Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

This is Valerie VanBooven, with the Senior Care Industry Netcast, where leaders with three or more years of experience in the senior care industry share their advice. So let’s get started. In a few sentences, tell us who you are and what you do.

Brian Biederman: http://www.advfinancialconcepts.com/

My name is, Brian Biederman, I’m a Certified Financial Planner and I help my clients create and manage multi-generational wealth. I’m working with senior clients, not just senior clients but with their families also. I help them generate income that is sheltered from market volatility and also enables them to meet or exceed inflation as it occurs. Also, help them with making sure that that income is tax-advantaged or somewhat tax-sheltered to try and minimize taxes as much as possible.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Great. And you’re located in the Raleigh area?

Brian Biederman:

I’m in Raleigh, yes.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Do you serve mostly your local area or do you serve other parts in the country?

Brian Biederman:

Well, most of my clients are in Raleigh, because this is where my office is but I have clients in eight states.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Nice. Well, that’s cool. So anybody can get to know you and learn more about you.

Brian Biederman:

I have to be licensed in every state where I’ve a client. So, if somebody calls from another state that I’m not licensed, then I have to decide whether it’s worth being licensed in that state or not. I know for sure I don’t need to be licensed in Tennessee, because they are the only state that I know of that charges out of state advisors, extra for being licensed in Tennessee.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Wow. Yeah. Yeah. Well, I’m sure that the folks that are watching this, if they’re in the Raleigh area are going to be able to reach out to you much easier than anybody else. So having said that we will put your website and your contact information with our videos so that people know how to get ahold of you. And speaking from a small bit of experience, my parents, my mother’s 71 and her husband’s 81. And they do pretty well with their financial needs and they live in North Carolina but they don’t live near Raleigh, they live near Asheville, North Carolina. But I know that a few years ago, they really had to make some fast changes, because even though they were already retired or heading toward retirement, they were losing money quick. When this market took a tumble and I guess you know this better than I do. People lost a lot of money if they weren’t paying attention to what was going on there.

Brian Biederman:

Only if they sold.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Yeah. Well, their investments were getting nailed fast and so they had to make them more… They need to be an income earning as opposed to risky volatile stocks and that.

Brian Biederman:

Right. So we address that issue when we put together portfolios for clients, especially those that are retired. The way we do it is we take what they expect their income needs are for the next two years and we take that portion of portfolio and keep that very sheltered and very liquid. Obviously, low interest but we know that it’s not going to be affected by a drop in the market because most drops in the market last anywhere from six to 18 months. So we figure a two year window we know that… If you are taking income in the market drops, we know that we don’t have to sell an investment at a loss to generate cash, to take a distribution because we have that much in cash already. So we manage the cash portion of all of our client’s portfolios. Obviously, the ones that are retired it’s for income but for the clients that are not retired it’s to be able to take advantage of drops in the market, by deploying some of that cash and taking advantage of buying opportunities.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

If you have a significant amount of assets, even if you don’t, it gets a little complicated. For them, she’s 71 but she didn’t have to take a minimum distribution because they extended that for a year. I don’t know why maybe it’s a COVID thing, maybe was just some law that passed. And she knows if she takes her minimum distribution, she’s going to end up paying taxes because it’s going to put her over the threshold of what social security plus that minimum distribution is. I mean, it just goes on and on and on.

Brian Biederman:

Well, it does and part of the reason that they put that exemption in place for 2020, was because as soon as or shortly after the pandemic started, the market had dropped and dropped significantly. And they didn’t know if that was going to be a long-term thing. So rather than forcing retirees to pull money out at a loss, they waived distributions for last year. But then the market recovered and it’s past where it was at the beginning of the pandemic. So it really became a non event other than giving people an excuse, not to take money out of their accounts, which was good because it helped it grow more rather than pulling it out. So that’s what happened there, but it’s educating people. One of the things where back in the late 90s, early 2000, I was doing a radio show on the early days of the internet.

            And one of the things that we used to always talk about and I still talk about it a little bit when I talk with clients, is the internet is a great thing because it creates a lot of access to a lot of information and a lot of free information. Unfortunately, sometimes you get too much information and you become paralyzed because you don’t know what to do. So as a financial advisor, we take that information and help our clients digest that information and throw away the stuff that doesn’t apply to them and help them apply the stuff to put them in a better position.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

That’s awesome. Because it is confusing and there is a lot, it’s like using WebMD as your doctor, probably not a great idea.

