Recently a reader recommended that I write about financial planning for families living with Kennedy's Disease.
I did write about applying for Social Security-Disability (SS-D) compensation last year (Part I and Part II). Both of these articles discussed several important responsibilities and considerations before and during the application process. Along with other tips and recommendations, I emphasized these three points:
- Document everything. The more information you can provide up front, the smoother the process will go.
- Take the time to educate the reviewer. Do not expect the reviewer to understand Kennedy's Disease or your specific situation. The reviewer can be an excellent advocate if he/she understands Kennedy's Disease and your specific disability.
- Be prepared. The more prepared and organized you are, the better the chance for approval. (e.g., my award was approved in six weeks)
Part II of the SS-D article focused on the preparation aspect of the process. A few years ago I wrote a guide that is useful when applying for SS-D. You can download the PDF guide by clicking on this link.
_____________________________The Financial Planning Process
Social Security-Disability is all well and good, but it does not help answer the question whether you can afford to retire. Financial planning is important at any age, but it becomes critically important when diagnosed with Kennedy's Disease because you might have to retire earlier than expected.
Wikipedia: A financial plan is an estimate of future income, expenses and assets.
In this three-part article, I will provide several key steps to developing a financial plan. In today's post, I will summarize the planning process.
Since I am not an expert or someone with a strong financial background, everything discussed in this article is based upon my experiences (the good, the bad, and the ugly). Of course, you can hire a financial consultant, but I feel that the benefits of going through these steps are important to the "buy-in" process. If you do decide to take this journey, I recommend that you review your assumptions and results with a qualified financial planner. A good financial planner should not ask you to invest in specific stocks, bonds, annuities, insurance, or other securities. His role is to just review your plan and provide insight into options for achieving your goals.
I am certain there are others out there better informed and more qualified to write about this subject. I am hoping they will add their two cents in the comments section below or by sending me an email. I will then update these documents.
The keys to any good financial plan are summarized in this seven-step process:
- Evaluate future needs (Develop a retirement budget)
- Analyze current conditions (Retirement savings, regular savings, pensions, disability income, and other investments and assets)
- Establish targets and goals (Target = Annual projected savings; Goal = Savings needed for early retirement)
- Execute the plan (Develop a plan, gain consensus,and put your plan to work)
- Measure performance (Quarterly reviews - How are you doing?)
- Review results (How well did you do in achieving your annual target? Are you still on track to achieve your goal?)
- Adjust the plan, as needed (Evaluate, analyze, reset targets, execute, measure and review the revised plan)
In Tuesday and Thursday's posts I will provide the actual steps my wife and I used to prepare for our future. This approach helped us achieve a reasonable level of financial independence and provided me with peace of mind.
As always, should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask by commenting below or sending me an email.