Gary Weiss, CPA and host, interviews Brad Fredrickson | President – Certified Financial Planner of Brad Fredrickson Insurance & Financial Services, Inc.
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The Echelon Radio Network presents The Tax Matters radio podcast. A conversation about money for everyone with your host Gary Weiss
Gary Weiss 0:20
Welcome back seekers of truth, justice, and the Echelon way to another exciting and info JAM PACKED session of the Echelon Tax Matters specialty group Podcast. Today, I’m your guide on our version of the Jungle Cruise ride. That was a B ticket for those who remember that. Gary Weiss, licensed CPA since 1996. Amazing how that the years have just kept on rolling. I practice in Woodland Hills with my partner Quinton Staples, also a CPA. I also specialize in tax resolution services, hence my tagline. “I fight the fascist state of California and the evil empire known as the IRS.” Thank you Luke Skywalker. Today’s guest is Brad Fredrickson, certified financial planner of Fredrickson Insurance and Financial Services. Brad, welcome to the podcast.
Brad Fredrickson 1:12
Thank you, Gary.
Gary Weiss 1:13
All right. So let’s start at the beginning. Tell us briefly a little bit about your background, where you went to school. A little bit about your family and you know, sort of what led you to become a certified financial planner.
Brad Fredrickson 1:26
Good. Happy to have to talk with you about this. I grew up in the Oakland Hills, native Californian. My father was a self employed contractor built a house in the hills of Oakland. We had a beautiful view of the Golden Gate Bridge and the Bay Bridge. Spent my summers in the Santa Cruz Mountains. As I approached college, I went to Westmont College, was a business major and met my wife there. Stayed in Santa Barbara for a few years until she graduated. And my first job right out of college was with a large insurance company, New York based company, that taught me over a four year period of time a training program. And here we are decades later.
Gary Weiss 2:22
Great. So do you have any children?
Brad Fredrickson 2:24
I do. I have three children. They’re all grown and out of the house. Two girls and a boy. Happy to have now two grand sons and a granddaughter on the way so our
Gary Weiss 2:37
amazing Yeah. So do you like it? How was it being a grandparent?
Brad Fredrickson 2:42
It’s a lot of fun. We were up vacationing together in Oregon just last week. So we we told them what it would be like and they are experiencing that. It’s great to enjoy the little kids and and get them all together.
Gary Weiss 2:57
Yeah, but my understanding is the best part is that when you’re done with him, you can return them to their owner and say, Here you go.
Brad Fredrickson 3:03
Gary Weiss 3:04
Go back upstairs getting breakout the margaritas and just relax.
Brad Fredrickson 3:08
Gary Weiss 3:08
Excellent. All right. So you went to college, you started you started working. And what you know, left, you went to Santa Barbara.
Brad Fredrickson 3:15
Gary Weiss 3:15
Right. You eventually you’re married, your wife is in Santa Barbara. And you left Santa Barbara to go where?
Brad Fredrickson 3:21
After Santa Barbara there was a little bit of a management takeover of our agency in Santa Barbara. And I moved along to the most closest headquarters which was in Encino. So that got me to Southern California. So now I went from a Northern California guy to a central coast to a Southern California. So you’re
Gary Weiss 3:44
So you’re the original Encino Man.
Brad Fredrickson 3:45
Yeah, that’s it.
Gary Weiss 3:47
All right. So you’re in and we went to Encino. What did you do from there?
Brad Fredrickson 3:52
So still with the same company, but I was exposed to a lot of additional products and ideas that this insurance company offered. So we got involved in an awful lot in representing some of the associations that had products sponsored by the insurance companies. So as a great ticket in to a lot of professionals in the Los Angeles area. Everything from veterinarians to retail drugist to psychiatrists.
Gary Weiss 4:25
So let me ask you this. So you are a certified like I’m certified I think many people who accuse me of being certified but not as a CPA. So you’re a Certified Financial Planner. What does that mean? And how do you become a Certified Financial Planner?
Brad Fredrickson 4:38
The Certified Financial Planner is a series of courses and a comprehensive exam that you need to take. It took me several years because of course I’m working during the coursework on the side it took me a good six years for a finished all the classes took the final exam, passed of course and Um, you get training and everything from employee benefits to taxation to estate planning, Social Security, Medicare, covers the whole gamut.
Gary Weiss 5:12
So cool. Nice. So you got this CFP designation. You’re gonna hold it up and you go Yeah. Now what do I do with it?
Brad Fredrickson 5:18
Exactly. It holds a lot of credibility with professionals because they realize that people that have that CFP designation have gone above and beyond a lot of the normal training it takes so committed to the the financial services industry. And then in addition to that, over the years, I picked up with the call the cert certified I’m sorry, chartered life underwriter designation, no CLU, CLU, excellent. And the chartered financial consultant designation. And then most recently, I completed a master’s of Sciences in financial services.
