image by epSos .de
Thanksgiving has come and gone, leaving us with the battlefield known as Black Friday. I enjoyed my Thanksgiving with my family, and especially my time with younger brother, Yousef. He's always been curious about software development and the roller-coaster thrill ride known as a start-up. He recently joined his own start-up advising individuals on proper insurance coverage. We began to discuss what entrepreneurs should do to protect themselves from risks and unforeseen challenges that might come up.
The first thing that he mentioned was a startling statistic.
1 in 4 of todays 20 year olds will become disabled before reaching the age of 67.
Software development is a relatively low risk occupation when compared with being a lumberjack, but it is not completely risk free. Sitting has been called our generations smoking. Sitting in front of a screen for 8 hours is equivalent to smoking a pack of cigarettes a day . A very unhealthy habit which can cause posture issues, cardiovascular disease, and a slew of other health problems. On top of that, as developers, we can experience many issues with our hands, eyes, and legs from excess programming hours. Being disabled is something we don't want to think about, but can easily happen to anyone of us. This isn't meant to scare anyone, it is meant to educate.
Another statistic was pretty amazing:
One in three women and one in four men will have a disability that keeps them out of work for 90 days or more, according to The Life and Health Insurance Foundation for Education.
As developers we have the number #1 occupation in America. With having the best job comes great pay. Imagine not having that for 90 days, would that be devastating to you and your family? I can say losing 3 months of pay would be damaging to mine.
I believe most people think they are invincible, and statistics are just numbers that don't apply to them. I sometimes think this way, but as I grow older and wiser, I realize statistics are more often right than wrong. You may be the outlier, but unlikely. Yousef told me to answer a few questions.
How much is my career worth to me ?
I identify myself as a programmer / software developer. It is a crucial part of my identity. So it means a lot to me.
Can I work in a different field if something happens to me ?
Possibly, but I don't want to think about it. I love software development way too much.
If I get injured tomorrow, do I have enough savings to last me through a unknown time period of bills , mortgage/ rent , medical bills etc ?
Tomorrow, yes, but I'm getting ready to purchase a home, so ask me after tomorrow and the answer might be different.
So what should I do? I started discussing options to insure myself and how to go about that. Yousef told me that disability insurance is a critical part of managing risk, something too often ignored. Everything we do (or don't do) involves risk. Basic options are to reduce risk, self-insure for it, or transfer it (buy insurance). Often its a combination of all three. Doing nothing is self-insuring. Maybe that's good, maybe not. A trusted insurance advisor can be invaluable in helping identify the risks in your world and evaluate solutions that may include insurance.
I'm currently looking into purchasing disability insurance through Yousef and seeing how I can mitigate the risk of disability (short term or long term) in my household. I don't like to dwell on negative things, but that doesn't mean I should ignore their possibility completely. I've included Yousef's information below, if you would like to talk to him directly. He loves talking to software developers, entrepreneurs, and anyone who has questions; actually that is his specialty. He's a cool guy so at the very least shoot him an email if you have questions.