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Here are my top five tips to getting ahead financially when you have a child with special needs. Follow my simple steps will allow you to set up and fund a special needs trust that will improve the quality of life of your child.

1. Set A Budget!

No matter how much or how little you’re paid, you’ll never get ahead if you spend more than you earn. You should operate one (joint) bank account and have all your income and bills going in and out of this account. Each month you need to sit down and do a quick calculation to see if you are getting ahead or eating into your savings. At the end of the month you then need to put a proportion of Domiciliary Care Allowance or Disability Allowance away for the future.

2. Pay Off Debts First

Personal loans and credit card debt is the number one obstacle to getting ahead financially. Easy to rack up and hard to clear. Always set up your credit card to pay off the full balance each month. If you can’t do this then tear it up. Personal loans need to be arranged ensuring the loan with the highest interest is being paid off first.

3. Build A Nest Egg

You should aim to have at least 6-months wages saved for a rainy day. This should be kept in an easy accessible account and earning a small level of interest. If you intend to purchase a new item, rather than taking out a loan, I recommend that you save for it in this account BEFORE you buy.

4. Know Your Entitlements

It is up to your to ensure you claim all entitlements, allowances and tax credits. Every penny counts when it come to claiming what is rightfully your. It is important that you act quickly because the Department of Social Protection will not allow you to back date a claim. The soon you send in an application the better.

5. Clear Your Mortgage

Parents who never clear their mortgage early have little disposable income at the end of their working carer to fund a proper special needs trust. This has the knock on effect of ensuring the government are the most influential people in your child life. Any parent who can clear their mortgage early will save themselves thousands. You might not be in a position to begin over paying your mortgage now but I encourage to follow step 1-4 and then tackle the mortgage.

Allan Matthew Cuthbert t/a Financial Wellbeing is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland to advice on Mortgage,Savings, Life and Pension products