Warm, Cozy and Filled with Love: New Info for your Letter of Intent

Posted by Haddad Nadworny on Sun, Feb 14, 2021 @ 06:30 AM

The Special Needs Financial Planning Team at Affinia Financial Group John Nadworny, CFP, CTFA | Cynthia Haddad, CFP, ChSNC | Alexandria Nadworny,  CFP, CTFA

Check out our Webinars!

Virtual Fireplace


Happy Valentine's Day! While winter is all around us, this is a day to feel the warmth of those we love and for many of us, no one fits that description more than our family members. While staying safe and cozy at home, there is an opportunity to show your love for your family and your child with special needs by working on your Letter of Intent (LOI). In honor of Valentine's Day, we are proud to debut a new publication, Parent’s Guide to the Letter of Intent, to help you complete or review your LOI. 

Parents Guide to the LOILight a fire in your real or virtual fireplace (apologies for the commercials, they are just in the beginningbut the audio ambiance alone is amazing) and curl up with a copy of our newly published Parent’s Guide.  

The Parent's Guide is a companion document to our popular fillable Letter of Intent template. It contains insights and pointers on each section of the LOI, as well as including a list  of Helpful Tips on completing the document as a whole.  The Parent's Guide includes links to additional information and resources, including our own stories, to help you gain a better  understanding of the relationships and personal dynamics that may be involved in planning for your child's future.

As a 47-page document, the LOI is a project to be sure. (Thank goodness for the fillable PDF!).  It is critically important to provide the people who will care for your child when you are gone with detailed information that only you know. Your LOI will provide all the members of your Team, whether they are a legal guardian, sibling/family member, friend, community member, trustee, organization or professional, with first-hand knowledge of how to best care for your child. 

No one can replace a parent. However, you can put a plan in place to ensure your child continues to be cared for and live a full life as you age and upon your death. A great place to start is with the Letter of Intent. 

Download the Parents Guide and LOI in PDFDownload the Parents' Guide and LOI & email




Tags: special needs Letter of Intent

Celebrating Specialized Housing and Ron's Home Sweet Home 🏡

Posted by Cynthia Haddad on Wed, Nov 25, 2020 @ 06:30 AM

The Special Needs Financial Planning Team at Affinia Financial Group John Nadworny, CFP, CTFA | Cynthia Haddad, CFP, ChSNC | Alexandria Nadworny,  CFP, CTFA

Check out our Webinars!

Celebrating Specialized Housing and Ron's Home Sweet Home

My Brother's Journey to Home Ownership

By Cindy Haddad, Ron's Sister and SHI Superfan

Last month, I joined a group of families online to view the premiere of From Self- Advocacy to Independent Living, a documentary film telling the inspirational story of David and Margot Wizansky and the history of Specialized Housing, Inc.

Ron's home in Arlington, MASpecialized Housing, Inc. (SHI), pioneered the concept of people with disabilities owning their own home within a supported community. This simple description doesn’t come close to describing the enormous positive impact this living arrangement has provided for SHI residents and their families.

While my older brother Ron resides in a SHI home in Arlington, MA, watching the documentary made me think about my own journey with SHI, one that started over 25 years ago.

I attended an adult sibling meeting held by the Arc of Greater Boston (now part of Northeast Arc) and the speaker was Margot Wizansky. As she described this first-of-its-kind, amazing living situation, I thought WOW:

  1. I can provide a stable environment for Ron 😊 and
  2. I don’t have to move into the family home 😀 and
  3. Ron and I do not have to live together! 😁

At the time, SHI had a house with a space available in Harvard Square and my Mother and I went for a visit. Everything about it seemed perfect; the staff and residents had tremendous positive energy and the house was awesome. It had an unbeatable location and was very close to a bus line that ran right by our home, a great benefit since Ron knew how to use public transportation.

Ron had told us that he wanted to move and we rushed home, excited to share our good news. Well, I was in for a surprise; Ron had no interest in moving into a house and sharing space with several people! I had thought that coming from a big family, he would have no issue living in a house with 10 people. I had thought I knew best but had forgotten to ask Ron what his thoughts were before moving ahead. Ron then moved into a different housing arrangement which, years later, he outgrew.

