Protecting your growing goose egg

Friday, July 25th 2008, 7:24 pm
By: News 9

By Kirsten McIntyre, News 9

Research shows nearly one out of every three employees will suffer a disability that will keep them sidelined for three months or longer during their career.

Most have insurance to help cover things like the mortgage and utilities, but retirement plans can help in a time of need.

Dr. Scot Glasberg constantly worried about his patients' health and he doesn't take his family's financial health lightly either. He stashes away as much as possible for his retirement.

"It's incredibly important to plan for the future," Glasberg said. "What might seem like 30 or 40 years away comes up a lot quicker than people want to admit."

Glasberg said it would be frightening to think of the situation of becoming suddenly disabled.

"It's a constant fear because if I can't work, there's no one else who's going to be able to provide," Glasberg said.

He has long-term disability insurance, but it will only cover so much. Policies typically cover up to 60 percent of lost income. Certified financial planners warned once regular bills are paid, there's often nothing left to stock away for retirement.

"It can be extremely devastating form a financial planning perspective," said certified financial planner Lawrence Keller said.

That's why Glasberg, and an increasing number of people, looked into retirement insurance contribution protection.

"It allows someone that's saving towards retirement to protect against the possibility that, if they get disabled in the future and are unable to work, that they would be able to have future money set aside," said Dave Evans of Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of America.

A 45-year-old worker earning $100,000, who contributes 10 percent of her salary each year to her 401(K), earns an average annual return of eight percent. If she's disabled and can't contribute for two years, she'd lost more than $60,000 in savings by the time she turns 65-years-old.

"That's money they would not have available to them in retirement," Keller said.

Some employers offer policies. They can also be provided by insurance companies. In most cases, someone must already contribute to a retirement plan such as a 40(K) or an IRA. If disables, the money goes into the account or a trust in the person's name.

"It's not cheap, nothing's cheap," Glasberg said. "But it was not as costly as I thought it was going to be and that was a huge factor."

Premiums vary, depending on factors like age, job description and the percentage of salary a person puts into the retirement account the previous twelve months.

Glasberg is still weighing his options, but said he believes he's ready to take a shot.

Experts said before someone considers a policy, they should talk with a retirement specialist to assess individual needs. They also suggested people get several quote and read the fine print to make sure they understand what they're purchasing.