If you’ve never put together a formal plan for your family’s future, it can feel like a pretty big undertaking. However, there are some professionals who can help you along the way — including the MD Preferred Network — and an action plan will help guide you. Here’s key advice for moms and dads with disabilities who want to lay a solid foundation for their families. And given that we are in the midst of a global pandemic, knowledge is power.
The first step in creating a plan of any sort is to identify and develop specific goals. Parent Lightly notes you can actually apply a business-like mindset to your plan. Talk things through with your family members and decide on what you envision for your future, what your values are, what your family’s primary focus will be, and the steps to take toward achieving your ultimate goals.
For many families, goals might include things like buying a home, saving for college, and retirement planning. Each aspect of your plan should be prioritized, and then you can decide on steps toward achieving those goals. Keep in mind that the pandemic may have changed your path toward success. Looking for a home, for instance, is different now, as is saving for college and retirement if you have found yourself suddenly without a job.
Home in on Your Home
A top priority for many families is the purchase of a home. For those with disabilities, this may involve building an accessible home or modifying an existing home. If you have always rented and are used to an accessible apartment, the idea of either building or dealing with renovations can be particularly daunting, but you can take an online quiz to help you determine if the timing is right for you to purchase a home.
If you’re ready, you can look into things like available loans and grants to learn more about how you might finance your home. A lender can walk you through the loan qualification process, and there are specialists who can help you apply for grants as well. You should also consider hiring a real estate agent to shop for land or houses, and once you look at properties, you’ll be talking with contractors about addressing renovations or performing construction.
Save for College
Saving for your children’s education is a terrific goal, and there are a few common ways to do it. As Vanguard explains, there are 529 accounts, UTMA and UGMA accounts, ESAs, and general investment accounts, and all these options offer their own set of pros and cons. You’ll want to examine them carefully before you dive into any one option.
As a disabled parent, your children have unique opportunities to help them attend college. There are several grants, scholarships, and other benefits worth examining to see what your family might qualify for. Since things can get complicated quickly, many parents find it helpful to connect with a special needs financial planner to navigate these choices.
Invest in Yourself
While going back to school for higher education might seem daunting, it can be a monumental step for you and your family’s future. Whether you are trying to take the next step at your current company or sharpen your business skill set, an MBA is a great way to get ahead in the corporate world. An MBA will teach you to inspire, motivate and command respect. These are vital life skills which also happen to have positive influences for your family.
Prioritize Your Golden Years
Your own retirement is a goal worth prioritizing as you plot your family’s course. If your employer offers a retirement fund with matching, this is a clear first choice for where to put your savings. If you do not have an employer-based retirement plan, Investopedia notes there are several other retirement fund options to consider as well, like 401(k)s, IRAs, and traditional IRAs. As someone with a disability, you might also be eligible for an ABLE account. Your financial planner can help you determine the best course for your circumstances.
Prepare for Emergencies
Lastly, you should consider worst-case scenarios. All families benefit from safety nets, like an emergency fund, and you may wish to discuss your situation with an attorney. An attorney can draw up paperwork such as guardianship, wills, and health care directives, and can provide guidance in arranging trusts.
Now is a great time to look at how COVID-19 has changed your view on health emergencies and long-term care. If you were to become disabled now, would you want to go into a nursing home? Would you feel safer hiring an in-home caregiver? You will need to determine what your desired outcome is and weigh that against the potential safety issues associated with living in a pandemic world.
A plan for your family’s future will give you a map toward your goals. Decide what those goals are and connect with the professionals who can help you. Soon, you’ll be well on your way to financial security and success!
The MD Preferred Network has partnered with financial advisors, insurance agents, realtors, mortgage lenders, and recruiting firms to help healthcare professionals get the assistance they need. To learn more about what we offer, contact us.