SPECIAL NEEDS FINANCIAL PLANNING: A COMPLETE GUIDE


Alright! Let’s discuss the special needs financial planning in whole article. A child is the heart of a family. Just like a body can’t function without a heart, a child is a fundamental part of a family. For every parent, their biggest concern is the happiness and well-being of their child. This becomes more so a concern when your child is differently-abled or has special needs. 

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The society is not always kind to them and is more often than not ready to hand out the labels. Their future might give you worries and tensions. But rest assured, one way you can ensure a better and secure future is by making them financially better. You can do this by way of special needs planning.

Financial planning is monumental for every family. But it becomes even more important in this particular context. Special needs financial planning is as the name suggests financial planning for children/ people with special needs to secure their future.

QUESTIONS THAT YOU SHOULD ASK YOURSELF IN THIS CONTEXT


You might have done some financial planning. Now ask yourself some questions.

  • Does your financial plan allow your child to explore his or her talents, skills and interests?
  • Is your financial plan inclusive of the child’s special needs and desires?
  • Is your financial plan capable of giving a better tomorrow to your child long after you are gone?
  • Does your financial plan cover all grounds of risks and needs that your child might face in the future?

These questions would help you analyze if you are on the right track or not.

SPECIAL NEEDS FINANCIAL PLANNING GUIDELINES


If you are not on the set path, you can do so now. Nothing is lost. The points throw light on what exactly is special needs financial planning and how exactly should one go about it.

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1. UNDERSTAND THE TASK YOU HAVE UNDERTAKEN


The task you have undertaken is not simple in any way. It is going to be daunting at first, but you can do it. There will be many factors that you will have to consider. Some of them are as follows:

  • Special needs of the child,
  • The dreams and aspirations of your child,
  • Legal and financial concerns,
  • Other family members and the way your financial plan will affect them,
  • Public and private resources,
  • The regular and unavoidable expenses and
  • Unavoidable costs incurred as a result of raising a child with special needs.

When you have successfully outlined these factors and any other factors that you feel you need to consider, then you can begin with what is known as special needs financial planning.

2. BEGIN WITH CHARTING A VISION BOARD OR OUTLINING YOUR GOALS


Once you have in mind the factors that require consideration, you can begin with charting a course for yourself. Outline your goals and aspirations. In more precise words, figure out your expectations and what you hope to achieve out of the financial plan.

Once you have an idea of what goals and targets you hope to achieve by way of your special needs financial plan, you can accordingly plan how you should go about it. This way you will know which path to take to financially secure your child and other members of the family. You can be better prepared and organized while realizing your goals and aspirations.

Thus, the first step to special needs financial planning is to create a vision board for all the targets and goals you strive for and hope to achieve.

3. A DOCUMENTATION ABOUT YOUR CHILD DETAILING ALL THE NITTY GRITTY


After you have outlined what you hope to get out of your special needs financial plan, document your child’s needs and requirements.

This would, on the whole, entail the following:

  • The medication,
  • The therapists,
  • The doctors and the frequency of check-ups,
  • The allergies,
  • The relationships he or she has with other people,
  • The integral figures in his or her life,
  • Their daily routine, 
  • Their habits and behaviors, 
  • Their preferences,
  • Government benefit or any other private benefit that they get
  • Their dreams.

Once you have a detailed list of what are the essential and non-essential needs of your child, you can accordingly chart your special needs financial plan. This detailed list would help whoever ends up taking care of your child if you are not available due to unavoidable circumstances and/or long after you are gone. All of this needs to be accounted for to create a sort of life plan for your child. This might not be a task that you can do on your own. You can always seek professional help if required. By detailing this information of your child, you will be able to plan for the transitional periods of their life, for instance, when they get into college, when they are looking for a job and get one when they get married and/or when you are no more, etc.

This gives a direction to your vision enabling it to take the right course and thus, help you ensure a happy and safe future for your child by way of your special needs financial plan. 

4. LOOK INTO YOUR EXPENSES, INCOMES, SAVINGS, FINANCES AND MAKE SURE THEY ARE IN ORDER


Take an account of the present sources and the potential sources of income. Keep track of your expenses. Bifurcate them into:

  • Regular and unavoidable and irregular and avoidable.

Analyze what proportion of your income goes into what aspect. Detail what proportion of your income you spent on outdoors, shopping, travel, etc. Cut down on any avoidable expenses that you can. Assess your current financial situation and make changes where ever necessary. It is necessary to do so to get an idea of the financial situation to plan for and organize the present and future while ascertaining a great future for your child.

Also, take care to analyze what proportion of your income goes into savings and/ or investments, etc. 

This would help you to carve out a budget plan for your family. Try and stick to the budget as much as you can. Further, keep in mind to update the budget regularly.

This would only further you in your pursual of a sound and financially secure future for your child by way of your special needs financial plan.

5. MAKE A RESOURCE PLAN AND HARNESS THEM


Your resource plan would require you to pick out the organizations, individuals, services, public schemes that can help secure a great and extraordinary future for your child. You would also have to analyze the resources you have already connected with and identify if there are any gaps concerning these resources. You need to plan out how to bridge these gaps so that nobody can take undue advantage of your child and your child can thrive long after you are not there.

To bridge these resources, you would have to recognize and connect with additional resources like government schemes, federal schemes, and other public resources, special needs trust funds, private resources, etc. Do not hesitate to approach.

Make sure that this plan is in order so that your child does not have to undergo any hassle when you are no more.

 A resource plan is extremely beneficial as it will help you garner resources and ascertain a planned and organized future for the apple of your eye. It is okay to seek professional help. 

Thus, your special needs financial plan needs to have a resource plan which should be detailed, accurate to the T and inclusive of the evolving needs of your child.

Also, keep in mind to update the resource plan regularly. A resource plan is sure to give your child a thriving future.

6. SEEK THE HELP OF A PROFESSIONAL SPECIAL NEEDS’ FINANCIAL ADVISOR OR STRATEGIST


Special needs financial planning might not be something you are prepared for due to a lack of previous experience or ignorance. Whatever may be the reason, there is no shame in taking the help of a special needs’ financial planner or advisor. 

The special needs’ financial planner or advisor is an expert in his field and will know exactly how to help you, what resources to connect you with, what public resources can be incentives, what private schemes can be taken advantage of, etc.

In other words, a special needs’ financial planner or advisor is truly a savior. He is exactly what a parent of a child with special needs yearns for.

7. MAKE YOUR CHILD INDEPENDENT


Unfortunately, you will not be with your child forever. Every parent wants to protect their child from any and every danger and mishap that might befall your child but you cannot always be present there to give them blanket immunity.

That is why you must work and plan to make your child independent. Plan for the living arrangements. Help your child to look for a job to give them a sense of financial independence. Connect with a community of parents of children with special needs. This will help you find solidarity and a sense of belongingness. Help your child find a community as well. This will be extremely beneficial for them.

Conclusion


To summarize, special needs financial planning is financial planning by being inclusive of the present and future needs of a child with special needs. It involves a lot of careful planning and assessing. Further, while planning is key, what is more, important is its implementation and execution. Take action. Monitor and review your plan. Make changes. Adapt and be flexible. Do not stress. While your child deserves a thriving future, do not forsake your present at the cost of your happiness and peace. So, plan accordingly.

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