Most working Americans are making some tough choices in today’s economy–especially the middle class. Don’t let your clients make a choice that will place them in financial peril. Have the disability income “coffee talk” with your clients this new year.
The “American Dream” Ends When The Paycheck Stops
Many economists define the working middle class as families with annual incomes ranging from $35,000 to as much as $110,000. Others define the working middle class based in terms of life dreams. The Economic Policy Institute has said this group can be defined by their aspirations: like buying a home in a safe neighborhood with good schools for their children; having access to quality medical care; setting aside money for educational needs and a family vacation; and saving for retirement. These traits are the basic tenets of the “American Dream” and all of them are dependent on one thing, the ability to earn an income.
This group is the most dependent on the steady flow of income a paycheck provides. We can argue statistics, but it doesn’t matter— when a disabling sickness or injury happens to your client the aftermath will be devastating. The economic turmoil will quickly consume their lives. When income stops, dreams quickly die.
Clearly this is a problem: our working class clients need their paychecks to meet their daily living expenses, and have little left over each month, but without spending a little of it to weave the safety net, they are perilously exposed when disability strikes.
The Disability Income and Coffee Discussion
Here’s a strategy to try with clients who do not have disability income–we’ll call it the disability income and coffee discussion. First, invite your existing client to share a cup of coffee, tea, a soft drink or even bottled water with you. After you settle in, it might go something like this…
“Jim, I wanted to spend a few minutes with you today to ask you about something that I have been concerned about. I need to know, if you get sick or hurt and can’t work, will you or anyone in your family call me? Not to just let me know what has happened, but will they have expected us to have done any planning in regards to how you will be able to keep paying your mortgage, car payments or to find cash for groceries and other
If Jim says “no,” then respond…”Jim, that’s good news because I was really worried about
that. So tell me, who will they call? This simple question will provide you with some valuable information. If Jim gives you the name of another financial professional, you’ll know you have competition for business.
If Jim says the family will call the employer, you now have an opportunity to ask if you can
help review this plan. “Jim, I would like to review your employer provided benefits for you.”
If Jim gives you the most expected answer, that the family has no one to call because there is no plan, then you need to get his permission to volunteer for the job. At some point in this conversation Jim will likely tell you he doesn’t have the money to fund disability income. This is when the following statement may be effective.
Responding to the Cost Objection
“Jim, many of my client’s feel the same way you do now. You just can’t see how you can commit to another expense. Jim, you can’t afford to not take a hard look at this issue. It may not be as expensive as you may think. We’ve been enjoying a coffee (tea, soft drink or bottled water). I would guess that most families have one of these somewhere during the course of most days. Maybe it’s only $1.50 for a cup of coffee or it might be the special mocha treat on the weekend. If you think about it, that might come to $30 to $40 a month or more. Did you realize we can use that same $30 to $40 and greatly improve your financial position when you get sick or hurt and can’t work? Then your family will have someone to call when you can’t work who will be able to bring a check and not a bill. Jim, I want to be that person!”
Over 100 million working Americans don’t have private disability insurance. The market is too large and the stakes are too high for you to ignore. Start the new year by sharing a cup of coffee with your existing client who is most at risk. Both of you will be glad you did!