Understand Why You Need Great Disability Insurance
We protect that which we love. Helmets, wrist guards, environmental appropriate clothing and gear, education about the sport, the weather, the effects of cold, dehydration, altitude and then the education and practice of what to do in an emergency… all to create safety and security. To protect what we love.
Why did you go to medical or dental school? Why did you give up most of your 20’s? Most of you did it to help many people over a long and fulfilling professional career. All of you knew the income generated would provide for yourself and your loved ones. Three out of ten medical and dental professionals will be disabled for a period of time during their careers. For some, like myself, the disability will end our clinical career permanently. To start to understand why you need great disability insurance, let’s go back in time to college or medical or dental school where you were exposed to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Yes, my brain hurt too when I conjured up this memory.
This motivational theory encompasses five levels or tiers of human needs. Shown above is the classic pyramid often depicted in text books. Maslow stated that individuals are driven to attain certain needs over others. Basic needs generally trump higher needs and that motivates our behavior.
Your income gives you and your loved ones food, water, housing, rest, security and safety. All the basic needs are taken care of because you have the resources to provide for yourself and your family. What if those resources are not there tomorrow? Do you really need to be convinced to protect your career income? Most of the time, the answer is sadly, yes. We do not want to envision our own loss.
Right after I took the picture of my kids on the mountain, they took off. It was the first time my wife and I have let them be unaccompanied in Colorado. For a second as they rounded the bottom of the trail and jetted out of sight, my heart rushed, panicked even, what if something…? And then I pushed that feeling away. It is uncomfortable to contemplate. We deal with loss all the time in our professions. We strive to prevent it, to slow it down and even to reverse it.
Great disability insurance can protect you. I managed to retain 57% of my physician’s income. You can protect up to two-thirds of your career income if sickness or injury prevents you from being able to perform the duties of your profession. Not acquiring a long-term disability policy while your family relies on your income is a financial catastrophe. Yet, physicians and dentists hesitate in pursuing and obtaining a great private disability insurance policy that can grow with their income over their entire careers.
Disability insurance is expensive. Why? Because it is absolutely worth it! There is no debate that great disability insurance will cost you 2% to 4% of the monthly benefit you want to protect. For a $10,000 monthly benefit, you will pay $200 to $400 per month. That monthly expense guarantees if you cannot perform the duties of your profession, you and your loved ones will have food, water, housing, rest, security and safety no matter what you choose to do next in your life and no matter how much money you make in your next career. That’s financial protection.
Group disability insurance does not do that. My own group disability policy has not protected me the way I expected. The tragic stories of physicians and dentists relying on their group disability insurance policies are numerous. What they would give to go back in time and purchase great private disability insurance! You know you need solid disability insurance. Right now, as you are reading this, you may feel you want to be financially protected or you may be wondering if you are protected. When do you buy disability insurance?
You should buy disability insurance just before you become disabled. If you can do that, please contact me with tomorrow’s winning lottery numbers! A good compromise is to buy a policy that can grow with your income as you enter residency and then increase the benefit upon leaving residency as an attending. The younger and healthier you are and the fewer dangerous hobbies you engage in, the cheaper your premiums will be for the same benefit.
Procrastination is human. Every day you get older and increase your chances of injury or sickness. Stop waiting. This is urgent. If you aren’t sure that your income is protected then take a look at the bottom of Maslow’s hierarchy. I know, you’re too busy or too tired or too distracted to deal with disability insurance. Trust me, you cannot be. Find an independent insurance broker and have them review your policy(s) today.
There’s more to great disability insurance than satisfying those basic needs. It protects your future, the future you imagined while sitting through your 1,000th lecture. The basis of wealth and a great financial plan is financial protection. Financial planning is changing in America and it will continue to get better and more transparent in the 21st century. Here’s how I teach people the very basics of a financial plan.
The base of the pyramid is Financial Protection and for doctors and dentists, that’s a fantastic private disability insurance policy. You went to medical or dental school for many reasons. You gave up your 20’s and statistically the average student graduating in 2018 will have $200k in debt! Why would you leave yourself unprotected?
Do you understand why you need great disability insurance? Wouldn’t you like to go to work knowing that, financially, everything will be okay even if you end up being one of the three in ten that become disabled? Wouldn’t you like to know, when looking at your family, that the home and schools they love and the neighbors and community would stay the same even in the event that you lose your clinical career? Safety and security bring peace and happiness into your life. Consider the feeling right now… of knowing your income is absolutely protected. You deserve to protect your greatest asset, your career income. That is why you need great disability insurance.
Happy New Year!
Dr. Christopher Yerington
Bio: Retired from clinical anesthesiology by a disability in 2010, Dr. Yerington has turned his love of teaching and service to others to his family, colleagues and community. He speaks and educates groups and residency programs about the importance of great disability insurance.