Advisor Today - March/April 2015 - (Page 22)
By Roger Sweaney
I Did Not Check the Box!
By not buying DI insurance, this cancer survivor lost everything he worked for.
t 35, my life couldn't have
been better. I was happy,
healthy and successful, with
a beautiful wife, two wonderful
kids and a six-figure income. Some
days, it felt as if my life had come
straight out of central casting for a
Things fall apart
But then, my beautiful life fell apart.
In 2003, I was diagnosed with brain
cancer. My surgeon removed the
tumor, but the surgery set off epileptic
seizures. A second surgery to correct
these seizures caused a massive stroke,
which left me partially blind and
paralyzed in one arm and one leg.
Brain cancer, epileptic seizures and a
After that, life got really difficult.
And I was the only person to blame
for my financial disaster. You see,
I didn't "check the box." The day I
started my dream job, I filled out
what looked like dozens of forms
requesting information including
my name, birth date and all of those
things that define your life. I also
received short-term disability income
insurance that was paid for by my
employer. If anything bad were to
happen to me, I could stay on the
payroll for six months while
For about $150 a month, I
could also have obtained long-term
disability income insurance, which
would have provided an income
stream for a longer period in the
event of a really big health scare. All I
had to do was check "yes" on the box.
But I thought that safety nets
were for other people. I was in my
30s and making a lot of money, with
a perfect family and a bright future.
So I checked "no" on the long-term
disability box and didn't give it a
22 ADVISOR TODAY | March/april 2015
For about $150 a month,
I could also have obtained
When he was only 50, my father
died without life insurance, and
our family struggled for years. So I
swore that my family would always
be well covered. But by focusing
solely on life insurance, I started
digging a financial hole for my
family. They would be protected if I
were to die, but what would happen
to them if I was laid up for months
By checking "no" on the box, I
saved a few dollars each month. But I
also set into motion a chain of events
that cost me everything. I was alive,
but my family, my job and my kids'
college funds disappeared. Everything
I had worked so hard for was gone.
The dizzy spells started in 2003
and kept getting worse. I had a
malignant tumor about the size of a
golf ball on the left side of my brain,
which had to come out immediately.
After surgery, six weeks of radiation
and 17 cycles of chemotherapy, I
started to feel like myself again. I
thought that I had beaten cancer, but
karma was just getting warmed up.
Post-surgery, I still had to battle
the seizures. I wrote them off as my
body adapting to the postoperative
stress. But the seizures were getting
more frequent and stronger, and
medication didn't help. Something
was clearly wrong. To fix it, doctors
implanted mesh netting into the
part of my brain where the seizures
started. But it did not work. When I
woke up from the surgery, I couldn't
talk or move and I had no idea
what had happened. The doctors
explained that I had suffered a
Gradually, most of the post-stroke
symptoms faded. It took more than
500 sessions of physical, speech and
occupation therapy. Today I can walk,
talk and do many of the activities I
did prior to the surgeries.
What I lost were my job, my
home, money for my kids to go to
college and, worst of all, my family.
The stress of a medical crisis doesn't
overwhelm just one person; it can
tear apart an entire family.
Life after surgery
I went back to work in the spring
of 2005. My six months of shortterm disability coverage were
exhausted. My employer took me
back, but everything had changed.
I didn't have the physical or
psychological stamina to keep up
with the demands of my job.
As a returning employee, I
argued I had the right to purchase
long-term disability insurance like
any other worker. But the term
"preexisting condition" became
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Advisor Today - March/April 2015
From The Editor
The Power of Going the Extra Mile
The Advisor’s Real Job
How to Improve Your Life Sales
Lifetime Transfer Planning
I Did Not Check the Box!
How I Got a Jump Start on My Day
The Next Generation of High-Limit DI Plans
The Gift of a Lifetime
Preparing Your Clients for Retirement
LTCI Trends and Opportunities
LTCI Riders for the Sandwich Generation
Increasing Demand for Special-Needs Advice
Top Tips for Selling Annuities
Entering the 401(k) Market
Reaching Diverse Markets
NAIFA Government Relations
Sales Ideas for a Profitable Practice
Five Things Your Client Is Thinking . . .
Advisor Today - March/April 2015