Special Needs Planning
"A process to assure an adult with a physical, cognitive, or mental impairment a place in the community appropriate to his or her needs, capabilities, financial resources, and wishes for the nature and quality of their own life."
As a member of the special needs community, you or your loved one are likely familiar with the benefits of specialized care: doctors, therapists, and other facilitators who provide targeted services to address a certain issue. General practitioners are great, but when your needs aren't basic, you need a specialist.
This approach also can, and should, be applied to financial management. The financial circumstances faced by special needs families are anything but basic; their needs are highly unique and specialized. Unfortunately most financial service providers fail to make this distinction and many special needs families are left receiving only a basic level of planning.
At JCG we are specialists, not generalists, in planning for individuals and families with special needs. Our personal experience with the special needs community sets us apart, as do our professional histories, expertise, and involvement in the community.
We know that trust is something that takes a long time to develop but only a moment to lose. We also know that trusting the future of your loved one to a stranger is difficult under the best of circumstances. That's why we have dedicated substantial time, resources, and capacity to the development of our Special Needs Planning practice - so you can rest assured you are in good hands.
Our partners' expertise is extensive, and so are their credentials. In addition to both being Certified Financial Planners (CFP), Brian Cotroneo is a Chartered Special Needs Consultant (ChSNC) and Matt Johnson is an Accredited Estate Planner (AEP) - two credentials directly influencing Special Needs Planning. Brian and Matt have also been invited to speak at numerous venues and conferences such as the Florida Family Cafe in 2023.
For JCG, Special Needs Planning isn't a fringe offering but the core of what we do for clients: untangle the most complicated of situations to provide clarity and guidance for life's hardest choices. We are dedicated to the Special Needs Planning discipline and to providing the highest quality of service to our special needs families.
While we don't believe that "off the shelf" or "bucket" solutions work well for any client, that is especially true for special needs families. The level of complexity required to forecast future needs and balance them with expected resources like government assistance programs is beyond the capabilities of even the most sophisticated financial planning software.
Thankfully, we don't rely on those tools - instead we take pride in building our own. We use interview style conversations to get to the bottom of your financial situation, utilizing the same degree of diligence we do when evaluating companies. When information about services and resources are required, we use first-party research: reaching out to vendors and service providers personally to get accurate, timely data. And when circumstances call for assumptions to be made, we make them based on decades of experience managing risk across multiple disciplines.
The end result is a unique and completely customized life plan - one that fits you or your loved one based on their desired quality of life.
One of the most difficult aspects of Special Needs Planning has nothing to do with numbers or forecasts: it is the challenging and often unspoken expectations held by the individual and their family.
Individuals with special needs thinking they will won't be able to maintain employment without losing their benefits; parents thinking they can never retire because they need to continue providing; siblings who feel compelled to act as guardians or caregivers despite the competing demands of their immediate families.
We don't pretend to have all the answers - but we do have some. We have seen the benefit that proper planning provides and the weight it lifts off the shoulders of caregivers; it is a noticeable relief. In areas we don't practice in - such as law or tax - we have trusted colleagues we are happy to refer to.
While we can't solve all the problems, we can understand them, and sometimes that's enough.