Brian Biederman:

Well, they say, you never want to Google what you think your symptoms are, because you’ll come up with 12 diseases that you might have.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Yeah. You’re definitely dying, if you have a headache and you Google that on WebMD, you’re totally dying there. Yep. So, okay. Back to my questions, what is the best thing about serving aging adults?

Brian Biederman:

I think the best thing is the satisfaction of educating people and making people a little bit more comfortable with the uncertainties in the economy and the uncertainties in the market. And being able to explain it to clients and giving them a sense of calm, that things aren’t as bad as they thought they were. I had a client called me or sent me an email I think a day or two ago because she did her taxes. And based on some decisions that we had made last year, she wound up paying almost twice as much in taxes this year than she’d last year. Well, part of that was her husband had passed away and she was getting survivor benefits and his social security. But then she got a big raise at work, which put her over the threshold. And so instead of only half of the social security being subject to tax, 85% of it was subject to tax.

            And so it’s not a bad thing, but we had a whole conversation of what should we do? Can we do anything else? Well, she already contributed to max to her IRA, so we couldn’t do there. Really, the only thing she could do, would be if a company were to finally put in place a 401k, she could contribute more to a 401k, but it’s marginally more because the difference is with an IRA, it’s 100% of your income up to $7,000. With a 401k it’s 15% of your income up to $15,000. But 15% of her income is about the $7,000 threshold so that would not help her significantly more and she has other money. So I said, “There’s nothing wrong with owing money on April 15th.” The problem is if you owe money on April 15th and you don’t have it, we know you’re going to have it. So there’s no sense letting money sit with the government for 15 or 18 months, interest free to expect a big refund.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

That’s true. It’s better not to have a big refund. I mean, everybody [crosstalk 00:08:49]-

Brian Biederman:

I’ve one client and this back of my mind in mind I was talking with him once, and he’s younger he was in his early 40s, I guess but he’s a high wage earner. And we were talking about taxes and some other things and I said, “Well, what’s your tax refund usually?” He said, “It’s always somewhere around $15,000.” I almost fell out of my chair, I said, “I thought you were smart.” And he’d been a client for a long time, so I can say that. I thought you were smart you’re letting the government sit on $15,000 interest free because you like a big refund. You’re already a good saver, there’s absolutely no reason for that.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Right. Absolutely, I totally agree. Yep. They should not be your savings plan. Your taxes and your man should not be your savings plan, that’s a good rule for women.

Brian Biederman:

Very good.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Okay. I would imagine in your life professionally or otherwise, there have been people that or organizations that have really meant a lot to you, that you think do a great job or have been mentors or inspirations to you, who would you like to talk about?

Brian Biederman:

I’m not sure about the question. I do-

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Who inspires you? Why did you get into financial planning or who is it that really makes you think this is why I’m here, this is why I do what I do?

Brian Biederman:

I’ve been doing it for a long time, so I like helping people. Recently I had a client come to me, she actually married one of my clients and she had some money and she had never been really an active investor. She had some accounts that were set up for her by her ex-husband and he told her where to put it and whatever. And we were talking, because obviously she divorced and re-married. And my client had been a client for over 30 years, so he said, “Why don’t you talk to Brian?” And we had a conversation and she said, “I learned more in the last 15 minutes about my investments than I did in the previous four years with my previous advisor.”

            It all goes back to relationships, it goes back to educating. And just knowing that some of the things that I take time to explain to clients which are completely legitimate planning strategies, but many advisors don’t want to take the time to explain it to a client. And a client many times get this, aha moment and actually I had it recently somebody said, “Well, why didn’t my current advisor telling me that?” I said, “I can’t answer that question, but my guess is he just didn’t want to take the time to explain it to you.” And part of that goes to creating those relationships. I’ve had the clients that have been with me for over 30 years, many clients for over 20 years and we have a good relationship and they have a question they know they can call me. And even if it’s something that I don’t have an answer for, I’ll find an answer for. Or sometimes I go out of my way to do things for clients and handle issues for clients that don’t put any money in my pocket.

