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Planning For the Future With a Disability

Submitted by Guest Author: Ed Carter  of Ablefutures.org

Everyone must plan for the future, but when the present is complicated, planning can be a challenge. Finances are more nuanced for people with disabilities during their day-to-day lives, to speak nothing of looking down the road. However, there is no need to be intimidated. With forethought and careful planning, you can ensure that your future is protected.

Here are a few ways you can thoughtfully put money toward tomorrow….

Savings and Insurance: Financially speaking, your best tools for the future are your savings (both retirement and otherwise) and your health and life insurance. When it comes to savings, make sure you’re putting at least 15 percent of your income toward retirement. More is better, if you can afford it. Additionally, try to build up a functioning emergency fund. Health and life insurance are vital for those with disabilities. Medical costs can quickly become insurmountable without adequate insurance. Thoroughly evaluate your options, and consider meeting with local disability services if you need help figuring out which plan is best for you.

When it comes to life insurance, time is of the essence. The younger and healthier you are when you apply for life insurance, the better the rate you’re going to receive. Don’t assume your disability is enough to spike your rates – life insurance uses your stats, a physical, and a blood test to determine your rate. Some factors they consider, such as blood pressure and cholesterol levels, are likely to go up with age. Try to lock in a low rate as soon as you can manage.

Consider Your Unique Situation: No one knows what the future will hold, but disabilities and chronic health problems can exacerbate that uncertainty. It’s important to take an honest look at your current needs and consider whether — and how — they will increase over time. Try to get a sense of how much money you need to set aside to meet these needs. For example, if you have mobility problems, you may currently manage well with a simple mobility device. However, you must account for the cost of caring for and updating mobility devices as time goes on. Moreover, there may be a need for more intense or varied devices down the road, as well as home or car modifications. Speak with your doctor to get a sense of what to expect, including costs. If they cannot give you an answer, ask them to connect you with medical device companies to get firm numbers. Keep in mind that these figures are certain to change over time; however, you can use them as a jumping-off point to get a rough estimate of what you’ll need.

Give Yourself Room for Care: Not everyone with disabilities will need in-home care as they age, but many do. It’s possible you won’t know which camp you fall into until you reach that point. That’s why it makes sense to assume you will need it and factor that cost into your retirement savings. That way, if you do ultimately need it, you won’t have to deal with the additional stress of wondering how to afford it. The same principle applies to assisted living facilities. You may or may not need it, but if you do, having money set aside will make it much easier. Remember, health insurance typically covers a portion of home care or assisted living costs, but it may not cover all of it.

The future may be far-off now, but don’t put off planning for what’s on the horizon. By preparing your finances, you will ensure you have the best care and options available today and tomorrow.

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