Disability, whether due to injury or sickness, can be especially catastrophic for new physicians.
Short on earnings and still carrying enormous debt, you need to protect your investment of time and the monumental effort it took to reach your career goals.
If you have disability insurance through your employer, you should make sure it is adequate. Not all plans will provide enough income if you find yourself unable to work, and you may need to supplement with a private insurance carrier.
If so, your ideal disability income insurance should have an “own occupation” definition that specifies you as a physician and further defines your medical specialty.
Deal with an agent who specializes in disability and a highly rated company. You can get ratings from Standard & Poor’s Insurance Rating Services, Fitch Ratings, A.M. Best, Moody’s Investors Service, Inc., or Weiss Ratings.
Some of the questions you should ask your insurance agent when selecting disability income insurance:
- What is their definition of “disability?”
- When does coverage begin? Is there a limited time period on the benefit?
- Will it pay your students loans in addition to a monthly benefit?
- Will benefits be reduced by any other benefits you may get?
- Can the plan be canceled on you?
- Can you increase coverage later?
- Are benefits adjusted for cost of living increases?
While it is never a good idea to pretend you are rich when it comes to spending, there is a time when it’s the right thing to do.
Behavioral finance attempts to explain why investors do what they do, specifically, why they make irrational decisions with their money. It has become a hot topic in recent years.
But if you search on the phrase “behavioral estate planning,” you will find little. This seems odd, since there is significant psychology behind the reasons that people make estate planning mistakes. With an unpleasant topic at its core, the process of writing a will can be emotionally challenging. Most of us would rather avoid thinking about it. It is also complicated, time consuming and expensive.
Writing (or equally important, revising) your will sits high on the "not now, thanks" list, along with dental appointments and colonoscopies (sorry, doctors).
So it's wise for new physicians to pretend that they are already rich as they prepare their wills and other estate planning documents. Your situation will change, but your emotional resistance to revisiting your official plans may likely be even more difficult to overcome in the midst of your busy career.
Work with an estate attorney. Establish your plan as if you have already accumulated millions. Call your attorney today and protect those who you love. If you don’t have an attorney, we can refer you to one.