Special Needs

Special Needs Financial Planning

Hi there…

So you’re interested in special needs planning…?

It is probably safe to say you wouldn’t have clicked on the page if you weren’t a little curious about how we help business owners and their families with special needs planning…

Now if you are like many of our other clients then you either have no special needs financial plan, or completed one a years ago…

In fact, it is probably fair to say the output, or results, of the plan aren’t really top of mind…

And that’s okay… 

See we believe it isn’t your responsibility to manage the ongoing project work associated with running the financial planning process…

No, at Horizon Ridge Wealth Management, we feel the ongoing management of the financial planning process rests solely on our shoulders…

Think of us as the CFO to your family’s planning needs…

Now that doesn’t mean you, or your loved one, aren’t an integral component in the entire process…

Rather, we know how busy you are and how managing all of the moving pieces associated with special needs planning is difficult…

This is where one of our strengths begins to shine…

We have refined our process so much that evaluating and managing the financial interests of your special needs family member becomes quite easy for us…

Though it helps that one of our founder’s children is a special needs child…

It is for this reason we take special needs financial planning for every entrepreneur very seriously…

It is our mission to provide a detailed action plan for families with special needs children…

Partnering with the extended family, guardians, and/or attorneys to outline a financial support strategy, allows our team to provide ongoing investment management and distribution services as needed…

Within each special needs plan we consider the importance of:

  • Inter-generational and sibling family dynamics
  • Financial planning that addresses disability laws
  • Special needs trusts
  • Life insurance
  • Government assistance
  • The ABLE Act
  • Estate planning techniques to protect your child’s best interests
  • Retirement planning for you and your special needs child.

While we do not provide legal advice

We can work closely with the attorney and legal guardian to ensure assets are managed in accordance with the investment objectives laid out in their carefully crafted Special Needs Planning documents…

Whether funded from investable assets, or through a life insurance policy, our team can assist with the account creation, account funding, and asset management during, or after, your life to ensure your child’s financial resources are handled appropriately…

 

Horizon Ridge Wealth Management Special Needs Application

 

While that is all well and good…

You are probably wondering what makes us so different as compared to all the other planning firms…?

What would convince a prospective client that we can do a better job than those who have blazed this very trail before us…

Well many of those answers lie in the details of our process…

See much of the planning we perform for our clients cannot be summarized in a retirement analysis…

Much of the planning we do is not captured in an asset allocation or investment report…

That is simply because… 

We DO NOT believe special needs financial planning is just retirement planning…

We DO NOT believe special needs financial planning is just investment planning…

We DO NOT believe special needs financial planning is just budgeting, insurance, or estate planning…

In fact, much of the planning work we perform for clients is so detailed that we integrate, at a minimum, eight core areas of special needs financial planning into a very detailed financial analysis…

But that is only the start…

To ensure we provide the highest calibre of advice, we conduct extensive interviews with our clients…

Wait…Interviews…?

Yes…

In order to best understand what is most important in our client’s lives we conduct a series of interviews that, depending of the nature of the planning engagement, can span many meetings and in some cases different generations…

Throughout these interviews we learn the most pertinent details about the highest priority concerns before we begin constructing our financial models…

Then we create models that are designed to assess, improve, and manage external threats that may derail our client from reaching their destination…

Once the models are complete we begin to comb through the numbers to construct a S.W.O.T analysis…

Wait… a S.W.O.T. analysis on your personal life…?

Yes…

In order to evaluate the financial needs of your special needs loved one we need to understand the strengths and weaknesses of the family unit in the event something happened to you, the business owner, today when your business isn’t a liquid asset…

Without understanding how reliant the family is on your business we cannot begin to understand the detrimental impact to your special needs loved one if the business closed the doors abruptly…

After our interviews we begin to present some of our findings to which we then continuously refine our findings until we create a solid, move forward, action plan…

This is usually where many of our competitors would hand over a document, of varying thickness, to outline the “final” results…

They would review, with you, the results along with three, maybe four, points you should consider modifying…

Once the plan is delivered you and the advisor usually part ways, or move on to a different topic, to only have the plan become a dusty book on the bookshelf… 

Or worse…

Food for the shredder…

 

Horizon Ridge Wealth Management Financial Planning eBook

 

This is where we continue to differentiate ourselves…

At Horizon Ridge Wealth Management once we have a move forward, holistic, special needs plan in place we begin to break the plan up into multiple action oriented plans…

What happens from there is where the real planning happens…

This is part of where our knowledge and experience shines through…

We treat that process much like KFC treats their secret recipe for their fried chicken…

Under lock and key in a vault at Fort Knox…

The point is… 

This is why we spend a lot time with our clients, their trusted advisors, and sometimes their family…

See we see ourselves as the “Team Captain” of the team…

At times there is a lot that needs to be coordinated with the accountant, elder care attorney, the realtor, the mortgage broker, or even with their banker…

We try to stay fully integrated in everything our client’s advisors are working on…

This way there is a central point of communication on all of the moving pieces that affects our client’s daily life…

Now that might sound like a lot…

You might even be thinking that you don’t need that level of sophistication or complexity…

But we would challenge you to think about all of those successful projects you managed throughout your career…

How many of them were solo acts and how many were achieved with the help of others…?

