Check the background of Ameritas Investment Company, LLC or this investment professional on FINRA’s BrokerCheck

Keystone Financial Group

Disability Income Insurance: A Key Part Of Financial Stability

In the realm of financial planning, one critical yet often overlooked facet is the protection of one’s largest asset. While many typically associate this asset with tangible possessions like homes or retirement savings, experts emphasize a different perspective: the most substantial asset for most individuals is their ability to earn an income. Income serves as the bedrock of financial stability, facilitating mortgage payments, meeting daily obligations, and fueling future savings endeavors. It is the lifeline that sustains individuals and families, making its protection paramount.

Disability Income Insurance = Financial Safety Net

At the forefront of financial stability is disability income insurance—a tool designed to safeguard individuals in the event of illness or injury rendering them unable to work. This insurance acts as a financial safety net, replacing a portion of the individual’s income during challenging times so that essential financial commitments can still be met. Disability income insurance is a contract entered into with a financial institution, such as an insurance company. In the contract you are agreeing to pay a portion of your income as a premium. The institution is accepting the risk that in the event you are unable to earn an income due to illness or injury; they will return a portion of your total income back to you as a benefit. This is the conceptual cornerstone of protecting your financial stability through financial planning.

Determining if one is adequately protected with disability income insurance requires a comprehensive assessment of financial needs and obligations. Factors such as the duration of necessary income protection, existing assets and insurances, and the required benefit amount in case of a disabling event all factor into the equation. Different policies have different durations of benefit, different elimination periods (waiting period before benefit begins), and different definitions of what constitutes disability. Careful analysis of these facts is an important aspect of your overall financial plan. You could have the most solid financial plan for future wealth generation and saving in the world. However, if you lose your earned income, it might become impossible to bring that plan to fruition.

Concerns with Employer-Provided Disability Income Insurance

Statistics underscore the gravity of the situation. According to the Council for Disability Awareness, the average disability lasts nearly three years—a significant period during which income replacement becomes crucial. Would your family be able to continue their lifestyle if you had no income and had to live off of your savings for 3 years? For instance, consider an individual earning $75,000 annually at age 40. Should a disability strike, their income stream until retirement at age 67 could potentially be compromised, translating to a loss of over $2 million. Many times, clients tell me they are very risk averse, but yet they have significant sums of money at risk by leaving their income unprotected.

Moreover, misconceptions abound regarding employer-provided disability income insurance, warranting clarification. While such coverage may offer a degree of protection, understanding its intricacies is imperative. Several issues arise with employer-provided disability income insurance that individuals should be aware of.

One significant concern is the tax implications associated with employer-provided coverage. If the employer pays the premiums for the disability income insurance policy, any benefits received under that policy are typically considered taxable income. This means that the portion of the income replaced by the insurance benefits would be subject to taxation, reducing the effective amount of income replacement received by the individual.

Another consideration is the extent of coverage provided by employer-provided disability income insurance. Otien, these policies may only replace a percentage of the individual’s income, leaving a significant gap in income replacement in the event of a disability. Additionally, the definition of disability within these policies may be restrictive, limiting coverage to specific circumstances or types of disabilities.

Furthermore, benefit durations under employer-provided disability income insurance policies may be limited, leaving individuals vulnerable if their disability extends beyond the policy’s coverage period. For example, if a policy only provides benefits for a maximum of five years, individuals with long-term disabilities may face financial hardship once the benefits expire.

Don’t Use the “Ostrich Approach” When it Comes to Preparing for a Disability

One approach that individuals often fall into is what I dub the “Ostrich Approach.” This approach involves burying one’s head in the sand, ignoring the potential risks of disability and hoping that nothing untoward happens. However, this mindset is inherently flawed, as it fails to acknowledge the reality of life’s uncertainties.

Addressing common pitfalls, experts caution against adopting the Ostrich Approach. Ignoring potential risks is not a viable strategy for financial security. Instead, proactive planning is essential in mitigating the risk of disability and ensuring long-term financial stability.
Indeed, disabilities can stem from various causes, not just accidents. Conditions like cancer or mental illnesses can lead to disability, underscoring the need for comprehensive protection. Planning for the unexpected isn’t just prudent; it’s a fundamental aspect of financial well-being.

One message rings clear: securing one’s income is not just a matter of prudence but a cornerstone of financial stability. In an unpredictable world, preparing for the unforeseen isn’t just wise—it’s essential for safeguarding one’s financial future

Long-Term Verses Short-Term Disability Income Insurance

Expanding on the importance of disability income insurance, it’s crucial to understand the various types of coverage available. Long-term disability income insurance provides benefits for an extended period, typically until retirement age, while short-term disability income insurance offers coverage for shorter durations, such as a few months to a year. Supplemental disability income insurance can also be purchased to augment existing coverage, providing additional protection against income loss.

Moreover, disability income insurance policies vary in their definitions of disability. Some policies define disability narrowly, requiring the insured individual to be completely unable to perform any occupation to receive benefits. Others offer more lenient definitions, providing benefits if the individual is unable to perform their own occupation or any occupation for which they are reasonably suited by education, training, or experience.

Additionally, the amount of income replaced by disability income insurance can vary. Some policies offer coverage for a percentage of the insured individual’s pre-disability income, while others provide a flat benefit amount. Understanding the terms and conditions of the policy is essential to ensure adequate coverage in the event of a disability.

Supplementing disability income insurance with other financial planning strategies can further enhance income protection. Building an emergency fund can provide a financial cushion to cover expenses during a disability, while diversifying investments can help mitigate the risk of income loss due to market fluctuations.

In conclusion, securing one’s income through disability income insurance is a crucial aspect of financial planning. By understanding the nuances of coverage and addressing potential gaps, individuals can protect themselves and their families from the financial consequences of disability. Proactive planning and preparation are essential in mitigating risk and ensuring long-term financial stability.

Seth J. Edgil and David Guttery offer products and services using the following business names: Keystone Financial Group– insurance and financial services | Ameritas Investment Company, LLC (AIC), Member FINRA/SIPC – securities and investments | Ameritas Advisory Services, LLC (AAS) – investment advisory services. AIC and AAS are not affiliated with Keystone Financial Group. Information is gathered from sources believed to be reliable; however, their accuracy cannot be guaranteed. Data provided is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as a recommendation to purchase or sell any investment product.

Recent Articles

Video Content

Recent Posts














Skip to content