My 20 year-old son, who is a sophomore at the University of Kentucky studying computer engineering , and also an avid sports fan, recently asked me why people purchase disability insurance? Millennials often have no idea of the importance of both life and disability coverage, so I provided a few sports examples like Yao Ming (repeated foot and ankle injuries, Joe Thiesman and a broken leg in 1985, or Troy Aikman, who received an estimated 10 concussions and had to retire in 2000.
Yao Ming at 7ft 6 inches moved to the NBA as the overall top pick in the 2002 draft, and his nine-year stint with Houston Rockets, especially his last six seasons, was plagued with a series of injuries and surgeries – the bone spur in his left foot and osteomyelitis in the big toe of the left foot in 2005, the broken bone in his left foot and right knee in 2006, the stress fracture in his left foot in 2008, the hairline fracture in his left foot in 2009 and the stress fracture in his left ankle in 2010. He missed 250 games in the last 6 years of his career and retired in 2011 after he averaged $17,686,000 per year.
Yao Ming was covered under the NBA disability policy which covered roughly 60% of his income or 10 M per year. He couldn’t perform the material duties of his occupation; therefore, he was eligible for benefits. Rarely would a millennial be eligible for such a crazy salary, but what we do know about most folks – including millennial – is that 1 in 4 of today’s 20 year-olds will experience a disability during their work career, and most only have enough savings for 3 months.
To protect your most valuable asset – your ability to earn a paycheck – disability insurance is a recommendation regardless of age, income, or whether you can dunk a basketball while standing on two feet.