Certain occupations are widely considered to be more vulnerable to disability than others. One example is that of a surgeon,
Certain occupations are widely considered to be more vulnerable to disability than others. One example is that of a surgeon, who is likely a high-income earner although his/her ability to perform the job is dependent upon continued use of the hands. That’s right, just like Dr. Strange!
Consider this scenario and assume this individual is your client:
40-year-old neurosurgeon earning 600k per year
Client is married, spouse does not work, and the couple has 3 children.
The children are between ages 8-12 and attend private school at a cost of 20k per year each.
Client has total liabilities (debt) of 2.2M including a home mortgage and a business loan where he is partners in the private practice with another physician.
Client is in an accident and becomes paralyzed, losing his ability to use his hands and ultimately is no longer able to work. He is unable to make his loan payments and is forced to declare bankruptcy, among other negative results including a drastic lifestyle change and unplanned job search for both spouses.
Your task is to reflect on this scenario assuming that, as this client’s financial planner, you never addressed the topic of disability planning. Your professional omission played a huge role in this client’s lack of preparation for such an event. How might you have the discussion with other high income earning clients who are vulnerable to disability in the future, and how do you convey the importance of considering disability coverage even if the client ultimately declines?