10 Special needs planning Interview Questions and Answers for financial planners

flat art illustration of a financial planner

1. Can you walk me through your experience in creating financial plans for individuals with special needs?

During my five years of experience in financial planning, I've had the opportunity to work with several individuals with special needs. I have developed expertise in creating customized financial plans to meet their unique requirements.

  1. Firstly, I begin by assessing their current financial situation, which includes analyzing their income and expenses, available assets, and insurance. To achieve this, I use specialized software that is specifically meant for individuals with special needs.
  2. After analyzing their current financial state, I identify their short-term and long-term financial goals. Most individuals with special needs require assistance to manage their finances, which is why I make sure to involve their caretakers and family members in this stage of the process.
  3. Next, I develop a plan that is tailored to their specific goals, income, and expenses. This involves creating a budget, identifying investments, and determining the types of insurance that will best meet their needs.
  4. Once the financial plan is put into action, I continually monitor its progress by reviewing and analyzing their financial statements. I make adjustments as needed to ensure the plan is still meeting their financial goals.
  5. One example of my work with individuals with special needs involved creating a financial plan for a physically disabled individual who had recently inherited a large sum of money. We worked together to create a plan that would ensure the inheritance would support their long-term financial goals, including accessible housing and caregiving expenses. Through careful planning and investment, we were able to ensure they had enough funds to meet their needs while still preserving their inheritance.

Overall, my experience in creating financial plans for individuals with special needs has allowed me to develop a skill set that enables me to create plans that meet their unique needs and goals.

2. What types of financial tools or strategies do you typically use for special needs planning?

When it comes to special needs planning, there are a range of financial tools and strategies that I utilize to help families plan for their loved ones' long-term needs. One tool that has proven particularly effective is a special needs trust, which allows families to set aside funds for their loved ones' care and wellbeing in a way that won't disqualify them from government benefits.

  1. Another important strategy is retirement planning, which helps families ensure that they have enough saved for their own retirement while also providing for their loved ones' future needs.
  2. I also often recommend life insurance policies as a key component of special needs planning, particularly for families with children who have significant medical or care needs.
  3. Investment vehicles such as mutual funds, index funds, and ETFs can also be helpful for long-term financial planning, particularly when combined with tax-advantaged savings accounts like 529 plans or ABLE accounts.

Along with these financial tools and strategies, I also work closely with families on developing detailed financial plans and projections that factor in potential costs and expenses over time. By taking a holistic approach to special needs planning and leveraging a range of financial tools and strategies, I have been able to help many families achieve their long-term financial goals and provide for their loved ones' needs well into the future.

3. How do you stay current on changes in legislation and regulations that impact special needs planning?

As a special needs planner, staying up-to-date with changes in legislation and regulations is critical to ensuring that I am providing the best possible advice and assistance to my clients. There are several strategies that I use to stay current:

  1. Networking with colleagues: I attend industry conferences, join online discussion groups and connect with other professionals in my field to discuss emerging trends and best practices, which helps me stay abreast of regulatory changes.
  2. Reading industry publications: I subscribe to several publications, such as "Special Needs Alliance" and "NAELA News," which provide up-to-date information on legislative developments that may impact special needs planning.
  3. Continuing education: I regularly attend seminars and webinars, and I take courses on topics related to special needs planning, such as estate planning for families with disabled children, government benefits and insurance planning.
  4. Monitoring government websites: I regularly check government websites like the Social Security Administration (SSA) and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for updates and changes to rules and regulations that will impact special needs planning.
  5. Working with professional associations: I am involved with leading professional associations in the industry, such as the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA), the Financial Planning Association (FPA), and the Special Needs Alliance (SNA), which provide access to a wealth of resources, information and updates for my specific area of expertise.

As a result of these strategies, I am confident that I am always up-to-date with new laws and regulations, which allows me to provide first-class advice to my clients. For example, last year, one of my clients was eligible for an additional government benefit due to a recent change in legislation. Thanks to my commitment to staying informed, I was able to advise them of their eligibility and help them obtain an additional $500 in monthly benefits.

4. Can you share some examples of successful financial plans that you've developed for special needs families?

During my time working as a financial planner, I have had the pleasure of developing successful financial plans for numerous special needs families.

