What People with Disabilities Need to Know About Planning for Their Financial Future – by Ed Carter
Practical self-care is something that many people with all kinds of disabilities can strive toward if they are smart about their finances. Not only can having a disability reduce your earning potential as you age, it can also increase the amount of money you’ll need to spend on medical, nursing, and custodial care. Here are some things you need to know about planning for your financial future.
Income vs. expenses
First things first: Get a handle on your budgeting (present and future). It may sound reductive to boil it all down to money in and money out, but that’s a good place to start. Knowing how much your disability costs you can help you better plan for how to fill in the financial gaps. On average, people with disabilities spend £583 more per month than their non-disabled peers.
Income includes money made through employment, government benefits, disability benefits, pensions, investment payouts, etc. Expenses are tougher to calculate because they can change rapidly — especially in terms of medical needs. It is your task to anticipate — as much as you can — your future care needs. Will you eventually need in-home nursing care? Perhaps a wheelchair? Maybe surgeries? It could be something as simple as hearing aids. Find out what your insurance will cover and then figure out ways to supplement your income.
Know your supplemental income options
Your first step is to look at your Personal Independence Payments, which range from £23.20 to £148.85 per week. Other options include adding riders to your life insurance policy, purchasing supplemental long-term care insurance, and opening a savings account to offset medical expenses. You will also want to start saving with the sole purpose of using said funds for later life care. These should be a savings funds separate from your other savings accounts, like your emergency fund for instance.
Downsizing is an option
Downsizing is an option that many with disabilities consider when they begin to approach their golden years. By moving into a smaller home and paring down your many possessions, you can not only save on your monthly mortgage, utilities, and all other home-related expenses, you will also make your daily life less stressful and put less strain on your body.
Choosing to downsize can be an emotional experience, even if it helps you stay independent as you age. If you experience sadness and trepidation, know that it’s completely normal and you can cope with it.
You need to have “The Conversation”
What conversation? The Conversation — the one you may be putting off because it’s uncomfortable or you feel you’re burdening your family. It’s the one where you make known, in no uncertain terms, your choices about your own care. There may come a time when your health care and finances need attending to and you are unable to do it on your own, so your family must be 100 percent certain of your desires.
One final word about planning for your financial future: Do what you can now to minimize your financial burden later. Many things about your disability are out of your control, but eating right, staying fit, and keeping your stress levels and mental health in check are not. Remember that your financial future is only as insecure as you allow it to be now. Make plans today, and you’ll be solid tomorrow.
Guest Blog written for The Bendrigg Trust by Ed Carter of AbleFutures.org
Ed is a retired financial planner and has created the Able Futures website to provide helpful financial information to members of the disabled community.