Being a parent means having to worry about your children’s expenses. However, as you get older, you also have to think about how to take care of yourself in the future — and it’s even more important when you have a disability that might require specialized care. If you’re a parent with a disability or serious health condition, alleviate your future worries by planning ahead for sufficient care.
Maintain a Steady Stream of Income
Financial stability can start out as a calm river, but as rivers ebb and flow, so do finances. What might start as a steady stream could run dry when a drought occurs. Financial droughts can hit anyone at any time, but those with children could suffer the most if they don’t manage their finances and save ahead of time. Instead of going too fast or too hard, it’s better to keep a steady stream of income. For example, when you get a holiday bonus, avoid getting too spend-happy and blowing it all in one go.
Plan Your Healthcare
All families need good healthcare, but when you’re living with a disability, your medical needs might be a bit more complex. Healthcare coverage for children is also important because the immune systems are not as strong as adults. We’re in our healthiest stages during adulthood, but health and immunity tend to weaken as we get older. So, make sure you have a good healthcare plan, especially when you have a disability.
Also, it’s never too early to think about how you’ll take care of your health as you get older. When you enroll in Medicare, you might have questions about coverage in your state. This resource guide can help you find a plan, as well as provide state-by-state information from different websites and organizations.
Assess Your Financial Health
Start planning your financial future by assessing your current income trajectory, monthly/annual budget, and assets. Analyze your household income,fixed and variable expenses, irregular costs, incidental funds (hospitalizations, accidents, etc), savings, and emergency funds (with at least six months of living expenses).
Look at what your assets could bring as they continue to build equity, and calculate your ROI when it’s time to cash out on those investments. This could be retirement income from pensions, 401Ks, investment vehicles, stocks, real estate, life insurance, property, and shares. After all of your calculations are made, decide on how much you want to save for the future so you make it work with the money you have. If it’s not feasible, then it might be time to find other income-generating opportunities.
Make Smart Investments
It could be beneficial to consult a financial advisor to help you manage your money and plan your future.Financial advisors can help you grow the money that you have by investing the extra cash that you don’t currently need. They’ll help you come up with a plan that fits your family’s unique situation, your desired level of risk and rewards, and your financial goals. They can help you with retirement planning, such as purchasing life insurance or long-term care insurance to cover your medical needs later in life.
Investing in the stock market could meanhigh risk and high rewards, but you can opt for more conservative investments like annuities. You might not gain as much with these investments, but you can rest assured that your money is safer. There’s also the option to invest in real estate while the market is in the buyer’s favor and selling the house when it becomes profitable.
There are three things in life that seem to cause the most stress in our lives: money, children, and health. What happens when you combine all three for a parent who hasn’t thought about their financial future? More stress. This is especially true when the parent lives with a disability. You can never erase the concerns about your financial future, but you can take steps now to set it up. Rather than having your kids saddled with the cost of your care later in life, be proactive with your finances today.
Ms. Taylor uses DisabledParents.org to help other parents who are disabled to navigate the challenges of parenthood.