Q&A: CFP Minoti Rajput on how families can plan for the financial future of children with special needs

    Minoti Rajput

    There are special needs for parents of children with special needs – and for many of these parents, the No. 1 issue is uncertainty.

    Prepping for a financial future for yourself as well as a child with special needs can be emotional and challenging. That is where Certified Financial Planner Minoti Rajput knew her clients and many others could use her help.

    Rajput is the author of an upcoming book called “Beyond a Parent’s Love: Lessons Learned in Life-Planning for Special Needs Children” (October 15, 2018, Mission Point Press). It aims to be a comprehensive support system that offers financial planning wisdom while sharing the inspiring human-interest stories of families with special needs children who have thoroughly planned their financial future.

    “The best part of writing this book has been to have the opportunity to tell the stories of exceptional families,” Rajput said. “Writing about the planning strategies alone may have been dry, but weaving it through real life stories has given it more meaning. It has also allowed me to express myself as a human being that really cares about these families, but also educate them on why planning is important. I feel that with my writing my message on special needs planning will continue on.”

    Rajput, a CFP and Chartered Special Needs Consultant, has served as the founding president of Secure Planning Strategies for nearly three decades. Rajput, born and raised in India, studied finance and worked in banking before her arrival to the United States in 1980, helping small-business owners with financial planning.

    In 1989 she formed her firm offering comprehensive wealth planning with a subspecialty of life planning with financial and legal guidance to families of special needs children. For the past 29 years her firm has counseled more than 1,500 families of children with special needs. Her thriving practice based in Michigan, also services affluent retirees and pre-retirees, small business owners, and women in transition. Her firm represents nearly 300 clients with $330 million in assets under management.

    Q: What pushed you to say, “I have to write this book?”
    A: My wealth advisory practice, working with families with special needs children has been a very rewarding one. Very few advisors specialize in this area. In the 30 years, since I first began working with these families, my clients’ experiences and the planning involved around their families are important part of my life. Each family is unique in their values, culture, financial situation and the type and extent of the disability their child/ family member has. There are lessons to be learned from these families, what they go through raising a child with disability and how they have planned. I felt strongly that this information needed to be shared. This book will hopefully be helpful for professionals such as special education teachers, psychologists, physicians, therapists, social workers and financial planners in understanding about the families and also help motivate the parents to do their planning. It will also be helpful for other families in recognizing that they are not alone in their journey.

    Q: Why did you feel other parents needed this kind of advice/help?
    A: Parents in general have to plan for their children’s future until they are emancipated and independent. Children with a disability will depend on their parent’s planning and government benefits for their future financial security as most of them will never be completely emancipated. Parents raising a disabled child are overwhelmed with their day to day responsibilities related to the special needs child as well as other children in the family. Special needs planning is complex and emotional for the families. It is involved and they need thorough understanding of this complex planning and also need to be motivated to do their planning early on. Each family’s planning is customized based on the specifics of their family dynamics, financial situation and the extent of the disability of their child. This type of planning cannot be done by the parents themselves. It needs a competent financial advisor trained and experienced in this area, along with attorneys and advocates.

    Q: How does being a Certified Financial Planner and an author balance in your life?
    A: I can call myself an author now, but I am really not a writer. I have published several business articles over the years but this is my first experience in writing a book. I am a CFP first. Working with families of special needs families have brought a soft touch to our practice and has allowed us to be better in life planning matters in addition to the fundamentals of financial planning. My role as a financial planner has allowed me to keep a practical and objective eye on the future while often filling in as a therapist, social worker and helpmate. Writing this book has been very satisfying as I feel that it will help the financial planning community as well as the special needs community. I think that is a good balance.