Alumnus of the Month

James C. Traylor

James C. Traylor


June 2017

Upstate Special Needs Planning

James Traylor is the president of Upstate Special Needs Planning (USNP), Inc., in Rochester, NY. This comprehensive financial planning group specializes in working with families caring for an individual with developmental disabilities, mental health issues or traumatic brain injury. The group takes a holistic look at some of the key challenges caregivers face, such as life care planning, special needs trusts, individualized supports and services, and maximizing benefits clients are entitled to receive from government programs.

As a seasoned financial planner, James spent the past several years building this practice dedicated to the special needs community. In addition to USNP, he and his wife Nicole VanGorder also launched a separate special needs consulting firm, Traylor & Associates LLC, following their transition in 2014 from the Rochester, NY, branch of MassMutual Financial Group. While with MassMutual, James served as a sales manager and special care planner in his capacity as director of Financial Architects. During his tenure at MassMutual, he received the 2009 “Forty Under 40” award from the Rochester Business Journal. This award recognizes men and women under the age of 40 who have not only achieved professional success but have also made significant civic contributions.

James has focused his entire professional career on establishing an agency of choice for families planning for a dependent with a disability. As an advocate for his younger sibling with special needs, he has a unique understanding of the struggles families face in caring for an individual with a disability or other special needs. James also provides training and continuing education for legal, financial and tax professionals on planning for an individual with a disability. He also serves as a presenter at national disability conferences.

In addition, James is chair of the New York State Developmental Disabilities Planning Council and serves on the board of directors for the ARC of Monroe. He is a member of the Estate Planning Council of Rochester, the Society of Financial Services Professionals (FSP), and the Million Dollar Round Table.

James graduated from the State University of New York (SUNY) at Geneseo in 2007 with a BA in biology and political science. He is also a Leadership Livingston graduate and graduate of Partners in Policymaking. James earned from The American College of Financial Services the professional designations of Chartered Life Underwriter® (CLU®), Chartered Financial Consultant® (ChFC®), and Chartered Special Needs Consultant® (ChSNC®). He also holds several FINRA licenses.