I don’t know who said it first, but it’s certainly true: no one hands new parents a manual when they leave the hospital with their newborn. As parents, we simply face each new issue, surprise, and question as it comes, and we do our best to make the right decisions.
When it comes to the specific task of financial planning for our kids’ futures, however, there are plenty of “manuals” in the form of studies, guidelines, and articles. “What type of budget is appropriate for a family of five?” Financial planners break it down. “How much should you be saving in college funds each year?” There are plenty of charts out there to help you reach the right financial milestones.
But what about when a child has special needs? Monetary costs will of course be higher, as a disabled child has more expenses on top of the basic family necessities. Unfortunately, literature helping parents figure out the complexities of financial planning specifically for a special needs child is less abundant — but it shouldn’t be, as there are millions of families caring for kids with special needs. In fact, the National Center for Education Statistics estimated that 6.5 million children ages three to 21 were receiving special education services between 2013 and 2014, accounting for roughly 13 percent of all public school students. But with less information readily available, it’s not as simple for parents to start planning for their child’s financial future.
Getting the Right Professional on Your Team
When caring for a child with special needs, tackling the task of financial planning alone can be overwhelming and full of obstacles. There are needs-based government programs that can help with many necessities like medical equipment, prescription medication, transportation, and more. However, putting too much money in a disabled child’s name can cause him or her to lose eligibility for these programs. To continue receiving benefits, funds from a special needs trust can be used for non-covered medical services or equipment. The number of financial planning strategies are endless, but how do parents find out which combination of these options is right for their child?
Many parents enlist the help of an experienced financial planner to streamline the financial arrangements and get them on the right track. Financial advisors can develop a long-term strategy and then manage the funds throughout a child’s life. They’re often key players in the disabled person’s future financial stability. Parents can then instead focus on their child’s happiness and well-being in other ways.
When Selecting a Financial Planner, Ask About Fees
When meeting with a new financial advisor, it’s important to ask to see a breakdown of their investment management fee structure and review where they fall among the average. Advisory HQ offers a detailed, up-to-date report of financial advisor fees that identifies the average, median, and typical financial advisor fees charged across the investment and financial planning industry. After meeting with a new advisor and receiving their fee structure, you can then compare it to the average advisory fees presented in the report.
Parents caring for children with special needs need to be as well-informed as possible when planning their financial future. If you are looking into the many options for your child, the planning experts at Milestone Consulting can get you moving forward with the right information.
ABOUT JOHN BAIR
John Bair has guided thousands of plaintiffs through the settlement process as founder of Milestone Consulting, LLC, a broad-based settlement planning and management firm. Milestone’s approach is comprehensive and future-focused. John’s team has guided thousands of clients by taking the time to understand the complexities of each case. They assess the best outcome and find the path that enables each client to manage their many needs. Read more about Milestone Consulting at http://milestoneseventh.com/.
A West Point graduate where he served as captain and military aviator, John Bair continues his commitment to our country through his efforts within the settlement planning industry. He has represented families of victims lost in the Flight 3407 crash, offered pro bono services to the families of 9/11 victims and drafted the first consumer protection bill for plaintiffs (H.R. 3699).