Barry Freedman, Freedman Financial Associates
Barry Freedman regularly mixes work and play on Florida golf courses. The technology we now have lets me pull up a clients account from a golf cart, he says. Since 1993, Freedman, a CFP and chairman of Freedman Financial Associates, has run his financial planning business in South Fort Myers during the winter months from November to April. The rest of the year hes in Peabody, Mass., about 17 miles from Boston.
Freedman maintains an office in a room of his Florida condo, but hes just as likely to be on the links wearing shorts and a T-shirt--and toting a briefcase. In the briefcase is a laptop and a cell phone. As a financial planner with a long-term focus, he doesnt worry about following every move of the market. When he needs a quote, he logs on to the Internet.
With e-mail, phone and fax, its easy to communicate wherever you are, Freedman says. His secretary in Massachusetts can transfer a call to him in Florida as easily as if he were in the next room. Whats more, he now uses a videophone through his computer. When hes in Florida, he can converse face to face with clients who stop in at the Massachusetts office. I dont know why more people dont have these, he says. The gadget, called QuickCam, only costs about $75.
In addition to using technology, Freedman makes this arrangement work through a partnership with his son Mark, now president of the company. Plus, the Peabody office has two registered reps and four staff members. Freedmans 300 clients (10% are in Florida) have a total of $100 million under management at the firms broker/dealer Linsco/Private Ledger.
I see more of my clients socially here and they love it, Freedman says. Increasingly his clients from the Boston area are moving to Florida, at least for the winter. And as he makes more acquaintances locally, hes finding new clients, too.
The area around South Fort Myers is unique because, as Freedman puts it, The people are middle-aged with a young attitude. Its not like so much of Florida--Gods waiting room. He notes that the west coast of Florida has more people from the Midwest compared with the east coast, which draws people from the Northeast. Its been an education for me to mix with people who are somewhat different from ones Ive always lived with, he says.
Freedman admits he has more leisure time now than before. His golf handicap has gone from 18 to 12, he says, And Ive only been playing for four and a half years. It isnt just the golf and the tennis that brought him to Florida. His wife has multiple sclerosis, a mild case, fortunately, but the ice and snow of New England winters make getting around difficult for her.
Freedman also devotes time to being an arbitrator for the NASD. Actively involved with the Institute for Certified Financial Planners, he has served on the board and was last years chairman for the annual meeting. He travels for the institute to Portland, Ore., Oklahoma City, Houston and other cities. But he does his own business along the way, too. I see clients wherever I go. I have clients in 20 states.