Neighbors Magazines

Local mom rebuilds life after unexpected hardships

Renee Reed, financial advisor, shares the ups and downs of losing and gaining it all

By: Natalie Taylor, Neighbors of Park City

“I was the person that had 10 of everything,” says Renee Reed, “10 bikes, 10 cars, 10 boats. Houses around the world.” She and her husband and their five children split life by months of blissful weather—wintering slopeside in Breckenridge, Colo., and summering lakeside in St. Joseph, Michigan. It was idyllic until it ended—seemingly overnight. 

“My husband and I divorced quite abruptly,” said Renee, “It was traumatic. I moved to Park City partly because my kids would be happier on a ski hill. I thought it would make a painful situation a little easier.” She didn’t know anyone in town, and the move was rough, but that was just the beginning of a very bumpy road. A year after the divorce, Renee’s ex-husband went to prison for money laundering. “I lost everything,” she remembers, “I went from a multi-gazillionaire to we’ll-see-what-happens.”

With five kids under the age of twelve, the newly single mom Renee scrambled. “I hadn’t paid rent or made a car payment in years. We used to just buy everything outright.” But Renee rolled up her sleeves. “I got a job baking donuts from 4:30-7 a.m. Then, I’d go home, get the kids off to school, and go to work selling ads for Mountain Express all day. I served dinner at Flanigan’s at night while my two oldest daughters, Madison and Kinley, worked as hostesses for the same restaurant.” Renee worked three jobs for months, with the younger boys, Kād, Rad, and Jet, selling hot cocoa and cookies on the corner. “We pulled together,” she says. “We paid every bill.” Faced with nothing, the family did everything they could,  including renting the extra rooms in their house.

Although her parents would have helped her, Renee wanted to make it on her own. She certainly had moxy—she also had education and experience—which she quickly put to work. “I had two degrees in marketing and finance and earned my Series 7 when I was 21,” says Renee, who, in her twenties, worked as a financial planner and stockbroker. So, when her former colleagues heard what had happened, they reached out and offered her a job. 

Brothers Brad and Matt Smith, along with Jake Ribich from Symmetry Financial Group, called with an offer she couldn’t refuse. Renee had built network marketing companies and sales teams of 150,000 – 200,000 people for them for years. The Smith brothers and Ribich offered to float for a couple of months to help Renee get started if she came back to work for them. “I made $10,000 my first week and was the No. 1 annuity writer that first year,” says Renee, who won two office contests and took her kids on a cruise to Maui for some well-earned rest with the winnings. Then, she sent her oldest daughters to college. Today, Renee remains one of Symmetry Financial Group’s highest earners.

With so much to be proud of, Renee says her biggest achievements are her children, and for good reason. Madison earned a full-ride scholarship to the University of Oregon, and Kinley is now a financial planner. Her son, Jet, opened Jet Services LLC in 2020, which started as a car washing business and has expanded to offer moving, cleaning, and landscaping, affording him financial independence at the age of 22. Rad graduated high school at 17, wrote a letter to the University of Utah explaining his family’s unique situation, and was accepted. Kād is graduating from Park City High School this spring and hopes to attend the Park City Culinary Institute or the University of Utah next fall.

“I don’t buy excuses. You can make it,” says Renee, “I live in Park City, where everything costs an arm and a leg. Do what you need to do. Even though you don’t understand everything at the time, it does all work out. We made it. You can, too.”

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