Transcript of Podcast Interview with Special Needs Planner Jerry Wade
Christine: Hi, everyone. This is Christine Matus from The Matus Law Group.
We love to showcase people we feel have valuable information, and are considered experts in their field. I’ve known Jerry Wade with the Reilly Financial Group for some time now, and he has a lot of valuable information that will help all of our families. Jerry, could you introduce yourself?
Jerry: I work with the Reilly Financial Group, and we’re located in Iselin, New Jersey. I grew up in Ohio and have lived in New Jersey for the past 22 years and have been a resident of Toms River for the past three years. For the past 13 years, I’ve worked with the Reilly Group, and in my current role, I’m a financial/special care planner. In the past, I served our country as a member of the United States Air Force. I worked in the nuclear power industry for a number of years and then in the pharmaceutical industry. I’m blessed to have found a career where I truly make an impact on people’s lives.
Christine: Can you give us an overview of your practice and your work with special needs families?
Jerry: Sure. I have to give credit to my mentor, George Reilly, who started the Reilly Financial Group, who put me on the path I am now. I was taught early in my career to help as many people as possible, and everything else would fall into place. The phrase that was instilled in me was, “the more you give, the more you can receive, and the more that you receive, the more you can give.” I’ve used this phrase as the foundation of my business practice for the past 13 years, always thinking with the client in mind and finding ways to help them.
I wasn’t always a special care planner. In my early career, I was doing financial planning, and while in that role, I was given an opportunity to work with children by volunteering with Junior Achievement. They have a financial literacy program that I became very involved with, and I volunteered so much, they asked me to become a board member, which I am still today. Because of my volunteering, and work with children, I was noticed by management, and I was asked if I wanted to be trained to become a special needs planner.
It was unknown to them that I have a child who many years ago was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome. I had just been introduced to a special needs facility that was interested in educational workshops we offer. This opportunity appeared to be the right path for me to follow, and I’ve spoken to a number of facilities about our educational workshops. My job is to help connect families with the proper attorney, and together as a team, help them figure out how to put a plan in place that would be beneficial for the family. What’s more, special care planning is much more in-depth than regular financial planning. You need a team of specialists to ensure that your dependent child, or adult, is cared for properly. I help provide that peace of mind to my client families.
Christine: What is MassMutual’s special care program?
Jerry: The program provides access to information, advice, and financial products and services that can help improve the quality of life for people with disabilities and other special needs. It has helped thousands of families since it was introduced 15 years ago and is offered through MassMutual financial professionals who have received specialized training at the American College. Our mission is to educate families and caregivers of people with special needs about the importance and steps to provide a secure financial future.
Christine: Can you share the new enhancement offering from MassMutual’s special care program?
Jerry: Sure. If you’re caring for a person with a special need, you understand it can be overwhelming and can place financial constraints on your family. Caring for a dependent with special needs, and making sure their needs are met is a caregiver’s priority. Fortunately, there’s a new program developed by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company, or MassMutual for short, that is a special care enhanced underwriting program. It’s an enhancement that makes whole life insurance coverage available to individuals with three common disability diagnoses including individuals with Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, and autism. They can now obtain life insurance coverage through MassMutual and is exclusively available through MassMutual special care planners and chartered special needs consultants across the U.S. who have extensive training and education in working with families with special needs.
Christine: Wow, this is amazing. So, why now, Jerry?
Jerry: Over the years, our special needs families have asked for a solution, and we haven’t had one until now. Offering life insurance to individuals with some of the most common special needs is a meaningful enhancement to the services provided through our special care program. MassMutual is the first to offer life insurance coverage to individuals with special needs and with this offering, we can finally be inclusive with solutions for the whole family.
Christine: What are the program’s offerings and eligibility?
Jerry: It’s whole life insurance policy with a $25,000 face amount, no more, no less, without any riders, for individuals ages one to 49 with Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, and autism. Our whole life legacy 10-pay policy offers guaranteed cash value accumulation and must be fully paid up over the course of 10 years, hence the 10-pay portion. While whole life insurance is a versatile financial asset that can help you address different financial needs, it offers a combination of features and benefits that differentiate itself from most other financial products.
There are certain conditions, however, that are excluded. Examples include, an applicant on a mechanical ventilation or a feeding tube and with younger applicants, juvenile underwriting guidelines apply. There is an expectation that all siblings are covered. Parents, grandparents, or anyone else that has an insurable interest can be named as the owner or beneficiary on a policy. The person with special needs cannot own the policy, in part because this would interfere with the person receiving governmental benefits.
Christine: Where can we learn more about the special care program, and how can people reach you?
Jerry: Visit MassMutual.com/SpecialCare. There you can access practical information, useful resources, organizations, and support groups, and helpful free material, or you can contact me at 732-623-5960 or email me at email@example.com. My website is JerryWade.net.