We coined the term Special Needs Advisor to highlight the difference between what we are doing and what Financial Advisors who focus on Special Needs Planning are doing – even those who have the ChSNC designation. Every Financial Advisor is going to help you build a financial plan – which can be incredibly helpful and is absolutely necessary.
However, when I was a traditional Financial Advisor I found many families, whose children have intellectual and/or developmental disabilities (IDD), just weren’t ready for a plan – they had questions about benefits and next steps that didn’t fall neatly into a “traditional” financial plan. Rather than trying to include what they were asking into an expensive financial plan, I opted to create a role for myself where I would help these families on an hourly basis – and then, when they were ready, refer them to a Financial Advisor.
There are non-profits offering information and referral, families don’t need to hire me for this. Where I (and as we grow other Special Needs Advisors) fit is when families who have received information and/or referrals and are now trying to figure out which steps to take first/next, where to go and how. I leverage my education and personal experience to help other families avoid making the same mistakes I did.
Focusing only on IDD has allowed me to build a network of professionals and resources around the country, I’m not trying to be everything to everybody – I would much rather have families work with others who are as single minded in their chosen profession as I am in mine. There is too much information available – from the internet, friends and even other families – it can be incredibly difficult to decipher what applies to you.
Over the years I’ve come to realize some families need a little assistance navigating the disability resources world. Personally I’ve felt overwhelmed at times, trying to determine what the next steps were and how to best my family – I hate this feeling, and I am doing my best to ensure other families don’t have to experience it. It was with this in mind that I created Planning Across the Spectrum and made the role Special Needs Advisor. So if you’re feeling overwhelmed, lost or just want support we here for you.