Families with special-needs members have unique planning considerations. We have family members who will need our support while we live and will still need support after we pass away. We need to build the best financial lives for ourselves. We have to get the right legal plans in place. We need to understand the government benefits we can access and the organizations that can support our family members in the future.
Our plans must incorporate the potential for government benefits like Supplemental Security Income and Medicaid-funded services.
My work with families with a special-needs member uses the metaphor of building a house.
Planning for your future is a complex and time-consuming task. Financial considerations such as saving for retirement, funding a trust, getting out of debt, building an emergency fund, and having funds to pay for an exciting and fulfilling life require patience, planning, and commitment. There are many steps to the process, steps which must often be taken at the same time.
Financial freedom does not happen overnight. Like the construction of a house, it often seems there is a lot of activity for a long time with little result. Then, all of a sudden, there is shape, color, and something incredible. In financial terms, that something incredible looks like money in the bank, investments in retirement accounts, a plan to fund a trust, and being debt free.
The process works through a series of steps created to help you move forward quickly. These steps are called Building Blocks. It starts with your dreams—What is it you want out of life?—and ends with funding a trust.
Each Building Block is designed to move you forward creating a strong financial foundation for your family.
As a whole, the Building Blocks will enable you to live free from the worry that you have not done anything to protect yourself and your family member with special needs. You will feel newfound freedom from stress in your financial life.
Once you feel this freedom, you can you can turn your thoughts and desires to living the most fulfilling life possible. You will be able to put your energy into enjoying each day, looking forward to the future, and feeling confident that life for your family member with an intellectual or developmental disability will be rewarding, fulfilling, and joyful.