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Exploring Life & Business with Rick Vazza of Driven Wealth Management

Today we’d like to introduce you to Rick Vazza.

Hi Rick, thanks for sharing your story with us. To start, maybe you can tell our readers some of your backstory.
My grandfather ran a successful real estate development company in Massachusetts. My father and uncle both worked for him, and frankly, I always thought I would eventually join them. Real estate interested me and I really enjoyed visiting job sites with them growing up. I honestly didn’t know what a financial planner was when I was younger. Unfortunately, my grandfather passed away unexpectedly in the depths of the 08 financial crisis. He did almost everything wrong; you can possibly do when it comes to estate planning.

My dad spent significant time and resources cleaning up what became a very messy situation. I had a front-row seat to what should have been the prime of my dad’s career instead of being spent in and out of court to handle the estate. This experience triggered my interest in financial planning. From there, I was fortunate to develop a passion for the work. It is an interesting field that has you often playing the various roles of an investor, problem solver, psychiatrist, and coach. There aren’t many professions I know of where you can so clearly see a transformation in your client’s life as they begin to implement the actions you work on together. After years of working at major institutions, I followed through on my entrepreneurial desires and launched Driven Wealth Management in 2018.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
My wife and I are both from the east coast, so when we moved here, we did not know a lot of people. My business is largely relationship-driven, so it takes time for things to develop. I had to put myself out there and often step way outside my normal comfort zone in order to meet people in this city. There were times when this was uncomfortable and certainly times when things felt like they were moving slower than I would have liked. As someone who had experienced a lot of success in the corporate environment, the pace was not always easy. Fortunately, San Diego is a very welcoming place and we have an especially fantastic advisor community. There are others who have gone through a similar entrepreneurial journey after leaving bigger firms and they were very helpful in providing guidance and support.

Great, so let’s talk business. Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
At Driven Wealth Management, I work with ambitious professionals and business owners that are determined to take control of their finances. I provide comprehensive financial planning which really means I help my clients with their 1) cash flow strategy, 2) investment strategy, 3) tax strategy, 4) estate planning, and 5) risk analysis. We don’t bear hug this all at once, but instead truly develop a partnership where these items are continually addressed and optimized over time. This system works really well to develop a plan for my clients’ entire financial picture that they can feel confident about. The major differentiator I have from my peers is my interest in working on total wealth management. I think traditional advice tends to focus on retirement planning and public market investing. While these are critical topics, I find a lot of my clients also have an interest in real estate investing and either an interest or are already active in small business ownership. This allows me to work with business owners and help the owners develop a plan to capture the value they are generating from their business to their personal wealth. It can be easy to silo these two areas and while the intersection is critical, it is often overlooked. This is an area where I can provide a lot of help and has been a growing part of my business.

Have you learned any interesting or important lessons due to the Covid-19 Crisis?
Well, this is an obvious plug but really, I have been reminded just how valuable our work is as financial planners. Arguably the most important part of my job is to help my clients make more confident decisions with their money. I’m really proud to say the clients I work with felt confident even through the depths of the COVID-19 challenges, thanks to the plans we’ve worked on. Another lesson came in reinforcing the importance of communication. March-July proved to be arguably the most important period of my career as we learned about new and complex information from the CARES Act and PPP/EIDL loans. Analyzing and then articulating what this meant for clients became incredibly important.

Pricing:

  • 1% of investable assets that I manage with a minimum fee of $1,500 per quarter

Contact Info:

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