            A client of mine, his wife passed away recently and one of the things that I never knew, his wife was a client, had another advisor that she had been working with. And she had some stock in a privately held company in Baltimore and she passed away and I didn’t know anything about it. He knew about it, but he wasn’t really, he’s 80 years old, 82 now. So one of the things we did, is I took the lead because he was sending them letters and trying to call to get information and get it changed over into his name because she owned it in her own name. And they weren’t responding to his letters and they were responding to his call. So I took it and I said, “Give me this stuff.” I did it, I called them, I made sure I got an answer. I wrote the letters, we got it taken care of, we change it into his name and eventually liquidated them.

            Because his son also has some of the same shares and I didn’t want his son to have to go through these hassles and settling his father’s estate. Now, when it’s between spouses, it’s one thing but when it’s from one generation to the next, it becomes a whole new level of complication. So we made sure that we sold the shares during my client’s lifetime and then we just took the money and he used it to pay some bills. So I made no money on that deal, it’s all a matter of going above and beyond for the client on what they need.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Very nice. Well, you are probably an inspiration to all of your clients and a good mentor as far as the best thing to do with their money. And like I said, as we get older, it gets a little bit more complicated and all the rules and regulations that, if you have assets and the things that you have to do versus what you don’t really have to do. I haven’t even gotten there yet, but I know it, I hear my mom’s talking about it and I’m like, “Gee.”

Brian Biederman:

One word of advice that I would give to senior client, well, all clients, but specifically senior clients. As your memory starts to go, so this same client when his wife had passed away about two years ago, and then he decided he was going to sell his home and move into a retirement community. Well, the home was owned in a trust that he had set up with his wife and that became a whole new level of complication, because they were actually four different law firms that were involved with all the different legal documents he had. There’s the lawyer I referred him to years ago when they did their wills and then they did some trusts. And then they went to another attorney to do some work. And then there was another attorney that they used when his wife passed away to update some of the stuff.

            And then he wound up having her committed and he was dealing with the court appointed attorney that was handling her assets. So if he had just called me or any advisor, if you have one advisor that you trust. Now, some people don’t like to tell one person everything, but it just becomes more complicated and you really have to think about the next generation. If God forbid something happens, to make it as easy as possible because it’s already a stressful situation. But to have to deal with multiple parties when it could be handled by one party, just puts a whole new level of complication and stress on the next generation, trying to settle that estate.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Very true. Very true. Yeah, I would agree, it makes it super complicated and if you don’t live in the same state or you don’t live nearby and you’re a child of an aging adult who passes away suddenly or suddenly needs long-term care, it does get really complicated and costly fast. To try and help them and try and help maneuver through all this stuff. So having an advisor that’s local to them is really important, I think. Someone that you can get on a Zoom call like this and say, “Okay, what are we going to do here.” Or, “What do I need to do?” That’s really important. So thank you for that.

Brian Biederman:

Gentleman’s good for that but it still doesn’t replace being face-to-face and obviously we can’t do that. But I have brought on a few clients since the pandemic, just with Zoom calls. And one of them, I said, “Well, once this thing over, I can drive down.” She’s down in Rockingham, down to Charlotte. She goes, “I was with my previous advisor five years, he never made an effort to come and visit me in person.”

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

I got to say, my mom’s advisor lives in Florida and she’s in North Carolina. Originally, they all live in the same area in the same state, but he moved, she moved. So they haven’t seen each other in 10 years and I keep telling her, it’s probably time to think about somebody else looking at all this stuff.

Brian Biederman:

That’s why I have clients in seven states because some of them lived in Raleigh and then moved away. And some of them are referrals that I’ve never met from existing clients. But it is easier and if there is a good relationship and they have been clients for a long time, I wouldn’t change just to have somebody local. But if he’s not being proactive in addressing some of their needs as they get older and you said, your mother and her husband, meaning it’s a second marriage, they’re usually stepchildren involved and all that other stuff. Again, it adds a whole new level of complication that needs to be addressed and looked at as a comprehensive plan, as opposed to piecemeal.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Yeah, you’re right. And I think, to give them credit, my mother and her husband, they have done a great job. He’s 10 years older, he’s got his stuff and in his kids, they were married when we were all out of the house. So we were all adults by the time they got married so his kids are wonderful and I’m an only child. So they each have their own stuff separate because they were married so late in life. I don’t know, I don’t keep track of what he does with his but for her, I think she just needs… I think sometimes people need to talk to a new face and have someone else look over things and just say, “Yeah, you’re doing a great job here.” Or, “No. Maybe we need to make some changes.”

