S.A.F.E. Financial Group is a group of companies, one being a Strategic Partner, dedicated to helping people protect their assets. It is comprised of:

  1. Secure Assets Financial Enterprises, Inc.  (Insurance Agency)
  2. Spectrum Advisors Financial, LLC (Register Investment Adviser Firm)

Our specialty is helping retirees and those near retirement, protect their money from financial difficulties associated with market risk, taxes, probate, nursing home expenses, low interest rates, etc. We are very proficient at helping people with their retirement income planning needs.


don-bioDonald H. House, Jr.
Founder and President of S.A.F.E. Financial Group

Don House is a retirement planner who specializes in asset protection and income planning. He has spent over 34 years in the business, diligently researching all the tools a retiree can use to protect their nest egg. As the father of five children, Don understands the need for a safe and sound financial plan.

A member of St. Rose Catholic Church Knightstown, Don is currently serving on the finance committee. As a certified catechist, he has taught religious education for 22 years; most recently as a catechist for SPRED (Religious Education for those with Special Needs).

“For the last eleven years I have worked with a young man named Beau Botkins. My friend Beau is blind and autistic and one of the most wonderful people I have ever met. At first I thought I was doing it to help him. But I can’t begin to describe how much I have learned and benefited from our blessed friendship.”

Don’s hobby/ministry is coaching basketball. His most recent accomplishment was winning the sixth grade State Championship in the small school division.

“My primary goal is always to be a good mentor for the young men and women I coach. I have always believed you need to meet them where their heart is. Basketball is the vehicle I use to teach about how to excel in life.”


kathy-bioKathleen Funk
Office Manager

Kathleen manages the office at S.A.F.E. Financial Group and is Don’s personal assistant. Her organizational skills keep things running smoothly at our office. Her creative mind and technical proficiency enables her to tackle any project presented to her. Her warm personality makes everyone that comes to our office comfortable and at ease. Don says, “Our firm is blessed to have Kathleen. In addition to her proficiency in administrative and technical details, she has the gift of hospitality. Our customers just love her!”

When not at the office, Kathleen keeps busy with home and family. She has two married sons and seven grandchildren who are the lights of her life. A lover of technology, she maintains two websites and her personal blog. Her hobbies are reading, scrapbooking and knitting. She knits prayer shawls and also makes preemie size knitted blankets for The Toledo Hospital in memory of her granddaughter each year.



wayneWayne Schmidt, CFA®
Chief Investment Officer of Gradient Investments, LLC

In October 2008, Wayne Schmidt joined Gradient Investments, LLC and serves as Chief Investment Officer. With 26 years of investment experience, Wayne brings decades of institutional experience and in-depth knowledge of the private client market to Gradient Investments, and offers a global investment management perspective.

Wayne is an invaluable and direct resource for affiliated investment advisors and their clients. He provides vast wisdom, knowledge, experience and tools to help investment advisors grow their practice, while also growing clients’ assets.

In a nationwide search that included acquisition considerations, AXA Investment Managers, a subsidiary of the European insurance giant AXA Group, handpicked Wayne to build their U.S investment grade fixed income capabilities and to lead a seasoned portfolio team located in St. Paul, Minnesota.

During his tenure at AXA Investment Managers, Wayne served as senior portfolio manager for the U.S. Investment Grade Fixed Income Team. As the lead portfolio manager, he managed $9.5 billion of fixed income assets with a variety of mandates ranging from aggregate, corporate and government bond portfolios.

Before joining AXA Investment Managers, Wayne dedicated over 20 years to Minnesota Life and its’ $14 billion investment arm, Advantus Capital Management. As portfolio manager, he managed a variety of high-grade funds as part of Advantus’s $1.8 billion Total Return Product for institutional and retail clients. He also served as the lead portfolio manager of the Advantus Bond Fund and the co-portfolio manager of the Advantus Spectrum Fund.

Wayne earned his Master of Business Administration in Finance from the University of Minnesota and a Bachelor of Science from Cornell University. He is a Chartered Financial Analyst® and a member of The Chartered Financial Analyst Institute and the Twin Cities Society of Security Analysts.

Over the years, Wayne has been quoted on the global economy in numerous nationally and internationally recognized investment publications such as Bloomberg, Pension & Investments, Reuters, The Los Angeles Times, Financial Week (2008 Neal Award Winner), Asia Times, InvestorVillage, Safehaven, SFO, Credit Investment News and RGE Monitor (Nouriel Roubini’s Global EconoMonitorinvestment). He has also provided market insights on Bloomberg radio and television.

Wayne’s love of Minnesota is Gradient Investments’ great fortune, as he declined to relocate with AXA Investment Managers following their strategic decision to consolidate function into the high-yield operation in Greenwich, Connecticut.

mike-bMichael Binger, CFA®
Senior Portfolio Manager of Gradient Investments, LLC

Michael Binger, CFA®, serves as the senior portfolio manager for Gradient Investments, LLC. Binger brings over 24 years of institutional equity investment experience to Gradient Investments and its affiliated advisors and clients. He has extensive experience working directly with financial advisors designing and actively managing portfolios. Binger has successfully invested in numerous market and economic cycles giving him a level and depth of experience that is rare in this industry.

Binger started his investment career in Minneapolis, Minnesota with Lutheran Brotherhood in 1987 and gained experience managing assets in a variety of asset classes including convertible bonds, small cap equities, and large cap equities. When Lutheran Brotherhood and Aid Association for Lutherans merged in 2001 to become Thrivent Financial, Binger was selected to work as the senior portfolio manager on the Large Cap Growth team and Large Cap Alpha Team managing over $3 billion in assets. As the senior portfolio manager, he developed and oversaw the tactical investment strategies utilized within mutual funds, variable annuities, pension funds and insurance company products. These investment processes included proprietary portfolio construction strategies, security selection parameters and volatility controlled umbrellas.

Binger graduated from the University of Minnesota earning a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration-Finance. He graduated with honors and was the University of Minnesota’s “Wall Street Journal Award Winner.” Binger is a CFA® and a member of The Chartered Financial Analyst Institute and the Twin Cities Society of Security Analysts.

Binger’s media highlights include numerous appearances, providing market insight on CNBC, Bloomberg TV and Bloomberg Radio. He has also been quoted in The Wall Street Journal, Barron’s, Smart Money, Reuters, Business Week and numerous other local, national, and global investment publications.