ACTIONABLE ADVICE FOR FINANCIAL ADVISORS: Newsletters and Commentaries Focused on Investment Strategy

An Awesome Gift For Your Kids, Grandkids, or You

April 24th, 2013

by Gary Halbert

of Halbert Wealth Management

IN THIS ISSUE:

1. The JOHNSON O’CONNOR Research Foundation

2. Helping People Find The Best Careers For Over 90 Years

3. Scientific Testing To Determine One’s Natural Aptitudes

4. Matching Aptitudes & Careers For Success & Happiness

Introduction

This week, I veer from our usual economic and investment themes to tell you about what I believe is one of the greatest gifts you can ever give your children, grandchildren or others who are dear to you (or maybe even yourself). What I am about to describe is something that has literally changed the lives of dozens of my friends and relatives over the last 30+ years.

Today we’re going to revisit the Johnson O’Connor Research Foundation and how it can have a huge impact on the future of any young or middle-aged person who goes there for aptitude testing and career counseling. Some of you may have heard of Johnson O’Connor, but most of you probably have not.

Don’t jump to any conclusions: this is not my favorite charity; in fact, it’s not a charity at all; and I’m not going to ask you to donate any money. What I am going to do is tell you how Johnson O’Connor helps people decide which career fields they are most naturally suited for based upon scientific testing of their unique set of individual aptitudes.

I have published similar articles on Johnson O’Connor (J-O) in the past because it has been such a godsend to everyone in my immediate family, many relatives and dozens of friends and business associates over the years. So, I urge you to read the following, especially if you have any loved ones who are struggling to find a career path.

Ideally, Johnson O’Connor is geared toward high school students who are trying to decide what to do when they grow up and more specifically, which direction to go in college. But it can be equally helpful to those who are already on a career path but aren’t happy or successful in their job. It may also be a valuable resource for anyone who is currently unemployed. In fact, it is great for just about anyone.

How I Learned Of Johnson O’Connor

Before I discuss the specifics about Johnson O’Connor and how they change lives, let me tell you how I found out about this unique organization. Even before I got out of college and graduate school, I knew exactly what I wanted do. Yet most college students are unsure of what they want to do after school and end up taking the best (or only) job offer they get. All too often, that first job (or series of jobs) doesn’t work out for various reasons. The problem is, bouncing around the job market for a year or two or more right after college can leave people way behind their peers who get on the right career path to begin with.

I had a friend I went to college and graduate school with who had trouble with her initial jobs after grad school. She had been a science major in college (as was I), and then shifted to business in graduate school. We both got our Masters Degrees in 1976 in international business. She landed a good marketing job in Houston after grad school but was just never comfortable in the corporate world.

I was working in Dallas in the investment business in 1978 when I first learned about Johnson O’Connor, which has an office in Dallas. I requested information on their testing service and subsequently recommended that my friend in Houston go there for testing. She went, and to her surprise, she learned that her natural aptitudes were not at all suited for either the corporate world or the science field.

Based on the assessment of her aptitude tests, Johnson O’Connor recommended she consider the field of interior design. While shocked at first, she ended up changing careers and was quite successful. I haven’t kept up with her in recent years, but the last time I did, she had bought and renovated several old buildings into bed and breakfasts, and was happy and successful.

I Had To Try It Myself

Given my friend’s results, I referred several other friends (and my younger brother) who were struggling or unhappy in their careers to Johnson O’Connor. In almost every case, the result was the same: a seemingly radical change in career path that led to a happy and successful end.

While I was very happy and enjoying early success in my career in the investment field, I couldn’t help but go to Johnson O’Connor myself. Actually, I was a little nervous about what I might learn. As it turned out, the test results of my natural aptitudes showed that I was well suited for several fields. Here were Johnson O’Connor’s recommendations for me, in order:

1. Stock Broker

2. Investment Banker

3. Journalist

4. Fortune 500 CEO

5. Real Estate/Land Developer

[Before you jump to any conclusions, let me tell you that Johnson O’Connor does not allow you to tell them anything about what you may already be doing, career-wise, prior to the testing and analysis afterwards. Only after they have given you the test results and career recommendations do they allow participants to divulge their current occupation – or desired occupation if a student.]

