Planning Pointers for Parents with Special Needs Children
As a mother of a special needs child and a financial planner specialising in advising retirees I have in the last few years been struggling with 2 questions and problems
Have I saved enough and did I start soon enough?
During the early years when Stef first started nursery school and the learning problems started manifesting themselves, we were so busy with therapists, assessments, trying to ‘label’ the problem, finding the right school etc that we never thought about ‘tomorrow’.
Media is full of warnings that people have not saved enough for their retirement – and in my profession I see this too often!
Then the realisation hit me!
My focus is not solely my and my husband’s lifetime in retirement but another lifetime after we are gone! Scary thought particularly as I am very well aware that R1million capital will provide approximately R4,000 per month – so to provide an income of R16,000 per month R4million is required. Not many have accumulated this kind of money.
I have a client in his mid-50’s whose father passed away a couple of years ago. My client’s older brother is special needs person – he does have sheltered employment but this does not meet his financial needs – my client has to assist his brother financially. The result is that my client’s own retirement planning is jeopardised, however, he and his family have accepted the responsibility of looking after his older brother – a rare family indeed!!
Who will look after my son after we are gone?
One of the things I learned early on is the financial vulnerability of persons with special needs.
In trying to get Stef to become a independent we arranged for a bank account and he had his own bank card. He made friends with some youngsters in the neighbourhood and I then learnt that they used to walk him to the nearest teller and encourage Stef to draw money which they would ‘help’ him spend!
We are blessed in that my older son has decided to become a financial planner (no influence from me!) and now I am putting all my plans in place to ensure that Stef will be looked after when we, his parents are no longer around, but I am also making sure that I am not placing a burden on his brother.
By writing this I hope the give other parents in a similar situation the advantage of knowing what to plan for how much is enough!
~ written by Marina Higginson (firstname.lastname@example.org) ~