William "Bill" Smith, MRFC

Retirement expert William A. Smith is the founder of W.A. Smith Financial Group and the chief strategist of Great Lakes Retirement, Inc., an SEC-Registered Investment Advisor.


Bill Smith is founder and CEO of W.A. Smith Financial Group and chief strategist of Great Lakes Retirement, Inc. Bill has been serving clients through holistic financial planning, disciplined investment strategies and proactive personal service since 1995.

In 2007, Bill co-founded Best Practices Leading by Example as a way to share his insights and formulas with advisors all over the United States for growing an exceptional advisory practice.

Bill was surrounded by many family entrepreneurs growing up in Wooster, Ohio. He had multiple hard-working mentors, including his mother and grandfather, who gave him a desire to own his own business at a young age. At 15, Bill started B&B Enterprise with his brother selling pumpkins, outdoor Halloween decorations, trampolines and children playsets! The business dissolved when Bill went off to college at the University of Akron, where he graduated with a degree in business management. His desire to learn and innovate led him to the financial industry in 1995. With the driving principles he learned from his mentors, Bill jumped into the financial world with two feet and never looked back. Today, W.A. Smith Financial Group is one of the top financial firms in the country with the mission of “ensuring clients worry more about their life and less about their money” and a vision of “being the last advisor our clients ever need.”

Bill is a sought-after speaker, thinker and investment strategist. On a national level, he has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Smart Money magazine, Yahoo! Finance, AOL Finance, SecondAct.com, CNBC.com, Forbes.com and Kiplinger.com. Locally, Bill has been featured on ABC Channel 5, CBS Channel 19 and Fox Channel 8 in Cleveland, and CBS Channel 11 in Toledo as well as the Sandusky Register, the Cleveland Plain Dealer, and the Morning Journal.

Bill’s professional credentials include Master Registered Financial Consultant with the International Association of Registered Financial Consultants. He is a licensed insurance professional and holds a Series 66. Bill is an Investment Advisor Representative of Great Lakes Retirement, Inc., an SEC Registered Investment Advisor.

Bill shares the principles he established in his proprietary planning process, the Financial Guided Planning System (G.P.S.), in his published book, "Knock-Out Your Retirement Income Worries FOREVER: The Ultimate Training Guide for Developing Financial Security."

He hosts the television show “Retirement Solutions,” where he addresses top concerns for retirees and their investments with co-host Robin Swoboda. The show airs at 11:30 a.m. Sundays on WKYC 3 and noon Sundays on ABC 5 in Cleveland.

Bill and his wife, Erica, have been married since 1995 and have three children, daughter Hallee, and sons Blake and Cameron. The five of them enjoy spending time together as a family, boating on Lake Erie, eating out, fishing, hunting and supporting each other at numerous sporting events.

Get to Know Bill

Favorite food: Italian

Favorite book: Lead for God's Sake

Favorite holiday: Christmas

Favorite quote: “Do it, ditch it or delegate it.”

Favorite cartoon as a kid: Roadrunner

Hidden talent/interests: Hunting, fishing and outdoors

Biggest accomplishments: Raising three great kids and building a successful business from nothing.

If you could meet anyone, past or present, it would be: Ronald Reagan

Best piece of financial advice you’ve ever received: Always pay yourself first. Respect pennies because they add up to dollars.