Cheryl Walfall-Flagg is saving for when she and her husband are no longer around. She is saving for her son's independence and ability to live and enjoy life to the fullest as an adult.
Cheryl has always been told that she is a good teacher. Though not a teacher, she puts her skills to good use in administrative support at the North Carolina Head Start program where she works. As a parent of three boys, two of whom are on the autism spectrum, Cheryl keeps herself informed by continually doing research, attending workshops, webinars and conferences. She is a part of several groups or initiatives, including Re-Thinking Guardianship: Building a Case for Less Restrictive Alternatives and the Family Support Network of the Greater Triangle Development Group. Having a North Carolina ABLE account gives Cheryl peace of mind knowing that, even if her son does start receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI), his SSI eligibility will not be affected by his savings. Family support is key in Cheryl’s professional and personal life and she hopes to share the knowledge she has gained with others. As an ABLE Advisor, her goal is to inform parents of individuals with disabilities that they should start early in life to plan, and help their children develop skills and knowledge about tools for financial stability.
Cheryl Walfall-Flagg’s Highlight from the July 2018 AchievABLE Newsletter
Cheryl Walfall-Flagg is the mother of Sean, a 16-year-old ABLE account owner and budding artist. Cheryl and her husband, Terence, have another son, Terrell (18), and her husband’s nephew, Davante (11), for whom they are both legal guardians. The Flagg family set up Sean’s ABLE account in their home state of North Carolina. As part of her work at the Orange County Early Head Start program, and as a parent advocate, Cheryl engages in multiple parent resource groups where she shares information about ABLE and its benefits.
A key part of Cheryl’s ABLE strategy has been the decision to contribute a set amount to Sean’s ABLE Account on a quarterly basis instead of on a monthly basis. This approach allows flexibility for those months where her family might not have funds to contribute.
Cheryl contemplated using ABLE funds to pay activity fees for a social club that Sean, who is on the Autism spectrum, participates in. Cheryl realized that paying for a monthly activity out of the ABLE account undermined their longer term goals and bigger ticket items that could be secured by these funds, such as college for Sean. As a result, the Flaggs use ABLE as a savings and investment account instead of a checking account.
As an ABLE Advisor, Cheryl wants other parents of ABLE-eligible youth to know that, “The first thing to know is that the account is easy to set up. I’m not a financial or a mathematical person. I’m just a mother looking out for her son’s future. The other thing is to start to plan sooner than later. Many parents are so consumed with their child’s disability issues and are in survival mode – trying to figure those day-to-day things out, we have to take that one step back. Do that piece of financial planning for the future. The ABLE account is one easy, simple way to get that done. It is one simple thing you can do.”
The ABLE National Resource Center is proud to have Cheryl as one of our 2018 ABLE Advisors.