Ron Out & AboutOver the years I have spoken with many families of the adults who reside in a SHI home, including some of the first residents of the first house in Brookline. They hold these residences in the highest regard for the longevity of staff, stability of community and environment of independence, respect and support. I always thought, Ron deserves all of this.

Two years ago, when working with a SUPPORTbroker at the Arc of Massachusetts and our DDS service coordinator to find a change of residence for Ron, they suggested a SHI home in Arlington, our hometown. Well, seeing is believing and all the accolades have proven to be true. Ron loves his condo, the staff is great and during Covid, when it was unsafe to go to work, he and his housemates have provided support for one another. While the model is well-known now, and not fit for everyone, it has brought out the best in Ron.

Ron and Jackie This holiday will be different for various reasons, but I am taking time to focus on and be grateful for the brightness provided by so many in my life, especially on behalf of Ron. I give thanks to the entire SHI family, but especially to Jackie, Ken, Josie, Sharita, Uche, Heather, Michael, Chuck, Ted and so many others for their wonderful care of their residents and keeping them safe during Covid. I am grateful for the amazing pioneering parents and their children who have led the way for us and to their other siblings who carry on. I continue to stand in awe of Margot and David for their vision, leadership and incredible belief and advocacy (even beyond Mass Advocates Standing Strong), on behalf of people with disabilities for decades.

Their light shines brightly- watch the video!







Tags: Housing

The Pandemic, Your 2021 Benefits and Year-End Planning Tips

Posted by Haddad Nadworny on Tue, Nov 03, 2020 @ 06:00 AM

The Special Needs Financial Planning Team at Affinia Financial Group John Nadworny, CFP, CTFA | Cynthia Haddad, CFP, ChSNC | Alexandria Nadworny,  CFP, CTFA

Check out our Webinars!

The Pandemic,Your 2021 Benefits and Year-End Planning  

2021-pexels-olya-kobruseva-5408689When making decisions and planning for 2021, it makes sense to consider the residual effects on your life and current circumstances created by Covid-19.  The degree to which life has changed since February 2020 will vary from person to person but the key thing is to look at your decisions for the future through the lens of your new reality.  

 Here are a few things to consider:  

It’s open enrollment period for employee benefits.   

open-enrollment-clipart-2 (1)In 2020, Covid-19 caused many doctors, dentists and other health providers, as well as dependent care programs, including programs supporting people with disabilities, to close their offices to all but emergency situations. Given the uncertainties of the current environment, be sure to consider how the pandemic may affect you and your family when reviewing and making decisions regarding your benefits elections for 2021 

Flexible spending accounts (FSAs)They are use it or lose it 

Many employers offer flexible spending accounts funded with pre-tax dollars from your paycheck that may be used to pay for qualified health (FSAs, HSAs), dependent care (DCAP) and commuting expenses The trade-off for being able to use these tax-free dollars is that you are required to spend them within a specified time period, most often the calendar year you are deferring in. If you do not use the funds, you will lose the money in the account (it reverts back to your employer).  

At this time imay make sense to: 

  • Change your elections to reflect your new or the situation you project for 2021. 
  • Check the remaining balances in your employee benefit accountsDepending on your plan, you may be able to carry-over up to $550 to next year (to be used by March 15, 2021) and this may bring about a change in your election amounts for 2021.  
  • If you have a balance you may use up your remaining FSA dollars to stock up on supplies you use on a regular basis. Here is a list of FSA qualified expenses. 

 Job change? It’s important thing to know:  

  • If you lose your job during a calendar year and do not elect COBRA, you will not be able to access the funds in your FSA after your employment is terminated.   
  • If you change jobs or leave your job, you will not be able to access the funds in your FSA after your employment is terminated.   


