Everyone knows to “save for a rainy day,” right? That’s easier said than done because many of us don’t know what to consider as a “rainy day.” It’s easier to save for things we are motivated by like a vacation, a home, or a wedding. So let’s get a better picture of what a rainy day, or quite a few of them, might look like.
Only 48 percent of Americans have enough savings to cover three months of living expenses.1
And even if you are in that “lucky” 48 percent, if you became ill or injured and were unable to work—the ultimate “rainy day”- that’s not nearly enough to get you through: The average long-term disability lasts two and a half years.2
But that rainy day is still unlikely, right? Well, you may not know that most short- and long-term disabilities arise from illnesses, not a random or rare injury.3
So, what can you do? The best approach is to have a good umbrella, and avoid the big puddles; taking steps to reduce your risk of disability and planning how to protect yourself. Here are some common causes of disability and the protective measures you can take, based on current science.
The Risk: Muscle, back and joint disorders such as arthritis.
The Protection: Many types of bone and skeletal disorders may be eased or avoided through regular exercise, by maintaining a healthy weight, and by getting enough calcium and vitamin D in your diet.4 5
The Risk: Nervous system disorders, such as multiple sclerosis.
The Protection: While scientists haven’t figured out how to prevent multiple sclerosis, there are lifestyle choices that may provide some protection, such as getting adequate vitamin D, avoiding exposure to certain viruses, and doing everything possible to prevent concussions.6
The Risk: Cardiovascular and circulatory diseases, including stroke and heart attack.
The Protection: Reducing your risk of stroke or heart attack is about common sense. Maintain healthy blood pressure levels and weight, exercise moderately five days a week, don’t smoke, and take your medications. And (bonus) have a little dark chocolate every day.7 8
The Risk: Cancer, including breast, prostate and leukemia.
The Protection: Experts estimate 60 percent of cancers may be prevented if people would do three things: Avoid tobacco products, limit red meat, and maintain a healthy weight. Also, get regular screening tests — mammogram, prostate exam, colonoscopy — to help in early detection.9
The Risk: Common mental disorders, such as depression.
The Protection: While you can’t control many things that cause depression — genes, brain chemicals, environment — you may help keep it at bay by avoiding stress, eating nutritious foods, getting adequate sleep, and exercising regularly to release mood-lifting endorphins.10 11
And in case you think you’re too busy to take care of yourself, think again. In a study of working Americans, those with the highest financial confidence — people you would assume are working 24/7 — are actually those who put the highest priority on maintaining a healthy work-life balance.
Developing healthy habits is a good first step in preempting disability, but you also need to protect your ability to earn an income should illness strike. That’s where disability insurance comes in. It helps to protect a portion of your paycheck in case you are unable to work. This income protection step can help you look ahead with confidence, knowing there’s one less “what if” to worry about and your family will be protected.
Brought to you by The Guardian Network © 2018. The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America®, New York, NY
2018-59139 Exp. 05/2020
 2011 Gen Re U.S. Individual DI Risk Management Survey
Neither Guardian or its subsidiaries provide medical advice, please consult your medical doctor(s) regarding your own individual circumstances.
Individual disability income products underwritten and issued by Berkshire Life Insurance Company of America (BLICOA), Pittsfield, MA. BLICOA is a wholly owned stock subsidiary of and administrator for The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America (Guardian), New York, NY. Product provisions and availability may vary by state.