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Meet Michael Rosendahl of Torrey Pines Financial in Santa Monica

Today we’d like to introduce you to Michael Rosendahl.

Michael, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I initially entered into the Financial Services field because of my father, Stu. He owned a boutique brokerage in Portland OR and the plan was to eventually take over the family business. Tragically my father passed away during my senior year of college and the company was sold.

Upon graduation, I took a job working for a large financial institution as a sales consultant. I was transferred to San Diego to begin my new career. While I was having success in my new role, I did not enjoy the work or working for a large corporation.

I did however fall in love with Southern California. I soon took up surfing, long distance running and hot yoga. And after being transferred to Los Angeles, I was blessed to land in Santa Monica, where I still call home today. It was in Los Angeles (Staples Center) where I met my beautiful wife, who is a native Angeleno, permanently securing Los Angeles as my home.

While my personal life was thriving, my professional life was uninspiring. Working for large financial institutions, I felt a lack of creativity, flexibility or growth. I was now in my mid-30’s and in desperate need of a new challenge.

My inspiration came from an unlikely source, yoga. My wife had convinced me to complete a yoga teacher training with her. Then we completed another. It was during this year long process that I realized how important it was to help & serve others – a cornerstone to yoga. I was also reminded how much I loved being a leader and a teacher. In corporate work, I never felt like I was helping anyone, just a cog in the wheel.

I am so blessed to have a wife who believes in me 100%. As I told her what I felt was missing she promptly advised me pursue something that inspired me. She had no fear and zero doubt. This gave me the confidence I needed to walk away from a 15 years career and start anew (despite having no game plan).

At some point in life, you have to bet on yourself. You have to be willing to risk looking foolish, risk making mistakes and risk failure if you want to discover your true purpose. For me, this was my time.

The first year was extremely challenging I was able to pursue so many different things and grow as a person. I wrote and self-published my first E-Book, “Yoga Like A Man; A Yoga Survival Guide For The Modern Man”. I earned my Investment Advisor license. I co-lead an international yoga retreat and put on the first Santa Monica Fitness Festival. I even ran my first LA Marathon.

At this point, I was approached by my longtime mentor, Frank Montes. I had known Frank from my San Diego days as he owns Torrey Pines Financial. Frank was looking to re-invent his Retirement Planning business and he needed some fresh energy and a new perspective. He also wanted to expand his footprint from San Diego to the Los Angeles area. It was a perfect fit and we partnered together.

When we started to examine the current state of Retirement Planning we noticed a glaring problem – people only focused on the accumulation stage of the planning process. We started taking a hard look at the distribution phase, those 20 or 30 years where you are retired and withdrawing money from your retirement accounts. We identified four major risk factors during the distribution phase that can significantly deplete one’s life savings.

Even more significant, we discovered that these risk factors can be mitigated or completely eliminated by proper planning during the accumulation phase. By mindfully allocating your assets in the correct account types when you are saving for retirement, you can actually help insulate yourself from the problems most retirees encounter.

Even more significant, we discovered that these risk factors can be mitigated or completely eliminated by proper planning during the accumulation phase. By mindfully allocating your assets in the correct account types when you are saving for retirement, you can actually help insulate yourself from the problems most retirees encounter.

It was simple, the old paradigm that our grandparents used for retirement planning was outdated. Baby Boomers, Generation X and Millennials need to think different about retirement planning because the world has changed drastically. New strategies and new tools are needed for the next generation.

My primary focus in on education. Helping individuals identify their retirement risk factors and building a personalized retirement roadmap that helps them avoid the most common distribution pitfalls. With thoughtful, mindful and comprehensive planning during our working years, we can build a plan that protects ourselves and helps preserve our assets.

While I was never able to work with my father, I am able to work side by side with my mentor and close friend. I have the opportunity to help others and the chance to grow Torrey Pines Financial so we can pass it down to future generations.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Of course not. When I first entered the industry I hated it. But it paid really well and I thought that was what was most important (I was 22). After years of working in the same sector and having success it is really challenging to be 100% honest with yourself that you are not happy and you have to make a change. People on the outside think you have a great job, but what good is it if you’re not happy?

Just being brutally honest with yourself is challenging enough, then you have to do the unthinkable, leave something that is comfortable. When I decided to leave and pursue my own path, I was married at the time and had many more responsibilities. More things that could anchor me to what I was doing. Leaving a job, you have spent 15 years building for something you have no idea if you will have any success is a big obstacle.

But ultimately you have to listen to your intuition and bet on yourself. You have to have faith. Most importantly, you have to be optimistic and full of gratitude. When you look back on your life and take the time to count all your blessings, all your success, then it becomes much easier to take risks. If you look back on your life and focus on those few failures, that is all you will see.

Once you do make a big change and try to pursue a life of your own design there are going to be many failures, many obstacles. Again, you have to have a positive mindset and be full of gratitude. Focus on the small victories you do accomplish and keep pushing forward. You will be tempted to turn back but you have to burn your boats.

Obstacles are simply opportunities to improve, to learn and to grow. Everyday we all face new obstacles, new challenges. How beautiful is that, a life full of opportunities to improve?

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Torrey Pines Financial story. Tell us more about the business.
As Vice President for Torrey Pines Financial, I wear many hats. We are a boutique Investment Advisory Firm that specializes in Retirement Planning. This means I’m blessed to work with individuals and families personally to develop a Retirement Roadmap that helps them mitigate risks and maximize their after tax cash flow. I do complete distribution planning for our clients to remove the guesswork out of the planning process. This is a very personal process, which is what I love about it.

I also have the freedom to take on any project I believe will improve the organization. Right now, I lead our community education programs, which are now online. Prior to COVID-19, we held education workshops at local universities helping people with comprehensive personal finance education.

I also get lead our strategic partnership efforts. As a small firm, it is vital to have the right strategic partners that can help us grow our business and help us better serve our clientele. It’s easy to get stuck in the status quo. My push is to always be talking to and looking for innovations in our industry. Who or what can help our clients achieve their goals? We are in a time of significant change and innovation, this should not be lost on the retirement planning community.

What sets us apart is our family approach. We are a family run organization and because of the intimate work we do, many of our clients become like family. There are some people who want the big box investment firm, which is great. We work with people who want a more personal touch to their planning process, which is what we provide on a daily basis.

Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
First off, I am extremely lucky. I was born into a wonderful family, had the opportunity to receive a good education and had uncountable blessings all along the way. In no way am I self-made person. From my parents who loved me and provided a roadmap for both my values and my mindset, to my brothers who pushed and challenged me. I had incredible coaches growing up from Pop Warner through College. I’ve been blessed with great friends and mentors all along the way. If you want to know about luck, you’d have to hear the story of how I met my wife. The stars aligned perfectly.

These are all blessings that have helped me in life and in business. Has there been bad luck? Probably, but I would call those challenges, which are opportunities for growth. When I lost my father at the age of 22, did that feel like bad luck? Absolutely. But it was also a defining moment in my life that really helped me grow and change and something that gives me strength to this day.

When we are blessed, we need to admit it. It doesn’t undermine success. I am very fortunate and I am thankful for all the luck, all the blessings and all the obstacles.

Contact Info:


Image Credit:

@finisherpix, @michellebowenphotography, @ricardoreyes

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