“My goal when I meet with new clients is to take the cloud of worry and doubt that they are carrying around about their future and have them leave my office walking a little taller and feeling good about what life has in store for them.”
In a nutshell, that is what Chris Bettencourt is all about.
On most weekdays, if he is not in his office, Chris can be found sharing a laugh with the barista at Starbucks, talking Nationals baseball with the staff of California Tortilla, or giving directions to visitors who cannot find the latest Bethesda lunch hot spot.
“People have called me the mayor of Norfolk Avenue,” Chris told me as we shared salads at Olazzo restaurant (another place where everyone knows his name). “I take it as a compliment; I love being a part of the fabric of this neighborhood.”
In his day job, Chris is a skilled and trusted financial advisor who has successfully built what he calls a “client community” in Bethesda and the greater Washington metropolitan area. His is a story of accomplishment through relationship-building.
Like many entrepreneurs, the evolution of his business is an interesting origin story.
Chris formed an Internet startup company that focused on the mortgage industry in late 1998. Soon after that, he and his wife Jodi moved to Bethesda from their apartment in Northwest DC.
“The minute we were pregnant with our first daughter we moved to Bethesda. We knew it would be the best place to raise a family,” Chris said.
As his knowledge of the mortgage industry grew and the dot.com boom started to wane, Chris moved his entire business into origination, becoming a loan officer in 2002. He opened an office in downtown Bethesda on Auburn Avenue.
Looking for a way to work with clients on a more long-term basis, Chris started the process of becoming a financial planner in 2007.
“I went to Georgetown in the Executive MBA program for financial planning, and when I was right in the middle of that, the financial crisis hit,” Chris said reflectively. “As it turned out, it was a good time to transition.”
Originating loans enabled Chris to continue to earn income while he built up his financial planning practice. In 2010, he merged his business with Bancstar mortgage on Rugby Avenue and Woodmont Avenue, a few blocks from his former office.
A short four years later, he started his own investor advisory firm, Bethesda Financial Advisors, LLC.
“What I like about being a financial advisor is that I can help people,” Chris said. “I can take all the knowledge I’ve accumulated through education, business and life experience and use it to help others reach their goals.”
One of his business goals was to have a client list of people he liked enough to invite to a barbecue, and they would all come, he said.
“When I had my last birthday party, I did just that,” Chris said with a smile. “And, almost all of them came.
“I cannot tell you how fulfilling it is to work with people who you look forward to seeing and helping in any way that I can.”
Chris says his goal is to have 50 client families so that he can focus all his time on his clients, and not on prospecting and growing the business. He is not too far away from that number now.
“It’s important that my clients know that I care,” Chris concluded. “When they do, and we reach their goals together, I know that I have done my job.”
To learn more about Chris Bettencourt and Bethesda Financial Advisors: Click Here