Having your own team of experts working closely together helps maximize the effectiveness of your plan and makes sure it stays in sync with you and your special needs family members' current and future needs.

An integrated approach

As the diagram on the right shows, there are a number of factors and institutions that can play a significant role in your special needs journey.

Some of these — such as government benefits or legal considerations — can be so confusing, even overwhelming, that you are tempted to ignore them and try to get by as best you can.

But in my experience, taking an integrated approach — making the most of available resources and planning across your family members' spectrum of needs and opportunities — gives you the highest probability of success.

Given some of the challenges you may face, this is absolutely crucial.

As a financial advisor, I spent my career helping my clients plan for and enjoy retirement. Usually that meant looking ahead three to four decades.

Though we couldn’t know the future with anything approaching certainty, we could still make reasonable assumptions about longevity, spending, inflation and come up with a pretty good plan — one that my clients could adjust along the way as circumstances changed. While I handled the investments and the financial planning, I was generally confident that my clients could manage the rest of their lives.

With special needs family members, however, you have to think about everything — guardians, retirement homes, insurance, even funeral arrangements. Then you need to figure out how it will all be paid for long after you have passed on from this world.

It is hard enough for the average family to save, invest and prepare for their own retirement. But with a special needs family member, you are looking at stretching those funds you have worked for and saved to last not only through Mom and Dad’s life expectancy, but perhaps another 30 years afterward as well.

Design, Build, Protect

While it is easy to get caught up in the state of the economy or the latest “hot” stock, we believe passionately that the way you invest should be aligned with where you are in your life…not with the short-term ups and downs of markets.

You should have a financial blueprint to help you manage your opportunities, needs, concerns and goals. We call this approach Asset Class Investing and believe it makes good sense as you plan for both today and tomorrow.

There are three things to remember about how Asset Class Investing can work for you and your family:

1. It focuses your investment portfolio on meeting your life goals.
It is an approach designed to help you manage towards your most important goals rather than to short-term market trends.

2. It is based on science and academic research.
It combines the latest discoveries in economics and investing with close to 90 years of market data and insights as well as in-depth studies of investor psychology and behavior.

3. It is a disciplined and structured approach.
It helps protect against the common behavioral mistakes that can compromise your long-term financial goals.

Find out what behavioral finance expert Meir Statman has to say about the role our emotions play in making decisions.

The Fundamentals of Asset Class Investing

How you choose to invest your money for the long term could have major implications for your overall success.

The Fundamentals of Asset Class Investing »

Get a Second Opinion About Your Financial Plan

Our second opinion service is more than just a discussion about money and financial strategies. We want to learn about your challenges when it comes to planning for your special needs family member.

Schedule a meeting with us for a second opinion and here's what you'll get:

  • We'll spend most of the meeting discussing your needs and listening to your answers.
  • We'll answer all your questions regarding our fees and the specialized services we provide.
  • We'll talk about your current investment strategy and make notes for our follow-up conversation.

Although we may discuss ideas during the meeting we want to spend most of the time listening, rather than immediately trying to provide solutions.

After the meeting we'll put together some information and ideas for strategies that best fit what you've told us about your unique situation. Next we'll schedule a follow-up conversation in which we'll present our second opinion about your current plan.

There's no obligation for our second opinion service and any information we provide during your meeting and afterwards is yours to keep.

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