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Published: March 15, 2016
Financial Planning For Families With a Member Who Has a Disability

Photo of Rob Wrubel

Cascade Investment Group, recently released his book Protect Your Family: Life Insurance Basics for Special Needs Planning, the first publication in the “Blueprints for Special Needs Families” series. The book is available on The Independence Center recently sat down with Rob to find out how his book can help families with a member with a disability.

Photo of Rob Wrubel
Rob Wrubel, CFP® is a Senior Investment Consultant with Cascade Investment Group. Rob works with families that have a member with special needs in investment management and financial planning.

Q: What motivated you to write this book?
A. My daughter was born with Down syndrome in 2003. I started to research what I needed to do differently regarding financial planning. At that time, there was very little information available about what families with a member who has special needs should do differently when it comes to comprehensive financial planning. Even today, it’s difficult to parse out what is good information and what is just sales information. And unfortunately, there aren’t a lot of service professionals who specialize in this area.
Q. What is your basic philosophy behind planning for families with a member with a disability?
A. Quality of life. All of the planning work I do for families takes their vision for the future into account. What quality of life do they hope to achieve for their family member with a disability?
Q. What do you see in your practice that families commonly miss?
A. Mostly, families do not put any plans in place. Specifically, too many families do not have correct beneficiary designations on their 401ks or IRAs when a beneficiary has a disability and relies on government benefits. This is something I’ve seen that families commonly overlook.
Protect Your Family: Life Insurance Basics for Special Needs PlanningQ. When you speak in front of family groups, what do you normally ask the group?
A. I normally ask two key questions: “Have you heard of special needs trusts?” and “Do you have one in place?” Usually only 50% of families with a member with a disability have heard of a special needs trust and only 10-20% of families have actually done anything about it. This has shown me that there is a clear need for education on special needs trusts.
Q. Beyond the need for education, what do you find are the most common barriers to taking legal action to protect assets for family members with disabilities?
A. First is fear, because when people start to think about this stuff they actually are forced to think about the future and this can naturally bring an element of uncertainty. Second is that the issue tends to be perceived as complex and people feel overwhelmed. Third is the issue of time. People always think they have time. In planning, we have to think about the worst-case scenario, in which they don’t have any more time.
Q. What do you find is the first step families need to take?
A. The first step to protecting your family financially is actually sitting down and talking about it and coming to a commitment. Once a commitment is in place, the rest of it is actually easy.
Q. What was your goal for the book?
A. My goal was to boil it down into simple language and steps. To make it so most people would be able to read it and understand the insurance options available to them.
Q. What is the next step for a family that wants more information after reading the book?
A. We hold regular meetings for families who have a member with a disability. The events are free, but registration is required. Contact Scott Rethi to find out when the next meeting is scheduled and to register at (719) 632-0818. Download the PDF flyer with more information here..

Click here for more information on the Able Act.

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