Rick Vazza, Professional Story
Hi, I am Rick Vazza, founder and financial planner of Driven Wealth Management. Growing up in Massachusetts, I always thought I would enter the family real estate business. While studying undergraduate courses at Providence College, I witnessed the financial recession hit our family business head on. The recession had more than just a financial impact. I watched as financial issues caused the destruction of family relationships. Witnessing this first hand, I became determined to never allow money to control my life. I realized the family business and real estate would have to wait. I had another calling.
Upon graduating, I immediately pursued the most difficult designation to achieve in the financial industry, the CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) charter. The knowledge gained from earning the charter provided me the expertise to confidently conduct detailed financial analysis, invest, and manage money.
I quickly realized however that investing provides only a piece of financial confidence.
I earned the CFP® (CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™) designation to learn the fundamental skills of comprehensive financial planning. The designation covers topics such as Cash Flow Management, Education Planning, Insurance Planning, Estate Planning, and Retirement Planning.
While studying for both of these designations, I worked for Fidelity Investments. At Fidelity, I spent time doing everything from learning the basics of account processing in the back office, to eventually advising high net worth clients in New York City.
I transitioned to SunTrust in order to be directly involved in investment decisions. At SunTrust, I served as Vice President and Portfolio Manager for high net worth clients in the Washington, DC metro area. In this role, I developed and managed investment strategies on behalf of clients in order to meet their goals.
As someone with a passion for business, I wanted to partner with more business owners and entrepreneurs.
Unfortunately, I noticed a few problems in trying to do so:
- The financial industry traditionally charges on the investments they are managing, but most business owners don’t have sizable investment accounts – their net worth is in the business after all!
- Standard planning topics weren’t interesting or relevant to business owners – diversification and stock market returns don’t seem attractive when your business has a high return on capital.
- Owners are weary of “financial advisors” just trying to sell them life insurance.
I founded Driven Wealth Management to address these problems and partner with business owners and their families by:
- Charging a fee for service (like a consultant), not requiring a fee on assets.
- Helping business owners grow their largest asset (company) using expertise gained through earning the CFA designation by focusing on business metrics and strategy.
- Using the expertise gained through earning the CFP® designation to explain how business decisions impact the personal and family planning of the owners and ensuring they continue to build their net worth without overlooking any blind spots.
My Personal Story
I am married to my incredible wife, Whitney. We met during our last semester of senior year at Providence College. I am from a little south of Boston, MA while she is from Albany, NY. After several years in Brooklyn and Washington DC, we now live in sunny San Diego, CA, where you can typically find us walking our one-eyed French Bulldog, Copper, around the neighborhood.
We are big foodies and love trying new restaurants and recipes. From weekends devouring the “ramen burger” at food markets in Brooklyn, to tailgating the opening of Franklin’s Barbecue in Austin, there’s no food fad we won’t try. Travel is our second love. Along with a cross country trip, we have been fortunate to spend time in Milan, Venice, Dubrovnik, Prague, Amsterdam, Barcelona and took the honeymoon of our dreams to the Maldives. We consistently contribute to our travel fund to make these trips happen!
I love to play just about every sport, whether it’s to improve a skill or just a way to meet new people. You can typically catch me on the golf course, or playing softball and soccer with rec leagues. I am also an avid reader that rotates between fictional authors, such as Dennis Lehane, biographies of history’s greatest influencers, such as Winston Churchill, and of course financial classics like “Reminiscences of a Stock Operator”.
I am the oldest of four siblings. Despite living in different parts of the country now, the highlight of our year is our visit back to Massachusetts when my whole family gets together.