Maedi and her daughter Ellie

Behind the Scenes at M&L: Our Story

My family’s special needs journey began in 1993 when my eldest daughter, Ellie, was born. Upon her birth, I could tell from the body language of the doctors that something wasn’t quite right. Later that day Ellie was diagnosed with Oral-Facial-Digital Syndrome (OFD) Type 1, a rare neurodevelopmental disorder.

Life has not been easy on Ellie, or on her family. Ellie received her first kidney transplant in 2008, and a second one in 2009. In addition, there have been a myriad of other medical and cognitive challenges that we have had to tackle and overcome as a family.

Luckily, with the support of family, friends, and organizations in the special needs community, we have been able to band together and overcome the hurdles that life throws our way. Ellie graduated from the Grow Program at Riverview School in 2015 in East Sandwich, Cape Cod, and Emily, my youngest daughter, graduates from Dartmouth College in 2017. Emily also rows for Dartmouth’s women’s crew team. Despite everything that life has thrown at us, we have persevered and continue to take one day at a time.

M&L Was Born

It was my experience as a mother of a child with special needs that inspired me to create M&L Special Needs Planning, LLC. As mentioned, the support of organizations and professionals in the special needs community was crucial to Ellie, Emily and myself at various times during my children’s childhood, and well into today.

As a financial professional, I relied on my knowledge and experience in financial planning to help my family handle the considerable expenses that come with raising a child with special needs, and also to ensure that Ellie, Emily, and I were all financially secure now and into the future. As a parent and a financial insider, I saw a need for clean and concise guidance for families like ours. So, when the time came to reenter the workforce, I decided to focus my attention on providing that guidance. In 2009, M&L Special Needs Planning, LLC, a firm focusing solely on providing financial and life planning services to families with special needs, was born.

Education and Professional Experience

Maedi Tanham Carney, the founder and owner of M&L Special Needs Planning, LLC, graduated from the University of Denver with a Bachelors of Science in Real Estate and Finance. Maedi then worked for Studley, Inc., where she specialized in providing commercial real estate services to corporations, law firms, not-for-profit organizations, and trade associations throughout the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area.

In 1992, Maedi received her Certified Financial Planning certification from the College of Financial Planning in Denver. Maedi has been a practicing financial planner since that time, providing financial planning services to corporations and individuals throughout the Washington, D.C. areas. In addition to her CFP® status, Maedi also received her real estate and insurance licenses.

As she began working with individuals and families with special needs, Maedi also became a Certified Work Incentive Coordinator, a certification that acknowledges Maedi’s wealth of knowledge in understanding the complexities of Social Security Benefits. This certification provided her with the knowledge and experience to be able to work in-depth with individuals with disabilities who are working or want to go to work but have questions about their benefits and/or insurance eligibility.

Currently, Maedi is a Certified Financial Planner, a Certified Work Incentive Coordinator, is a registered Investment Advisor through Chesapeake Investment Management, LLC, and is the East Coast Representative of the Center for Independent Future’s New Futures Initiative training program.

Achievements and Activities

One of Maedi’s most cherished activities and achievements has been her involvement with fundraising for the Katherine Thomas School in Rockville, MD. This school, also known as KTS, is an independent day school for students, preschool through twelfth grade, with language and learning disabilities and high functioning autism.

In addition to her fundraising activities for KTS, Maedi is an active member of a number of organizations, including:

Learning Disabilities Association of Montgomery County
Arc of Washington, D.C.,
Arc of Montgomery County
Arc of Northern Virginia
Financial Planning Association
Montgomery County Transitioning Adults
National Alliance of Mental Illness
Special Olympics
Massachusetts Families Organizing for Change (MFOFC)

In her spare time, Maedi also acted as assistant Lacrosse coach for McLean Youth Athletics, and is an active runner, road cyclist and mountain biker. In 2005 Maedi successfully completed the San Francisco Marathon. Maedi and her family are also the proud owners of two beautiful Labradors that keep the family incredibly active, and encourage Maedi to run daily.

M&L Financial Planning Workshops & Services

Maedi and the staff of M&L Special Needs Planning understand that financial planning for families with special needs is challenging. Oftentimes, families don’t even know where to start asking questions, let alone begin the daunting task of organizing finances.

That’s why we at M&L have designed a series of workshops that address these financial questions and concerns by topic. Each of these workshops is incredibly relevant to families with special needs, and covers a topic that is important to financial health.

The workshops include presentations on financial planning as a whole, describing M&L’s Comprehensive Special Needs Financial Life Plan, and a presentation on SSI/Medicaid and SSDI/Medicare. Other topics include transitioning planning, preparation of the Letter of Intent, estate planning, etc. For more information, please visit out Workshops webpage.

M&L Special Needs Planning, LLC is located in Washington DC, and we work nationally in all areas of service specifically Government Benefit Counseling, Life Planning and Insurance Needs Analysis. Upon request, we will present any or all workshops at your location. In addition, M&L Special Needs Planning, LLC has a webinar series on all the workshops. If you are interested in the webinar series, join M&L’s Blog.

To learn more about our services, please visit our Services webpage.

Integrated Living Opportunities

In 2015, Maedi Tanham Carney CFP®, CWIC, with the support of five founding Participating Families, founded Integrated Living Opportunities (ILO), a 501c3 non-profit organization serving the families of the Washington, D.C metropolitan area.

ILO helps families create intentional communities to facilitate networks of support for adults with developmental disabilities (self -advocates) enabling them to live as integrated contributing members of their communities. These intentional communities of peers and caring people are connected to the self-advocates for the rest of their lives, even after the parents are gone.

ILO is a coalition of parents of adults with special needs who are working together as they face the challenging experience of preparing, and then supporting their children as they live independently in the community. If you would like to learn more about this organization, please visit their website, or email for more information.