Robert Johnson III

Robert Johnson IIIage 35

Certified financial planner, AXA Advisors

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Robert Johnson joined the booming information technology sector after graduating with a business degree, but after being laid off three years later he realized his true calling was right under his nose.

Mr. Johnson, 35, followed his father into the financial advice business, attracted to the idea of helping people and educating them about financial issues. With about 2,000 clients and $73 million in assets, he’s built a business focused on working with schoolteachers and nonprofits.

He volunteers with many of the same people and organizations, including spending many career days at middle schools teaching kids about the importance of financial planning. He is a certified financial planner, chartered financial consultant and earned his MBA from the University of Illinois. Mr. Johnson has won honors from AXA Advisors for being a leader among his peers, and is a qualifying member of the Million Dollar Round Table.

Building and maintaining his successful Chicago-based firm has required dedication and drive, and not just in the early years, he said. 

“Getting comfortable in this business is the quickest way to halt growth,” Mr. Johnson said. “You have to fear losing more than you love winning.”

Mr. Johnson, a fan of golf, running and weight training, is married with a daughter — and prepping for a new baby coming in July.

— Liz Skinner

Fast Facts

  • Had a paper route at age 9
  • Guilty pleasures are brownies, cookies and almost anything with chocolate
  • Works 60-70 hours per week
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