MassMutual Center for Special Needs


The Impact of Alzheimer’s Disease on Retirement Planning

In recognition of Alzheimer’s Awareness Month, The American College MassMutual Center for Special Needs held a panel discussion on the impact of Alzheimer’s on retirement planning. Included were four experts bringing a range of perspectives on the issues.

Podcast: The Disabled Child Benefit – Why Planners Overlook It

This podcast explores the basics of the Disabled Child Benefit, which is available through Social Security to parents of a child living with a disability. This podcast serves as a technical resource for financial advisors working with special needs families. It combines details from the Social Security Administration about the value of the benefit and how to apply, as well as the perspective of an experienced financial advisor and a retired general agent. After listening to the podcast, advisors should be better suited to explain the available benefits to their clients and understand how to ensure their successful application.


The ABLE Act - What's Next?

The American College MassMutual Center for Special Needs hosted a select group of experts to share unique perspectives and thoughtful insights on the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act, a significant piece of legislation that was signed into law on December 19, 2014. The panel, moderated by Adam Beck, Director of The American College MassMutual Center for Special Needs, provided an opportunity for discussion, debate, and follow-up questions.

Interview with Rick Lavoie


Meet Rick Lavoie


What is the Role of Different Specialists for These Families?

Beck and Lavoie discuss the concept of "whole life planning" and why specialists, from the classroom to financial advice, are critical. They discuss the different types of professionals that caregivers may have to work with over the course of their lives.

Why be a Specialist?

Lavoie discusses why financial advisors who focus on special needs families must actually specialize in the field, including having professional credentials, and how rewarding the career choice can be.

What are Some of the Unique Planning Challenges?

Lavoie talks about how the disability community has faced greater challenges from fewer government services and how because Americans are living longer – including those with special needs – we face new planning challenges. The bottom line: there is more of a need for special needs planning today than there was a generation ago.

Who Have you Seen Benefit from Effective Planning?

Lavoie talks about his personal experience working with thousands of children with special needs, detailing specific families who turned to financial advisors, and how it affected their lives.

The Dos

Lavoie talks about some key things to do when working with children with special needs and their caregivers.

The Don’ts

Lavoie talks about key mistakes he’s seen even well-intentioned professionals make when working with children with special needs and some suggestions on how to proactively avoid those errors.

In This Section