Austin, TX-Based Financial Planner Creates Program for Families of Special Needs Children

Gus Marwieh, of Marwieh Advisory Services, LLC in Austin, TX, has created a financial planning program to ease the burden of caring for a child with special needs. When his own son was diagnosed with autism, Marwieh discovered that the cost of therapy and intervention can be debilitating for family finances. He created the Sustainable Special Needs Advisory Plan (SSNAP) to address these concerns.

​​​​Faced with his son's autism diagnosis, Austin, TX-based financial planner Gus Marwieh, “put on the financial advisor cap” to help his family mitigate long-term costs of caring for a special needs family member. He developed a financial planning program called Sustainable Special Needs Advisory Plan (SSNAP).

“When my son was diagnosed [with autism], I didn't want, at some point down the road, to feel guilty that we didn't explore every option,” says Marwieh.

"The real power of the SSNAP Process is that it gives families control and empowers them, "Says Marwieh. "It gives them financial freedom without tapping disposable income, emptying their bank account, or derailing retirement goals."

George 'Gus' Marwieh, Principal

Though initially created for his own family's use, SSNAP worked so well for Marwieh that he started sharing the program with other families caring for someone with special needs. As the child of missionary parents in West Africa, Marwieh learned early in life that he wanted to give back to society. Deciding to become a financial advisor was an offshoot of this desire. Ultimately, Marwieh's career choice would change his life – and the lives of families like his.

SSNAP takes clients through a multi-step planning process, including determining a direction and goal, creating a strategic road map, and resource allocation. Through SSNAP, families are able to eliminate debt using their own assets, thereby freeing up the capital they need to cover daily expenses.

Marwieh helps clients develop a plan that allows for something more than month-to-month survival. With SSNAP, families can expect to have funds available for leisure activities, as well as reserve funds, and long-term savings.

One of the tools Marwieh uses is his unique 401K Jailbreak strategy that rescues existing 401K assets from high costs and low performances. The Jailbreak allows parents to access plan assets, thereby offsetting the ongoing costs of caring for a special needs child. All clients can benefit from the Jailbreak, which eliminates stock market volatility and provides up to double digit returns.

Finally, clients are walked through the process of setting up a special needs trust that ensures their loved ones are cared for long after caregivers have passed away.

“The real power of the SSNAP process is that it gives families control and empowers them,” says Marwieh. “It gives them financial freedom without tapping disposable income, emptying their bank account, or derailing retirement goals.”

Families of special needs children face a lifetime of emotional, physical, and financial challenges, affecting family stability. According to a study published online on June 9, 2014 by the Journal of American Medical Association Pediatrics, the more than 3.5 million people in the United States who have autism can expect a lifetime cost ranging from $1.4 million to $2.4 million, depending on overall intellectual ability.

“When my son was diagnosed, I started looking at treatment costs,” says Marwieh. “That was a shocker: this is not cheap. Then I looked at those costs over time, and thought there is problem here that needs to be solved.”

While some services are provided by school districts or insurance plans, many families incur personal monthly expenses for treatment and interventions, with costs ranging from $500 to $4,000. In the state of Texas, the legislature recently cut Medicaid funding that covers many occupational, physical, and speech therapies that help families.

Jana Palcer, the mother of a 14-year-old daughter with Down syndrome, struggled to make ends meet. Even with her husband's steady income from his position as a Lieutenant with the Texas Department of Public Safety, the Palcer family could not cover the costs of all necessary therapies.

“After enrolling in SSNAP, we can now access Applied Behavior Analysis therapy for our daughter, which was cost prohibitive, at up to $125 an hour, in the past,” says Palcer. “She has desperately needed this therapy for a long time now, so her being able to benefit from it will be a game changer not only for her functioning, but for our entire family's quality of life.”

For families of children with special needs, it takes almost no time to burn through disposable income and savings. Families often then ask relatives and friends for loans, or take out high interest debt loans. Before long, people find themselves in debt, with zero disposable income, and no plan for financial recovery. Long term financial health seems like a fantasy.

“We were weighed down with thousands of dollars of medical expenses, living paycheck to paycheck,” says Michelle Cantu, a MASLLC client and SSNAP user since February 2015. “Thanks to SSNAP, we now have hope and feel more secure about our family's future.”

For his clients, Mr. Marwieh is a living flotation device in their sea of financial worries. “Gus truly is a financial healer,” says Dr. Susan Shiner.*

Shiner and her husband, Bill, are SSNAP clients managing retirement while caring for an adult child with special needs.

As a father of a special needs son himself, Gus knows first hand what people are worried about.

He believes that people should not have to worry about their finances when they are already strained due to supporting a special needs family member.

The Cantu family also believes Marwieh's passion for helping special needs families has changed their lives for the better.

“Gus has been very patient with us, and has spent a great deal of time educating us on the investment strategy he created for his own family,” says Cantu.

She continues, “We have been impressed with his heart for families with special needs children, his knowledge of the financial industry, and his unique SSNAP approach for assisting families like ours.”


Marwieh Advisory Services, LLC, is an independent, privately-owned net advisory coaching firm, focused on addressing the impact of the company-coined “Retirement Axis of Evil,” including taxes, inflation, longevity, market volatility, and debt. Marwieh Advisory Services also offers a Sustainable Special Needs Advisory Plan (SSNAP) for those families touched by a special needs child. For more information about SSNAP, or to begin your family's journey to financial security, contact Marwieh Advisory Services, LLC.

Gus Marwieh hosts SSNAP Radio Hour, a radio show about financially empowering special needs families for a better future.  His company offers a unique 401K Jail Break Strategy to further help special needs families partition and access a working spouse 401k plan without penalties or taxes.  ​Marwieh is also the author of two eBooks, Eleven Financial Mistakes Parents With Special Needs Children Are Making, 9 Ways SSNAP Averts Financial Crises For Families With Special Needs Children, and soon to be published book,  SSNAP – The Book: A Paradigm Shift in Special Needs Planning. These books provide a blueprint for everyday American families touched by autism or other special needs. Families will learn to leverage their resources, allowing then to provide care for their child when parents are no longer around, and to immediately offset the cost of current, ongoing care. By using the strategies in these books, families can achieve financial relief using what they have.

*Some client names have been changed to protect privacy.