MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — You see a personal trainer for the best results in working out, and you see a doctor to keep your health in top-top shape. The Johnston Group thinks you need to use that philosophy when it comes to your money.
Bradley Johnston calls it “wealth care,” and left some big name firms to do it on his own, with a personal touch. But it’s how he reached his own goals that made Bradley Johnston this week’s Minnesotan to Meet.
“We resonate with people who are intentional about accomplishing things that are important to them,” Johnston said.
Brad Johnston has been on top of the Minneapolis financial game for 20 years. While he was a branch manager in Minneapolis with Morgan Stanley Dean Witter, Johnston attended a conference at the top of the World Trade Center.
Surprisingly, he thought “I need to do this on my own.”
“I was really being more drawn to wanting to have a solid core, in terms of the emotional connection to what I was doing,” Johnston said.
The Johnston Group now has a team of ten, but in the beginning it was just Johnston and his former sales assistant.
“I cannot do this business without the team of people with the specific, shared value system involved,” Johnston said.
That value system wasn’t developed in the traditional sense. Johnston’s mother committed suicide when he was ten and he was the one who found her. With siblings 12 and 20 years older than him, he was left alone frequently.
“Making my own decisions, getting into trouble, making bad decisions,” Johnston said.
That’s when his brother-in-law suggested Johnston’s father send him to a boarding school in Indiana. There he made a number of good connections, including Supreme Court Justice John Roberts.
“I didn’t study like he did, but I had the opportunity to see John Roberts open books, take notes, underline, mark pages, write rough drafts,” Johnston said.
It made him become more focused on academics and he started to build relationships. He and Roberts are still friends.
But then, just as things were getting back on track, his father died of a heart attack in the middle of Johnston’s junior year.
He felt a hole, but then at 18 met his future wife.
“I wanted to have a family. I didn’t have a family. I always wanted to go to holiday dinners and have people sitting around the tables,” Johnston said.
Bradley and Maggie Johnston married young and went on to have five children — Kate, Bo, Abby, Ty and Sophie. The picture perfect family was struck by tragedy when Bo died unexpectedly at the age of 3.
“On July 4th evening, after fireworks, he was accidentally electrocuted at my mother-in-law’s home,” Bradley Johnston said.
He said he was devastated but is now able to use his loss as a positive for others.
“He has allowed me to reflect his love to other parents who have lost children,” he said.
Two of Bradley Johnston’s children now have roles with the Johnston Group.
He also volunteers his time with the Union Gospel Mission. And his wife helps businesses get off the ground through Opportunity International.
To him, success is not only helping clients achieve goals but after so much heartbreak, finding balance in all of life.
“There’s personal, professional and spiritual,” he said. “With my wife and family, I’ve been able to create a structure where those three things are integrated.”