I often get asked the question, “How is special needs planning different than traditional financial planning?” The main planning goal of the parents typically does a 180 compared to most parents – these parents are concerned about living one day longer than their child. Making sure quality of life and lifetime care is there for their child (most times, their adult child) with special needs is of the utmost importance here.

They are planning a “3-person retirement” – lifetime income for Mom & Dad but also a lifetime of income to support their child. With this paradigm shift of clients’ goals, we need to approach all areas of financial planning differently – how much and where we can save for emergencies, how to approach our risk management and insurance decisions, what accounts we should be investing in, tax planning for today, tomorrow and at the eventual transfer to the next generation, and, most importantly, incorporating a special needs trust into the estate plan. Working with experts in these areas is crucial!

Pat Bergmaier, CFP®, ChSNC™, RICP®
Pat Bergmaier, CFP®, ChSNC™, RICP®Chartered Special Needs Consultant™