The very real risk of becoming disabled: Americans continue to look the other way

By Paul Wilson


Don’t feel bad, life insurance agents; you’re not the only ones being tuned out.

Most of you are well aware of the disheartening statistics detailing Americans’ apparent indifference to the very real risks of not owning adequate life insurance. As it turns out, Americans are equal opportunity ignorers.

As part of Disability Awareness month, The State Farm Center for Women and Financial Services at The American College has released a new report highlighting just how little most Americans know about the possibility of becoming disabled, and how little they’ve done to protect themselves financially.

According to the U.S. Social Security Administration, one-quarter of today’s 20-somethings will become disabled before they retire. Yet of the 2,400 Americans surveyed in the American College’s study, just 16 percent said they have considered how they would manage if their family was impacted by a disability.

The majority said they would turn to cash reserves to help cover the income gap if they became disabled, but nearly three-quarters admitted that their cash reserves would be gone in less than a year, the report found.

Nearly twice as many women said they were likely to worry about how long their cash reserves would last in the event of a disability. Meanwhile, two-thirds of women say they are not confident that they could afford even basic expenses if they were to become disabled, according to the report.

It turns out they have good reason for concern. Women are more likely to face disability than men, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Although it feels like all we do is spread the word about financial unpreparedness and it’s potentially disastrous effects on retirement planning and other aspects of clients’ lives, there is clearly more work to be done.

Be sure to read the entire report and check out this handy infographic. After all, you can’t have too many tools in the fight against ignorance.