Brandon Johnson: Managing $1.8 Billion in Wealth [Outliers with Daniel Scrivner Ep. #15]

“Once we have a starting point and a target, we can start to evaluate, do we turn left, do we turn right? How do we measure success? Then that dynamic process never stops.” — Brandon Johnson

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Brandon Johnson is the CEO and CIO of JFG Wealth, which oversees more than $1.8 billion in wealth for families across the United States. In this episode, Brandon and Daniel discuss the history and nuances of family offices, how to approach wealth, the spectrum of risk, teaching kids about saving and investing, and so much more.

Brandon serves on the Boards of Trustees for the University of Denver, Children’s Hospital Colorado Foundation, and ACE Scholarships. Brandon regularly speaks at industry conferences across the country and is a thought leader in the family office and wealth management industries.

Chapters in this interview:

  • 00:00:39 — Overview and history of Johnson Financial Group
  • 00:08:30 — Brandon’s path to wealth management
  • 00:12:50 — What is a family office?
  • 00:15:38 — How JFG is different from other family offices, and the importance of a relational approach to wealth management
  • 00:25:34 — Keys to successful family wealth management
  • 00:37:32 — Talking to kids about investing
  • 00:46:17 — JFG’s process when working with new families
  • 00:53:52 — Working with families with investments as the final stage of the process
  • 00:59:24 — The spectrum of risk and returns with common investment options
  • 01:08:29 — Diversification and recency bias
  • 01:15:41 — Defining success
  • 01:22:05 — Brandon’s favorite restaurants, as a Le Cordon Bleu-trained chef

For more, explore the full transcript of this episode.

Links from the Episode

Investment Terms:

Brandon’s Favorite Books on Wealth

Brandon’s Favorite Books on Investing and Giving for Kids (Age 13+)

Brandon’s Favorite Books on Leadership

The Spectrum of Risk

Lower risk, public capital:

  • Cash
  • 1-Year Treasury
  • 10-Year Treasury
  • Municipal Bond
  • Corporate Bond
  • High-Yield Bond
  • Blue Chip Large Cap Stocks
  • Small Cap Stocks in international developed markets
  • Small Cap Stocks in emerging markets

Increased risk, private capital:

  • Private Credit (direct lending, mezzanine debt, asset-backed loans, and specialty finance)
  • Private Real Assets (real estate, energy, infrastructure, and agriculture)
  • Private Equity (growth, buyout, venture capital)

Asset allocation can be varied among any of these risk levels, based on what the investor is interested in and comfortable with.

Teaching Kids about Giving, Saving, and Spending

At age five, introduce the concept of give-save-spend. Whenever children receive their allowance, or any other income, teach them to give away 10%, save 45%, and spend the remaining 45%. This simple 10–45–45 split helps kids understand that a portion of everything they earn should be given away, saved, and invested.

  • For Giving: Talk to your children about what they’re interested in and passionate about. Let them decide which charity or charities they’d like to give to each year. You can go even further by volunteering at your children’s favorite charities and allowing them to present each charity with a check of their own gift so that it feels real to them.
  • For Saving: Setup savings accounts at Young Americans Bank for your children. Have them start contributing to it as early as possible. When they reach the 7th grade, let them choose whether to put their savings into a savings account or a UTMA investment account. Talk to your kids about how you think they should approach investing, but ultimately let them invest their money into the companies that they love and believe in. Then review their investments with them every 3 or 6 months so that they begin to understand how investments grow (and shrink) over time depending on factors like the economy and broader stock market.
  • For Spending: Let your children make their own decisions about how to spend their money. You can weigh in, but ultimately respect that it is your children’s money to manage. Full ownership and empowerment are important.

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