MILWAUKEE, May 10, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Maintaining standard of living is a top financial goal among Americans, yet few are taking active steps to protect their ability to reach this goal, according to Northwestern Mutual's recent study, The State of Planning in America.  

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Among the top financial goals identified in the study are "having a good standard of living in retirement" (77%), "not falling below your current standard of living" (76%) and "protecting income in event of disability" (62%). Yet, only eight percent of respondents said they own a disability insurance policy.

"From the moment you start working until the day you retire, your ability to earn an income is your most important financial asset," says Sandy Botcher, Northwestern Mutual Vice President – Disability Income Insurance. "Consider this: a $60,000 a year salary results in $2.4 million over a 40-year career, and that doesn't take into account inflation, raises, or the long-term growth potential of money invested in retirement saving vehicles along the way. What happens if a disability prevents you from earning this income?"

Individual disability insurance pays a monthly benefit in the event of a disability, helping replace lost income, meet ongoing financial obligations, and even maintain financial goals. Unlike workplace disability insurance, individual disability insurance belongs to the individual and is portable – it goes with wherever your profession takes you.

Protect Your Paycheck         
May is Disability Awareness Month, and Northwestern Mutual has a number of tools and resources available to help individuals understand the importance of individual disability insurance as part of a sound financial plan.

"We're seeing that Americans recognize this risk, but are taking an 'it won't happen to me' approach," continues Botcher. "According to data from the Society of Actuaries, people in their working years are much more likely to be disabled for 90 days than they are to die prematurely. A personal disability policy is a simple solution that helps you to do things like pay your mortgage and your living expenses, or save for your children's education and your own retirement if you become disabled and can't work."

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About Northwestern Mutual                
The Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company – Milwaukee, WI (Northwestern Mutual) – among the "World's Most Admired" life insurance companies in 2012 according to FORTUNE® magazine – has helped clients achieve financial security for more than 155 years. As a mutual company with $1.2 trillion of life insurance protection in force, Northwestern Mutual has no shareholders. The company focuses solely and directly on its clients and seeks to deliver consistent and dependable value to them over time.  Northwestern Mutual and its subsidiaries offer a holistic approach to financial security solutions including: life insurance, long-term care insurance, disability insurance, annuities, investment products, and advisory products and services. Subsidiaries include Northwestern Mutual Investment Services, LLC, broker-dealer, registered investment adviser, member FINRA and SIPC; the Northwestern Mutual Wealth Management Company, limited purpose federal savings bank; and Northwestern Long Term Care Insurance Company; and Russell Investments.

SOURCE Northwestern Mutual