Obviously, I was pleased with my results and somewhat relieved that I was already working in the investment field, as suggested by Johnson O’Connor’s #1 and #2 recommendations. At first, I couldn’t figure out where the “Journalism” aptitude fit in. But then, in my final exit interview, I happened to mention my weekly client newsletter, which I had begun in 1977. The analyst replied, “There you go, your newsletter is where your journalistic aptitudes are coming out.”

As for the Fortune 500 CEO option, the analyst noted that while I tested to have the aptitudes to be a big-time CEO, he also stressed that in reality, I probably would never make it that far up the corporate ladder, because my aptitudes also showed that I was (am) too impatient and needed to be in control of my own destiny. As for the real estate part, years later I would be involved in several real estate developments, and am involved in one today.

An Invaluable Store of Personal Information

As noted above, I have referred dozens of people to Johnson O’Connor over the years. In most cases, the test results have suggested a change in career path, sometimes a dramatic change. While I haven’t kept up closely with every person I referred to Johnson O’Connor over the years, I can tell you that everyone benefited significantly from the experience.

The information gleaned from the Johnson O’Connor aptitude tests and analysis is tremendously helpful. Not only does it help greatly with career selection, but it also helps to understand one’s personality, the reasons for one’s desires, etc. It is a unique learning experience that can help throughout one’s lifetime.

Tremendous Help In Selecting The Right College

Both of my kids went to Johnson O’Connor in the summer before their senior year in high school. My son is quite the math whiz and ever since he was a small child, he loved to tear things apart and then put them back together. The J-O aptitude testing found that he has a very strong aptitude for “spatial visualization” (three dimensional thinking) – an aptitude that is very important to engineers, architects, medical researchers, etc.

As a result of his aptitude testing at J-O, he chose to study engineering in college. Knowing that made it very easy for us to select the university he attended. He will graduate in May with a degree in Mechanical Engineering. With a near perfect grade-point average, he has been accepted into graduate school to pursue a Master’s Degree in engineering.

My daughter is also in college pursuing one of the career paths Johnson O’Connor suggested for her, and it was equally easy to find the right university for her to attend. She will graduate in two years with her MBA and the hours required to immediately sit for the CPA exam. With that combination, I am confident she will find an interesting job upon graduation.

When you consider how much money it costs to go to college today, it is extremely valuable to know that your son or daughter or grandchild knows what he/she wants to study. And knowing that you have selected a school that offers degrees in those areas they are naturally suited for, and where they’ll have a much better chance of succeeding, is priceless.

The “Personality” Test At Johnson O’Connor

Johnson O’Connor has identified two broad personality types: “objective” and “subjective.” Generally speaking, people with ‘objective’ personalities are those who enjoy working with groups, enjoy working with different people, and are what we often refer to as “people people.” Over two-thirds of those tested at Johnson O’Connor are objective personalities (as am I).

‘Subjective’ personalities, on the other hand, generally prefer to work as individuals rather than in large, fluid groups. They like to advance in their careers based on their own individual work, or that of a small group or team headed by them. Subjective personalities can usually work alone for long periods of time and do not need as much recognition or encouragement as their objective counterparts.

My son tested solidly subjective, and quite frankly, that explained more to me about my son and his personality than I had learned in all the years of raising him! While my son gets along well with his school friends, and played football, basketball and baseball, when it comes to his studies or school projects, he usually prefers to work alone – which is typical of subjective personalities.

Knowing which personality type you are is extremely valuable and this knowledge alone is well worth the price of the testing!

So, What Is The Johnson O’Connor Research Foundation?

The Foundation is a non-profit scientific research and educational organization that was founded in 1922. They have two primary commitments: 1) to study human abilities; and 2) to provide people with specific knowledge of and about their aptitudes that will help them in making decisions regarding which college to attend and career paths to choose.

Each of us has a unique set of personal aptitudes. Some of our aptitudes are stronger than others. Johnson O’Connor (as well as others) believes that unless we are able to “exercise” (use) our stronger aptitudes in our work or elsewhere, we are very likely to be frustrated.

