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“It is insane to risk losing what you already have in order to make what you don’t need.” -Warren Buffet
Anthony Pellegrino is the principal, owner, and driving force behind Goldstone Financial Group. Pellegrino founded the firm in 2000; under his guidance, it grew into one of Chicago’s leading providers of retirement and investment planning advice. To date, he has personally guided over 1,500 clients onto a path towards a financially secure retirement — and his trusted staff of fiduciaries have aided thousands more. Anthony Pellegrino’s work hasn’t been limited to Goldstone, either; his radio program and, later, television show, “Securing Your Financial Future” provided useful advice on retirement-adjacent subjects such as cash management, income planning, and capital preservation to millions of viewers across the Midwest. During its time on the air, Nielsen audio ranked Pellegrino’s radio show as one of the most listened-to financial and economic broadcasts in Chicago area.
Tell us about Goldstone Financial Group. How did you come up with the idea for the company?
ANTHONY PELLEGRINO: It’s interesting — I wouldn’t necessarily say that we came up with the idea for Goldstone, so much as my business partner Michael Pellegrino and I saw a gap in the financial market that we knew we could fill. Before we founded the firm in 2000, the retirement planning sector was dominated by advisors who could only provide cookie-cutter solutions. The process was more or less the same for everyone; new clients would visit an advisor, fill out a standard questionnaire, and then choose between a handful of generic investment options. There was little to no tailoring to individuals’ long-term financial goals or even reassurance that the choice an aspiring investor made was truly their best option.
Michael and I knew that we could do better. We established Goldstone Financial Group as a holistic, client-centered firm that would be staffed by fiduciaries rather than uncertified “advisors.” Our business had four pillars: First, we would help our clients establish a plan that would allow them to preserve their income through their sunset years. Second, any portfolio we curate would be tailored to the client’s needs and goals. Third, we would ensure that all of the investment options we offered were realistic. Fourth, we would give our clients the support and guidance they needed to leave a legacy. Our model requires more work than a standardized one — but I believe that it provides the reassurance and care that people need to feel comfortable when they plan for retirement.
Did the firm ever experience growing pains as it expanded?
ANTHONY PELLEGRINO: Every business has growing pains as it scales, and we were no exception. We made the mistake of casting a broader net than we should have to take in clients and found ourselves with a client base that wasn’t a fit for our services. We struggled to service them for a while, but no one was happy. Our clients were dissatisfied because we weren’t meeting their needs; our fiduciaries were frustrated because their hours of hard work were going unrecognized in the face of that dissatisfaction. In the end, we let go of the clients that weren’t a fit for our business. It was awkward, but the decision allowed us to move forward and curate a client base that we could both serve effectively and grow sustainably.
Is there anything in particular that you would say contributed to Goldstone’s growth?
ANTHONY PELLEGRINO: When Michael and I built Goldstone Financial Group, we held to an 80%-20% policy — if we weighed the positives and negatives of a given course of action and determined that it was 80% positive, we would move forward. I credit a lot of our success to that philosophy. It’s okay to take risks; it’s even okay to fail, so long as you move forward. Waiting for a sure bet is the only choice that is 100% certain to tank your business.
If a person only does one thing when preparing for retirement, what should it be?
ANTHONY PELLEGRINO: Start planning sooner rather than later. If you begin compiling retirement assets early on in your career, you’ll have more options to choose from and more time to grow your investments. Time truly is money – don’t let it pass you by!
What do you think you do better than most people? How are you able to do it?
ANTHONY PELLEGRINO: I think I can stay positive better than most. We live in hostile times; everywhere you look, you see more neighbors turning on neighbors and friends leaving years of goodwill behind. Yet, despite all of the negativity, I genuinely believe that we will eventually come together and overcome the adversity we face together. It’s who we are as Americans.
What is your favorite book?
ANTHONY PELLEGRINO: Marshall Goldsmith’s “What Got You Here Won’t Get You There” is one of my favorite reads. I appreciate the way that it addresses the issues that arise if you become too comfortable after experiencing success.
Where do you see Goldstone Financial Group and yourself going in a few years? What is your dream?
ANTHONY PELLEGRINO: We’re on the cusp of a retirement planning boom. Every day, thousands of Baby Boomers retire — and in the decade to come, more will follow suit. I believe that Goldstone can help these people move into their sunset years with the confidence and peace of mind that comes from having a financial plan securely in place. My dream is to help these people towards a comfortable retirement — or at least, provide advice that will make the burden of planning a little lighter.
Investment Advisory Services offered through Goldstone Financial Group, LLC a Registered Investment Advisor (GFG). GFG is located at One Lincoln Centre, 18W140 Butterfield Rd., 14th Floor, Oakbrook Terrace, IL 60181, Telephone number – 630-620-9300.