Pooled Special Needs Trusts are one of the many options one can choose when deciding on the type of Special Needs Trusts and may be a great option for you and your family. Jennifer Lile, in the video below, discusses the nature of a Pooled Special Needs Trust and how it may be beneficial.
Published by Brian Robson from The Simple Dollar
As many know, raising a child is a joyous but tough task with many special and stressful moments. However, the fact remains, raising a child is expensive, especially for those who are special needs. Recently, in the Simple Dollar, Brian Robson discusses the importance of planning and providing for children with Special Needs.
Have you visited one of our open houses yet? Held on the last Friday of every month, these sessions give you the opportunity to learn about government benefits and pooled trusts in a small group setting. Recently, we had the Jewish Journal join us and create some educational videos on these topics. Interested in learning more? View the videos below and then sign up for the next Open House on June 30th!
Published by Arden Elizabeth about George Guerrero, our new Financial Advisor from True Link
George Guerrero has spent his entire career – more than 20 years – working in financial services at some of the top firms in the industry. Moving his way up the corporate ladder of Wall Street, George earned a reputation as a smart, strategic thinker, always focused on the client’s best interests.
But success in the investment arena wasn’t always George’s sole focus. In 2010 he was selected as a a David Rockefeller Fellow, a fellowship that prepares corporate executives for more active leadership in civic and public affairs. While he valued the fast-pace and intellectual rigor of the financial services industry, George had always longed to be a part of something bigger.
Along this timeline, George grew closer to the man who would eventually become his father-in-law who’d been diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease at the age of 61. In 2011, the additional diagnosis of Lewy Body Dementia led the family to reach out to an elder law attorney to explore their options for long-term care and financial planning.
Stepping in as the family’s financial expert, George found few options in the way of products or services addressing the financial challenges of aging. Struck by level of complexity of his own family’s situation – from understanding Medicare rules, to sorting through the financial products that had accumulated over the years – George wondered how the average family, who did not have access to the same professional expertise, could manage this situation.
Soon after, a cross-country move brought George to San Francisco where he began his work with another large financial institution. Surrounded by the passionate entrepreneurs and mission-driven startups of Silicon Valley, George was inspired to play a more involved role in product innovation that could truly impact people’s lives. But it didn’t take long to discover that there weren’t many opportunities to iterate and experiment within traditional financial services.
That’s when George came across a company called True LinkFinancial, a firm dedicated to serving the financial needs of retirees – a mission that had become close to George’s heart. He realized, “it was the perfect way for me to leverage my professional background to address a very real and personal issue that impacts so many other families.”
Serving as the Head of Wealth Management since 2015, George has found just the right fit at True Link. He led the company’s development of a tech-enabled financial advisory service – the first of it’s kind designed exclusively for retirees. Everyday, George works with customers to create and implement customized investment plans, helping them access the income they need in retirement.
“We help our customers live the lives they want, and they’re consistently delighted by our products and services,” says George. “That’s what I love to be a part of every day.”
By Jay Ruderman, President of the Ruderman Family Foundation.
Most Jewish philanthropy that is focused on Jewish causes, such as trips to Israel, books to families, supporting Jewish education and summer camps, and the likes, is geared toward keeping our community Jewish and combatting assimilation. We can agree that to ensure the future of our culture, we have a vested interest in ensuring that our younger generations embrace their Jewish identities and are proud members of our community. However, if our goal is to have a vibrant, growing community, we cannot afford to exclude a fifth of our community – that is, all those of us with a disability. About 20% of our population has a disability and instead of ensuring that they are fully included, we alienate them and their families through segregated sub-minimum wage workshops, separate education programs and inaccessible synagogues.
This is not only wrong in and of itself, but the fact is that this kind of segregation alienates our younger generations. Younger people overwhelmingly embrace inclusion of all people and frown on segregation. If we stay comfortable with excluding a fifth of our community, our young people will turn away and find inclusive communities elsewhere. We cannot afford this loss of a fifth of our members, and with it the loss of our future.
On January 17, our Boston Mayor Marty Walsh delivered his State of the City address in which he made a powerful claim. He said, “At a time when cities must lead, Boston is the leader of cities.” If you don’t agree with him already, it is easy to dismiss such a statement as fancy rhetoric at best and self- aggrandizement at worst. While I can’t speak for the city as a whole, I can speak for Boston’s Jewish community. We have one of the most holistically inclusive communities in the country and offer a model that can, and should, be replicated in all cities.
