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Meet Clint Gharib of Integrous Investing in Sandy Springs

Today we’d like to introduce you to Clint Gharib.

Clint, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
From the time I was in kindergarten, I planned on working in government security. I was reading the international news section of the paper instead of the comics. In college, I began coursework in that field. But in 1987, my 2nd year at Indiana University our family restaurant (that my Mom and I owned) faced dire financial trouble. I was already saving and paying my way through college. My mom, sister, and I were struggling along hoping for a turn of events, but we knew that unless something drastic changed I would be faced with using my savings for the restaurant instead of college tuition. I had been dabbling in the markets with my own meager savings for a couple of years. And when the stock market crash of 1987 happened on October 19th, I did something brash and gambled my entire savings into the market after the crash. I didn’t tell my friends or family out of fear rather than modesty.

Fortuitously, the markets rapid and strong rebound blessed me with the ability to float the restaurant and pay for school. From then on, I began to see my lifelong dream of government security work morph towards financial planning. Over a 28-year career as a broker and then advisor, my passion for using the markets to achieve dreams has become married to an obsession with balancing investment risk vs. reward. After working for several firms in a multitude of roles, I decided to branch out with two colleagues that I have worked with for over 25 years. We’ve built an advisory practice founded on education and are sought out by financial advisors who turn to us with investing their own money.

I coined “Integrous Investing” after attending an Oxford Center for Entrepreneur’s meeting. They taught us to encapsulate what we do in two words. Our company is now expanding with videos, educational dinners, and seminars. We have been named the in-house financial advisors to Oxford Entrepreneurs and in doing so will rebrand as Oxford Financial “Integrous Investing”. Exciting times to come for us and our trusted clients.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
From a market perspective, I have been through two of the biggest bull markets and two of the biggest bear markets in history. From a business perspective. I have been through betrayal, fraud, and deception by employees and colleagues, I have been survived the entrepreneurial fires of launching a business. But it was the bear market in 2000 that was the hardest moment. Prior to that I actively used margin for some clients, including my family.

I think of my career as pre and post 2000. Pre-2000 I honed the ability to find returns. Post-2000 I became zealous about risk management. There is no teacher like experience. The margin balances held in my family and client accounts exacerbated the sell-off in 2000. Margins can increase return potential both up and down. I recall sitting down with my family to discuss the losses we suffered due to liquidating at lows to cover margin calls. The dread I felt explaining this to them was the lowest point I’ve had in my career. Typical of my family, they were more concerned with what I had learned from this and how we would move forward. I have never forgotten the worry in their eyes, and that drives me, even today. Too many people take more risk than needed with their investments.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Integrous Investing – what should we know?
The four legs upon which our practice is built are integrity, education, compassion and risk management. The main focus of our strategy is on retirement planning, so a majority of clients come to us 10 years prior and 10 years after retirement. Our clients will tell you they learned more from an initial meeting with us than other investment strategies sessions. I coined “Integrous Investing” after attending an Oxford Center for Entrepreneurs meeting.

Integrous Investing is agnostic to products and strategies. We don’t rely on “cookie-cutter” plans – one size fits all.

I named the company Integrous Investing after researching that “Integrous” the adjective for Integrity, hadn’t been used in common language since the 1800’s. A highlight of our practice is that we advise other financial advisors on their own money, as well as investors. So like the word Integrous, we’re a bit of a rarity too. Every day we seek to be the action of integrity for investors.

Clients are thrilled when we solve issues for them that they were previously told: “couldn’t be done”. It’s standard practice that our clients know three things – what they own, why they own it and what the costs are. We take great pride in the fact that many of our first clients, with whom we began our careers, are trusting us with their financial futures to this day.

Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
Honesty & Integrity are important characteristics. Any advisor, strategy or product can be less than perfect. I believe the key to having a successful client relationship is in openly discussing all the negative and positive attributes within an account. When a client understands potential risk & reward possibilities, the costs involved, and set clear long-term goals…then we can all comfortably move forward.

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