Inclusivity is the idea that all types of people must be included in work and daily life, no matter their differences. Whatever benefits are available must be accommodating and available to everyone.
Have you ever thought about inclusion in terms of finances? You likely haven’t unless you’ve lived it. That’s why TFS Advisors’ very own Aaron Terwedo is starting a podcast for families with special needs. Because while it may feel like it, you aren’t alone!
Today we’re looking at what inclusive financial planning is, how it can differ from a “traditional” financial plan, and how TFS Advisors can be an ally and resource for families with special needs.
What is Inclusive Financial Planning?
Inclusive financial planning strives to make quality financial advice available to everyone. This includes people who may not think they have “enough” money to work with a financial advisor, families with special emotional or physical health needs, LGBTQ+ families, those that may not have financial advisors in their area, etc.
Inclusive financial planning happens not because of a drive for additional profits or clients but because everyone deserves to feel secure in their finances.
The Power of Inclusivity
What if you couldn’t participate in a special event or activity for reasons out of your control? That isolation, shame, and guilt are incredibly hurtful and detrimental to people’s well-being. Inclusion helps eliminate that shame and isolation by striving for involvement and empowerment for everyone.
Everyone has something to offer the world, they just need an opportunity to share it.
How is Financial Planning Different for Families with Special Needs?
All parents worry about their children and how to best care for them. For families with special needs, those worries can increase significantly.
Parents and guardians of those with special needs have many challenges and thoughts constantly running through their minds. Things like:
- Researching your child’s disability or illness
- Finding effective treatments and quality care
- Transportation to medical appointments
- Scheduling challenges between school, treatments, extracurriculars, etc.
One of the most significant concerns for families is paying for treatments and ongoing care services. Which, as a parent, should be the last thing you should spend your energy on. Instead, you should be able to focus all of your energy on your child and what they need, not its effect on your wallet.
Suppose a financial advisor has experience in special needs financial planning. In that case, they can be an excellent resource for special needs families because they can help them navigate ways to prepare for the expenses related to special needs care. Some examples are:
- Setting up a Special Needs Trust: This type of trust is a secure account where you can keep money that you save, that others give your family as gifts, that you receive from insurance settlements, etc.
- Opening a 529A plan: These are also called ABLE accounts. They help families save for qualified disability expenses (QDE) in an account that grows tax-free and has no tax on qualified distributions. Examples of QDE can include Healthcare expenses, basic living expenses, assistive technology, transportation fees, legal fees, educational fees, etc.
- Choosing a legal guardian: Identifying a person who will care for your child if something happens to you.
- Writing a letter of intent explaining your specific care needs: This can include creating a list of contact information for your child’s providers, current medication dosage and schedules, your child’s daily routine, likes, and dislikes, etc.
- Determining eligibility for federal benefits and assistance: Programs like Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Social Security Survivor/Disability Benefits, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Medicaid, Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and others.
- Preparation for dealing with the unexpected: Setting up and contributing to an emergency fund that can be used in unexpected circumstances.
Why TFS Advisors are Inclusive Financial Planning Experts
We believe that financial planning is about improving people’s quality of life. Aaron Terwedo’s family is no different. Aaron and his wife have three children that all have special needs. Aaron understands that a special needs diagnosis is lifelong and comes with unique challenges that many can’t understand unless they’re dealing with it themselves.
Families that have special needs can often feel as if they’re alone. In reality, that can’t be further from the truth! Aaron is passionate about working with special needs families because they’re a community of vibrant and diverse people. A solid financial plan can relieve stress, so you can spend more time worrying about caring for your child.
Where You Can Go For Help
Aaron is starting a podcast to dive deeply into inclusive financial planning, especially for families with special needs. In this podcast, Aaron will be interviewing families and various professionals, encouraging them to tell their unique stories, and sharing his real-life examples mainly, to create a community where special needs families can go to learn things from others in similar situations.
Please tune into Aaron’s podcast twice a month on all listening platforms. And know that TFS Advisors are always here to help you navigate your finances and create a unique financial plan for you and your family.