A former football player, Harvard economics student and financial executive, Tampa native Gary Garcia is a man who has worn many hats. Today, he lives in South Tampa with his wife, Christina, and their children, Zander and Analise, and works as a financial advisor who helps clients make prudent financial decisions. Garcia loves sports, travel, triathlons and collecting art and wine, but also stays busy serving on the board for Quantum Leap Farm and the planned giving committee for Meal on Wheels. He was also President of the Harvard Club of the West Coast of Florida from 2011 until 2015.
What’s the most rewarding part of being a dad?
On a daily basis, I love coming home and seeing my kids’ faces light up and getting a big hug from everyone. Any stresses or problems of the day become irrelevant.
What is your favorite thing to do with your kids?
I enjoy watching them discover new skills, whether it’s painting, writing, reading, counting, climbing a rock wall, riding a bike or building something. We are constantly introducing them to new activities and ideas to broaden their minds and stimulate their curiosity.
What is the most challenging part of fatherhood?
As a father, you have very watchful eyes and ears on you all the time. Every explanation, every conversation, every action becomes a formative memory. It is how your children learn to act. You have to be on your A game every day and be the role model you want to be. Your kids will repeat what you say and do!
What role model in your life influenced the kind of father you are?
We learn how to be parents from our own parents and those closest to us. I was taught to pay attention to my parents as well as others and to not repeat the mistakes or behaviors I thought were bad. Through college I learned to think for myself and create my own opinion which certainly helps throughout life and the decisions I make. I was also taught to be flexible and that you have to adapt.
As a father, how do you view your responsibilities?
My responsibilities are to help my children become as successful as they can be by providing them the tools necessary to live the most impactful and enjoyable life. Whatever they decide on for a career, it should be meaningful to them and they should work hard to be the best at it. A few traits we focus on are humility, generosity, empathy and having fun.
What advice would you give other fathers?
Two key points of advice for fathers are patience and to be young again. Patience is a necessity as kids have a lot of learning to do and you are their primary role model. Take the time to help them learn and know it takes a lot of practice. Being young again allows you to let yourself go and have fun. Use your imagination, foster your child’s creativity and get out and play.
How do you deal with this and make time for them?
We all have 24 hours each day to spend how we want to spend it. I make the effort and commitment to be there for my family, both by making an income and spending quality time together as a family. I enjoy time with my family and time with my clients. It is a balancing act.
What is something people don’t know about you?
I let my 3-year-old son decide which stocks to buy for himself and his sister. His rationale was priceless; he wanted an internet company that can search for answers to everything and his sister likes a popular princess movie and theme park. Getting my kids involved early is a great way to educate them on the power of investing as well as making decisions based on some rationale.
What makes you happy?
Happiness is an attitude, not a place or event. When I wake up I make the decision to have a great day and enjoy whatever it is I am doing that day. I have always looked for the positives in each situation and person and focus my attention on that. I also surround myself with positive people who challenge me and help me grow into a better person.
Garry Garcia is a Financial Advisor with Morgan Stanley in Tampa. The information contained in this article is not a solicitation to purchase or sell investments. Any information presented is general in nature and not intended to provide individually tailored investment advice. Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, LLC, member SIPC.