New York Life’s Annie Castro celebrates three decades of empowering her clients in the insurance financial services industry.
By: Stephanie Kusy
Photos by: Mark Joseph/Darklab Photography
Annie Castro leans back in her office chair and allows the moment to set it: five years in her own New York Life office off of South Staples near King High School, 30 years registered in the insurance financial services industry. She has come a long way since her days working at H-E-B in the accounting department. As she celebrates these milestones, she feels her faith has played a huge part in her successes. “Always take care of the client first, and the Lord will always take care of me,” Castro said.
Her journey traces back to humble beginnings. She grew up with eight siblings in Corpus Christi. After graduating from Carroll High School, like her siblings, she began working fulltime. No one in her family had ever gone to college. Determined to get a higher education, she enrolled in Del Mar. Back then, she said all earnings went to straight to support the family, but she managed to save enough on the side to pay for tuition and eventually graduate from Texas A&M Corpus Christi.
“I vowed I would not be in the same scenario as my parents,” Castro said. “The only way to break the cycle is through education. If anyone wants to improve upon themselves, the only way to do that is through education.”
Her love for helping others and strong analytical skills would eventually help her become one of the top insurance agents in the country. She works with a variety of clients from individuals to small businesses to help them achieve their long-term financial objectives.
“Maybe your goal is to fund your children’s college education, protect your family during your working years or guarantee your own retirement security,” Castro said. “These things won’t happen by accident. That is why it is important to determine what you’d like to achieve financially and then map out a strategy that will help you meet those goals.”
The good news is that it is never too late to start. She said one myth is that people think they have enough insurance when they really don’t. Life insurance is not meant to make families rich, but rather keep them at the same standard of living in an unfortunate event where a loved one dies. “If you gave someone a million dollars today, it’s a lot of money,” Castro said. “But if you give someone a million dollars and it’s your last paycheck, it’s not a lot.”
She typically sits down with clients to do a needs analysis to determine how much they should save. “A rule of thumb for figuring out adequate life insurance is either calculated by a formula for human capital replacement, which is the annual income divided by .05, or needs analysis.”
Castro has helped hundreds of clients across the Coastal Bend, earning her a permanent seat at the “Million Dollar Round Table” – the highest achievement an insurance agent can receive. Less than 3 percent of agents qualify.
The road to success was never easy for her, though. Not many women were insurance agents back then, and even fewer earned a stable living off it. “I questioned whether or not I was in the right business,” she said, referring to her first few years as an agent. “I couldn’t take someone on a hunting trip to make a deal. It was all on a professional basis. I had to earn my keep in many ways. Everything has been out of hard work, good work and no shortcuts. I don’t believe in any free lunches in life.”
Castro shows no signs of slowing down with her business, and she believes in the “work hard, play hard” mentality. Her family owns a ranch in San Diego, where she enjoys spending her free time singing karaoke with friends, off-roading on ATVs and firing up the grill. She believes her barbecue tastes better at the ranch where she has perfected her mouth-watering baby back ribs. Married now for 35 years with children and grandchildren, Castro feels honored to have become the backbone of her family.
She has served on many professional boards, as well as organizations that encourage women professionally and help them meet likeminded individuals through groups such as the Hispanic Women’s Network. “They empower women and help each other out,” she said. “We recognize that there’s always room at the top, and the only way you get there is to bring someone with you.”
Lastly, she never forgets her faith and finds a seat at St. Phillip’s Catholic Church on Sundays. “Very early on in my career, I realized I can’t do anything without God,” Castro said. “I know that when I even think I can do things on my own, I get humbled.”
When it comes to preparing for the future, it’s important to work with someone who has the foresight and proven experience to help you navigate life’s changes successfully. As a New York Life insurance agent, Castro will be right there by your side to find the right solutions to make the most of today, tomorrow and the years to come.
Annie Castro, CLU, LUTCF, is a registered representative of New York Life. She is located at 4466 S. Staples. For more information, call her at 361-986-1321 or visit her online at www.anniejcastro.com.