Reaching retirement is difficult for many employees, but shaky 401(k) accounts aren't the only culprit. At some point, one in four employees suffers from a disability that takes him or her out of the workforce for an average of 31.5 months, and this period away from work can be financially devastating for those who aren't covered by disability insurance, says Alex Dumont, associate vice president of product marketing at The Standard.

"People end up drawing into their 401(k) savings just to get by," Dumont says. "They don't have private pension coverage; at best, they have 401(k) defined benefit plans, and they're forced to draw upon those plans before retirement just to be able to weather the storm."

Younger workers are especially susceptible to ignoring the odds of disability, Dumont says. A feeling of invincibility is often found among younger workers; however, the statistics are not on their side, as earlier noted.

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