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Disability Insurance Can Make Life Possible In Uncertain Times

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What You Need to Know

  • Scott Rider once was an Olympic trial running participant.
  • Later, as a financial advisor, he learned that the most valuable asset is the ability to earn an income.
  • When he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, at age 47, he learned that lesson from a different angle.

Life can change in an instant, and while COVID-19 has made that clearer for more people, I unfortunately realized this much earlier when I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease at age 47. As a former Olympic trial running participant, when I heard my diagnosis, I knew life would never be the same. I had been an avid runner and in great health for most of my life, which made the diagnosis even more surprising to me and my entire family. I knew that eventually the cognitive and physical limitations caused by the disease would force me to give up my profession as a financial advisor, a career that I loved.

When I began my career, I underwent comprehensive training that set the foundation for my practice and made it very clear that it was my job to help people understand that their most valuable asset is their ability to earn an income.

Fortunately, this foundation influenced my own decision to invest in disability insurance early on. It ended up enabling me and my family to continue living the lifestyle we’ve always known once I could no longer work. I truly believe disability insurance is an investment in the future, not an expense. That’s why I am so dedicated to educating others about the importance of protecting their income and honored to serve as Life Happens’ Disability Insurance Awareness Month spokesperson.

A Personal Protection Strategy

Working with clients as a financial advisor, I witnessed how disability insurance kept families intact or instances where coverage could have made all the difference in a family’s future. I would always ask, “What do you consider your most valuable asset?” Most often, people would say their house, car, or 401(k). I would then follow up and ask what made all of these assets possible, and the true answer would become clear. Without a job and income, these things would not be possible. The most valuable asset anyone can have is their ability to make and earn a living.

These experiences with my clients reinforced my belief that no financial plan is complete without disability insurance. In addition to coverage through my employer, I also took out an individual plan. As my income increased, so did my benefit.

How Disability Insurance Helped

When I could no longer work, my wife, Kelly, a stay-at-home mom, was able to continue in that role and transitioned to caregiver as my disease progressed. We were able to put our three children through college and give our daughter the wedding of her dreams. My wife and I were able to reach our retirement goal of moving to a warmer climate.

None of this would have been possible without disability insurance. My children have heard stories of being prepared financially for their entire lives. I’m proud to say my two eldest children have maxed out their policies, and once my youngest graduates college and enters the workforce, she’ll do the same.

They understand that disability insurance isn’t an expense, it’s security. At dinner recently, my son was complaining about the cost, but when I explained the value to him in this way, he quickly changed his attitude and said, “Where can I sign up?”

What This Means for Your Clients

Disability insurance makes life possible in uncertain times. COVID-19 has severely impacted so many people, from job loss to lasting impacts on their health. It takes a lot of money just to exist, and when a disruption happens, whether it’s an accident, illness, or global pandemic, disability insurance makes life possible going forward.

If anything, the pandemic has given us more time to think and see that we are not in control of everything in our lives. It has made it clear that protecting your income and having disability insurance is more important than ever before. Everyone has been impacted in some way by the pandemic, and it pays to be prepared.

Disability insurance is arguably one of the most misunderstood of all of the major insurances but is one of the most important for consumers. This month is Disability Insurance Awareness Month, and Life Happens, the national nonprofit dedicated to educating consumers about insurance and sound financial planning, encourages the industry to ignite the conversation around disability insurance and help consumers get the coverage they need.


Scott Rider (Photo: Life Happens) Scott Rider is the founder of Rider+Reinke Financial Group and the spokesperson for the 2021 Disability Insurance Awareness Month campaign.

(Credit: Shutterstock)