Disability pop quiz!
Quickly: Name your most important financial asset.
… Did you think of your home? Maybe a savings account?
Now answer this: Can you imagine buying a home and not insuring it? Or putting your hard-earned cash into a savings account that wasn’t protected?
What about your income: What would you do without it?
Because if you don’t carry disability insurance, you could be facing a major loss of income.
For most of us, our ability to earn an income is our most important financial asset.
The majority of workers couldn’t make it very far without an income. Savings might get us by for awhile, but not for long— and more than a quarter of those in the U.S. don’t have any emergency savings. So where would you get the money for car payments, health insurance, mortgage payments, and food?
Without a regular income, you’d likely be in major trouble.
What Are the Odds You’ll Become Disabled?
Just over one in four of today’s 20 year olds will become disabled before they retire. None of us want to think we will be that one– but the truth is it can happen to any of us.
Most working Americans estimate that their own chances of experiencing a long term disability are substantially lower than the average worker’s. In fact, sixty-four percent of wage earners believe they have a two percent or less chance of being disabled for three months or more during their working career. Unfortunately, the actual odds of disability are right around 25 percent!
In part, it’s a perception problem. Many people seem to think that the term “disability” refers to the inspiring folks we often see participating in The Paralympic Games. They see people with prosthetic limbs and wheelchairs and figure the odds of developing similar disabilities is low.
That may be the case– but there is a much wider world of disability out there, affecting people from all walks of life, every day.
Every seven seconds, a working age American suffers an injury or illness that will last for at least a month.
Sometimes Life Hits Hard
“Disability” includes a wide range of injury, illness, and accident. Everything from a broken arm or serious back injuries to pregnancy, cancer, and mental illness is classified under the broad term of disability.
According to our research on the disability disconnect, nearly 30 percent of disability claims are the result of muscle and bone disorders. And cancer accounts for another 15 percent of new long term disability claims.
While it may be hard to imagine losing a limb, most of us have friends and family members who have undergone cancer treatment, and it’s not always possible to work –at least full time– through such a medically trying time.
Mental disorders are the cause of another 8.9 percent of claims. Accidents lead to ten percent of claims, and cardiovascular issues such as heart disease and stroke account for another 8.2 percent.
Chances are, you probably know someone who has dealt with one or more of these issues.
All of these life events can impact your ability to work—for anywhere from a several weeks or a month, to years. The average group long term disability claim lasts 2.6 years. That’s 135 paychecks.
The Disability Disconnect
Think about it: How would you get if you didn’t have an income for more than a year?
Income is absolutely essential to most of our financial wellbeing and future– not to mention that of our family. Yet many of us pay little mind to how commonly disability disrupts our ability to earn a wage.
Do you know someone who has been forced to miss work due to a disability? How did they pay the bills?