Special Needs planning is comprised of four unique components that are intertwined. Each one is important to address in order to have confidence that the comprehensive special needs plan has the greatest potential impact.
In my five part blog series, I will briefly discuss each component of a comprehensive Special Needs Plan and help you think through some important aspects in each area of planning.
In this post, part four of my five part blog series, I will cover the importance of having a financial plan for your loved one.
Financial planning helps answer the question of how you will pay for the goals you have created in your loved one’s Life Plan. It also addresses the challenges of how to provide the needed resources that are determined by your Resource Plan. If you are seeing this post without reading the previous posts in the series, I would encourage you to look back through part one, part two, and part three.
I have found that families often delay financial planning, not because they view it as unimportant, but because they feel overwhelmed, frustrated, and confused by the process. Most often families are overwhelmed with the number of decisions that they know they need to make. In addition to feeling overwhelmed, I find that families soon become frustrated and confused because they lack understanding as to what strategies would best benefit their family. My intention for adding value to my clients’ lives is to make it easy, efficient, and affordable to plan for their families’ futures, including the futures of their children with special needs.
Financial planning is third on my list of planning needs because this is what funds the Life Plan and the Resource Plan. Without discussions of life planning and resource planning goals, financial planning lacks direction and intention. Although I specialize in financial planning, I always discuss the life plans and resource plans of my clients. I have also taken families through Life and Resource planning conversations when they haven’t completed these steps on their own. Completing the first two aspects of planning gives families a strong desire and motivation for why they would begin planning. As I tell everyone I come in contact with, when you have a strong enough ‘why’ for planning the ‘how’ becomes much easier.
Just like other aspects of financial planning (e.g., retirement, college, long term health care), every individual is unique in their goals and needs. It is important to have a conversation with a professional who is able to ask questions that will help you uncover your family’s unique intentions, opportunities, and challenges. By understanding your uniqueness, together with your financial professional, you will be able to develop meaningful strategies for financial success.
I believe that life rewards action. Thoughts, hopes, and intentions are useful, but without action, a plan is never complete. The first step towards action is having a genuine, transparent conversation with someone who understands the unique goals and challenges of Special Needs planning. I would encourage each of you to reach out to a trusted advisor to begin this conversation. Even if you have not addressed the first two pillars of special needs planning, an advisor who specializes in this area should be able to guide you through these conversations.
Next week I will discuss the importance of creating a Legal Plan.