Meet Mickey Rosenzweig, CLU®, ChFC®, AEP®, 2021 Alumni Hall of Fame Inductee

Meet Mickey Rosenzweig, CLU®, ChFC®, AEP®, 2021 Alumni Hall of Fame Inductee

The American College of Financial Services
October 25, 2021

It’s safe to say that when it comes to sheer volume of experience, Mickey Rosenzweig, CLU®, ChFC®, AEP®, is a prime example of a life well-lived. As an alumnus of The American College of Financial Services with over four decades in financial services, as well as the founder and CEO of Rosenzweig Financial Services—the company that bears his name—Rosenzweig has been an influential supporter of The College and its students, faculty, and staff for much of that time. This year, Rosenzweig will be inducted into The College’s Alumni Hall of Fame, a select group of graduates who have made extraordinary contributions in time, talent, and treasure to The College and to the financial services industry and society as a whole. And it likely won’t be a surprise to learn that Rosenzweig has quite few stories to tell—but the story of his journey to the financial services profession might be.

“I graduated college in 1973 and was planning to go to law school,” Rosenzweig recalls. “I decided on about a week’s notice to take a ten day vacation overseas before my term started. That ten day trip became eight and a half months living in over 20 European and Middle Eastern countries, and when I came back, I realized I didn’t want to go to law school after all. I needed a new direction for my life.”

Rosenzweig credits his brother-in-law with first suggesting he consider financial planning as a potential career—something he had never before considered. “I was definitely a hippy,” he says. “A month earlier, I was living in Goa, India, with long hair and a beard and had been to Woodstock, and a month later I was walking into Penn Mutual to interview for a position as an insurance agent, clean-cut and ready to go.”

While at Penn Mutual, Rosenzweig worked under the watchful eye of Lou DiCerbo, CLU®, ChFC®: a well-known titan of the financial services industry, longtime friend of The College, and the first-ever inductee to The College’s Alumni Hall of Fame. Naturally, this seemed like the start of a successful career. Cue plot twist. 

“I worked there for four and a half months, did very well, and then left, never wanting to go back.”

Oh. Okay, then.

“I told my brother-in-law I didn’t want to do insurance,” Rosenzweig says. “I just didn’t think it was for me. So he told me he was opening up a beer brewer and distributor in Brooklyn, and that when they opened a second location, I could be a partner. Four and a half years later, I was working 75-hour weeks in the beer industry and had a wife and year-old child to support. But the partnership fell through, and I was devastated.”

It was now 1979, and Rosenzweig was looking for another career change at a time most people were having great difficulty finding jobs. But he certainly wasn’t looking to go back to financial services, because—I’m wrong again, aren’t I?

“The people I had known at Penn Mutual told me to come back to financial services, and there were potential places for me both there and at MassMutual,” he said. “I had no money, there weren’t many other options on the table, and I saw the people I had worked with years before were doing well now. My father taught me to always do the best job I could wherever I worked, and to never burn a bridge. So I sat down, thought it over, and decided to go back to insurance, and to Penn Mutual. In the end, it was the people there that convinced me.”

Because of his values and work ethic, and having parted on good terms previously, Rosenzweig found DiCerbo was more than happy to hire him back and says he remains in his debt. The rest, as they say, is history. When asked why he came back to financial services after resisting for so long, Rosenzweig laughs. “I came back for the money, and you can make a lot of money in this business. I won’t apologize for that,” he says. “Having said that, I love helping other people and I love to work hard. There’s always more people to see, and my love of the profession grew from there.”

These days, Rosenzweig works with clients whose needs run the gamut from life, disability, and long-term care insurance to pension administration, employee benefits assistance, and more. “My objective was always long-term client retention and being a trusted, knowledgeable partner for them,” he says. And that’s where The American College of Financial Services came in. “Lou was my key to The College. He would always preach that applied knowledge is power in our industry, and that The College was the citadel of that knowledge. So if I wanted to sell a lot of insurance and be competitive, I needed more and better knowledge.”

Despite resisting going back to school and the time drain of returning to studies, Rosenzweig says DiCerbo’s encouragement was the push he needed to earn his Chartered Life Underwriter® (CLU®) designation, and later his Chartered Financial Consultant® (ChFC®), with The College. “I’ve met incredible people over my time here and in my different roles with The College that have helped me grow dramatically.” He lists his three primary areas of expertise as insurance planning, estate planning, and qualified planning—and credits The College with imparting much of that knowledge. “I’ve always believed in treating other people like I’d want to be treated and offering the best value and service for my fees to clients. Sharing knowledge with clients helps them make better and more informed decisions. I don’t ever tell people what they should do; I tell them what they could do, and the rest is up to them.”

Now approaching 50 years in the industry, Rosenzweig says his focus has shifted to giving back to the profession and his community. He says it hasn’t always been easy, but doing the right thing and helping others is its own reward.

“I once met an attorney who had lost his law license for something he did. He needed insurance and came to me, but I couldn’t stand working with him as a client and was glad when we parted ways,” he said. “Several years later, his wife called me out of the blue and told me he had passed away. The police wanted to do an autopsy, but she couldn’t allow it for religious reasons and wanted to know how it might affect their insurance policy. Keep in mind, this was at 4 p.m. on a Thursday and I was playing in a tennis tournament that night. I hadn’t liked him much, but I immediately called my wife and told her I wouldn’t be making it home.”

Rosenzweig says he worked through that evening and into the following morning getting in touch with detectives, medical examiners, and every life insurance contact he could find to get answers for the widow. “I went to his funeral and listened to his son deliver the eulogy, and I learned that thanks to that insurance money I’d helped them get, both his children were able to go to college,” he says. “I’ll say it again: treat others the way you’d want to be treated, and do what’s right. It’s easy to say, but hard to do.”

Rosenzweig is full of stories like this one—something that’s not hard to imagine given his professional and life experiences. “I’ve always felt it’s important to give back, whether it’s through education or charity, and not just be a taker,” he says. “On vacation in the Philippines, I saw a water carrier who would sell water to people. I paid him for all his inventory that day, which couldn’t have been more than $20, and told him to give out free drinks to everyone working at the small airport we were at. I changed his life that day. Another time, I was in Ireland and was listening to a storyteller trying to sell his tapes and books, but was getting booed by the audience. I stepped up to sell his merchandise for him, and he had to go back to his car and get the rest of it because it sold out so fast.” He chuckles. “I like to think I’m a pretty good salesperson, too.”

Over the years, Rosenzweig has been one of The College’s greatest supporters and champions. He made his voice heard in the organization serving on The College’s Board of Trustees for a nine year period, offering advice and guidance as The College navigated the shifting landscape of the financial services profession. He also showed his dedication to supporting and nurturing the growth of students and alumni like himself as President of The College’s Alumni Association, as well as expanding The College’s mission and reach through his Chairmanship of its Foundation Board. And if that wasn’t enough, he also served as Co-Chair for The College’s three-year capital campaign, raising the needed donations from friends, alumni, and sponsors to fund The College’s educational endeavors well into the future. It’s safe to say The College wouldn’t be the same without him.

Congratulations to Mickey Rosenzweig, CLU®, ChFC®, AEP® on his induction into The American College of Financial Services’ Alumni Hall of Fame!

Invest in your career with a professional designation.

Launched in 1927, the Chartered Life Underwriter® (CLU®) designation is the insurance profession's oldest standard of excellence. With it, you’ll be able to provide expert-level insurance solutions, from helping clients choose the right types and amounts of life insurance to guiding clients through aspects of risk management. Expand your knowledge and elevate your career opportunities.

Learn More