Dale E. Yahnke

Co-Chief Executive Officer, Principal

Dale holds the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA)CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ (CFP®) designations, and has a Master of Business Administration, Finance (MBA) degree from San Diego State University. Dale completed his undergraduate work at Claremont McKenna College with a degree in Economics.

Prior to Dowling & Yahnke, Dale worked for six years as a financial analyst with the law firm of Gray Cary Ware & Freidenrich (now known as DLA Piper US LLP). He has served as an expert witness in investment and securities related matters.

Dale has been featured in numerous financial publications including Barron’s and The Wall Street Journal. He has been recognized by Barron’s for fourteen consecutive years as one of its “Top 100 Independent Financial Advisors” in the country, as well as listed on Barron’s “Top Advisor Rankings: California” for seven consecutive years.1,2

Dale, a native San Diegan who lives in Carmel Valley with his wife and two children, is actively committed to the San Diego community and the investment advisory industry.

Why did you become a financial advisor?

I enjoy working with individuals who work hard so that they can take care of their families and can someday retire comfortably without having to worry. Everybody’s situation is a little different, and it’s fun to work with a diverse group of clients and help them achieve what is important to them. When Mark Dowling and I started the firm in 1991, there were not many good options for people seeking smart, fiduciary-based advice from highly credentialed advisors. Back in 1991, we started with a passion to change the way the financial advice industry had been run traditionally. I still love it all these years later.

What is the most challenging part of your role?

Recruiting younger advisors into the Firm is both very challenging and at the same time rewarding. A lot of people in the industry complain at how hard it is to find great young talent. I’m glad it’s difficult; if it weren’t, everybody would be great and it would be tougher to compete. I think we’ve been more successful at building a great team of truly talented, passionate folks than our competition.

Do you have any pets? Do you have a favorite pet?

Yes and yes. Our dog is a rescue dog and he is going on 13 years of age. He is a big part of our family, and we are lucky to have him. No matter how tough my day might be, he is there wagging his tail waiting for me to throw the tennis ball to him when I get home. He helps me slow down and appreciate the simpler parts of life.

What was your first job?

I was a bank teller at age 18. I was always pretty good at math and I enjoyed meeting a lot of people, so the job was perfect for my skill set at age 18.

Which hobby are you most passionate about? 

I’ve always been passionate about sports. Multiple sports: basketball, baseball, tennis, and squash to name a few. I enjoy team sports, and I learned a lot from working in a team environment. I was not the most talented athlete, so I worked very hard to get the best out of my abilities. My experience with team sports has helped me a great deal in building the team we have here at D&Y. I also have a pretty serious baseball card collection that I make people suffer through when they come to the house.

I love helping clients with…

With a smarter, lower cost, and more transparent experience in managing their finances. Mark Dowling and I wanted to form a business that was based on a fiduciary standard where we always put clients’ interests first.  Not because we were being forced to do so, but because it was what was best for clients. I particularly enjoy tailoring retirement planning strategies because I strongly value independence. I love helping people get to the point where they are working because they want to work not because they have to work.


(1) click for more detail including disclosures relating to Barron’s 2020 Top 100 Independent Wealth Advisors
(2) click for more detail including disclosures relating to Barron’s 2020 Top Advisor Rankings: California


  • Claremont McKenna College BA Economics
  • San Diego State University MBA with emphasis in Finance



  • CFA Institute and CFA Society of San Diego, Inc.
  • San Diego Estate Planning Council, Past Member
  • La Jolla Estate Planning, Trust and Probate Section; Past Member