Chris Garrido, a Tampa native, is a proud graduate of the University of Florida and former president of the Tampa Gator Club. Chris believes in servant leadership and remains heavily involved with several boards and non-profits in his community. He is passionate about teaching healthy financial habits to his clients so they can achieve financial balance and freedom. As a husband and father of two boys, free time is limited, but Chris enjoys coaching youth sports, cheering for the Gators and Bucs, fishing and backyard BBQ.
My first love was sports broadcasting, but budget cuts and layoffs are the nature of that industry. After working at 3 different networks in 8 years, I realized how difficult it would be to build a stable television career for me and my growing family. Ultimately, I decided to become a Financial Professional, though admittedly I assumed the job would be incredibly boring. I quickly realized that this job is not about the numbers, it’s about building relationships, problem solving and earning people’s trust. In other careers, you are required to move where the job is and have no control over where you live. You are also always having to compete for the next promotion or pay raise. In this career I am the one who gets to dictate my success, I am in control of my practice. I no longer worry about job security and career stability. This career will be around for however long I am willing to work.
At my old firm we primarily focused on investments for people in their 60’s and 70’s. I was in my late 30’s and didn’t know many people in that older demographic. I found it very difficult to find new clients. I tried everything, including raffling off crock pots at senior expos. I felt like I was a salesman, not a financial professional. I soon asked myself, “What am I doing?” I was not building my own long-term practice. I was just chasing clients and transactions.
When I joined Westshore Financial, I was in my early 40s with a wife and two young kids. I was surrounded by other families just like mine that needed sound financial advice, but I couldn’t help them at my old firm. I was at a loss. I interviewed with many firms and when I found Westshore, I finally found a firm where I had the ability to continue helping retirees, but also had a philosophy and process that made sense for younger, professional families. I believe in our philosophy at Westshore. And when your belief and philosophy are aligned, your business and income will flourish.
The culture - friendships and relationships. We all share the same beliefs. We all put service above ourselves. There are numerous advisors I feel like I am always able to call on in the office. I know they would be there to offer advice and give guidance when I need it. I have been able to not only gain colleagues, but also lifelong friendships as well. I would also say mentorship. In a firm our size with shared beliefs, there are always other professionals that are better than you in different aspects of the industry. I can point to three or four advisors that I could go to in a time of need. Access to mentors like Trip Higginbotham is invaluable. He is always willing to help you grow, gives you the knowledge needed to master new areas of our business, and ultimately better serve your clients while expanding your practice.
Get in a good firm early. If I would have started with Westshore ten years ago I would more than likely be three times as successful as I am now. When compared to other professionals who have been at Westshore longer, my situation is night and day because I spent time at that other firm before coming here. I missed out on a lot of opportunity and time not starting at Westshore. It is critical to your success that you take your time to look for key characteristics in a firm that you’re philosophically aligned with. Look for mentorship within the organization. It’s critical to know that others are there to support you along your journey as a Financial Advisor.
In the next 5-10 years I see myself still working with Westshore Financial, taking on new families and helping them achieve financial success. I will also have a team of people working with me to achieve our goals and reach a larger audience. I feel that I am a testament to the opportunities available at this firm. My practice continues to flourish year over year, even through this COVID-19 pandemic. I have no doubt that I will retire with this company. It’s not a question of if, but when.