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Why attorneys need to make disability insurance a priority

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The motivations for pursuing a law degree and, by extension, a law license are truly varied. For some, the desire is to see justice served, for others it's giving a voice to the voiceless. Still others, however, are motivated by the promise of a reliable income.

Whatever their inspiration, statistics show that entering the legal field is not a bad move career-wise. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 10 percent job growth in the industry over the next decade.

Given this reality, attorneys would seem to be ideal candidates for securing disability insurance. In actuality, many attorneys, like many other working professionals, think they don't need it.

Myth: Attorneys make too much money to need disability insurance

Studies show that experienced attorneys can make well over six figures. However, this is dependent upon their ability to put in long hours and meet crucial deadlines.

Disability insurance, or the lack of it, becomes a concern when you consider the following:

  • A survey by Insurer Gen Re found the average individual disability claim lasts 31.6 months
  • A study by the Council for Disability Awareness found that individual disability claims have a 38 percent chance of lasting five-plus years

Consider the possibility of an uninsured attorney earning $100,000 per year who is out of work for just three months. He or she would need to have at least $25,000 set aside to cover their expenses. These expenditures would include all of their everyday living costs, office overhead and possibly student loans.

The practice of law is often fiercely competitive and requires vast determination. Indeed, significant time away due to a disability may translate into a loss of existing and potential clients.

Myth: The nature of their work means attorneys don't have to worry about disability

While it's true attorneys don't have physically demanding duties, they are still not immune to disability. In fact, 90 percent of disability claims, for those in their prime working years, are for illness.

Indeed, claims are filed most often for diabetes, cancer, heart attack and depression. In the high-stress world of law, it's easy to see how attorneys are especially prone to the latter two conditions.

What all this really serves to underscore is that attorneys must consider making disability insurance a priority.

Source: Benefits Pro, "6 keys to selling disability insurance to attorneys," Travis Christy, Nov. 4, 2016

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