Gary Weiss 6:03
Excellent. Excellent. So you’re well educated. Okay. So now, again, there’s a whole bunch of letters after your name. Excellent. That’s a lot of fun to always put on your checkbook. So now the question everybody’s going to ask is, okay, what can you do for me? Tell me, how do you take that knowledge, combined with the products that you either sell or you represent to help you know, the average person, so somebody comes to you and says, Hey, Brad, I’ve got a couple 100 grand that I want to invest? And I need to do something with it. Because I haven’t got a clue. What do I do? So what do you say to them?
Brad Fredrickson 6:33
Okay, well, first thing is to take an inventory of what the people have, and what they’re looking for. Finding the products that would be most specific and geared towards what their long range and short range goals are. But most of my work is actually related to the insurance side of their needs. Majority of the clients that come to me are seeking advice and products to meet their in their insurance needs. That would be primarily medical huge topic these days.
Gary Weiss 7:11
Oh yeah, that, you know, short term care, long term care, all that. Yeah, that’s a that’s become a big deal. And it’s real important to people to understand so. So you work as part I assume you in your job and the the special specialties that you bring you work as a team with with the client. So how do you work with lawyers, the CPAs, You know, the trust attorneys? That type of thing. What’s your role in that? And how do you help the client navigate all those, you know, all the specialties?
Brad Fredrickson 7:40
Absolutely. A typical situation would be where an accountant would refer a client who has discussed with them that they need a group medical plan. So that client would come to us, we would get a census of all the employees. And then we would go out and put together a presentation and show not just one company, but maybe five or six different companies, lay them side by side, try to determine which of those plans would be the best for that client. And they could be in all different price ranges. Again, what we’re trying to do is find that perfect plan to fit that need. And in the medical insurance, the the first thing that comes up is generally What’s your primary goal? Are you looking at just cost as the factor? Or are you looking at more of like a Cadillac plan where a person can have full choice of doctors, because medical care is pretty darn important thing these days?
Gary Weiss 8:44
Right. So let me ask you this. So with with all the products and all the knowledge you have for you, what is the ideal client that who walks in the door? What does that person look like?
Brad Fredrickson 8:53
Okay, yeah, the ideal client tends to be a professional organization. Of course, we handled manufacturing groups, but we do an awful lot of work with medical groups, doctors and their staff may be groups of 10. And under, it’s kind of a niche. And also, we’re working in the entertainment field. Sometimes some of these famous people out there that are actors and actresses might have their own production company, they might have five or six employees. And we go in, we design a plan that’s competitive against others in the industry. We can add on other items like dental and vision and put together a nice package. We present that we enroll them, we service them, we keep them happy. That’s that’s the name of the game and we’ve kept some of these groups active for now 30 plus years.
Gary Weiss 9:46
Well, right now it should be really easy to find them because they’re all on strike on Sunset Boulevard, you know with the the WGA strike and the actors strikes, at least you know where to find them right now. You don’t have to worry about it true. Alright, so let’s talk about more or less Talk about you do you get involved with estate planning?
Brad Fredrickson 10:04
We will refer a lot of that out, of course, we get referrals from attorneys that want to have us put together different packages for them. And oftentimes, I’m working on one right now in terms of estate planning, it’s more of a estate planning and business planning, all in one where we’re working on, we work on Buy Sell agreements between partners. We’re dealing with a situation now where there was a passing of one doctor, and now we’re working with the other doctors to put together a plan for succession planning. So that that value of that medical practice doesn’t decline during the transition.
Gary Weiss 10:49
Alright, so succession planning, key point there real important one. This is a problem that a lot of professionals have a, you know, they create a practice either law, accounting, insurance, you know, whatever it is, they create a practice, they’ve been working at it for 40 years, you know, they, they’re alone, or they’re a sole proprietor. And all of a sudden, one day, they realize, oh, I want to retire. So talk a little bit about succession planning, why it’s important, and how you should go about it.
Brad Fredrickson 11:14
Sure. Yeah. So people, again, they work their entire lives, building up a business. Business that is oftentimes hard to, to place the value on, but there are professionals that can do that. They can look at at value of assets, as well, as intangibles. You know, the fact that customers are coming back to that website or whatever, on a daily or a monthly basis, putting a price tag on that. And then having those business owners hopefully have someone next in line to take over that business, there’s a value that those people down the down the line, it’d be very valuable to them, and trying to come up with an agreement, oftentimes financed with life insurance, or a disability policy to take that business over. So that’s where we would step in, with a life insurance product to fit that need or a disability plan. Those are oftentimes called Disability buyout plans. So that a person becomes disabled, that business passes, right down the line, very easy to leave based upon a contract that’s been set up by attorneys.
