May’s “Ask Away” Advisor Spotlight

Michael Ritland, ChFC®, CRC, CASL, AIF, Wealth Advisor at Frandsen Investment Services

Continuing our “Ask Away” Advisor Spotlight Series!

In our featured “Ask Away” Advisor Spotlight Series, learn more about some exceptional LPL Financial advisors partnering with Financial Resources Group — incredible minds with interesting backgrounds. Discover their distinct insights, strategies, and personal stories that have fueled their success.
Each month, we’ll cast a spotlight on a different advisor, unveiling what makes them stand out in the competitive financial services landscape.

The series continues with Michael Ritland, ChFC®, CRC, CASL, AIF, Wealth Advisor at Frandsen Investment Services. Get to know Michael through this Q&A and be sure to watch the short video below where he personally introduces himself!

Q: Tell us a little bit about your background.

A: I grew up in a small town called Plentywood, MT.  Have lived in MT, ND, WY, CO, and MN – where I currently live in Duluth and been here for almost 5 years.

I went to college at Concordia College in Moorhead, MN and met my wife there, even though we lived 85 miles apart in MT.  I knew her brother from competing in sports, but was two years older than her.  I had one month of college left when we had our first date, and quickly realized I needed to find a way to hang around the college for a couple of years.  I took a job as a recruiter in the Admissions office and we married shortly after her graduation. 

I’ve been married to Leah for 34 years and together we have one son and a daughter, both in their 20’s.

Q: What are your personal/unique interests, hobbies? How do you like to have fun?

A: Our family loves music, pretty much all genres.  My wife and I have sung for a few events over the years (weddings, funerals), but our kids took it to a different level. 

My son is a high school choir director and gives voice lessons to his students.  He is planning on getting his Masters and becoming a college level professor and choir director.  He is part of an audition only choir in his city and sings for other events.

My daughter got a Masters in Vocal Performance from Peabody Institute in Baltimore, with an emphasis in opera.  She lives in the same city as my son, is in the same choir, and participates in the local opera.  She is an adjunct voice professor at the same college my wife and I attended.  She also has private students for both voice and piano.

I often think I don’t have any hobbies, but I manage to fill my spare time.  I love indoor and outdoor fires (fireplace or bonfire) and seem to spend a good amount of time cutting, stacking, and rearranging my wood pile.  I don’t covet people’s homes or cars but will often see a nice woodpile in someone’s yard that I envy. 

My wife and I had an outdoor sauna built a couple years ago and have become enthusiasts in that lifestyle.  I very much enjoy the relaxation and other wellness benefits it provides. 

I also enjoy downhill skiing….not cross country, too much like jogging and I don’t do that.  We have a nice ski hill in Duluth and I also try to make one ski trip a year to CO, MT, or Canada. 

Q: How did you enter the industry?

A: My brother in law recruited me into it.  I wasn’t too keen on the idea, but he is a much better salesperson than I am.  He was a teacher who transitioned into the life insurance industry and talked me into coming along. 

Q: What is the driving force behind your passion for financial planning?

A: I love educating people so they not only pursue their goals, but understand their investments and strategies.  I find a lot of folks don’t understand the products they own, why they own them, or how they will be used in their plan in the future. How can you feel comfortable with your advisor, your investments, or your plan, if you don’t understand the whole picture? 

You don’t need to know all the intricate details your advisor should, but knowing the what’s and why’s of your plan will bring a comfort level and commitment that helps you stay on track with your personal plan.

Advisors, male advisors…men in general, don’t have the best reputation for listening.  This is something I work hard on.  What are the people I meet with saying to me?  What do they mean?  How do I help?  I think this sets me apart.

Q: Who has shared, inspired and influenced your career as a financial advisor?

A: My brother-in-law showed me early on it is not necessarily the smartest, most experienced advisor who wins the business.  People need to know you are competent, but just as importantly they need to find you likable – in the sense they can speak openly with you and can enjoy spending some time with you.  He showed me how genuinely connecting with clients is a big part of the relationship.  You have to be genuine.  I don’t try to be someone I am not and will turn down business if I can tell the client and I won’t mesh. 

The current CEO of Frandsen Financial, Charles Mausbach, recruited me to Frandsen and he had a huge influence on teaching me how to think critically and make good decisions about my business and how I operate.  He showed me how making those good decisions in terms of staffing, how I spend my time, growing myself as a leader or financial advisor will have equally good benefits for my clients. 

Q: What distinct approach or strategy has contributed to your success?

A: Our office embraces true financial planning.  I feel a lot of advisors don’t do comprehensive planning.  How do your choices now affect your plans for the future?  How do we account for and work toward mitigating volatility, risk, taxes, inflation, health issue, etc.? How do we convert decades of savings into a sustainable income plan? 

This comes back to knowing what you own and why. When my clients see their plan and understand what we are trying to achieve, they become fully engaged in making it come to fruition.

Q: Do you have a particular niche or target audience?

A: I don’t market to a particular niche.  I focus on retirement income planning, so most of my clients become that niche or target. 

I do have a fairly large book of business retirement plans (401ks, Simple IRAs).  That is a section of my business I would like to grow.

I also seem to be picking up new clients who are experiencing divorce.  Most of these are referred to me and I like to think it is because my clients see me as a good listener, who puts their interests first. 

Q: How did you learn about FRG and what has been your experience working with us and LPL?

A: We joined LPL in 2017, a year or so after our program manager linked our program to FRG as our OSJ. I can say our transition to a new broker dealer got quite a bit better after partnering with FRG. I have been happy with the support and resources available and offered to us. I also know we are not utilizing FRG to their fullest and is something we hope to build on.

Meet Michael in this brief video below!

Video created by Jennifer Hallmark

Securities and advisory services are offered through LPL Financial (LPL), a registered investment advisor and broker-dealer (member FINRA/SIPC).  Insurance products are offered through LPL or its licensed affiliates. Frandsen Bank & Trust and Frandsen Investment Services are not registered as a broker-dealer or investment advisor. Registered representatives of LPL offer products and services using Frandsen Investment Services and may also be employees of Frandsen Bank & Trust.  These products and services are being offered through LPL or its affiliates, which are separate entities from, and not affiliates of, Frandsen Bank & Trust or Frandsen Investment Services. 

Securities and insurance offered through LPL, or its affiliates are:

Not Insured by FDIC or Any Other Government AgencyNot Bank GuaranteedNot Bank Deposits or ObligationsMay Lose Value
Picture of Jennifer Hallmark, Director of Marketing

Jennifer Hallmark, Director of Marketing

"When my clients see their plan and understand what we are trying to achieve, they become fully engaged in making it come to fruition."

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