When it comes to clients with special needs children, Uncle Sam may be a financial advisor’s best friend, according to Rob Wrubel, a senior vice president with Cascade Investment Group in Colorado Springs, Colo.

“Many special needs children are living longer than they used to,” Wrubel said. “Those children will likely not become financially independent, so families have to plan for them to live with their family into adulthood.”

Government benefits are a crucial cornerstone of financial planning for families with a special needs child, he noted, adding that he learned that lesson the hard way from personal experience.

Two decades ago, he was a newly-licensed insurance agent with a new-born son. Eighteen months later, in 2003, Wrubel and his wife were blessed again, this time with a daughter. Unlike his first child, however, his second arrived with unforeseen medical complications.

“My son was a typical kid and didn’t have any special needs, but my daughter had Down’s Syndrome,” he said.

Wrubel said that after his newborn daughter remained hospitalized six weeks after her birth, he realized how valuable information could be that helped a young and growing family like his cope with the unexpected expense of a special needs child, but he struggled to get it from government bureaucrats at a Social Security office.

“The experience was not good,” he said. “The person I saw could not explain the benefits and it was an extremely disheartening experience. I believed I could learn more on my own by speaking to attorneys and by reading so I could understand how the benefit programs worked from a long-range benefits-planning perspective.”

Wrubel, a financial advisor transplanted from New Jersey to Colorado, now helps other families plan for the unexpected.

Wrubel said he often gets client referrals from CPAs or lawyers, but also through internet searches by parents desperate to find a financial planner familiar with their concerns.

“When I first meet with a family that has a special needs child, I help them by planning a long-term care financial plan,” he said. “I use the theme of building a house because people get it. It’s a starting point.”

First « 1 2 3 » Next