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Engineers Rank Low On Disability Anxiety

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Attitudes about the effects of prolonged loss of income differ from profession to profession.

Researchers at Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company, Springfield, Mass., have published figures supporting that conclusion in a summary of results from a Web survey of 1,023 U.S. professionals ages 24 and older conducted in September.

To participate in the survey, participants had to have personal incomes ranging from $75,000 to $250,000 and had to consider themselves to be in good health.

The researchers looked at results for attorneys, engineers, advertising and marketing professionals, accountants, and professional services executives.

Although labor groups have made headlines in recent years by publicizing some engineers’ worries about being replaced by lower-paid immigrants or by outsourcing arrangements with overseas firms, engineers reported suffering from less anxiety than the other professionals interviewed about disability.

When engineers asked about how they would feel if they were unable to work for 6 months as the result of an accident, only 48% said they would feel anxiety about their future finances, compared with 52% of the accountants, 61% of the professional services executives, 70% of the attorneys, and 71% of the advertising and marketing professionals.

About 61% of the professionals surveyed said they would tap their retirement accounts to cope with the results of a prolonged disability.

When asked about the expenditures the professionals would give up if they had to cut expenses, 41% named “savings in general”; 38%, leisure travel; 36%, retirement constructions; and 36%, dining out. Only 32% said they would give up cable or satellite television.