Step up the 401K election, if possible. There are many things in your budget that you probably did not get to do during the pandemic: travel for vacation, dine in restaurants, send your child to camp, or go to concerts, ballgames or conferences. As a result, you may have accumulated some cash in your accounts that can step in to cover an increased retirement plan contribution.  

If you are not already contributing the amount that is matched by your employer- this is in essence “free money”- this is a great time to up your contribution. If possible, max out your 401K contribution; for 2021 the maximum contribution is $19,500, or $26,000 if you are age 50 or over.  

Your taxes: It’s not too late to act for 2020 

 A charitable deduction for all.  

Everyone may take an “above the line $300 charitable deduction- This year, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act provides that all tax filers, whether they itemize or not, may take an “above the line” (meaning direct deduction) from their adjusted gross income or AGI,  of up to $300 in cash donations they make to qualified charities.  And if you can itemize, the tax benefits are even better. You can deduct all of your cash donations, up to 100% of your adjusted gross income (AGI). Normally, this limit is 60% of AGI.  

Retirement Accounts 

Consider contributing to an IRAYou can contribute a maximum of $6,000 to an IRA for 2020, plus an extra $1,000 if you are 50 or older. You will have until the filing deadline (right now, April 15, 2021) to make the IRA contributions, but the sooner you get your money into the account, the sooner it has the potential to start to grow tax-deferred. 

Is your current tax rate lower than your anticipated future tax rate? A Roth conversion may make sense for your IRA.   

Retired and want to convert your retirement savings to a tax-free legacy for your heirs? If you have space in your marginal tax bracket, it may make sense to convert some retirement savings to a Roth this year.  

Don’t need the $ from your RMD?  Don’t take it. Thanks to the CARES Act, let the money grow tax-deferred another year and it will not be added to your taxable income this year.  

 We hope you found this helpful and are here to answer questions and help you plan for the future.  

Contact us with questions about how these and other changes may impact your  planning. 


SHRM: Planning 2021 Benefits Changes for the Covid-19 era 



This material is for general information only and is not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. There is no assurance that the views or strategies discussed are suitable for all investors or will yield positive outcomes.  

 Investing involves risks including possible loss of principal. 

 Traditional IRA account owners have considerations to make before performing a Roth IRA conversion. These primarily include income tax consequences on the converted amount in the year of conversion, withdrawal limitations from a Roth IRA, and income limitations for future contributions to a Roth IRA. In addition, if you are required to take a required minimum distribution (RMD) in the year you convert, you must do so before converting to a Roth IRA. 

 Contributions to a traditional IRA may be tax deductible in the contribution year, with current income tax due at withdrawal.  Withdrawals prior to age 59 ½ may result in a 10% IRS penalty tax in addition to current income tax. 

This information is not intended to be a substitute for specific individualized tax advice. We suggest that you discuss your specific tax issues with a qualified tax advisor. 

Affinia Financial Group, Special Needs Financial Planning, and LPL Financial do not provide tax advice. 

















Tags: Retirement Planning, Taxes and special needs families, financial planning

2020 Time-Sensitive Planning Strategies for Grandparents

Posted by Haddad Nadworny on Wed, Oct 07, 2020 @ 08:00 AM

The Special Needs Financial Planning Team at Affinia Financial Group John Nadworny, CFP, CTFA | Cynthia Haddad, CFP, ChSNC | Alexandria Nadworny,  CFP, CTFA

2 Birds_pexels-pixabay-45853In a perfect world, grandparents would be able to confidently plan for their personal financial security during their lifetimes and also plan for their children and grandchildren as beneficiaries of their estate.

