Learn how to have a protection first mindset

3 MIN READ | #blog

Do you know what it means to have a protection-first mindset? It’s prioritizing the financial well-being of yourself and those you love. The idea of a protection first mindset really came into focus during the COVID-19 pandemic, but just because the pandemic is behind us, doesn’t mean we should forget the financial lessons learned. Between February and March 2020, the US personal savings rate skyrocketed from 8.3 percent to an unprecedented 33.7 percent.1 Across the country, millions of Americans did their best to create a financial cushion to protect against a seemingly unprecedented emergency.

Emergencies can be mitigated

Yes, financial emergencies can happen when we least expect them — to us as individuals or to the entire world, but the financially confident among us know that with the right emergency planning we can expect the unexpected. Having the right protections in place, like a solid emergency fund, disability insurance and life insurance, is one of the surest ways to ride out a setback.

Guaranteed income

Among other things many Americans learned in during the pandemic, we found that previously steady passive income streams — like rental properties — are less reliable than was assumed. For Americans in need of true, guaranteed income sources, like retirees, an annuity or whole life insurance could be a great consideration for any portfolio.

Long-term job loss

Unexpected job loss is always an emergency, but what if you were unable to go back to work for months or years? After the pandemic, this thought experiment feels all too real for many. This historic period saw entire industries shut down indefinitely, stranding millions of Americans jobless. One insurer reported that one third of all short-term disability claims filed in April 2020 were related to COVID-19.2 In addition, many survivors of COVID-19 have reported long-term medical challenges that make returning to work impossible.

Income protection can help

Income protection through disability insurance can help make sure that you and your loved ones avoid the worst effects of unexpected job loss due to a disability. With income protection in place, you can still earn money while unemployed due to sickness or a disability, even in the event of industry shut down or long-term illness.

Health savings accounts

Speaking of long-term illness, COVID “long haulers” are individuals who have experienced health problems long after recovering from their initial bout of the virus.3 For many Americans experiencing long-term health problems, a health savings account (HSA) can help safeguard against high medical costs. As a result of the CARES act, passed in response to COVID-19, HSAs can now also be used to purchase over-the-counter medication and menstrual care products.4

Protection first

As we move past the COVID-19 pandemic , it’s important to look back and reflect. Millions of Americans have experienced — or are still experiencing — the effects of a financial emergency. With this knowledge still fresh in our collective consciousness, the value of protection-first planning is more apparent than ever.

As a first step, try taking a written inventory of your layers of financial protection. Then, take your list to a financial professional for evaluation and suggestions.

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1 BEA statistics, BEA.gov, accessed January 2021.

2 Unum Disability Guide 2020, unum.com, accessed January 2021.

3 Long haulers: Why some people experience long-term coronavirus symptoms, health, ucdavis.edu, December 8, 2020, accessed January 2021.

4 IRS outlines changes to health care spending available under CARES Act, IRS.gov, June 17, 2020, accessed January 2021.


Annuity and Whole life guarantees are backed exclusively by the strength and claims-paying ability of the issuing insurance company. While the primary purpose of life insurance is death benefit protection, it is important to understand the advantages that cash value accumulation can provide to clients, including supplemental income during retirement.