Planning with families over a span of decades has provided John with an education like no other. This specialized knowledge allows him to understand what is needed and to present viable options and possible solutions for families with unique and challenging circumstances.
John began his practice as a Certified Financial Planner and Investment Manager focused upon helping individuals plan for their life goals: financial security, education, home ownership, retirement and other traditional financial milestones. He continues to have a thriving practice advising clients with traditional goals, but began to explore planning on a different level after the birth of his son, James, who has Down Syndrome.
He teamed with the like-minded Cynthia Haddad to establish Special Needs Financial Planning and to co-author the ground-breaking book, The Special Needs Planning Guide: How to Prepare for Every Stage of Your Child’s Life (Brookes Publishing, 2007). They are currently under contract to write a second edition of this respected resource for families and professionals.
As a thought leader/subject matter expert on the topic of planning for people with disabilities, John has been quoted extensively in the media. Investment News devoted their September 2017 issue to planning for individuals with special needs and chose to feature John and James as their cover story. They produced the video, A Father First, found below, telling the story of John’s interwoven personal and professional lives.
John was involved in advocating for a tax-advantaged savings option for people with disabilities from the beginning. While serving on the Massachusetts Governor’s Commission for Individuals With Development Disabilities, John headed a subcommittee that drafted the “Qualified Disabilities Savings Plan”. This proposal, which had similar features to the current ABLE account, became part of the recommendations presented by the President’s Commission on Developmental Disabilities to President George Bush.
Years later, John was a proud participant in the rollout of the ABLE Account. He has participated in educational webinars with MEFA (Massachusetts Educational Finance Authority), Fidelity Investments, the NDRC (National Disability Resource Center) and the MDSC (Massachusetts Down Syndrome Congress).
He continues to be actively involved in promoting use of the ABLE account and has created helpful resources to help families properly utilize the ABLE account in their planning.
Key to the mission of Special Needs Financial Planning is educational outreach. John’s first involvement with advocacy was with the “Waiting List” for people with developmental disabilities requiring residential supports. Although John’s son, James, was only 4 years old at the time, he realized there were pressure points ahead to be addressed; what would happen with James when school was over and with residential supports, an area under significant funding pressure. As a result of his work on the housing sub-committee, John was asked and served on The Massachusetts Governor’s Commission for Individuals With Development Disabilities and worked on policy recommendations for residential supports.
John has presented to countless parent, community and professional groups on Planning for Two Generations, Housing, the ABLE account and various other topics relating to special needs financial planning.
Having served on boards of many advocacy organizations for decades, John currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Arc of Massachusetts and the Massachusetts Real Lives Law Advisory Committee. Motivated by the need to help continue funding the family resource centers for the Family To Family program, John raised funds by completing an Ironman Triathlon in Lake Placid, NY.
John is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional (CFP®), a Certified Trust and Financial Advisor (CTFA), Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC), and Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU). John holds an MBA degree from Babson College, an MS from Bentley College, and a BS from Bridgewater State College.
John lives in Melrose, MA with his wife Susan and son James. In his free time, he enjoys outdoor pursuits and building projects of all kinds.
Important fact: Do not get him started on the Peloton bike. One word: obsessed.