Featured in What’s Happening Newspapers July, 2014.
Rebecca Bloomfield is a partner at Jerry S. Pearlstein Insurance, Ltd. in more ways than one, as she is married to Jerry. The two head a unique agency of trusted advisors, helping individuals and families who control their personal financial planning and purchase their own health, life, long-term care and disability insurance. PHOTO BY JONATHAN ROOB
WH! What was your very first job?
RB: Being a clown! I was still afraid of the dark when other girls my age started babysitting. So I dressed up as a clown and played games at little kids’ parties in the daytime. I earned more in one hour than the babysitters did in along, scary evening.
WH! Name one person you’d consider a hero or role model and explain why.
RB: If you have a baby photo with the name Van Gogh Studio in the corner, that’s the work of my hero – my dad Hank Bloomfield. His mom died when he was 6 and he and his brother were shuttled around a lot. He never told me of his childhood hardships. I only knew his unfailing optimism that created a loving home and a business employing hundreds and serving millions.talked to were in the same boat. We realized we had two essentials for starting a business: expertise and an underserved market.
WH! What aspect(s) of your business are you most proud of?
RB: We felt it our duty to keep our clients and our community educated about the Affordable Care Act. We’ve used USPS, email, Linkedln, Chambers of Commerce and speaking engagements to be the most credible source of the latest infomiation, despite continual rule changes. We’re proud to have helped hundreds of old and new clients take advantage of the best parts of the ACA.
WH! What exciting things are on the horizon for your business, and where will it be in five, 15 and 30 years?
RB: I’m excited about being certified as a Long-Term Care Specialist. Taking care of ourselves as we age is the biggest challenge facing Americans. Age 35 or 65, people need to plan for a long and happy life. Over the next five, 10, 30 years our clients will have the information and the funds to make the choices they want to make.
WH! How long did it take to get your business model right? What were the challenges?
RB: In today’s world, I don’t think you can get your business model “right” and sit there very long. Our market – individuals and families who provide their own health, life, long-term care and disability insurance hasn’t changed. But health care and insurance practices, laws, products, providers, income potential, even how to reach clients have. We’ve gone from a two-person startup to four offices with dozens of agents back to a smaller, more independent operation. Part of the fun of being an entrepreneur is being able to make these changes.
WH! Tell us about a work experience from which you learned a valuable lesson.
RB: As a creative person, I’ve moved in and out of the security/insecurity of corporate employment and entrepreneurship. The most valuable lesson from a trampoline career is how to be able to jump to the next opportunity. 1. Be resilient. You did it before; you can do it again. 2. Maintain a source of cash with which to fund new directions. 3. Keep wonderful, supportive relationships.
WH! What do you do to be inspired?
RB: Set an intention to be inspired every day. In every meeting, at every networking event, at family gatherings and in your spiritual or religious practice – be open to be inspired. Having this intention will bring forward the perfect piece of wisdom, humor or information you need to move you forward.
WH! What’s your best advice for someone just starting a business in the local area?
RB: Find out what you don’t know you don’t know. Take the time to use your local library, community college, Chamber of Commerce or SCORE volunteers to point you to resources and even mentors for the information successful local business owners need and are using.
WH! How did you get your start in business?
RB: We left corporate life, where our health, life and long-term care insurance were provided. We quickly learned we didn’t know what any of that really cost, how the insurance worked or who actually owned the policies. Because we couldn’t find an insurance agent who would take care of us the way Rhoda in Benefits used to, we did extensive research ourselves. The entrepreneurs and sole practitioners we
WH! What’s your business’ motto or mission statement?
RB: The Pearlstein Principle of Insurance: Never Run Out of Money. Our interests are the same as our clients’: live a life with the best choices, never waste resources and leave a wonderful legacy.
WH! What’s the best thing America could do to ensure the success of her businesses?
RB: Government has to understand the entrepreneur. Small business is not under 100 employees, it is under 10 employees. While we may have the smarts and the tools to compete with the big guys to deliver goods and services, we don’t have the staff or cash to comply with required reports and filing fees. And business tax advantages must extend to us. EG: The Affordable Care Act gave “small business owners” a payroll tax credit for providing health insurance. But the credit didn’t apply to family members. Mom and Pop and family businesses were not helped. Our North Shore legislators have a history of being “surprised” at how legislation ignores or penalizes us.
WH! What’s something your company does for the community that we might not know about, but should?
RB: The latest in our series of free programs for community organizations is “Living Long. Living Well.” We discuss what you need to know about how health insurance, life insurance, long-term care insurance, Medicare, Medicaid and Veterans’ programs work so you can benefit from the changes in health care and the law. The feedback we get from groups 35-65 years old is that the information is easy to understand and really useful.
900 Skokie Blvd, Suite 105, Northbrook;
84 7-3 62-8888, jpearlsteinltd. com.