While ours is far from a perfect world, as year-end 2020 approaches there are time-sensitive financial planning strategies grandparents of children with special needs should be aware of and may want to consider:

  1. Contribute to an ABLE account
    1. An ABLE or 529 (A) account allows people with disabilities and their families to save for disability related expenses, while maintaining eligibility for Medicaid and other means-tested public benefits programs. Since ABLE (Achieving a Better Life Experience) accounts were created in 2014, there have been many changes both on the state and national level to provide further advantages for people with disabilities. In addition, the ability to use ABLE funds to pay for qualified disability expenses has expanded during Covid 19. ABLE account savings may make it possible to continue to afford to live independently in the community, pay for additional support services, grocery delivery charges, personal protective equipment and extra expenses during this pandemic or when other emergencies arise in the future. Source: https://www.ablenrc.org/able-accounts-and-covid19/
  1. Convert a traditional IRA to a tax-free Roth IRA and set up a Special Needs Trust as the Beneficiary of the retirement account.
    1. Background: The SECURE Act* eliminated the “stretch” provision of an inherited IRA for non- exception beneficiaries. Prior to the SECURE Act, the beneficiary of an inherited IRA could “stretch” the distributions required from the account over their lifetime. Now, inherited IRAs are subject to the 10-year rule; the assets in the account must be distributed to beneficiaries over the next 10 years. This has significant tax implications as inheritors are required to take distributions during what may be their prime earning years., Our blog, When a Special Needs Trust is the Beneficiary of a Retirement Account , goes into further detail and gives a detailed example of the substantial impact this change has on both account owners and their beneficiaries.
    2. An exception: Exception beneficiaries, including individuals with disabilities or who are chronically ill, may still “stretch” the distributions over their lifetime. To read more about the details, click here.
    3. It may make sense for retirees to consider converting a portion of a traditional IRA to a ROTH IRA to leave beneficiaries an account that will be completely tax-free. To read more about this strategy and see a case example, see The "10 Year Rule" and After-Tax Strategies to Consider. 

When determining if these strategies are appropriate for you, please consult with your financial, legal and tax professionals. To discuss these and other strategies, please act sooner rather than later and email or give us a call to discuss suitable next steps for your specific situation in 2020.

Let's talk!

* The Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement or SECURE Act was signed into law on December 20, 2019, becoming effective January 1, 2020. The law provides important changes for individuals and small businesses to consider in their retirement, estate and tax planning.

The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual, nor intended to be a substitute for specific individualized tax or legal advice. We suggest that you discuss your specific situation with a qualified tax or legal advisor.

Prior to investing in an ABLE account, investors should consider whether the investor's or designated beneficiary's home state offers any state tax or other benefits that are only available for investments in such state's ABLE program. Withdrawals used for qualified disability expenses are federally tax free. Tax treatment at the state level may vary. Please consult with your tax advisor before investing.

 Traditional IRA account owners have considerations to make before performing a Roth IRA conversion. These primarily include income tax consequences on the converted amount in the year of conversion, withdrawal limitations from a Roth IRA, and income limitations for future contributions to a Roth IRA. In addition, if you are required to take a required minimum distribution (RMD) in the year you convert, you must do so before converting to a Roth IRA.


Financial planning and investment advice offered through Affinia Financial Group, LLC, a registered investment advisor. Securities offered through LPL Financial, Member FINRA/SIPC. Affinia Financial Group and LPL Financial are separate entities.






Tags: ABLE Accoount, Roth IRA, Grandparents

Preview: Planning Strategies for Grandparents Webinar 🎧

Posted by Haddad Nadworny on Fri, Sep 18, 2020 @ 07:00 AM

The Special Needs Financial Planning Team at Affinia Financial Group John Nadworny, CFP, CTFA | Cynthia Haddad, CFP, ChSNC | Alexandria Nadworny,  CFP, CTFA

Fall is here 🍁and families and communities are beginning the school year.  Whether the option is a phased return to the classroom, fully remote learning or a combination, there is little doubt that life this fall will require significant adjustments for both parents and students. Many families may require a tutor or aide to meet their child’s learning needs and the family’s childcare requirements.

 SNFP - Flyer - Webinar for Grandparents DigitalAs markets hover near all-time highs, and for many, family support needs have risen, it may make sense for grandparents to consider using a portion of their retirement funds to gift or plan to gift to family members. In our upcoming September 23 webinar, 2020 Year-end Strategies for Grandparents of People with Disabilities, we will discuss several options for grandparents and parents to think about and consider.

