Our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy have changed.

By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to the new Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

Get protection from financial struggle

lisa_jucha.top.jpgLisa Jucha, Southern California By Kate Ashford

(Money Magazine) -- Lisa Jucha makes a comfortable living. But while she was growing up, money was scarce -- she describes her childhood as "financially difficult." She doesn't want to struggle like that again.

Lately, Jucha, who is 45 and single, has begun to worry about what would happen if an accident or illness prevented her from working. She's especially afraid of losing her home.

" I can't let a disability compromise what I worked and dreamed for," she says.

As a sign-language interpreter for the federal government, Jucha earns $68,000 a year; she brings in another $15,000 or so on the side working as a video-relay interpreter -- helping deaf people talk to hearing people via videophone.

She does get some disability insurance through work. But the coverage leaves her vulnerable, says L.A. financial planner Jennifer Hartman. Especially since Jucha relies on income from a side job -- which she can't get insurance for --she needs more coverage on her primary job.

The solution
Make sure she'll have income if she becomes sick or disabled.
$175,000 in retirement accounts
$2,000 in brokerage accounts
$83,000 in cash

1. Set a target. Uncle Sam offers employees a free benefit that kicks in for disabilities expected to last a year or more. It'll pay 60% of her salary for 12 months, 40% thereafter (minus some of her Social Security disability benefits). Hartman says Jucha should aim to replace at least 70% of her after-tax income for short- and long-term disabilities; coverage maxes out around 90%.

2. Join a group. The government doesn't sell supplemental policies, so Jucha should see if any industry associations she belongs to offer group plans, which often are cheaper than individual ones. If not, she should find an agent specializing in disability.

3. Get the right variety. She should get an "own occupation" policy, which pays out if she can't work in her field but could still work.

Do you need money help? Post your video on iReport and tell us why you deserve our next Money makeover.  To top of page

Overnight Avg Rate Latest Change Last Week
30 yr fixed3.93%3.87%
15 yr fixed2.99%3.03%
5/1 ARM3.27%3.20%
30 yr refi4.03%3.93%
15 yr refi3.08%3.07%
Rate data provided
by Bankrate.com
View rates in your area
Find personalized rates:
Index Last Change % Change
Dow 17,813.39 1.20 0.01%
Nasdaq 5,116.14 13.33 0.26%
S&P 500 2,088.87 -0.27 -0.01%
Treasuries 2.23 -0.01 -0.49%
Data as of 6:47pm ET
Company Price Change % Change
Pfizer Inc 32.87 0.90 2.82%
HP Inc 12.64 -2.00 -13.66%
General Electric Co 30.36 -0.30 -0.98%
Bank of America Corp... 17.44 -0.03 -0.17%
Freeport-McMoRan Inc... 8.10 -0.20 -2.41%
Data as of 4:02pm ET


Brazilian police arrested a prominent senator and billionaire CEO for interfering in the investigation of Petrobras, which has pushed Brazil into recession. More

Watsi crowdfunds donations to cover healthcare costs of those in need. And it's seeing a surprising trend: micro-donations via the popular Chinese social networking app, WeChat. More

Some of the coolest toys this year are from small businesses. Here are 10 hot toys that just might be a smash hit this holiday season. More

American consumers saved more in October compared to a year ago -- a sign of a behavioral shift in consumer spending. More