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Disability Protection

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I fretted about the need for disability insurance during my working years. I was lucky I never got injured but I did come down with cancer at age 53, and was treated successfully, so I was able to go back to work, but I was very very lucky.

According to statistics, about 50% of employees work without health, emotional or physical ailments, so they retire as planned. The rest have to retire earlier than planned. I wonder how many of our colleagues who have not saved in a low-cost mutual fund 403(b) or a 457(b) are living sparingly in retirement because they were counting on their pension plan 100%, but they had a health issue which forced them to stop working much earlier than planned. It could be devastating for those people.

Pension plans and SS were never created to take the place of one's salary 100%, yet that approach seems to be the assumption that so many of our colleagues are taking. 

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What I never realized until recently was that some states don't have teacher contributing to social security. Hawaii teachers contribute to social security their and  pension, but considering cost of living here, even that would make retiring in HI a struggle.  I'm glad I've become more educated about our options for 403b and 457.  We also have voluntary benefits (insurance) through our union.    My husband used to work for an insurance company and looked the options over and elected to have us not use any of them.  Trying to figure out what's worth paying is as complicated as trying to figure out retirement. 

My mom had more than the required years for retirement  to collect her pension when my dad got sick, but it was still before she expected to retire (and before collecting SS), she was planning on working until she could but my dad needed help at home. Between her pension and his SS, they made it work.  Part of her pension benefits is medical coverage, so thankfully when my dad got sicker they had that covered before he passed.  My mom's mom is in her nineties and her mom lived over 100 years.  My mom is in her 70s.  I will likely need to make my $$ stretch if I follow that pattern. 

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