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Welcome to Special Needs Funding Coach! We work for families with special needs and the professionals and organizations who support them.

Having a dependent with special needs requires ­­­­­­a focus on quality of life and a lifetime of care when approaching financial security. Our expertise and resources offer customized support to plan practically for each family's unique needs and priorities. Free specialized workshop/webinars are also available for parent or professional groups.

The special needs community has been our primary focus for decades. Too often, the answers to “What will happen to my loved one with special needs when I’m gone?” are focused on legal documents, government programs, and adult/transition programs. While these things are also critically important, families and professionals often don’t know how to financially plan to:

  • Provide a lifetime of care focused on quality of life
  • Retain government benefit eligibility
  • Securely plan for their loved one without sacrificing their retirement funds

The fact is...it is not their fault if no one has shown them how! That is where Special Needs Funding Coach comes in. With our customized assistance and specialized resources, families can more effectively plan for their unique situations and hopefully enjoy more peace of mind. Let us know how we can help you.

Our Mission

Our mission is simple: provide resources, answers, and expertise for funding special needs life planning.

More than thirty years ago, Special Needs Funding Coach founder, Donald T. Brown, ChFC, ChSNC, CASL, became a financial advisor. Through his family and personal experience, he quickly realized there were no easy answers when it involved caring for, educating, and supporting individuals with special needs. When it came to long range planning, there was no one place where families’ primary concerns could be addressed:

  • Where will my child live?
  • How much will be enough to provide for his/her quality of life?
  • Who will look out for their best interests? And how do I help them to protect and care for my loved one?
  • Will my dependent be happy, healthy, and secure?

By providing a single source for guidance on details pertaining to these questions and more, we can help families and professionals effectively care for our special needs community.

Our Team 

Our Process

Donald T. Brown, ChFC, ChSNC, CASL
Financial Planner, Special Needs Planner


Donald Brown has been in the financial services industry for more than 30 years. He has been recognized as an industry leader in both personal production and management. Educating individuals and families on how to properly plan for a dependent with special needs is a primary focus of Don’s practice. He regularly presents to local support groups and nonprofit organizations. Don also provides assistance to local businesses and is a board member of his local Chamber of Commerce. In addition, he runs employee workshops on topics including retirement planning to corporate clients. Don demonstrates a broad, long-standing commitment to local community and philanthropic service. He is an over 20-year volunteer with Camp Fatima of New Jersey, an all-volunteer one on one camp for developmentally challenged children. He annually acts as a camp activities staff member as well as serves on their finance committee. Don is a graduate of Rutgers University with a degree in Economics and Finance and holds his Series 6, 7, 63, and 24 security licenses along with his life, annuity, accident and health licenses. He has earned the Chartered Financial Consultant, Chartered Special Needs Consultant, and Chartered Advisor for Senior Living designations.

Our History

Elizabeth Neumann, M.A.
Client Relationship Manager


Special Needs Funding Coach is pleased to announce that Elizabeth Neumann has joined the team! With a master’s degree in education as well as additional experience in applied behavior analysis, Elizabeth has dedicated her entire professional life to serving the special needs community. After twelve years with Autism New Jersey where she directed conferences, provided professional training, and offered family support, Elizabeth looks forward to this new avenue of service and development in her career. In her role as Client Relationship Manager, we are confident you will be as happy as we are to have Elizabeth as an addition to our team!

Elizabeth may be reached at 848.200.7155 or eneumann@nlgroupmail.com.

Our Process

Rachel Cecere
Financial Services Representative


Rachel is in her first year in the financial services industry. She is a recent graduate of Virginia Tech with a B.S. in Business and major in marketing. She is excited to begin her career alongside our team and is eager to assist in the process of providing resources and answers for our special needs clients. Rachel holds a life and health license in New Jersey.




Our History

J. Jeffrey McAteer
Financial Advisor
Registered Representative,
Investment Adviser Representative, Equity Services, Inc.


As a United States Marine, Jeff served at Camp David under Presidents George H. W. Bush and William J. Clinton. Jeff combines his military service with more than 22 years of experience in the financial industry.


Along with his life and health licenses, Jeff has completed his FINRA Series 6, 7, 63, and 65 registrations. His commitment to excellence, expertise, and personal focus allows the Special Needs Funding Coach team to provide integrated and customized solutions for families and the professionals who serve them.


Jeff lives in Toms River with his spouse Janel and children, Julianna and Jack.


Jeffrey is life-licensed and offers insurance in the following states: DE, FL, MD, NJ, PA, and VA. Jeffrey McAteer is a Registered Representative and Investment Adviser Representative of Equity Services, Inc. and offers securities in DE, FL, MD, NJ, OH, PA, and VA.


Our History

Charles Melita
Financial Services Professional



Professional Specialties
• Asset protection strategies • Business succession strategies • Life insurance • Legacy planning • Disability income protection • Long-term care strategies • Health benefit solutions • Wealth benefit solutions • Estate and eldercare strategies • Executive benefits • Risk management programs • Tax reduction strategies • Retirement strategies


Professional Qualifications and Experiences

  • Maintains strong centers of influence with accountants, attorneys, financial representatives and various industry leaders
  • Member Million Dollar Round Table (MDRT), an industry benchmark based on sales excellence among insurance professionals
  • Presidents Club Recipient, presented by National Life Insurance Company, Montpelier, VT based on sales criteria
  • The Strategic Coach and the Entrepreneurs & Growth Course
  • Full-circle commitment of education and charitable giving are the centerpieces of my practice.


