Families With Special Needs Children Not Prepared for Future

Most caregivers of special needs children don’t work with financial advisers; however there is strong interest in working with financial advisers who specialize in special needs planning.

A survey of families with special needs children found that 30% of caregivers are not saving at all for their own retirement.

Caregivers are concerned about their own financial future and how their caregiving responsibilities may adversely impact their retirement. Most special needs caregivers will be caregivers for the duration of their lives—encompassing their entire retirement period—yet almost one-third of this group (30%) is not saving at all for retirement.

Only 16% of caregivers strongly believe they are financially secure. Seventy percent believe they will have to compromise their own retirement plans in order to provide for their special needs dependent, and 77% are concerned they won’t be able to retire when they want to. Eighty percent of caregivers are concerned they won’t be able to maintain a comfortable lifestyle throughout retirement.

Most caregivers (63%) don’t work with a financial adviser; however there is strong interest in working with a financial adviser who specializes in special needs planning. Among those who do not have a financial adviser but want one, 98% would be somewhat or very interested in working with someone with expertise in special needs financial planning issues. Ninety percent of caregivers believe having an adviser who works for a company that has products and services for special needs households is important.

The survey also found almost nine in ten caregivers (87%) are concerned about what will happen to their special needs relative when they are no longer living. Fifty-nine percent have not even taken the basic step of preparing a will, and 60% of caregivers with life insurance have less than $300,000 of coverage and fewer than half have the protection of whole life coverage. However, the lifetime cost of caring for a dependent with autism is between $1.4 and $2.4 million. Only 23% of caregivers have a formal financial plan for their dependent, and only 37% work with a financial adviser.

The questionnaire for this study was designed by Greenwald & Associates in cooperation with The American College of Financial Services. Information for this study was gathered through interviews conducted between March 30 and April 12, 2016. Respondents were recruited through the Research Now online panel, and a total of 1,015 Americans were interviewed.