These are unprecedentedly wealthy times for the Jewish community in the US and there is no reason that community leaders working together can’t transform their locale into an area that embraces inclusion. Collaboration was the first step to our journey as well.
Twelve years ago we partnered with Combined Jewish Philanthropies (CJP) to ensure that Jewish day schools in our area became inclusive through our Initiative for Day School Excellence. Unlike public schools, private day schools are not by law obliged to be inclusive and offer education to students with learning disabilities, or any other disabilities. This meant that if a family wanted to give their child a Jewish education, if that child had a disability, they would be facing a lack of support and in some cases, a lack of welcome. If you exclude children from our schools, you exclude their families from our community. This simply is not a way we strengthen our communities. Quite the opposite.
However, Jewish education is of course only one aspect of our lives. To create truly inclusive communities, we have to think holistically and across a person’s full life span. This is also why we collaborated with CJP as well as Jewish Vocational Services (JVS) to create our Transitions to Work – an initiative that provides effective, hands-on training for young adults with disabilities to become gainfully employed in a competitive job market. We have to date partnered with over 75 employers in our area. This approach is crucial because similarly to education, there are not many, and sometimes not any, support systems for young adults with disabilities who have graduated school, but don’t necessarily have the skills, or social skills for employment. According to the latest U.S. Department of Labor statistics, only 20% of people with disabilities participate in the labor market. That means that 80% of people with disabilities are unemployed.
The exclusion that occurs without gainful employment is not only a financial one. For most of us, our work is where we socialize with others, forge friendships, and find a sense of meaning. It is absolutely imperative that communities practice inclusive hiring to strengthen the cohesion and productivity of all its members, while also strengthening the local businesses who benefit from loyal and competent talents they would have missed out on otherwise.
And of course we couldn’t have achieved a holistic approach to inclusion without ensuring that our synagogues valued all members of our community equally. In partnership with CJP, we launched the Ruderman Synagogue Inclusion Project where we’ve created a network of synagogues committed to sharing innovative inclusion approaches that enable all members of our Jewish community and their families to attend services and fully participate. Our project includes synagogues from all denominations; after all, there is no group of people that does not include people with disabilities.
Statistically nearly all of us will become disabled at some point in our life. People with disabilities make up the largest minority in our country. It simply does not make sense to not fully include this huge segment of our population in all of our social milestones and life stages. So I challenge all Jewish communities to ensure that we live in accordance with our Jewish values and transform our communities into beacons of inclusion. For cities to lead, communities need to lead first.
An informative and engaging workshop on "Saving Enough for Our Special Needs Families" by Barrett Porter and Abacus Wealth Partners.
The Stephen Beck, Jr., Achieving a Better Life Experience Act (ABLE) Act was signed into federal law in 2014 and allows eligible individuals with disabilities the ability to establish “ABLE accounts'' that are similar to college savings “529 accounts" with the ability to spend contributions much more broadly than just education.
The new tax-free ABLE accounts will allow more individual choice and control over spending on qualified disability expenses and limited investment decisions, while protecting eligibility for Medicaid (Medi-Cal in California), SSI and other important government benefits for people with disabilities.
Contributions to an ABLE account, currently limited to $14,000 per year, can be made by family, friends, or the beneficiary themselves. The account’s earnings are allowed to accumulate tax-free, and the withdrawals, provided they are applied to qualifying disability expenses, are tax-free.
Each state has the ability to set up their own ABLE program, and California's version, called CalABLE, is in development and is expected to open the summer of 2017. For more details, go the CA State Treasurer's website on CalABLE at http://treasurer.ca.gov/able/.
You also have the option of opening an account in another state. Currently, ABLE programs are operating in a number of states, including Oregon, Michigan, Ohio, Virginia and Florida. For more information, go to the website of the National Resource Center for the ABLE Act at http://www.ablenrc.org/.
I know what it’s like to care for a son with microcephaly. My child is 53 years old By Barbara Altman
Adults with severe developmental disabilities, such as microcephaly are living longer than ever, but the services haven't kept up. As the author of this piece writes, "It is time to reexamine what President Kennedy started and commit the necessary resources to helping — and including — everyone with limitations. They have a wide range of needs that don’t stop when they turn 21.