, which are the primary causes of disability.
What Can You Do?
There are several things you can do:
- Prepare a plan. The CDA Financial Security Plan provides a way to prepare you for the unthinkable. Plus, it’s a lot faster and easier than squirreling away nearly three years’ worth of savings!
- Protect your body. There are nine things you can do to be better to yourself and keep yourself healthy. Most disabilities can be prevented if we are nicer to ourselves.
- Protect your income. The best way to protect yourself is to have short- and long-term disability insurance so it’s there if you ever need it. To learn more, talk to your employer or visit one of the CDA member companies.
- Understand the risks. There are 10 causes of disability—the types of things that keep people out of work for more than three months. Understand what they are and how you can prevent them from happening to you.
Sure, accidents happen and there could be a freak accident that could render you unable to work. But the majority of disabilities can be prevented. Do what you can to protect yourself!