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Exploring Life & Business with Danny Michael of Satori Wealth Management

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

Hi Danny, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.
I have been fortunate to call San Diego my hometown since I was 4 years old. I grew up in La Mesa and have fond memories of spending weekends at the beach, fishing at Ocean Beach Pier and hanging out at Parkway Bowl (for you generation Xers) as a child. I grew up working in my parent’s small retail business while going to school. After graduating from Grossmont High School, I attended UC Riverside where I obtained a bachelor’s degree in business administration and shortly thereafter, began my career as a financial advisor. I was interested in learning how to make my money work for me and also help others do the same. I worked for a number of brokerage firms, private banks and smaller investment management firms throughout my career. 

In the early part of 2017, I was at a significant crossroads in my life. I had relocated to Los Angeles for a job opportunity and wasn’t happy with where I was in my career. I felt unfulfilled and overworked. I started to ask myself some deeper questions about the direction my life was headed. And the one question that really changed my life was: Did I still want to be a financial advisor? Having worked for all these bigger financial institutions, I always felt something was missing. None of these firms ever provided clients with any deep exploration or planning around their core values and goals for life. Instead, we would ask them about their goals and they would provide surface-level answers. We would then begin making financial recommendations based on their answers.

As an example, a common answer to, “when would you like to retire?” was age 65. Why? Most people thought that’s when their Social Security benefits started. So I always felt like an order taker and felt that people weren’t being given enough guidance or structure during life’s major transitions. So why didn’t any of these financial institutions have some sort of structured framework to help with planning personal goals? In my opinion, the reason is that having discussions about people’s core values and lifestyle goals requires a level of conversational depth that can be very uncomfortable for both the advisor and the client. From the advisor’s perspective, this can present friction and increase the risk of losing a potential new client. For clients, the discussion is typically centered around family dynamics and their relationship with money. It can be intimidating to discuss these things with your financial advisor.

However, in helping families prepare for retirement, lifestyle planning is necessary because retirement provides you with an extremely valuable gift – your time. The best way to maximize this newfound asset is to spend it doing the things in life that bring you the most joy and fulfillment. Defining what this means to you is crucial since it directly impacts your spending, which subsequently reduces your financial resources. There was the answer to my question. I still had a passion for being a financial advisor, I just felt that the big banks and investment firms had it all wrong.

So in 2017, I launched Satori Wealth Management, Inc., with the primary intention of creating a structured process to not only help clients develop a plan for their finances but a plan for life. And my first client was none other than myself. Today I’m fulfilling my own life plan. I moved back to San Diego in 2018 and now live in Little Italy with my 7-month-old pup, Chauncey. My office is about four blocks away at the intersection of Broadway and India Street. It’s great to be closer to my family and friends…and the best taco shops! I’m extremely grateful to be back home and more involved in our community than ever. I’m a member and support the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center and the San Diego Zoo. I’m also a graduate of the 2020 LEAD San Diego Impact program, where I had the opportunity to meet a number of wonderful people doing great things for our community. 

I don’t work 60-70 hours a week like I did in previous jobs and ensure that every day is filled with balance. Knowing that my primary intention of helping others is completely aligned with my work on a daily basis has reignited my passion and purpose as a financial planner. But it’s even more rewarding knowing that I am helping my clients align their intentions and goals with their financial decision making. After all, isn’t that what financial advisors are supposed to do in the first place?

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
I don’t think any new business is a smooth road. As a newly minted business owner, I had to shift my thought process and decision making to encompass so many different facets of a successful advisory firm. My profession is heavily regulated, so understanding regulatory requirements was crucial. Marketing and operations were two other areas that were completely new to me. But these are just things that you learn as you grow and make mistakes.The biggest challenge for me was overcoming the fear of failure and taking the initial risk of starting a business. It’s easy to focus on everything that can go wrong when you are deciding whether to do it. If there is one piece of advice I can give an aspiring entrepreneur, it’s not to let fear of loss overtake your passion to pursue your dreams.

Great, so let’s talk business. Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
My firm, Satori Wealth Management, Inc., is a fee-only financial planning firm that specializes in retirement planning. Most of our clients are within five years from retirement or already retired and need help with replacing their paychecks, reducing taxes, and ensuring their families and finances are protected from any unforeseen events.

However, what really sets us apart from most other fee-only financial planning firms is our life planning process we go through with our clients. I completed training through the Kinder Institute of Financial Life Planning and attained the Registered Life Planner® designation. We don’t make any type of financial recommendations for clients until we’ve had at least 3-4 meetings to create a blueprint for their most fulfilling life. 

Your finances touch just about every aspect of your life. Your personal life and your financial life are not separate, they intertwine with each other. We focus on helping people effectively combine the two different elements to enable them to manage their finances in a manner that fully supports reaching their personal goals, as opposed to just focusing on the numbers. 

Is there a quality that you most attribute to your success?
I think one of my best qualities is empathy. I feel it’s the key to communication and working well with others. As a financial advisor, I constantly put myself in my client’s shoes. Truly listening to what clients are saying is extremely important to me. I know that not everyone is fully comfortable expressing their thoughts, so it’s important that I’m reading between the lines. What are their concerns and feelings about this life or a financial issue? If I can sense that something is amiss or they are uncomfortable, I can continue to guide them to a place where they feel more comfortable sharing with me. The more I know about my client’s feelings, the better I can help them. Another quality I value is mindfulness. I feel that this fuels so many other positive traits. It helps with self-awareness, energy, and discipline, just to name a few. We have thousands of thoughts a day and thoughts drive feelings, which in turn drive actions. Having a morning routine that includes meditation and a gratitude practice allows me to better observe my thoughts, so I can filter out any that are negative or unwanted. The result for me has been improved focus and clarity in everything that I do.

Pricing:

  • Our fee schedule starts at 1.25% of assets under management and we have a minimum fee of $6,000 annually

Contact Info:

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