Some of you may recall Gilligan’s Island, a 1960s television comedy.
It had a zany cast of characters, including a millionaire and his wife. The show centered around the very funny adventures of these characters after a short cruise stranded them on an island. Fast forward to today when a great number of families who thought they would be on a three-week cruise were instead quarantined on a cruise ship. The Corona virus has turned their dream into an endless nightmare, stuck in a cruise ship cabin not much larger than a walk-in closet.The virus is a deadly serious matter, and it got me thinking. If you were stranded or in some way incapacitated, could you continue to pay your regular bills? Or would the wheels quickly come off the bus?Nowadays many people have their regular monthly bills on auto pay. But it’s still necessary to have funds available that can be funneled into the proper bill paying account.
So, as long as you’re able to make electronic transfers between accounts, your personal business would be just fine. No problem if you have adequate emergency funds and the ability to make the necessary transfers. But in many cases that’s a big if. As an advisor, I believe the most overlooked aspect of financial planning is being prepared in the event of the disability or incapacity of a breadwinner.
Think what might happen if you were out of commission for any reason, be it from quarantine, illness or an accident. Would you get behind on house payments and ultimately lose your home?
How would your family fare? With an accident, there’s no shortage of attorneys that want to help you receive compensation. But what about an extended illness?
Nobody chooses to become ill, but unfortunately, it happens. If a four-week quarantine raises havoc with your finances, imagine how a long-term illness would affect you and your family. Some employers may have weekly indemnity, commonly called short-term disability. Generally, it would give you a percentage of your income for 26 weeks. But what if your disability or illness was for an extended period or even the rest of your life?
Some firms offer optional long-term disability income policies. If you’re a few paychecks away from financial disaster, and others are dependent on you, I strongly suggest you consider a long-term disability program.
That being said, I’ve found disability insurance programs among the more difficult to sort through. I say this because you need to look well beyond the premium and length of coverage. With disability insurance it’s critical to understand the language that defines a disability or illness. For example, an inexpensive policy that excludes cancer probably isn’t a wise purchase.
The leading causes of bankruptcy in America are medically related financial issues. Having a disability program in place will go a long way toward minimizing the possibility of bankruptcy.
Accidents and illness can easily derail household finances. Unfortunately, health issues can arise anytime, and if you aren’t financially prepared, your lifestyle can quickly go downhill. It isn’t fun to spend money on disability income premiums. But in the long run, finding a way to pay a premium is a lot less painful than trying to figure out how to
make a house payment when you’re unable to work.