Authored by Stephen LaFrance, CFP®, MBA
When I embarked on my career change in 2007 to become a financial planner, I did so to help make a real difference in the lives of people who worked with me. I’ve learned along the way that financial planning can be deeply personal, emotional, and complex when you consider variables such as investments, retirement plans, family dynamics, estate planning, college goals, career path, budgeting, debts, taxes, healthcare, insurance, and so forth. This requires a dedicated commitment to lifelong professional learning which led me to complete the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ certification in 2013. The curriculum for the CFP® has proven to be invaluable in my pursuit to provide comprehensive planning for most clients, except for some uniquely challenging situations; families caring for a person with special needs.
According to the CDC, 1 in 4 adults in the U.S. have some type of disability and 7% of children have a developmental disability. This includes several of my clients and personal friends, so I became determined to learn how to help these families thrive by completing the Chartered Special Needs Consultant® (ChSNC®) designation in 2019. This provided me the strategies and knowledge necessary to elevate my understanding of what it means to live with special needs so I can fully address their concerns, hopes, and goals. Fewer than 250 advisors have attained this certification and here are some of the critical topics emphasized in the course:
- Disability law
- Life insurance
- Healthcare issues
- Special needs trusts
- The ABLE Act (Achieving a Better Life Experience Act of 2014)
- Government benefits
- Social Security
- Medicaid complexities
- Special education
- Estate planning
- Retirement planning
- Tax deductions
Planning for families with special needs requires detailed attention yet, from my experience, many have a hard time “thinking past Friday”. They need a trusted advisor to help provide a road map for how to work with attorneys who specialize in this field, navigate government benefits, set up ALBE accounts, consider special needs trusts, and plan for the long-term care and financial support of their children who may never be capable of living an autonomous life. It is my objective to be this advisor and help lift some of the weight of worry and anxiety off their shoulders.
There is no product which accomplishes this; it is a process and one that my team and I can help navigate with clarity, insight and guidance.
Engage with the entire Blakely Financial team at WWW.BLAKELYFINANCIAL.COM to see what other expert advice we can provide towards your financial well-being.
Blakely Financial, Inc. is an independent financial planning and investment management firm that provides clarity, insight, and guidance to help our clients attain their financial goals.
Securities and advisory services offered through Commonwealth Financial Network, Member FINRA/SIPC, a Registered Investment Adviser.