  1. One of my most notable successes was working with a family who had a child with autism. By implementing a savings plan and working with the family to budget their expenses, we were able to create a fund that covered the cost of communication devices, therapy, and other necessary expenses. As a result, the family saw a significant improvement in their child's communication skills and overall quality of life.
  2. Another success story involved working with a family who had a child with Down syndrome. They were struggling to afford the cost of a special education program that their child needed. After conducting a thorough analysis of their finances, I was able to work with the family to secure a grant for the program and set up a budgeting plan that allowed them to comfortably pay for ongoing costs. As a result, their child's educational progress significantly improved.
  3. Lastly, I worked with a single parent who had a child with cerebral palsy. After reviewing their financial situation, we developed a retirement plan that included the child's needs. This plan allowed the parent to comfortably save for retirement while still ensuring that their child's future needs were covered.

Overall, I take pride in working with families to develop personalized financial plans that meet their unique needs and goals. These successes demonstrate my ability to effectively create plans that lead to positive outcomes for special needs families.

5. How do you work with clients to ensure that their special needs loved ones are taken care of in the long-term?

At my current position, I work closely with special needs families to ensure their loved ones receive the proper care needed for the long-term. I begin the process by conducting a thorough assessment to identify the specific needs and develop a personalized care plan that aligns with their goals and preferences.

  1. First, I identify the available resources and benefits, such as Medicaid waivers or Social Security disability benefits, to determine what financial assistance is available.
  2. Next, I work with healthcare providers to ensure that medical needs are addressed, such as arranging for specialized doctors, equipment, or therapies.
  3. I establish a network of support, including family members, caregivers, and other service providers such as occupational or speech therapists, and coordinate their schedules to ensure that the family’s special needs loved one receives the best care possible.
  4. To give an idea of the effectiveness of my approach, I can cite the case of a family I worked with last year. They had a special needs child with a chronic condition that required daily medication and therapies. By working closely with their healthcare providers and connecting them with community resources, we were able to reduce their out-of-pocket expenses by 75% and improve the child’s quality of life, as evidenced by a 90% reduction in hospital visits.

Overall, my approach is comprehensive and personalized, and I continuously communicate with clients to ensure their satisfaction and adapt to any changing needs or circumstances.

6. What is your approach to determining the best financial strategies for each individual client?

My approach is to first gather all relevant information about the client's financial situation and special needs. This includes their income, expenses, assets, and any government benefits they may be receiving.

  1. Next, I ask the client what their short-term and long-term financial goals are.
  2. Based on this information, I create a personalized financial plan that takes into account the client's unique situation and goals.
  3. I then work with the client to implement this plan, which may involve making adjustments to their current spending habits or investment portfolio.
  4. I regularly monitor the plan to ensure that it is still aligned with the client's goals and adjust it as necessary.

A concrete result of this approach was when I worked with a client who had a child with special needs. Through our planning, we were able to identify government programs and benefits that the family was eligible for, which helped offload some financial pressure. We also created a savings plan for the child's future expenses, ensuring that they would be taken care of in the long run.

7. How do you work with other professionals, such as attorneys and social workers, to ensure comprehensive planning for special needs families?

During my time working with special needs families, I've developed a strong network of professionals who can help me ensure that the families I serve receive comprehensive planning. This includes attorneys, social workers, and other professionals who have expertise in various aspects of special needs planning.

  1. First, I make sure to communicate effectively with these professionals, providing them with all the information they need to understand the family's situation and needs.
  2. Next, I work closely with them to identify any areas where their expertise might be particularly valuable, such as legal planning or funding options.
  3. Together, we create a customized plan that takes into account all of the family's needs and goals, and we make sure that all aspects of the plan are properly integrated and coordinated.
  4. I also make sure to stay up-to-date with any changes in laws or regulations that might affect the family's planning, and I keep my professional network informed of these changes as well.
  5. As a result of this collaborative approach, I've been able to help dozens of special needs families achieve their planning goals over the past few years. For example, one family was able to secure funding for their child's specialized education program thanks to the help of an attorney in my network.

Overall, I view my relationships with other professionals as a critical aspect of my work in special needs planning, and I'm committed to maintaining these relationships and expanding my network over time.

8. Can you tell me about any challenges you've faced in special needs planning, and how you overcame them?

During my time as a special needs planner, I faced a challenge when I was tasked with creating a financial plan for a family with a child who had autism. The child's parents were worried about the future and wanted to ensure their child would have enough support even after they were no longer alive.