Gary Weiss 12:35
Right. So disability plans are very important, they’re caught, they can be very complex, just like all insurance matters, you know, you know that in your when somebody comes in there. First of all, they’re nervous. They’re not as nervous as you are sitting in front of me, but you’re nervous. And you know, they come in and so how do you couple of things? First of all, how do you how do you assuage their fears? How do you get them to calm down? And how do you then get them to feel connected to you?
Brad Fredrickson 13:01
Sure, a lot of it’s just asking questions. Over the years, I’ve become a very good listener. And you you break through eventually you find out what their interests are, what’s important to them, is that their family, is it that they want to, you know, retire to the mountains in 10 years are what is it and then working down the line, to find that product to get comfortable with me to know that if they want to put off the decision for months or possibly years, that it’s not gonna, it’s not going to break the friendship?
Gary Weiss 13:36
Well, that’s good. So you’re making them comfortable? And then how over the years, so this, I assume what you’re creating is a long term relationship with these clients. This is not something where they come in once a year, you know, like they do for me, they drop off their shoe box returns, I hear, fix it. So I’ve got that happens all the time. But in your case, it’s it’s not just seeing them on a regular basis. It’s being connected to them, so that as their family grows, their business grows, you’re growing with them. So how does that work? And how do you implement that process?
Brad Fredrickson 14:09
Well, what you mentioned brought back a couple of days, it brings back some of my original clients. Now keep in mind, when I first started in the business, I was in my early 20s. And I looked like I was in my mid teens at the time. And I would go out to a UCSB and talk to the people at married student housing. Because they were in my in my network, I can relate to them. And now here we are years later, and I’m working 1-2-3 generations later, with those people staying in contact grown with them from those original plans, growing with them now means talking to those people as they’re approaching Medicare, which is a whole different topic. So having those things in common, being knowledgeable about the particular products that I choose to consult with them. And at the same time, if it’s something that I’m not comfortable with having a network of people that I can refer those people to.
Gary Weiss 15:13
oh, so great, that sounds great. And then it’s good for those clients, your clients create that lifelong relationship, which when the time comes when things you know, go bad, you know, somebody gets sick, or somebody dies, you’re there, and you become a trusted member of that family. But you just touched on a specific topic that everybody is concerned with, and nobody understands Medicare. This, this is about as easy to understand as nuclear physics.
Brad Fredrickson 15:41
There you go.
Gary Weiss 15:42
So how do you help? How can you help? And what do you do specifically, as people, you know, when you turn 65, you have to register with the Social Security Administration to get Medicare, and if you don’t do it in a timely manner, they can give you pissed at you. So what do you do? How do you help them? How do you explain to them Medicare?
Brad Fredrickson 15:59
Sure. That’s become a major part of our practice, in the last five or 10 years, it’s huge. And if you see the statistics, 10,000 people turn 65, every day.
10,000 in the US so if I can get 10 a day, that would be plenty. One a day is good. But what I what I found is that seniors, this is probably the first time they’ve ever had to make a real serious decision about their medical care. Over the years, the company has provided a plan to them, they go along for the ride, they complain about the rates going up the the doctors, they can see now Medicare is thrown in their labs, they have to decide what to do, do they, first of all, you have to sign up generally for A and B at age 65. And all that. But till I tell everybody what is a part A is your basic hospital coverage through the government, right? I understand that’s free, that’s generally free. Because you’ve been paying for all these last years through federal tax.
Gary Weiss 17:10
Yeah, so it’s not an entitlement over that it’s not an entitlement you paid for it, you’re, you deserve it. Alright, then Part B.
Brad Fredrickson 17:17
Part B is requirement to get onto a supplement, Part B is also through the government, it’s going to be your outpatient coverage, it’s going to be your doctor’s. Part B also covers chemotherapy, things that are generally outside the hospital, you have to have a and b to move forward in the game. So once you have a and b, and b is not free, as a general rule, it’s based on your income. The government knows everything, they base it on your income of two years previous to determine what your rate is. And that can range from $160 a month or so to well over $500 a month, based upon your your income that you report to years previous.
Gary Weiss 18:05
Yeah, that’s that’s a hard one for my clients, a lot of times, you know, we’ll deal with they’ll do is they’ll sell a piece of rental property that they’ve had forever, you know, in preparation of retirement, and all of a sudden, you know, two years later, their $170 a month Medicare Part B goes to 500 to 600. And then how do I fix it is, since that was a one time event, is there a way to fix that?
