A considerable number of applied behavior analysis practitioners are in private practice. As a consequence, while their schedules are their own at least to some degree, they also face the challenge of dealing with time off of work in the form of sick days. With this in mind, if you’re interested in being an ABA practitioner in private practice, you need to have a solid idea of how to handle the prospect of lost income associated with being sick.
Related resource: Top 25 Best Applied Behavior Analysis Programs
Affiliate with a Professional Association
One strategy to consider employing as a means to prepare for the inevitable lost income associated with being sick is to join a professional association. Although you won’t be handed cash when you’re sick through membership in a professional association, you may be able to access other types of resources should you become ill. For example, you can make contact with other ABA practitioners in your geographic area who may be available to assist you with your practice if you’re forced to take time off due to some sort of illness.
The Association for Behavioral Analysis International is an example of a trade group an ABA practitioner may want to consider joining. In addition to providing different types of resources for an ABA practitioner, the ABAI hosts conferences and conventions throughout the year.
Undertake Serious Financial Planning
The surest way to protect against financial issues if you need to take time off as an ABA practitioner because of illness is to engage in serious financial planning. Any type of small business owner, entrepreneur, or professional in private practice needs to be serious about developing a meaningful budget. Part of a responsible budgeting process is setting aside money for emergencies, including the need to take time off due to illness.
There is no hard and fast rule regarding how much money an ABA practitioner should set aside in the event of illness. Some money set aside for such a contingency is better than none at all.
Many experienced financial planners recommend professionals in private practice of all types should strive to have an emergency cash reserve of up to six months worth of living expenses. In this day and any age, many people live paycheck to paycheck. This oftentimes proves the case for self-employed professionals and independent contractors as well, including ABA practitioners.
Obtain Disability Insurance
Having a reserve fund can address financial issues associated with a few days off work due to illness. A more extended period of time away from work because of an illness of disability demands something like an appropriate insurance policy to address financial needs in such a situation.
An ABA practitioner should consider obtaining a suitable disability insurance policy in order to cover at least some of a person’s financial needs for a period of time. You need to bear in mind that a typical disability insurance policy doesn’t provide 100-percent compensation for lost income. Rather, a standard policy typically provides for about 60% of income lost due to disability or illness.
In addition, a disability policy typically doesn’t provide coverage until a waiting period passes. This typically is a 30 to 60 day time period. In the final analysis, a self-employed person like an ABA practitioner needs to establish financial contingency plans. This includes having different tactics in place in the event an ABA practitioner takes ill and cannot work.