 Here’s a preview:

A relatively straight-forward strategy: The CARES Act eliminated the Required Minimum Distribution (RMD) from retirement accounts for 2020. Retirement account holders may elect to take their 2020 distribution and use it to gift or to pay for educational or therapeutic expenses for their grandchildren. While there will be taxes due on the distribution, the gifts, if under the $15,000, are tax exempt and there may be an additional exemption for direct payment for approved expenses.  Alternatively, it may be wise to remove these funds from the retirement account(s) this year and, as part of your estate plan, gift directly to an established pass-through Special Needs Trust (SNT).

A more complex strategy we will outline and discuss: The SECURE Act eliminated the “stretch” IRA distribution option for non-exception beneficiaries. Now all assets are required be distributed to beneficiaries by the end of 10 years, however annual RMD withdrawals are no longer required. 

The financial impact of deferring distributions is more substantial than one might think.  

Individuals with disabilities may qualify as an exception beneficiaries; we will discuss this option and you can read more about it in our blog, When a Special Needs Trust is the Beneficiary of A Retirement Account.

In addition we will also discuss a Roth IRA conversion as a strategy to consider; you can read more about it here.

Please join us Wednesday, September 23 @4PM to learn more about the strategies mentioned here and other timely planning tips and strategies.


The information provided here is for general information only and should not be considered an individualized recommendation or personalized investment advice. The investment strategies mentioned here may not be suitable for everyone. Each investor needs to review an investment strategy for his or her own particular situation before making any investment decision.

 All investing involves risk including loss of principal. No strategy assures success or protects against loss.

Past performance is no guarantee of future results.


Tags: Grandparents

2020 Year-end Planning Tips for Grandparents to Help - Webinar 🎧

Posted by Haddad Nadworny on Tue, Sep 15, 2020 @ 07:00 AM


 Webinar for Grandparents _September 23, 2020


If you are unable to see the flyer above: 

Parents and Grandparents, please join us for our webinar 🎧:

2020 Year-End Planning Strategies for Grandparents of People with Disabilities 

September 23, 2020 @ 4 PM

We will present guidance in aligning good intentions with the right plan. 

  • Prioritizing financial security and avoiding common planning mistakes.
  • Financial strategies especially appropriate in 2020
  • Tips to talk with family about multigenerational financial planning.





Tags: Grandparents

Expert Tips to Prevent Identity Theft and Cybercrime

Posted by Haddad Nadworny on Sat, Aug 22, 2020 @ 07:01 AM

The Special Needs Financial Planning Team at Affinia Financial Group John Nadworny, CFP, CTFA | Cynthia Haddad, CFP, ChSNC | Alexandria Nadworny,  CFP, CTFA



The Coronavirus pandemic has upended our lives on many levels. We do the best we can to stay on top of our finances, but stimulus checks, changes in tax filing dates, filing for unemployment benefits and other fallout of the pandemic have thrown us all a little off-balance and created a perfect breeding ground for scams and fraud.

We were recently invited to a virtual presentation given by Jeff Lanza, a retired FBI agent, who offered specific practices to help prevent fraud and keep our personal information from being compromised. He has 2 handouts for the public containing very useful information and easy to follow tips that we are sharing with you today. 

Identity theft & Cybercrime

For example, to protect your identity online, he suggests you think in terms of passphrases with 12 or more characters and presents solutions for passwords and password storage and protection. In many cases, it is just as valuable to know what not to do as knowing the right steps to take.  In the handout,  Jeff shares his view of what protective steps are effective and worth doing and those suggestions to be wary of. 

In terms of cybercrime, he discusses how to monitor your personal credit file and credit freezes, and how to stay safe from cyber fraud, email hijacking and account takeovers.

Please give the attached documents a read and we hope you find them helpful.

Preventing Identity Theft 

Preventing Cybercrime 

Please reach out to us with any changes or concerns that might effect  your financial planning. Let's try to stay safe out there on every level!

COVID concerns effecting your planning for the future?  Let's talk.



Subscribe via E-mail

Follow Me

Special Needs Financial Planning
Our Most Recent