Brad Fredrickson 18:26
There is some sometimes the government will, you can petition and show that that was a one time event. And they will all oftentimes have sympathy for you and reduce your rate. Not a guarantee.
Gary Weiss 18:41
Did you say that government is going to have sympathy for us?
Brad Fredrickson 18:44
Gary Weiss 18:44
Which government are you talking about? All right, I understand. Okay, so there is a method? And does your office help with that? If they somebody says, I need help? You know, I have no idea how to do this. I don’t understand why Medicare went from 170 to 500 a month. I don’t know what to do. Can you help them?
Brad Fredrickson 19:01
We can point them in the right direction. Yeah. So we can point them towards who they need to be talking to, and how to do it.
Gary Weiss 19:08
So you have people who know people who know people to kind of yeah, alright, let’s talk about Covered California. Okay, this is a big part of getting that part B. And there’s Part C and D, which we’ll come back to in a moment. But explain to us how you got Medicare. You got this part B, you got the US government in the state of California, you got and now this thing called Covered California. How do all these pieces fit together?
Brad Fredrickson 19:32
Yeah, well, let’s talk about Medicare. And then we’ll talk about Covered California. So Medicare once you have a and b, the typical person who’s calling me now who they are calling me on Monday morning because they were with their friends over the weekend and they’re turning 65 and three months, they don’t know what to do and they say well call Brad Hill. He’ll point in the right direction. So after I’ve told them that A and B are a requirement. And then the next step is, what do they want to do for the remainder because Parts A and B, are not always enough, there’s some holes that will be there. The first hole will be what Medicare does not cover is oftentimes the 20% that the doctors could charge. So if you had a million dollar bill, I’ve seen them, that would be perhaps $200,000 that you wouldn’t be paying, if you didn’t have a supplement. So the that part can either be covered under a traditional supplement called Medigap. Those plans, we virtually represent every insurance company available and there’s, you know.
Gary Weiss 20:44
Yeah. Now you’re starting to lose every hand thing called Medigap. Excellent. Sure. Yeah. So the thing is what I’m hearing and the thing that impresses me the most, is that your referral source? Yeah, you’re that man that if somebody has questions, you may not know the answer, but you’re the person they go to, that will point them like you said, in the right direction, but you’ll find them somebody who can answer their questions. And for most of the people I’ve learned as a CPA, when they come to me, they it that just makes them feel comfortable. Hey is there at least somebody I can turn to because when it comes to anything health care, when you start turning 65 It is just bizarre on how you know how different it is, you know, how much what things aren’t covered, things aren’t covered. All of a sudden your medicine that was a $20 copay is all of a sudden a $200 copay. And you’re ready to go start killing people. Yeah, so also there is Part C and D, you want to just briefly touch on what the other parts are.
Brad Fredrickson 21:39
Part. Part C is called a Medicare Advantage plan. Those tend to be not always tend to be HMO related plans. Oftentimes, they’re all inclusive, they will cover doctor, doctors, hospitals, in your prescription drugs, and sometimes some other additional items over the counter products, maybe some dental, but oftentimes those will require that you go to specific medical groups and or doctors.
Gary Weiss 22:09
And is that the is that include dental vision, you know, where did those things come from?
Brad Fredrickson 22:15
Those oftentimes will fall in under Medicare Part C, there seems to be some competition always going between all these Part C plans, trying to get people to sign up for those particular plans.
Gary Weiss 22:28
Sounds like when it comes down to it. You just You just know their ABCs.
Brad Fredrickson 22:32
Yeah. ABCs sorry, all the way to Z.
Gary Weiss 22:35
Sorry about that. So anyway, what we’re gonna do is we’re gonna conclude now it’s been great. You thank you for all you did. So why don’t you first of all start off by telling our listeners, if they need to get a hold of you, you know, what’s your telephone number? You know, what’s your website? How do they find you?
Brad Fredrickson 22:50
Great. More than welcome to give me a call. My direct line to the office is area code 818 878 7200. My email address is Brad@insurancewebquote.com. My office is in Woodland Hills, and the website is insurancewebquote.com
Gary Weiss 23:15
Excellent. Well, if you have any other questions and you didn’t get all that you can always contact Jerri Hemsworth Brian Hemsworth or somebody or Linda or Renee at Echelon and we can get get you all that information. Well then intrepid listeners, that’s all the time we have for today. I’d like to thank my guest Brad Fredrickson, Certified Financial Planner. Please look forward to future podcast right here on the Echelon Network, same bat time same bat channel. I guarantee you you will be entertained and enlightened at the same time. I am your host Gary Weiss, Certified Public Accountant. I look forward to spending time with you on our next podcast. Y’all come back now you hear
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