Helping You Make Empowered Lifestyle Choices
by Melissa LaScaleia
Local businessman Chuck Fitzpatrick, with his small, independently owned, family-run business, the Benefitz Group, offers an empowering and humanistic approach to helping people with their financial and life-planning needs— all the more appealing for being right in our neighborhood, on Farrow Parkway.
Chuck started working in the insurance industry with his father in 1984, and shortly thereafter started his own company. In 1999, he moved to Myrtle Beach with his wife and family.
“I was good at doing research and navigating the complexities of insurance, so people started asking me for help with their other life-planning concerns,” Chuck says.
He began exploring the world of investments and financial planning, including trusts, wills, fixed annuities, and estate planning. As his clients’ needs expanded, so did Chuck’s knowledge base. Over time, his clients asked if he could offer them auto and home insurance as well.
Chuck created several separate companies to address all of his clients’ needs. He began Benefit Insurance Services and Benefit Financial Services with his wife and son in 2000. It’s remained a small family business ever since, today under the umbrella of the Benefitz Group.
“And last but not least,” Chuck says, “people asked if I could help them purchase a home with a mortgage. And since my son was also interested in this field, I worked with him to start a mortgage branch with US Mortgage Corporation.”
“My clients have led me all the way through this journey of life,” he continues with a laugh. “And today, the Benefitz Group is the name we use as an orientation for all the companies I own and all the services I provide.
“It’s a lot of work to cover so many fields, and very hard to do. But it’s worth it because I know I’m empowering people to do what’s best for them and get what they need.”
In serving his clients, Chuck employs a technique he calls the temperature gauge.
“I tell people their options and ask them to rank each option on a scale of 1-10 indicating their comfort level with that choice: in other words, their ability to sleep well at night if they make that choice,” Chuck says. “With this tool, you get to someone’s heart— you get to what they can deal with and not be upset.
“The last thing you want is your money to control you. You’re supposed to be controlling it, and what it does and doesn’t do; if you step back and say, ‘I’ll let someone else handle it,’ at least some of the time you’re not going to have a restful night’s sleep.
“Who wants to be in a position of going to bed at night wondering, ‘Am I going to have enough money to pay my bills ten years from now?’ That’s not where people need to be in their lives. That’s not what I do.
“I like to remind people that I’m not smarter than them, but what I will do is work very hard to get things right for the way they want things done.
“Investments and insurance are intangibles; people can’t put their hands around them. And because it’s also a risk intolerant thing, it’s important to help people realize if they need this, or that, or none. Without them really getting the right questions—and it takes some years to really get the right questions—they aren’t being served as well as they could be. This is where my years of experience pay off.”
Last year, Chuck moved his offices to the Market Common.
“It’s a great community here, with beautiful scenery and wonderful activities,” he says. “I did a meet-and-greet in one of the neighborhoods; there were about seventeen couples, and after the presentation, all of them wanted to do business with us. All I did was show them the software I use, which shows all the companies and more that I represent.
“When you pick a plan, it’s the same with every company. Then I showed them how I shopped for them and showed them the rates, comparing one company to the next. And I do it every year, or every six months when their auto and home policy renews, to look for any adjustment.
“Not everyone agrees with my commitment to divulge to clients the best rate, but I just try to treat people the way I want to be treated. Plus, it just makes sense.
“Let’s say I get 10% commission on a sale, and I can save you $400 by showing you a cheaper plan. That’s a difference of $40. You think I’m going to lose you for 40 bucks? It cost me almost that much money to find you. Tons of people get referred to us because we save them that $400. And that’s why people come to us. The way I look at it, it’s not the commission that’s important, it’s you, the person.
“I love working for myself and being independent of a large firm,” Chuck concludes. “It allows me to be able to serve my clients better because I have more to offer than one company’s approach. Every company out there that I’ve worked for is a tool I can put in a toolbox. When I elected to work for some top financial services, I did it to get knowledge of the best tools. And now, in my company and life, I can use the best tools from my box to serve others instead of only offering the tools someone else gives me. As an independent agent, I can sell anyone’s policies— I’m not captive working for one company.
“I could have made a lot more money if I had stuck with one place. But I’m not all about the money. And yes,” he says with a chuckle, “I like the independence, and being able to control my life.”
The Benefitz Group
1350 Farrow Parkway, Suite 202B, Myrtle Beach SC 29577
Appointments preferred, but walk-ins welcome with a wait, M-F 9-5
(Charles H. Fitzpatrick is a registered representative of INVEST Financial Corporation, member FINRA/SIPC. INVEST and its affiliated insurance agencies offers securities, advisory services, and certain insurance products, and are not affiliated with Benefit Financial Services, LLC., Benefit Insurance Services, or US Mortgage Corporation.)