Managing money is a fundamental part of life, but living with a disability or caring for someone who does can make this more of a challenge. Whether it be a physical, developmental, learning, or any other type of disability, many factors can make it more difficult for you to achieve or maintain a healthy financial standing.
Financial stability provides a platform from which you can build the life you want. Without it, the likelihood of you accumulating debt and living under its pressure increases. Bad financial habits and cycles are a downward spiral and the sooner you start to build good habits, the quicker you will be able to find the road to financial stability.
The above is a fairly generic insight that applies to almost everyone, but those living with a disability often face a different set of obstacles to achieving financial stability. What are these challenges and how can you manage your money more effectively despite them?
What are the challenges of managing money with a disability?
Those living with a disability can be financially disadvantaged in a number of ways.
Firstly, some disabilities can limit people’s ability to work or maintain employment. This has a profound impact on their financial standing because they may be completely or partly reliant on living allowances and benefit payments from the government and local authorities. Lower incomes increase the likelihood of accumulating debt which is difficult to pay off if you don’t have disposable income or the ability to earn more.
Debt can also accumulate because of the extra costs associated with living with a disability. For example, the cost of care, equipment, and household bills, on top of all other essential goods and services can tighten budgets and lead to a decreased standard of living.
Another challenge that people face, particularly those with learning and developmental disabilities, is a lack of understanding about money and the role it plays in life. For many, the process of money management is simple. But for others, it’s difficult to grasp and apply the concepts.
Many people with disabilities also struggle with a lack of financial independence because they’re reliant on the care and support of loved ones or social workers. This is not only challenging for the individual but for the people around them.
How to manage your money more effectively
With the above challenges in mind, managing money effectively becomes ever more important to ensure that your finances enhance your or someone else’s standard of living rather than detract from it. We recommend a few key tips below:
- Maximize your income – Ensuring that you’re maximizing the income you receive on a weekly or monthly basis is crucial to give you more money to work with. This could be income from support and benefit schemes, universal credit, grants, or living allowances. Or, this could be from part-time, full-time, or self-employed work.
- Budget your money thoroughly – This is a fundamental step in money management because it allows you to have a better understanding of what money is coming in and going out. Budgeting also allows you to identify areas of spending that are excessive or wasteful, helping to reduce your outgoings and give you more disposable income.
- Tackle short-term debt as soon as possible – Debt can be a huge obstacle for anyone trying to achieve financial stability. It not only takes away your future income, but it also costs more the longer you have it because of interest added.
- Limit wasteful spending – Cutting down wasteful spending is important to reserve money that can be invested elsewhere to improve your standard of living or pay off debts. That’s not to say you can’t treat yourself or spend money on things that you want. But consider how much you spend on things that don’t really improve your life.
- Build up savings – This can be difficult, particularly if you’re on a low income or relying on support schemes. However, putting savings to one side is one of the primary ways to achieve financial stability and improve your financial resilience in general. Savings act as protection for when things go wrong or unexpected bills land. They’re a safety net to ensure that you don’t accrue debt unless absolutely necessary. If you still have high-interest debt to be paid off, however, you should aim to pay this off first before you start prioritizing saving.
Managing money effectively is so important for everyone, probably even more so if you’re facing some financial obstacles because of your disability. You can learn more about money management from many sources online and these can help you to manage and improve your financial circumstances. Good luck!
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I'm Alice and I live with a dizzying assortment of invisible disabilities, including ADHD and fibromyalgia. I write to raise awareness and end the stigma surrounding mental and chronic illnesses of all kinds.
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