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Single life, single income: What you can do to maximize your finances

(ARA) - More and more people are choosing to live solo. While there are plenty of resources for home improvement, a new survey shows singles could use some help getting...
(ARA) - More and more people are choosing to live solo. While there are plenty of resources for home improvement, a new survey shows singles could use some help getting their financial house in order. Many single workers lack an adequate financial safety net that would protect their income if they were unable to work due to an illness or off-the-job injury, according to The Hartford Benefits For Tomorrow Study, a national survey of 1,000 full-time workers ages 18 to 64. The annual poll showed only 44 percent of single Americans have disability insurance. This is despite the fact that singles would be hard hit by an unexpected health issue. In fact, 87 percent of single survey participants said they would need to make lifestyle changes to meet expenses if they lost income for three to six months. "Fifty-nine percent of workers who don't have disability insurance said they'd rely on their savings or retirement account if they could not work for more than six weeks," says Mike Fish, vice president of voluntary benefits for The Hartford. "That means singles without paycheck protection are not only putting their current finances - and independence - at risk, but their golden years, too." Here are three benefits tips for single Americans: 1. Educate yourself. Many Americans don't completely understand disability insurance, but it's crucially important that you do. Speak to a professional and don't be afraid to ask questions so that you fully understand how disability insurance can benefit you. 2. Know your risks. According to the U.S. Social Security Administration, one in four 20-year-olds will become disabled during their career. "You might think that you don't need paycheck protection because you won't have an accident or you don't engage in unsafe activities," Fish says. "But, you still could be at risk. Approximately 95 percent of disabilities are caused by illnesses rather than accidents, according to the Council of Disability Awareness." 3. Get a price check. In The Hartford's survey, 45 percent of survey participants overestimated the cost of short-term disability insurance by hundreds of dollars; and another 45 percent said they had "no idea" how much the coverage costs. "It pays for you to check on whether you can get disability insurance at work," Fish says. "Group disability insurance costs about a dollar a day on average. So, it can be more affordable than depleting your savings." Going solo doesn't mean going it alone when it comes to your finances. You can find more information about disability insurance at The Hartford's MyTomorrow website www.thehartford.com/mytomorrow.
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