  1. Firstly, I familiarized myself with the unique challenges that came with autism and researched financial planning options for families with special needs children.
  2. Next, I conducted a thorough assessment of the family's income, expenses, and assets, and developed a comprehensive financial plan tailored to their specific needs.
  3. Through collaboration with the family and their attorney, we were able to establish a special needs trust to ensure their child's needs were met throughout their lifetime.
  4. I also provided ongoing support and education to the family about the management of the trust and how it can be utilized.

The results speak for themselves. The family now has peace of mind knowing their child will be taken care of, and the trust has enabled them to pay for therapies, medical expenses, and other necessary care without impacting their eligibility for government benefits.

9. How do you establish and maintain long-term relationships with your clients?

Establishing and maintaining long-term relationships with clients is critical to the success of any business. Here's how I do it:

  1. Communication is key: I make it a priority to communicate regularly with my clients through email, phone, and video calls. This allows me to stay updated on their needs and provide timely responses to any questions or concerns they may have.
  2. Deliver what you promise: I believe in under-promising and over-delivering. When I set expectations with my clients, I make sure that we can realistically achieve them. This helps build trust and credibility in our relationship.
  3. Show your value: I constantly look for ways to add value to my services. For example, I might share relevant industry news or provide additional resources that could help my client's business. This goes beyond just completing a project, and helps me create a long-term partnership.
  4. In-person meetings: If possible, I try to schedule in-person meetings with my clients. This is a great way to build a personal connection and make the relationship more than just a transaction.
  5. Maintain positive relationships: I am always professional and courteous when dealing with my clients. If there is ever a disagreement or issue, I work to resolve it quickly and in a polite manner. Maintaining a positive relationship is critical to keeping clients long-term.
  6. Celebrate successes: When we achieve a major milestone or accomplishment together, I make sure to celebrate with my clients. This shows them that I am invested in their success and creates a positive experience for both of us. For example, after completing a project that exceeded our goals, I took my client out for a celebratory dinner.
  7. Quantitative data: Through these practices, I've been able to maintain a 95% client retention rate year over year. Additionally, I have received numerous referrals from satisfied clients, which has helped me grow my business.

10. What is your philosophy on financial planning for special needs families?

My philosophy on financial planning for special needs families is based on a comprehensive approach that takes into account both short-term and long-term needs. First, I believe in creating a budget that prioritizes the unique needs of each family. This includes accounting for expenses related to medical care, therapy, education, and assistive technology. I also believe in working with families to establish an emergency fund that can provide a safety net in case of unexpected expenses or loss of income.

  1. Additionally, I believe in the importance of long-term planning for special needs families. This includes setting up a special needs trust that can provide for a loved one with a disability without jeopardizing their eligibility for government benefits. I have worked with families to create special needs trusts that have resulted in $100,000 or more in savings over a 10-year period.
  2. Another aspect of my philosophy is education. I believe in providing families with the tools and knowledge they need to make informed decisions about their finances. This includes regular meetings to review financial goals, investment strategies, and any changes in government regulations that may affect their financial situation.
  3. Finally, I believe in the importance of flexibility. Every family has unique needs and circumstances, and it's important to be able to adapt to those changes. I have worked with families to adjust their financial plans as their loved one's needs change or as their own financial situation evolves.

Overall, my approach to financial planning for special needs families is comprehensive, personalized, and flexible. By prioritizing both short-term and long-term needs, educating families about their options, and providing ongoing support, I believe I can help families achieve their financial goals and provide a secure future for their loved ones with disabilities.


Congratulations on making it through our 10 Special Needs Planning Interview Questions and Answers in 2023. Now that you have a better understanding of what to expect during a job interview for a financial planning role, it's time to start preparing for the next steps. One important next step is to write a compelling cover letter that showcases your skills and experience. Be sure to check out our guide on writing a cover letter that will help you stand out from other candidates. Another key step is to prepare an impressive CV. Review our guide on writing a resume for financial planners that provides tips to help you craft a CV that highlights your achievements and skills. Finally, if you're actively seeking a new role, be sure to check out our remote financial planning job board on Remote Rocketship. We have a wide range of opportunities from employers looking for talented and skilled financial planners like you. Good luck with your job search and we hope you find success in your career as a remote financial planner.

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