From the May 2008 issue of Boomer Market Advisor • Subscribe!

Boomers underestimate disability risk

In what must be music to their insurance agent's ears, most baby boomers underestimate their risk of suffering
a disability that would cause them to miss work for an extended period of time. According to a new survey conducted by Harris Interactive and America's Health Insurance Plans, the survey found that baby boomers are unaware of the most common causes of disability.

The survey found a little more than one-third of boomers think the chances of becoming disabled due to illness or
injury is 5 percent or less; A slight majority thinks the chances are 10 percent or less, and two-thirds think the chances are 20 percent or less. In reality, a worker has a 30 percent chance of suffering a disabling injury or illness causing him or her to miss three or more months of work before reaching retirement, according to the Social Security Administration.

The survey also found that nearly half (47 percent) of boomers say they are not too concerned about their chances of suffering a disabling illness or injury.

One of the reasons baby boomers underestimate risk is because they are unaware of the most common causes of disability, mistakenly believing that injuries cause more disabilities than illnesses. According to the survey, boomers believe the most common causes of disability are back, muscle or joint problems (26 percent), injuries on the job (18 percent) and injuries off the job (16 percent). In actuality, research shows that the most common
causes of disability are illnesses such as cancer, heart disease and diabetes.

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