The movie “A Walk Among the Tombstones” starring Liam Neeson was an excellent flick and a huge take away from the movie for me was the phrase “People are afraid of all the wrong things”

In my line of work I meet people every day who are afraid of a number of things ranging from loss of, or damage to their home, car and business, loss of their job and to a lesser extent, the loss of their own lives. For the most part, people seem to be afraid of losing material assets, and ignore the risk of losing their most important asset of all – their health, which in most cases will determine their ability to generate income.

The greatest risk to your income is not the economy or the risk of losing your job/career, but rather the risk of sickness or injury. Failing health is usually what interferes with an individual’s ability to work, and according to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), approximately 48% of mortgage foreclosures in Canada are as a direct result of the homeowner suffering a serious illness or disability.

Your income is what determines your ability to own a home, a car, sustain a business, and support your lifestyle and unfortunately the risk of losing the ability to earn isn’t something that concerns too many people because “People are afraid of all the wrong things”

What is even more interesting is the things that really don’t really matter, including homes, cars and other material possessions cost a lot of money to maintain and protect, while the things that matter (your health and your income – without which you will own no home or car etc.) which are often overlooked, cost very little to protect.

Who says that homes, cars, and other material possessions don’t matter?

  • The family that is now saddled with financial stress on top of the passing of a husband and father who purchased no life insurance to replace his income. They don’t care about the fancy Lexus in the driveway (it will be repossessed just like their home because there is no income to sustain their lifestyle)
  • The middle aged single mother who recently got diagnosed with breast cancer and just received a critical illness claim cheque in the sum of $250,000 and isn’t worrying about paying her mortgage. The only thing that matters to her is getting better and knowing her family won’t have to worry about money.
  • The contractor who bought into the idea that most injuries don’t occur on the job and simply paying into WSIB (which he was forced to do) provides a false sense of security. He isn’t worried about paying his bills because his off the job injury is covered by his disability insurance policy.

Why do most people tend to overlook protecting their income?  Most of us have a mindset that nothing can or will happen to us, it happens to other people but not us. We worry about gas prices, the economy, the weather and everything else that really have no power to impact our lives in the devastating manner in which death, sickness or injury can and often do impact our families.

In other words “People are afraid of all the wrong things”

I don’t think people should be afraid of anything, but I do think people should prepare for anything, especially the things that can destroy your family’s lifestyle.

The elephant in the room is failing to protect what really matters, your income which is the source of everything you provide or want to provide for your family. Commit to protecting your family’s income and lifestyle by ensuring that life, critical illness and disability income protection are included as fundamental pillars of your financial plan.

About the Author

Karl Marshall is President of Marmac Financial Services Limited, an independent insurance and investment brokerage. He lives in the Durham Region and on Saturday nights he hosts The Party Mix on G98.7 FM in Toronto. You may contact him via email @marmacinsurance on Twitter or on Facebook.