Memberships and Community Service

  • Eastern Monmouth County Area Chamber of Commerce, Past Board of Directors
  • Member Exit Planning Exchange
  • Member Hackensack Meridian Health (HMH) Community Advisory Committee
  • HMH Community Chair, Community of Life Savers Program, bringing CPR/AED training and awareness to area high schools
  • Received American Heart Association's Humanitarian Award for Leadership in CPR/AED Training Awareness
  • Earned Life Force USA "Chain of Survival" Award for CPR Training
  • Received 2015 American Heart Association's NJ American Heart Saver Award
  • Recognized as NJ Biz "Healthcare Hero" 2015 Finalist for Education in CPR
  • Testified Before NJ Senate Advocating Mandatory CPR Training in NJ High Schools, leading to bill being signed into law

Charles Melita is insurance-licensed in the following states: PA, NJ, NY, MD.


Our Process

James C. Muro, CLU, ChFC, CFP, MSFS
Financial Advisor
Registered Representative,
Investment Adviser Representative, Equity Services, Inc.


James C Muro is a Certified Financial Planner. He has 25 years of experience in the financial service industry. He obtained his bachelor’s degree in finance with St. John’s University and his Masters in Financial Services with The American College.


James works closely with individuals, families, business owners, executives, and medical professionals. His practice is advice-driven; he will analyze, design, and implement objective financial solutions that are specific to his client’s financial situation. His goal is to be your financial resource now and in years to come. James specializes in the following areas of financial planning: insurance strategies, investments strategies, retirement planning, business and estate planning strategies.


James resides in Monroe Township, NJ with his wife and two children. James enjoys volunteering his time and coaching youth sports for both of his children. He is a proud member of the New Jersey Association of Financial Advisors and The Financial Planning Association. James is an active member of the Society of Financial Service Professionals and has acted as a Board member in the past.


James Muro is a Registered Representative and Investment Adviser Representative of Equity Services, Inc. Securities and investment advisory services are offered solely by Equity Services, Inc., Member FINRA/SIPC, 675 Third Avenue, Suite 900, New York, NY 10017, Tel: 212-986-0400. Equity Services is a Broker/Dealer and Registered Investment Adviser affiliate of National Life Insurance Company (NLIC), Montpelier, VT, National Life Group® is a trade name of NLIC and its affiliates. Integrated Planning Group is independent of Equity Services, Inc. He is insurance-licensed in CA, CO, FL, MI, NC, NJ, NV, NY, PA, and RI and offers securities in CA, CO, CT, DE, FL, GA, NC, NH, NJ, NM, NV, NY, and PA.


Our Values

Nico Riverso, CFP
Financial Advisor, Financial Service Representative


Nico Riverso, CFP is a seasoned investment and retirement planning professional. After achieving a perfect score on his math SAT, it's only natural that Nico would have a successful career in numbers. As a certified financial planner, Nico is uniquely qualified to be our leading investment professional on the team.


Nico began his financial services career in 1993. He focused his energy on building his financial practice but continues to mentor junior associates. Over his 28-year financial services career, he has been the recipient of numerous industry awards such as: a four-time Management Leaders Conference qualifier, three-time Top 25 Agency Director, and a Platinum & Leaders Conference qualifier1.


Residing in East Hanover, Nico and his wife Jackie have three children: Jordan, Sebastian, and Alex. Alex has autism and currently attends the Epic School. Nico is an active board member of Team 94, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to provide continuing education opportunities for adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder.


Nico Riverso is a Registered Representative and Investment Adviser Representative of Equity Services, Inc. and offers securities in AZ, CO, CT, DE, FL, GA, MA, NC, NJ, NY, OH, PA, SC, TX, VA, and VT.


1Awards and membership is based on sales criteria.

Our Process

Michael Sabato, LUTCF
Registered Representative, Equity Services, Inc.


As a life insurance and employee benefits professional, Mike focuses on helping successful people and small businesses protect themselves, their family, and the assets they have worked so very hard to accumulate.


A native of Lyndhurst, NJ, Mike studied Business Marketing and Administration at St. Peter’s College. While in school Mike pitched for St. Peter’s College, a Division I baseball program.


Mike started his financial services career in 1994 with Metropolitan Life Insurance Company where he quickly became a leading producer. In November of 2015 Mike transitioned his practice for the sole purpose of offering his clients a more diverse approach to protecting their families, their retirement, executive benefits, an overall wellness. He is insurance-licensed in CA, FL, MI, NC, NJ, and NY and offers securities in NJ.


Over Mike’s 26 year career he has been the recipient of numerous industry awards: 24-time Conference qualifier, Chairman's Conference Qualifier. Most recently Mike became a Life Qualifying Member of Top of The Table, the Million Dollar Round Table’s most prestigious organization in the insurance and financial services industry.*



Mike is an active member of his community where he previously served as a board member for the Roseland Education Foundation. Mike previously served on the board for the Roseland Athletic Club. He has been coaching travel basketball for 15 years. In addition, he is heavily involved with Team 94, a non-profit organization focused on the continuing education for Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Mike is a resident of Roseland, NJ with his wife Nicole and their three children, Alexandra, Michael John, and Alivia.


Specialties: Employee Benefit Strategies, Life Insurance, Executive Benefit Planning for Small Business Owners, Protection Planning for First Responders.



*Membership and awards are based on sales criteria

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