From Golf Pro to Financial Advisor: Meet Advisor Robbie Johnson

Being a member of the investment team at CSH has exceeded my expectations. Of course, it doesn’t always work out that way when you take a new job.

Let me explain…

In my prior life, my dream was to become a golf professional. For most, that evokes images of what you see on TV — golf bags so huge they can only be carried by caddies with million-dollar purses at stake. If you’re a fan of golf, it looks like a lot of fun!

In reality, it means working as an assistant club professional, and that’s not like what you see on TV at all. It means checking in groups of golfers at 6 am and giving lessons in the hot Arizona sun. That’s what “real life” looks like for a golf pro. Most people have little idea of what they do all day long, myself included when I got started. It was a rude awakening. I decided that rather than give lessons my whole life to people who were looking for a miracle (that I didn’t have), I should do something else…

Something I was always fascinated with.

So in 2011 I entered the financial services profession. After passing several difficult exams, I was licensed and ready to help clients reach their financial dreams. Or at least, that’s what I thought I was going to do…

It turned out my new “firm” was really only driven by selling products. Their mantra was, “Get in front of as many clients as you can and sell, sell, sell.”

It became evident, after my first week, that this probably wasn’t my dream job after all. Helping teachers with their 403b’s and retirement objectives was just fine. That wasn’t the problem. I’d explain the benefits of our product versus the others and sign people up. Often, I would have a teacher ready to retire. This usually meant a rollover IRA. And that’s where the problem came.

I soon learned that we couldn’t “handle” those case by ourselves. We “needed” a “senior member” to come in with us. As they explained, “someone with a little gray around the temples.”

“Oh, and by the way, you’ll have to give them at least half your commission.” What it boiled down to was they didn’t want young agents missing opportunities to close larger business.

You see, most agents or reps in the investment business don’t last more than three years! (And you thought teacher turnover was bad.) The ones that do make it the first three years, tend to make a career of it. And I guess it doesn’t bother them to swoop in and take someone’s business after the same has been done to them. It’s a bit like hazing.

I watched this play out over time. Seven of us started with the firm, and after two years, just one was left. The veterans, or senior reps, took over the business. Most of my first clients were never contacted by the company again. The company took the business and the commissions, then left the clients out to dry. I know this well. My parents were some of those clients.

I could go on… I then went to work for a major bank and a well-known investment firm. Same story. Different locations.

Despite all this, I knew I loved the investment business. But now I knew what I didn’t want.

The curbside investment firms that are in every community simply weren’t for me. I was done with commissions, transactional mentalities, promotions for selling this month’s fund (even if it wasn’t what was best for the client). I was done with the sell-at-any-cost attitude. I’d experienced enough of that and wanted something different — a way to really serve my clients. A way to help them.

In late 2019, an opportunity I never thought would come about, presented itself. After several conversations with Steve Henry, I knew I had found a home.

CSH Investment Management would become exactly what I was looking for. It is the antithesis of my previous experiences in the investment world.

At CSH clients come first, not commissions. There are no sales quotas. And it’s an environment where the clients are treated like family, not the top sales people.

For many, 2020 will be remembered as the year of the pandemic. But for me, it’s been a great year in spite of that. I’ve learned more in the year since I joined CSH than in all my previous investment jobs put together. And I really look forward to continuing to learn from Steve and actually helping our clients achieve THEIR financial dreams.

If you want to know even more about what sets CSH Investments apart from the rest, check out this article, “10 Reasons to Work with CSH Investment Management” that Steve recently wrote. And give us a call at 217-824-4211 if we can help you with retirement planning, investment strategies, wealth management, etc. We’ll be happy to chat with you!