We are honored to have served our individuals, business, and families for decades. We look forward to decades more of service. Learn about each of our team members below.
Pictured Above: Downtown Galena, IL
Founded in 1995, Benchmark Capital Group was born out of a desire to build a business that provides true, independent, fiduciary advice to clients.
When you team with Benchmark Capital Group, you're not simply hiring a financial consultant. You're becoming a part of our financial "family." Focused on developing a personal relationship and earning your trust, we are here to listen and learn.
Our mission is to earn the trust and respect of each client by providing unmatched personal service and focused, comprehensive financial advisement for all aspects of that client's personal and professional life.
Our business has grown over the years due to attention to detail, intensive research and our commitment to providing excellent customer service. We have found that these characteristics have allowed us to grow organically through client referrals.
As both CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERS (CFP®) and as a Fee-only Registered Investment Advisor, we are legally obligated to put your needs before our own at all times. We act as an independent, objective voice to your financial needs under all circumstances.
Our Registered Investment Advisory firm is fee-only. Which means that we cannot accept commissions from any products discussed and purchased. How we operate is simple: you pay us directly and clearly to work on your behalf. We similarly do not accept any commissions, kick-backs or fees from any third-party expert we may refer you to. Third parties earn our referrals simply by doing great work on your behalf.
We are an entirely employee-owned business. As such, we believe we are best positioned to put people before profits. We have no corporate relationship with the products we recommend, financially or otherwise, and thus are focused solely on recommending what is best for you. In part, you pay us to continuously hunt for better solutions for you.
We believe that when done right, the personal finance industry is a profession first and foremost. Given this, we are committed to continuous investment in additional higher education, credentialing, conferences and trade organizations that grow our skills and knowledge in service of you. You are deserving of this.
We have no sales goals or production goals – we have only ‘people goals’ based on helping you reach your desired outcomes. This will never change.
As comprehensive financial planners, we take great pride in helping a wide range of folks that have a wide range of financial needs. That said, over time, we’ve committed more resources to deepening our offering for subsets of clients that encounter similar, challenging obstacles. Each financial plan is totally customized, but our expertise in the commonalities that they share allows for greater value delivered.
Our preferred client cares about doing better for themselves, enjoys collaboration, and is willing to delegate to our team when appropriate.
Below you’ll find a few subsets of clients that we work deeply with, an overview of what we often see, and the ways we tackle the challenges that arrive.
For young families and working professionals, there are seemingly endless financial decisions accompanying each new plot twist life has planned for you. In many cases, our clients are having children, changing jobs, getting promotions and bonuses, attempting to budget, saving for college and/or paying down their own student loans, and starting to accumulate enough money that they are looking for a second opinion on how it all ties together.
For these clients, we first get organized, addressing the following common needs:
Once organized, we develop a roadmap to address any gaps we uncover. Life comes at you fast for this group.... so we then meet regularly to address projects (big and small), and to adjust the plan as goals inevitably shift over time.
You will have clarity and confidence with personalized education and support going forward.
Retirement is often the #1 goal of each client engagement (although, financing college is giving it a run for its money!). The last 10-15 years of planning before you enter retirement offer a number of opportunities to “make” or “break” your ideal retirement. We will sit down with you and assess each aspect of where you stand, helping you answer the following common question:
If you’re wrestling with these questions, you are not alone and you are taking the first important steps toward building a good plan.
For those already in retirement, we delight in the process of organizing and optimizing what you have. We’ll often meet with folks who have managed their finances on their own for most of their careers, but want a team of professionals overseeing this phase of their finances. You’ve enjoyed accumulating and growing your accounts, but de-cumulation in a wholly new process that requires different, complex thinking. You’d also like to delegate this part of your life and focus on enjoying your time. We help these clients with the following important areas:
We believe deeply in putting our clients at the center of everything we do. We lead by listening and trying to carefully understand what your needs are, large or small. Sometimes this means gathering the information needed to solve a single pressing item. Other times this means “getting the house in order,” requiring a more comprehensive, coordinated look at several aspects of your financial life.
Our process generally takes shape in the following steps:
|Step 1 -Listening & Goal Building
|Step 2 - Number Crunching
|Step 3 - Plotting our Path Forward
|Step 4 - Execute & Adapt
|We first and foremost work hard to understand your personal and financial circumstances.
We then kickstart a dialogue into your near-term and long-term goals.
|Collecting the essential information (statements, reports, receipts) in a format comfortable for you.
Once the essentials are collected, we organize it and analyze it.
|Sit down to discuss how your goals and dreams align with what we learned from our number crunching session.
From here, we plot our path forward.
|Get things done! We work as a team to get the plan implemented.