Were you deeply invested in every step of the process or did you have a central point of communication that allowed you to delegate what needed to be done to key stakeholders in the project…?

Would you have received the same high praise and accolades for the output your team accomplished on your behalf..,?

How many more sleepless nights would there have been knowing you were responsible for the daily minutia…?

While we have faith in you and your abilities to build a roadmap forward, there always comes a point when your time is better spent on other tasks or on higher priority items like your family or health…

So you are probably thinking, “Fine, I concede to wanting help… but there are plenty of other planning firms out there”…

We agree… and yet many do not understand the intricacies of special needs trusts, or the role Medicaid will play in your loved one’s life…

Don’t believe us….?

Consider some of the big box discount investment firms for a moment…

You know which ones we are referring to…

Companies like T.Rowe Price, Vanguard, and Fidelity will give you basic fund guidance for free, or close to it…

Picture this…

You walk into a local branch, or maybe call the big box firm on the phone, and talk to one of their “advisors”…

The representative seems fairly knowledgable…

They proceed to ask you a number of questions that seems trivial at the time…

It may even seem scripted, though the pauses and inflection changes in their voice would tend to say otherwise…

Once the interview is over they provide you with their diagnosis of your situation and how they would remedy it…

Now normally this wouldn’t be a bad approach…

In fact, anyone you interview should want to get to know you, your life, your struggles, your goals, and a whole lot more…

But, that isn’t always what happens…

A planner should ask about all aspects of your life (health, relationships, liabilities) – not just ask “how much money do you have?” and then immediately offer a solution that is product-driven (e.g. annuities)

Now that is not to say every person at every big box firm operates that way…

But we would challenge you to ask one of those advisors about something obscure and listen to their response…

Something like… “Explain the best way to fund my special needs loved one’s supplemental needs trust while my business still generates income AND how that decision will change once the business is sold”…

A basic retirement plan wouldn’t be able to handle this type of analysis which means it would require the sales rep to theorize…

We believe theories and experiments are better left in the classroom…

It should go without saying, but we will say it anyway, a piece of paper or a set of calculations does not determine your financial plan’s success…

Especially the potential success of your special needs plan…

If those calculations were all you needed to build “the perfect plan” then financial planning companies would struggle to compete with each other…

All anyone would have to do is punch a bunch of numbers into a calculator to only then have the answer to some of your life’s most complicated financial questions pop out the other side…

This is why building a comprehensive special needs financial plan starts with understanding all of the complexities in your life and then designing a logical, data driven, approach…

Only then can a QUALIFIED financial planning professional calculate and assign the required rate of return(s), and corresponding risk level(s), for your portfolio(s) to match each set of goals…

 

Horizon Ridge Wealth Management Financial Advisor Checklist

 

Okay… “but what about the ‘Wire House’ or ‘Independent’ investment firms..? Don’t they offer more personalized and tailored services…?”

Those are great questions!!!

The answer is pretty straightforward and simple… 

It depends…

Tired of hearing that yet…?

Many advisors are taught to “sell the enterprise”…

And forget specializing in fee-only wealth management & financial planning…

Unless they are an established advisor with over $1 million dollars in annual fee-based production…

And yet they still only receive between a 32%-42% payout…

Not to mention potential conflicts of interest or a lack of a client friendly business model..

Think about it…

If you were paid to sell coffee, how much time would you spend recommending cups of water… especially if you were not paid to do so…?

Now we are not saying individuals at these firms do not have access to extensive planning resources…

But, with a shortage of planners focusing on families with disabled dependents, special-needs families need planners’ help more than ever.…

And for those that might conduct planning with each client, how much time is spent reviewing the plan throughout each and every year?…

How much time would you invest in a task that you were not going to materially, and directly, benefit from?…

Look we all want to believe everyone does everything out of the kindness of their hearts but the fact of the matter is…

Unless your planner owns, and manages their own company, there is usually going to be someone they answer too…

It is in those moments when someone else’s goal can affect the actions of their employees… 

Simply stated…

The depth of financial advice offered has a direct correlation to the fees charged…

As stated by the famous economist, Milton Friedman, “there is no such thing as a free lunch”…

At this point your inner monologue is all over the place and it sounds something like this…

“If free advice is basic and the advice from full service firms may not be tailored for special needs planning, then I’ll just plan for my loved one’s future on my own…”

We call this the “I Can Do Anything” mentality…

It is fair to say that you have gotten to this point in your life on your own…

And so far you have turned out smashingly!

But, as life continues to progress the moving pieces will continue to become more complicated…

The obstacles that lay ahead could cause significant damage to you, your family, your business, or worse….

