Christopher Marrone, CFP®
“Have a good time. Life is too short to get bogged down and be discouraged. You have to keep moving. You have to keep going. Put one foot in front of the other, smile, and just keep on rolling.”
– Kobe Bryant
My first 18 years of life were spent growing up in sunny Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. As a kid, you would probably find me outside playing any sport, whether it was basketball, baseball, or soccer, or my most successful sport by far, which was tennis. If I wasn’t doing that, I was probably at the beach or adventuring and exploring with my friends. As I got into my mid-teens, the path to possibly playing professionally as a tennis player was becoming more of a reality by the time I was 14 years old. But still, being as young as I was at the time, all I wanted was to have a “normal” life with my family and friends. Thus, through my high school years, I drastically cut playing tennis and opted for the traditional high school and college route. As far as my family, we are basically half Italian and half Argentinian, so we certainly know how to make a good meal! I also have a twin sister (who’s way prettier than me) as well as two older sisters!
I attended Florida State University in Tallahassee, Florida, and received my Bachelor of Science in Actuarial Science with a minor in Business. Being there for our College Football National Championship win in 2013 was a memory I will never forget, and all I have to say is GO NOLES!
After graduating, I also attended my alma mater for my Certificate in Financial Planning and received my Certified Financial Planner (CFP) credentials in 2021.
I started my professional career by moving to New York City in the summer of 2017. I started with one of the big insurance companies, New York Life, and worked right in Grand Central in Midtown Manhattan. After spending four years there, I decided to open up my own wealth management firm in 2021 to focus on integrated financial planning and investment management. Shortly thereafter, I joined the amazing team at Forefront and have been here ever since, helping impact clients and generations to come!
My Personal Story
My passion for helping others with financial planning certainly was never on my “career” map throughout my younger years and even though most of my college years. I honestly didn’t even quite understand what “financial planning” was back then, and it certainly took a long time of ups and downs of not knowing what to do for a career to ultimately come to “my calling in life.” I tell this story not just because of how I came about my passion for what I do now but I tell it because it is OK if you don’t know what you want to do at first. It will come to you with time, maturity, and gratitude.
I completely struggled in college to know “what I wanted to do” in life. I convinced myself multiple times to pursue different majors, such as exercise science and even meteorology. I ultimately picked Actuarial Science because I was like, “well, I’m super good at math, and it seems like a very solid, good-paying career.” Well, reality started to sink in towards the end of my last semester at the end of my longer-than-most college career: There was no way I wanted to be an Actuary. I truly had no idea what to do and had absolutely no direction, not to mention the motivation to complete my Bachelor’s! Then, for whatever reason, I started to deeply and thoroughly think about my father. My dad passed away when I was very young age, 8 years old. And at that age, I didn’t truly know what was going on and had really suppressed thinking about what had happened and what memories we had. It was just something I never really thought through after the fact. When I truly started to think about him and our family’s past and present more, I actually started to feel super grateful for what position I was in (even though it seemed pretty awful at the time). This is why I was grateful:
When my dad passed, left behind was my mother, myself, and my three sisters. My dad was the sole income-earner of the family, owning his own optometry private practice as an eye doctor, while my mother took care of me and my three sisters at home in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. As you can imagine, a tragedy like that can put families (like mine) on a completely different trajectory going forward. But here’s what I realized at this much later age: My dad actually set us up for success way before he got diagnosed with cancer. He spent his entire life setting us up for success.
My twin sister and I both went to great Universities and didn’t have to pay a dime for five years of college expenses and even had a weekly allowance for groceries, entertainment, etc. Our college fund was essentially funded at an early age from selling my dad’s real estate portfolio in Durham, NY and Greenacres, FL. My mother didn’t have a mortgage to pay in Florida because my dad paid the 30-year loan off in 7 years, which was before he passed. Now my mom still lives in that house to this day! Up until just recently, my mother didn’t contribute a penny to any retirement plan for herself, but my dad had various investments and IRAs set up which now has accumulated enough where she can retire comfortably at the age of 60 if she wanted to.
What I didn’t realize is that my dad essentially had done his own “financial planning.” He set us up for success behind the scenes and before anything had happened to him, which is still paying dividends to this day and beyond. This is the realization and gratitude for what I encountered when I was “stuck” in my life. There is no way I would be here today (or my family) if it wasn’t for his strategic planning. From that realization point, I immediately knew what I wanted to do and it just felt “right.” I wanted to be a financial advisor to help others plan for whatever life throws at them and to ensure financial success for families and their generations to come. That was my “calling in life” moment. From that point on, I finally graduated from college with a degree in Actuarial Science and immediately sold everything in Tallahassee that I owned and moved up to New York City to pursue my dreams of being a financial advisor. The rest is history, and I’m lucky enough to be where I am today, thanks to him!!
Learn More About Me
What’s the most likely place people could find you on a Friday night?
I would most likely be having a date night with my girlfriend at a local restaurant in Westchester, New York, or checking out a new restaurant or speakeasy bar down in the city!
Which would you pick: Living on the beach or living near the mountains?
Living on the beach because I grew up in South Florida, where us Floridians are all about being in or near water! I went to the beach as much as possible when I was young and having a beach house somewhere is certainly a goal of mine. Don’t get me wrong, I love the mountains, too, but warmth and water. and sunshine is the way to go for me!
If you had an extra hour to yourself in the morning, how would you spend it?
Having an extra hour of my workouts! It’d be great to half a “second” hour playing basketball or tennis. I’m not a big fan of running on a treadmill for cardio, so playing one of those sports for cardio with some friendly competition is way more fun!
Educate myself on the basics of financial planning, such as credit card usage, budgeting, and basic investing. My father passed away when I was young, and he handled all of the “financial stuff” in our family, so I never really had an education around this, and it definitely showed in my college days! I had to learn everything by the “live and learn” approach.
The people that we help every day – our family of clients. My personal story drives me to keep going to impact every person that becomes a client in our family. “I couldn’t have done this without you” is a line that I often hear from working with clients after they have a life or successful event such as opening a business or buying a new home – and that one line means everything to me.
Work out, play tennis or basketball, go to brunch, Netflix, and wine with my girlfriend, and I’m always listening to music!