            Because at some point, you’re not sure if the person recommending it that you haven’t seen in years is really recommending it. She just doesn’t know, so it’s always great to get a second opinion. Anyway-

Brian Biederman:

Second opinion is good.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

… I’ll have her watch this so she can get to know you and maybe she can give you a call. So, hi mom. So anyway, what piece of advice would you give to other folks who work with seniors? I know you work with all ages but you’ve worked with seniors for a long time and I’m sure there are some things that you think are really important when working with seniors that people should pay attention to.

Brian Biederman:

Well, I think the biggest thing is don’t underestimate them. Don’t think that just because they’re old, you can fly something under the radar. And a story about that, is there was an article years ago, about the time I started my own firm, there was an article in one of the trade publication says, your clients may not sue you but you don’t know about their kids. And so a true story, it’s not just about kids but there was an advisor to work with me at another firm and he had a client and he did a lot of things with the client, the client was married. But the client’s spouse wasn’t really involved in all of the day-to-day decision. Even though it was a joint account and joint account, you don’t really need [inaudible 00:20:24] but anyway.

            So the client passed away and the spouse wound up suing the advisor because she claimed that the recommendations he was making were not suitable for them. And sometime, it goes to arbitration, you don’t want to go to court and you wind up settling or whatever. So the biggest thing that you have to do, and especially, when it’s a second marriage, it’s a different story. But if you have both spouses and both spouses are alive, beat your head against the wall, but you want to speak to both of them. Because even if they say, “My wife doesn’t want to talk to you, but she’ll listen to what I say.” If you’ve ever played the game telephone, when you were a kid, everything loses something in translation.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Yeah, especially if it’s complicated, it’s way going to lose.

Brian Biederman:

Especially when it’s complicated and it’s not something you know. So the piece of advice is, don’t be afraid to explain something, even if it takes a little bit more because seniors will be more appreciative of it. And they will tell you if they don’t understand lots of times, sometimes, I have clients who say, “Well I don’t really understand you but thanks for explaining it to me and just tell me where to sign.” That’s not necessarily my best client, because it leaves me open to a certain level of liability. But one of the things that we’ve started doing recently is we have clients who are over 65 signing a declaration, an over 65 declaration. And they have to have somebody witness it that they’re don’t have dementia, they can make their own decisions, there’s no power of attorney, stuff like that. And if their spouse is over 65, the spouse cannot be the witness it has to be somebody, if they’re over 65, they can be a witness it just can’t be the spouse. So it’s something again, to protect the clients and to protect the advisor because if it goes to court, nobody wins.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

That’s true. It’s not worth it. It’s expensive and it’s a losing game on both sides. So I agree everybody should be full knowledge to the best of their ability of what’s going on, kids, spouses. It just doesn’t pay in the end to be super secretive about what you’re doing. I mean, if you’re going to do some good investing, everybody should be in on it and know what’s happening. So I agree with you there.

Brian Biederman:

And I the bottom line is education and communication. Educating clients on a better way to do something. One of the things that a part of the seminar that I do, is I tell clients, clasp your hands in front of you, just put there to do that. Now, look down and see which thumb is on top. Now switch it. Feels a little awkward but there’s nothing wrong with it. It’s all a matter of, there’s nothing wrong with it, it’s not going to hurt you, but it’s just something you’re so comfortable with doing something certain ways that sometimes we’re reluctant as human beings to try something new. But that’s what I help clients to overcome and to put themselves in a better situation financially, even though collecting lots of times, all the information necessary is an exercise they don’t want to do. And typically that’s going to be a client I don’t want to work with, if they’re not willing to do the work to help me do a better job for them, then there’s plenty of people that are willing to.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Absolutely. Well, that’s great advice all the way around, especially making sure that everybody’s on board with planning and making any changes, I think that’s great advice. So my last question to you, is supposed to be my fun one. When you have a win in life or in business, how do you like to celebrate?

Brian Biederman:

I take the day off and go play golf.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Perfect. That is perfect. We’ve had all kinds of answers and that’s-

Brian Biederman:

Unless, it’s winter and then I go skiing.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Okay, that’s good too. All right. So I want to thank you for doing the show. You’ve really given us a lot of great insight on what a great financial planner would do, recommend how they treat their clients. So I thank you for doing this, I appreciate it.

Brian Biederman:

Thank you very much.