Mike Heatwole, CFP®, AWMA®
Mike Heatwole, CFP®, AWMA®Founder and Wealth Manager

Mike Heatwole

Mike is a Certified Financial PlannerTM and founder of The Dala Group.  He graduated from Illinois Institute of Technology with a bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering and a master’s degree in Structural Engineering.  Prior to founding The Dala Group, Mike’s financial planning career started at Waddell & Reed where he built a wealth management firm focusing his efforts on helping families achieve their lifestyle and legacy goals.

Mike’s professional development includes the Certified Financial PlannerTM designation as well as the Accredited Wealth Management AdvisorSM designation.

In his spare time, Mike can be found spending time with his wife Linnea and his two daughters Elin and Audrey, volunteering in the Stewardship ministry at Willow Creek Community church, working out at Crossfit Algonquin or cheering on the Kansas Jayhawks basketball team.

My Story
The Dala Name

I will start with the day I met my wife Linnea. We were both teenagers at the time and were volunteering on a mission trip lead by The Salvation Army. In all honesty, I’d love to say that she fell head over heels for me. But let’s just say I found her more attractive than she found me!

A few weeks later we found ourselves at a summer camp in Wisconsin. When I mustered up enough courage to get to know Linnea, I quickly learned that she had a unique and painful story. She was a surprise baby arriving more than a decade after her two sisters. Her family lived a simple, middle class life. Both her mother and father were children of Swedish immigrants. When she was only seven years old, her mother passed away after a battle with breast cancer. In addition to grieving, Linnea had to navigate life’s obstacles without her mother’s guidance.

Simultaneously, Linnea’s father became a widow and single parent. He worked long hours in a blue-collar job and he put a high value on his work ethic and providing for his family. A few years after the death of her mom, Linnea experienced a second tragedy when her dad suffered from a stroke. The progression of the disease impaired his cognitive and physical abilities. His personality became aggressive and ornery while certain parts of his memory became disrupted. It was at this time that Linnea and I met.

Over the course of the next couple of years, I began to fully understand the enormous burden that Linnea had as a caregiver.  To alleviate some of that burden, I chose to help with the care-giving role.  We spent the next three years caring daily for him while attending school full-time and working part-time.  It was a very difficult and painful season for both of us and it gave us an understanding of the exhaustion involved in providing care for an aging parent. As her father’s needs became more demanding and beyond the care we could provide, he transitioned into a nursing home and passed away nearly a decade later.

More recently, my wife and I welcomed our daughter into the world in May of 2016. She is a beauty! We named her Elin as a tribute to Linnea’s mother. If you ask me about Elin, I will share about the joy she brings to each day and how proud I am to be her daddy.  She is the reason why I don’t take the responsibility of financial planning lightly.

Because of our experience with Linnea’s father, I am committed to helping families develop a plan to alleviate their financial stress, achieve their lifestyle goals, and ultimately leave a legacy. If you are interested in taking this journey with me, I would be honored to work with you and your family.

Everyone wants to know where the name The Dala Group came from. What does it mean? Curious minds want to know!

The horse has, for thousands of years, been a friend and working companion of mankind. So, it is no surprise that it is such an appealing artistic image.  Gradually the horse came to stand as a symbol for strength, courage, faithfulness, wisdom, and dignity. The Swedish Dala horse is a symbol of those same values.

The ancient handicraft of whittling an animal figure for the household was typically presented as a gift from father to son. History indicates that around the 17th century, woodsmen and soldiers from the small towns and villages in Dalarna, located in central Sweden, began using the wooden scraps from local furniture makers to carve horses. The Dala horses first appeared with bright decorations and a flower-patterned saddle, called the kurbit, translated from Swedish as a “gourd vine”. This design comes from the Biblical story in which Jonah sat outside the city of Ninevah. The Lord caused a kurbit to grow up beside him to protect him from the desert sun. It is said that the Biblical gourd is a symbol of compassion.

Around the 1920s, the Olsson brothers of Nusnas, Sweden began hand-carving, painting, and selling the popular Dala horses to supplement their family’s income. It wasn’t until the 1939 World’s Fair in New York; however, that the Dala horse gained worldwide recognition.  Today the legacy of the Dala horse is undeniably relevant to many Swedish-American families and it has become the international symbol of Sweden. In many homes, the Dala horse is a family heirloom and one of the most treasured possessions.  They are often passed through generations and collectively hold a symbol of invaluable memories, heritage and legacy.

At the Dala Group, our hope is that the work we do together will provide you with the knowledge and resources needed to safeguard your family’s future and plan your own gift of legacy that will last for generations to come.

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