In the fall of 1814, the poet Francis Scott Key penned the words of the Star Spangled Banner – including a phrase that would become part of our national identity: “the land of the free, the home of the brave.” Every July, amid the blaze of fireworks and the ringing of those iconic words, we celebrate both ideals: The freedom we won in the fight for independence, and the bravery it took to win it.
Freedom has never been a simple idea for Americans. “In different eras, it has taken on different meanings,” said Katrina vanden Heuvel at the Washington Post. “For the founders, it meant freedom from political autocracy, and from royalists with special privileges from the crown.” For Roosevelt during the Great Depression, the threatening autocracy was economic, as was the freedom he strove for.
Economic freedom is no trivial thing. The American Dream is the belief that anyone can transcend class barriers. In America, you can start out with nothing and rise to a position of wealth with hard work and perseverance.
One way of measuring individual freedom is the range of options that a person has in a given situation. If you need shoes, can you choose the kind you want? If hungry, is there nutritious and plentiful food to eat? If you want to prepare yourself for a certain career, do you have a choice of colleges or training schools you can attend?
Without financial independence, a person has little freedom. However, with a strong financial standing, they have options.
The Freedom Made Possible by Earning Power
The freedom that comes from financial standing is one of the most tangible and palpable that most people experience in their day-to-day lives. Yet it can disappear in an instant as the result of a disabling illness or injury.
Covering basic living expenses in the event of disability is one of the top financial concerns people have, but according to LIMRA, 80% do not own disability insurance. Only 48% believe they even need it.
- Over 61 million Americans currently are living with some type of disability.
- One in four of today’s 20-year-olds will experience a disability lasting three months or more before they reach retirement age.
- At least 51 million working adults in the United States are without disability insurance other than the limited amount that Social Security pays (and approval for those benefits can be time-consuming and difficult to obtain).
- Only 40 percent of Americans have enough in savings to cover at least three months of their recurring household expenses, and barely a fourth (28 percent) can cover at least six months.
- Three out of ten U.S. adults say they could not pay an unexpected $400 bill without having to carry a balance on their credit card or borrow money.
- Workers’ Comp insurance only covers time away from work if the disabling illness or injury was directly work-related. In 2019, less than one percent of U.S. workers missed work because of an occupational illness or injury.
The easiest way to ensure continued freedom to earn, even in the case of disability, is through paycheck protection insurance.
Achieving Real Financial Freedom
Unlike other essentials in today’s inflationary economy, the price of disability income insurance has remained stable. The average person will pay just 1-3% of their salary for an individual disability income protection plan (LTD) that replaces up to 82% of their take-home pay.
In other words, someone earning $100,000 a year can expect to pay between $1,000 and $3,000 annually, or as little as $84 a month, to protect their paycheck and obtain freedom from fear of income loss in the event of disability.
As we celebrate the many freedoms that we enjoy as Americans, we encourage you not to forget the freedom that comes from your financial standing, and to do what you can to protect it. Your earning power may be one of the most palpable expressions of freedom that you experience in your day-to-day life: the one with the most tangible implications. Don’t allow it to be threatened by disability.
An easy way to ensure your continued freedom to earn is by securing income protection quotes for yourself and your clients.
Agents – to learn more about offering income protection to your clients, please connect with the Regional Brokerage Manager closest to you.