Michael J. Smith, CFP®

Michael is passionate about helping his clients eliminate financial stress so they may enjoy not only the riches of life, but the richness of life, as well.

Michael manages RTD’s office in Atlanta, Georgia. He has been active in the financial planning profession since 1986 and a CFP® licensee since 1989. Prior to joining RTD, Michael was a principal and co-founder of Financial Vision Advisors, Inc., a highly successful firm specializing in comprehensive, holistic financial planning.

Michael was the co-host of the Money & More Investment and Personal Finance Seminar held at the Georgia World Congress Center in 1998, presented by the Atlanta Journal Constitution and the Georgia Society of the ICFP and attended by over 5000 people.

In 2008, Michael was featured on Fox 5 Atlanta News regarding the effects of the market downturn on retirees. He has also been featured in The Wall Street Journal, Investment News, the Atlanta Business Chronicle and The Atlanta Journal & Constitution and in the following magazines: Time, Newsweek, Catalyst, Men’s Health and the Journal of Financial Planning. In 1996, Michael’s firm, Financial Vision, was listed as one of the “Top Ten Atlanta Financial Planning Firms” by the Atlanta Business Chronicle. His firm and philosophy on client relationships were featured in the September-October 2000 issue of Financial Advisor magazine.

Michael is an active member of The Financial Planning Association (FPA) and in 2009 was elected to the national FPA Board of Directors for a three-year term. He served on several national FPA committees: Finance Committee (Chair 2010-11), the Professional Issues Committee (Chair in 2007), the Nominating Committee for future board members. He served on the local board of directors from 1996-2002 and served as President of the Georgia Society in 1998 and Chair in 1999.

An Atlanta native, Michael is a graduate of Shorter University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration. He has served on the advisory board for Shorter University’s legacy program, the Heritage Society, and also served on Shorter’s Alumni Governing Board.

Michael enjoys being involved in his community of Sandy Springs. He is a member of Leadership Sandy Springs and serves on the Board of Directors of the Sandy Springs Conservancy. When not working, Michael enjoys pursuing his passions – his dogs, sports (particularly baseball), traveling, hiking, fly fishing, music and being the total foodie that he is, dining in great restaurants.

Getting to know Michael

What do you enjoy most about working at RTD?

In 2007, I was invited to join RTD Financial Advisors – saying yes to that invitation was the best business decision I’ve ever made. About three months after joining RTD, I recall telling people, “I feel like I’ve been here forever!” I still feel that way today. There are many elements that go into creating that type of culture: one is a belief system that we always put our client’s interest before our own, which everyone buys into. Our employees are dedicated to creating a unique and rewarding experience for each client.

What makes you good at what you do? 

I believe I am a very good listener. I listen closely to what my clients are saying (and sometimes what they are not saying). I also care deeply and want them to make smart decisions regarding their money and particularly, their life. I want them to live their lives to the fullest extent possible.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received?

This piece of advice came from several sources.  “Take the job with RTD!”

In the early 90’s, another advisor advertised a meeting to learn about “recurring revenue.” I attended and there were only four of us there. That didn’t matter because I learned something that radically changed the way we did business.  At that time, advisors were primarily paid a commission but this guy (we’ll call him Lou) was stating that we should forgo the commission and charge an ongoing fee. Shortly after that, we did forgo commissions and began charging a fee for our services. It was better for us but most importantly, it was better for our clients!

What professional accomplishment are you most proud of?

One of my professional highlights is being a mentor at FPA’s Residency Program, a client-centered training experience for new CFP® licensees.

Professional Awards, Designations & Memberships

Five Star Best in Client Satisfaction Wealth Manager by Atlanta Magazine, 2009-2019
Financial Planning Association, Member of the Board of Directors 2009-2011
National Association of Personal Financial Planners