Your special needs loved one’s financial security…

Can you build, manage, and tweak your loved one’s financial plan on your own?…

Sure..!

 

Horizon Ridge Wealth Management Special Needs Report

 

But it wouldn’t be appropriate for us to also tell you that it will consume a lot of time…

How much time…?

Well that simply depends on you…

For our average special needs planning engagement we spend approximately 20-30 hours per year interviewing, researching, constructing, tweaking, and executing our analysis…

And it averages 20-30 hours due to the well oiled process we take our clients through, and the complexity of each client’s situation…

I wouldn’t want to guess how much time you would need to spend to perform the same research, tasks, and ongoing monitoring year after year…

This is when prospective clients apply to work with our team…

What we have found, up to this point, is they were so overwhelmed with the process that they became paralyzed with where to start…

Too often when someone is overwhelmed, they don’t know who to trust, or they just can’t see “the light at the end of the tunnel” they tend to throw their hands up or kick the can down the road…

One of the biggest roadblocks to being successful in life is the inability to take the first step…

Taking the first step is hard… 

So hard that people elect not to change eating habits, go to the gym, or course correct their financial future…

The lack of inertia kills so many dreams…

But this doesn’t describe you…right?

You have taken so many first steps in your life that while inertia is difficult, it doesn’t hold you back…

What holds you back is time…

Therefore, you look for those trusted advisors you can add to your team who will maximize your most valuable resource…

What is that resource…?

Time…

When you can trust someone to take the responsibility of a major project off your plate so you can focus your attention on other things then they become indispensable…

But to trust them you need to know they are qualified…

You need to know they have experience…

You need to know they have worked with people just like you…

You even want to know that they have weathered good and bad situations, and can be nimble enough to think ahead and pivot when needed…

This is where Horizon Ridge Wealth Management comes back into the picture…

See we have been down this road with many clients over the last decade…

We understand what it takes to build a special needs financial plan that integrates your loved one’s financial needs, your financial resources, both of your investment horizons, your risk profile(s), goals for both of you, the market’s projected volatility, and your family’s financial future…

We work with thought leaders, titans of industry, community activists and leaders, and executives that are deeply entrenched in the day to day operations of what made them so successful…

These individuals are so busy that they need to know their loved one will be taken care of and with the highest level of attention and care…

This is another reason we operate with the highest level of transparency, always putting our client’s interests above our own, and using research that comes from a plethora of independent sources…

In other words, we make it a priority to provide the highest level of service, research, advice, and feedback that is readily available to us…

It should be noted that due to our high attention to detail, full transparency, and dedication to every one of our clients…

We limit all of our Wealth Managers to 75 ongoing household relationships…

Furthermore, at Horizon Ridge Wealth Management we feel our Wealth Managers, and financial planning team, need to have the highest level of education and experience when working with you…

This is why many of our Wealth Managers hold multiple designations, like…

  • The CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ certification…
  • The Certified Divorce Financial Analyst® certification…
  • The Chartered Special Needs Consultant™ designation…
  • The Certified Exit Planner Advisor® designation…

While these certifications and designations do not fully encompass all of our knowledge, they provide a peek into the scope of experience we provide…

At this point we usually hear clients asking…

“How much does it cost to construct a special needs financial plan…?”

Well this is one the best parts to our approach!!!

Since your strategy is tailored to you…

Since your plan is built to maximize the outcome for your financial future

Since your goals are the focal point to our entire planning process…

We can’t give it away for free…

Nor would you want us to…

Have you ever heard the adage… “You get what you pay for..?”

Well cookie cutter outputs do not require much time to construct and tend to be handed out to everyone…

Your situation isn’t necessarily like everyone else’s….right?

But we also do not charge ungodly amounts either!

 

Horizon Ridge Wealth Management Special Needs Application

 

There are a number of companies that charge a few thousand dollars every time they create or update your financial plan…

Depending on the calibre of the planner, these plans can range from very well-constructed plans to down right embarrassments…

Happily, we can say we are completely transparent in everything we do!

In fact, we have been told by some competitors we are too transparent…

That is perfectly fine by us…

So what do we charge…?

Well to fully understand all the different types of planning we offer at a 30,000 foot view, by category, we encourage you to visit “Our Pricing” page…

On the page you will find we our special needs planning operates on an hourly engagement…

This allow you to budget, and plan for, what you will pay…

The engagement is designed to last up to six months, where we then re-evaluate the need for any additional support after six months…

So now the only question you need to ask is…

“Do I want to start the interview process and add Horizon Ridge Wealth Management to my special needs team..?”

It goes without saying that we are always looking for dream clients to work with…

This is why we created an application process…

We know we are not a fit for everyone, and not everyone is a fit for us…

We also only work with a limited number of clients…

This makes it extremely important to ensure we find the right partners…

We want to work with people who want to be engaged to a point, but need the expertise and experience of highly educated financial professionals to manage their financial affairs…

So now you get to decide…

What is holding you back…?

Apply NOW and discover if we are a match…

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