What I often find is parents are obsessed with providing for their children with special needs but neglect their own financial position. Parents are constantly paying out money each month to get their children the best care possible to increase their quality of life but often neglecting their own financial situation.

Every day, parents are faced with the additional financial pressures of paying for things such as therapies, medications and medical devices. Added to this are regular bills such as mortgages, loans and household expenses.

At some stage parents must realise that their children with special needs and their own personal financial situation are tied together. By parents securing their own future, they will also help to create a much brighter future for all.

One big step parents can take is setting up a Special Needs Saving Plan

Parents tend to think “well you need a lot of money first, to start a Special Needs Saving Plan” this is not the case with most parents I meet.

Special Needs Saving Plans are a must for parents who want to build future financial security. A Special Needs Saving Plan can pay for future professional fees, unforeseen medical expenses, therapies and improve your child’s quality of life.
The three key steps to successful building up a Special Needs Saving Plan are;

  1. Habit of Saving – All parents have to get in to the habit of saving even if it is only €10 a week. I recommend setting aside a proportion of the Domiciliary Care Allowance each month and diverting it in to a separate account.
  2. Don’t add your child to the plan! – If you name your child on any saving plan then this potential will cause issues. If your child grows up to be reliant on a state payment such as disability allowance then having money in their name can jeopardise their future entitlements. If your child has an intellectual disability then they can run in to additional issues when trying to get access to their money later in life.
  3. Risky Investment – I nearly always find that parents don’t realise the risk attached to investing their money. All investment products come with a warning “You may get back less than you put in.” There is a reason for this and unfortunate hundreds of families have found this out over the last few years. Before ever handing your money over to a Bank or Financial Advisor you first have to understand the underlying risk involved and read the small print. Look out for hidden charges such as management fees, government levies, taxes and penalties.

Regular savings will lead to more financial security and will create a brighter financial future for all the family. Take action today by looking at your bank accounts and seeing what is an affordable level of savings that you can put away for the future.

This article was prepared by Allan Cuthbert, a Special Needs Financial Planner. If you have a financial question, feel free to email[email protected] or call 021 482 3635. For more information about special needs financial planning, check out www.financialwellbeing.ie