Magazine article Black Enterprise

From Real Estate to Retirement Plan: Using Property as a Foundation, Bradley Simmons Has Crafted a Blueprint for His Financial Goals

Magazine article Black Enterprise

From Real Estate to Retirement Plan: Using Property as a Foundation, Bradley Simmons Has Crafted a Blueprint for His Financial Goals

Article excerpt

Growing up on Staten Island, New York, Bradley Simmons, 40, nurtured an interest, in becoming an English teacher. But when his brother, a successful real estate entrepreneur in Scarsdale, New York told him about the financial rewards of a career in real estate, he felt it couldn't hurt to give it a try.

Simmons obtained his broker's license and, in 1990, opened Bestrow Realty in a brownstone he owns at 138 West 127th Street in Harlem, New York. Between managing a thriving business and caring for his two children, Simmons hosts seminars to educate the African American community about the value of investing in real estate. "I'm concerned that, in New York City, African Americans are not taking advantage of the low interest rates," he says.

Although he reaped the benefits of investing in property, Simmons soon became uncomfortable having an investment portfolio s comprised solely of real estate holdings. "I wanted to diversify my investments and move out of just real estate," he says. He'd met AXA financial consultant Angela Bledsoe through a mutual friend two years ago and turned to her for help.

At the time, Simmons had $300,000 in permanent life insurance and his primary goals were to ensure that his children, ages 10 and 6, lived comfortably and had enough money to attend good colleges if something happened to him, and protect his properties. His properties are valued at more than $2 million and his mortgage balance on all of them is more than $750,000. Bledsoe was concerned that Simmons "didn't have sufficient insurance coverage to achieve his goals. I didn't want him to fall victim, like so many other African Americans do, and lose his property when he passed away due to poor estate planning."

Bledsoe's first move was to increase Simmons' insurance to a $1 million variable life policy. This would "help him pay off his mortgages and help maintain his children's lifestyle in the event of his untimely death," she says. …

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