As retirement looms, what is your most valuable asset? Is it your home? Your business? Your retirement nest egg?

The answer, for most working Americans, is none of the above. Any home, business or investments you own are, of course, critical assets. But your most important asset is your ability to earn an income. Your capacity to generate earnings until you retire can make the difference between being comfortable in your golden years or just scraping by.

Illness and injury can interrupt or even halt your ability to earn an income. According to the Social Security Administration, a 20-year-old worker has a one-in-four chance of being disabled at some time before reaching age 67. Losing three months or more of income can be a serious setback to even the most prudent investor.

What are the leading causes of disability? The Council on Disability Awareness recently cited the top five causes as musculoskeletal conditions, cancer, arthritis, heart disease and mental health problems such as depression and anxiety.

The unfortunate fact is that a disability can happen to you.

Fortunately, disability insurance is an option for most income-earners, providing a valuable buffer against income loss. The typical policy kicks in 90 days after a worker becomes unable to work due to illness or injury, and replaces 60 percent of income.

Choosing the right policy with the right features takes some know-how, though. That’s where we come in.

Perhaps you work for an employer that offers disability coverage, either as a core benefit or as an option. We can help you evaluate the offering, assess how it meshes with your financial plan, and choose the right level of income-replacement coverage. We can also evaluate whether you should supplement a workplace disability plan with a privately purchased policy.

Do you work for an employer that doesn’t offer this benefit, or are you self- employed? We can model how a sudden illness or injury would impact your cash flow and your long-term investment strategy and show you a variety of options for bridging the gap.

One of the most important pieces of advice we can give is to apply when you’re healthy. Your costs will be lower, and your options will be broader. It is also important to reassess your coverage periodically to make sure the income replacement benefits are appropriate to your current earnings level.

If you do have a pre-existing condition, however, don’t let that deter you from inquiring about an income-protection policy. This is a place where advisors can add value by knowing the underwriters and helping you sort through options efficiently. We have found appropriate policies for people who are overweight, have diabetes or heart issues, and other special factors.

Finally, if you are an employer, talk to us about adding disability coverage for your team. We can show how to offer this option affordably, providing protections for you and your employees.

Whatever your needs are, we encourage you to reach out to schedule a complimentary consultation with one of Anderson Retirement Solutions’ advisors to discuss how planning for the unthinkable now can protect you during retirement. Please call 888-473-6931 to schedule your consultation today.