Lately we’ve encountered some very disheartening anecdotes from several of our clients, and they’re all a reminder of why we daily talk with our clients about risk management. The hope is that we’ll all live long lives free of disability and other unforeseen traumas, but the reality is that this doesn’t always happen. In my own immediate family, for example, I have a close family member who was in a terrible auto accident, had to have an above-the-knee leg amputation, and will never again be able to return to work. This has had a ripple effect on this individual’s spouse, who has since had to retire early from her executive-level career so that she can care for her husband. This chain reaction will continue with the inevitable result that retirement savings will not be as robust as they would have been had this terrible accident never occurred. Another client recently shared the story of a co-worker who died unexpectedly in his 40s, did not own any life insurance, and who subsequently left his wife and two kids in a severe state of financial insecurity.

I could talk at length about these and many other stories I’ve encountered over the years, but the moral of the story is that one should have a risk management plan. I.e., one needs to be adequately insured in the event of a disability, emergency, or premature death. While nothing can take away the emotional and psychological pain that comes along with such travesties, the economic burden can be mitigated with some good financial planning. A good place to start is with one’s group benefits. We often find that people aren’t really sure what insurance benefits they have through their employers; therefore, it’s worth finding out just what exactly one has in terms of short and long-term disability as well as group life insurance.