Goals ALWAYS change. We aren't striving for perfection, because it doesn't exist. When they change, we move the levers and adapt the path forward with you.
|Between your 401k, IRAs, stocks, and mix of random investment accounts you've accumulated over time, you need some hands-on guidance on which investment strategies are right for you.
Accomplish your short- and long-term objectives with an investment portfolio tailored according to your unique risk profile. We assess everything you own and build a personalized portfolio around it.
|You're nearing retirement and want to assess your readiness and how savings, income, and Social Security can be optimized long term.
First, we'll help clarify "what retirement looks like for you." Then, between Social Security, pension, 401ks, savings, and more, we'll give you a clear picture of your path forward.
|You’re a small business owner and want to smartly navigate the complexity of your personal taxes as well as your business taxes.
|Tax Planning & Preparation
Feel confident once filing season comes around with a strategic tax planning approach that keeps your numbers in order so no detail falls through the cracks.
|Am I ready for a Will or a Trust?
Are my homeowners and auto policies sufficient?
Does my estate plan match the legacy I want to leave?
Estate planning and risk management are an essential conversation for people of all ages and walks of life. We act as a single, central, objective voice in a financial topic that often feels disparate and overwhelming.
We help you get clear on your wishes and make sure each piece matches that.
|You want to support the causes that matter most to you in a thoughtful and optimal way, but "don't know what you don't know" when it comes to solutions at your disposal.
Giving is an important part of many near-term and long-term plans. Develop with our help a tax-optimized and flexible approach to giving to the organizations you are passionate about.
|The thought of a budget is nauseating, you just want to make sure you're not being unwise with your spending.
Give your money a “job” and pay yourself first. Make it easier to save via an autopilot plan to build savings and pay down debts. We work with you to make this more simple and less painful.
|Saving for college is daunting and I'm not sure how I should prioritize it relative to everything else going on in my life.
We help parents and grandparents plan the optimal way to support their children and grandchildren’s education – from selecting the best 529 plan, to selecting the investment mix, to designing contribution amounts to hit their goals.
|You're not sure of the best repayment strategy for my student loans - federal repayment vs. private refinancing vs. public service loan forgiveness, how much and how soon! Help!
|Student Loan Review
We have detailed student loan process to navigate the (unfortunate) number of twists and turns in selecting the best repayment path. This is one of the largest sources of debt in our country and quite common for our work-aged clients.
We'll gladly evaluate it in the context of your broader plan.
|You're a business owner who is unhappy with the service and selections of your current 401k provider. You want this to be a valued portion of your employees benefits, but don't see the engagement you'd like.
|Company 401k Plans
Benchmark Capital partners with TPAs and Recordkeepers to offer an integrated service, education, and an investment menu for you and your employees.
With an approach built on decades of experience, we invest your hard-earned money in a thoughtful, diversified manner. On a daily basis, we look for both opportunities and challenges in the markets, evaluating their potential impact on your portfolio. We believe earnestly that predicting the future in the market successfully and repeatedly over time is a recipe for underperformance. With that in mind, we strive to deliver the best possible results given your personal risk tolerance, time horizon, and tax situation. We manage to what we know we can control, and work tireless to do so as best as possible.
Separately, we consider all aspects of your financial plan when making trades in your accounts. Buying and selling can create taxable events - so we try to capture losses when you need to offset gains, and we try to avoid taxable gains if it isn't optimal for your situation. We've invested in best-in-class trading technology to help us monitor for these opportunities at all times.
This is an important measure of how well all of your assets operate in tandem with one another. If you own real estate, a small business, restricted stock, collectables, and on, often an investment portfolio assembled by an advisor does not consider these outside financial risks. To the extent that we can, we consider all aspects of your financial life, and build the best diversification given this.
For small business owners, offering a compelling benefits package is as important now as it’s ever been. A retirement plan is an important consideration in your ability to recruit and retain talent. That said, it is difficult to navigate which plan type to choose, the complicated rules of engagement, and how to limit your liability.
We take a fiduciary, consultative mindset into the conversations and start by educating you with your choices. If a 401k plan is the appropriate path to choose, we have built an offering to deliver investments and education to you and your employees.
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SEC Form CRS About Benchmark Capital Group Found HERE
Benchmark’s current SEC disclosures can be found HERE
FINRA Broker check HERE
Tax Resources at IRS.GOV HERE
Social Security Administration Resources HERE
We would love to hear from you. Please fill out the brief information below and we'll respond shortly to help. Or give us a ring now at #815-777-0600 and Linda will be happy to set up a no-obligation 30 minute call with one of our advisors.
We look forward to joining you on your journey.