Ryan A. Smith, CFP®, CDFA®


A little bit about me…

When I say I’m from Utah, I mean I am from Utah. My family has lived in the state since it was a territory. I grew up in the Salt Lake Valley but most of my time was spent in Park City, racing with the Park City Ski Team. I trained six days a week in the winter and six weeks in the summer on Mt. Hood’s glaciers. In addition to my dedication to skiing, I was able to graduate high school one year early. In what would have been my senior year, I gave everything to the sport of skiing. Unfortunately, this ended up being my last year as a competitive skier. In what felt like a tremendous failure to those who gave so much to me, especially my parents, I found incredible support. My father explained that he didn’t give me all this support in order for me to just make the US Ski Team or the Olympics. Instead, he supported me so that I would learn the value of discipline, commitment, and hard work. That wisdom helped guide me for the rest of my life.

Following in my family’s footsteps, I earned a master’s degree in civil engineering. My father is a civil engineer/contractor, my grandfather a civil engineer, and my great-grandfather owned the first bulldozer and dump truck in the state of Utah! Although I earned a degree in civil engineering, I completed many MBA courses, which exposed me to finance, economics, business law, etc. In addition to my academic work, I was also president of my fraternity, organized philanthropic work with the MS Society, and lived in Spain twice. While in Spain, I ran with the bulls in Pamplona.

After graduate school, I moved to Seattle for a new challenge. In my first week there, I met my best friend and now wife, Beth. While building my career in Seattle, Beth and I got a German shepherd named Gustoff, bought a house (not an easy task in Seattle), and got a second dog, a golden retriever named Oakley. Life was good … or so I thought.

As if it were yesterday, I remember one afternoon of having a liberating and terrifying realization. I thought to myself: “WOW, I’ve got it made! I married the best girl in the world, I’m on the exact trajectory with my career that I’ve always wanted, making great money… but I’m miserable!” I was living the life I always thought I wanted, but I wasn’t happy. The wisdom of my father revealed itself again as I remember him also telling me as a boy: “A job fills up your wallet, a career fills your soul.” I realized I was filling up my wallet but I didn’t have a sense of purpose.

I had always managed my own finances but never thought of doing it as a career. As fate would have it, I met some people in the financial planning industry. With their advice and the blessing from Beth, I took a leap of faith and got my licenses.

In 2011, we returned to Salt Lake City to build my practice. In 2015, I established my own financial planning firm, Rivettas Wealth Strategies, and attained my CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERTM certification. ‘In 2018, I also sought out additional training and attained my CERTIFIED DIVORCE FINANCIAL ANALYST® designation. But most important, I found a sense of purpose: working with people to improve their lives, their futures, and their family’s future.

We now have two children, Hudson and Quinney. I’m still an avid skier, but no more racing. I am a committed “powder hound,” which suits me nicely. I’m in the process of nurturing a love affair with skiing in my little ones. In the warm weather months, I am a passionate golfer, hiker, and mountain biker. I also love a good hang on the patio with friends and family. I love trying new restaurants with Beth, as well as cooking as healthy as possible while keeping it delicious.

The last piece of wisdom I will share from my father is: “The definition of being a success in life is to be able to truly say, at the end of your time, you put more in than you took out.” This is now my quest.