What if today you were asked this question: What are the most pressing concerns you have for your special needs child? What would your answers be?
This is a question we always ask the families we work with, and we consistently hear the following answers:
- How do we provide safety and well-being for our loved ones now and in the future?
- What future opportunities will be available?
- How do we provide safety and well-being for our loved one now and in the future?
- What future opportunities will be available?
- What future obstacles or challenges will we face?
- How do we address the financial stressors of our special needs family?
- Who can we count on today and in the future to be helpful?
- What is going to happen when we are no longer here?
These critical questions can linger for years, waiting for answers and solutions. They are stressful topics to think about, but facing them head-on can actually eliminate a lot of stress.
So how do we begin to find the answers and take actions for finally resolving these concerns and putting them behind us?
Maybe the search for answers begins with family or support group members, or friends or work colleagues who have experienced the same questions and have found the help to move forward with solutions.
But the search for answers also involves working with specialists and professionals who understand these concerns and know how to address them. Experienced special needs planners have a distinctive approach to help guide families in answering these questions and a thoughtful process that helps them take the important, necessary actions to resolve them.
That is all well and good, but one key observation over the years is that the biggest obstacle to success in special needs planning is simply making the time. All families today are busier and more over-scheduled than ever, and that is even more so for families where an individual has a disability.
And so even with the best of intentions, proactive planning often takes a back-seat to the day-to-day challenges of school, work, therapies, doctor’s appointments, social skills groups, and other routine obligations. That’s why there needs to be a pause when the stresses and strains of everyday life can put on hold for even just half an hour. It may seem like it’s just one more “to do” on your list but every family who does so can attest to how it actually takes some of these worries off of their plate.
So take a breath. Take a baby step. Reach out for information and have a conversation. The right time is now.
Please let us know if you have any questions!
Richard Lofredo, ChFC, CLU, ChSNC, is a respected financial professional and educator with three decades of experience providing financial planning strategies who provides valuable expertise to families with special needs. He understands that families and guardians of children with special needs face unique challenges — retirement planning takes on a whole new meaning when you have a child that will someday be an adult who will depend on you for education, healthcare, and financial security. Satisfied clients speak of his guidance as having helped them focus on their financial health and feel more confident in their family’s future. Richard passionately continues to educate himself on government services available to the special needs community, as well as the challenges that face many families. Because of his continuous education, he can provide an understanding approach to financial planning that considers the unique circumstances of each family. Richard is well-equipped to guide families through this process, securing all aspects of financial planning that account for all members of the family. Richard is a Registered Representative & Investment Advisor of Park Avenue Securities, Financial Representative of Guardian.
Ezekiel “Zeke” Zimmerman, M.Ed., MBA is a respected financial professional and educator with over six years of experience providing financial planning strategies. Zeke’s focus includes insurance planning, money and wealth management, cash flow planning, business planning and retirement planning. His passion is special needs financial guidance with an emphasis on ensuring that care can be provided for the entire lifetime of a family member. As the parent of an autistic child, Zeke appreciates firsthand the pressures that special needs families face in order to provide for all of their disabled children’s lifetime financial needs while at the same time finding balance with all of the family’s other financial issues and concerns. Zeke often presents to other special needs parents, professionals, and community groups on topics related to special needs planning. This work is coordinated with special needs attorneys, organizations, and service providers in order to ensure that all financial, legal, educational, social, vocational, and healthcare needs can be properly addressed and that eligibility can be maintained for all essential government benefits. His process has helped many families to strategize around these otherwise overwhelming challenges.
Zeke lives in Manhattan with his wife, Sheila, and their 3 children, Jacob, Jonathan and Zoe.
Zeke is a Registered Representative & Investment Advisor of Park Avenue Securities, Financial Representative of Guardian.