Hundreds of thousands of people have been to Johnson O’Connor since 1922 and have used their testing to learn more about themselves and to derive more satisfaction from their lives and careers. Johnson O’Connor’s unparalleled specialty is testing and identifying one’s natural, inborn APTITUDES. In their own words:

“Aptitudes are natural talents, special abilities for doing, or learning to do, certain kinds of things. Manual dexterity, musical ability, spatial visualization, and memory for numbers are examples of such aptitudes. In a comprehensive battery of tests available only through the Foundation, these and many other aptitudes are measured. These measured traits are highly stable [always present] over long-term periods.

Every occupation -- whether it is engineering, medicine, law or management -- uses certain aptitudes. The work you are most likely to enjoy and be successful in is work that uses your aptitudes. For example, if you are an engineer but you possess strong aptitudes that are NOT used in engineering, your work might seem unrewarding, difficult and unpleasant.

Aptitude testing isone tool for career selection. It can help you find where your aptitudes lie, what type of work uses those aptitudes, and why certain occupations may be more rewarding for you than others… What the Foundation does is give you an inventory of your aptitudes and examples of types of work suggested by the combination of these aptitudes…”

Why Johnson O’Connor Is So Different

As noted above, Johnson O’Connor has been doing aptitude testing continuously since 1922. Over the years, they have pioneered (and continually improved upon) aptitude testing. Participants who take the tests will wonder, I assure you, how certain of the tests can be so revealing. Some are very simple tests, while others are more difficult for certain people. My brother, for example, breezed through the engineering tests that I could not begin to complete. That explains why he is a successful engineer and I’m an Investment Advisor.

The tests are one critical part; the analysis of the test results is equally important. The experts at Johnson O’Connor have the benefit of over 90 years of experience in evaluating the test results and making career recommendations accordingly. While they do not recommend only one career path (usually they include at least three or more), each recommendation is suited for the participant’s unique set of aptitudes and abilities.

There are times, especially among older participants who are already entrenched in the workforce, when it is simply impossible to make a career change as suggested by the test results and analysis. In these cases, Johnson O’Connor often suggests certain hobbies or other non-work related activities that may help exercise one’s stronger aptitudes which are not used in the workplace.

Johnson O’Connor’s time-tested theory is that if one has strong aptitudes (and most people do), they need to be used and challenged on a regular basis, preferably in the workplace where we all spend a great deal of time during our lives.

Not An IQ Test, But Does Test Vocabulary

It is important to understand that Johnson O’Connor’s aptitude tests are NOT designed to measure or determine IQ. There are various organizations that offer IQ tests (beware: not all IQ tests are accurate or valid). Most experts agree that IQ tests are not inherently helpful when trying to decide on a career path. Two people can have identical IQ scores but very different aptitudes.

Also, Johnson O’Connor’s tests do not consist of written or oral questions. They maintain that it is too easy to answer a written question as one feels inclined at the moment, or as they feel it “ought” to be answered. So, Johnson O’Connor does not administer question/answer tests. Again, some of their tests may seem unusual, but they are time-tested and extremely effective.

Johnson O’Connor’s battery of tests does include a vocabulary test. It is widely accepted that one’s vocabulary is an indication of his/her general knowledge. Most experts, including Johnson O’Connor, agree that one’s vocabulary level is one of the best predictors of overall success in school and of performance on college entrance exams and other similar tests. A good vocabulary is also a common characteristic of successful people in many occupations.

Vocabulary knowledge is NOT an aptitude, in that anyone can learn new words and increase their vocabulary. Thus, as part of Johnson O’Connor’s program, they teach participants the importance of increasing their vocabulary and provide some specific study materials that are very helpful in doing so. Parents, you will love this if you have your kids tested!

Time Involved, Cost & Locations

Normally, the process involves two half-day testing sessions, followed by a third half-day when the results and analysis are provided. It is also possible to accelerate this to one full day of testing and a half-day of analysis.

In the last session, participants are given a “transcript” of their scores, including charts and graphs, as well as a book and other explanatory materials. All test results are strictly confidential. A staff member explains in detail each of the scores and what they mean. And they explain each of the career recommendations and why they were selected.

If participants have questions at any time after testing, Johnson O’Connor is happy to answer them. One of the best features is the option of follow-up meetings and discussions after testing and evaluation, which are free in the first year after testing (afterward only $100 per follow-up session). I have several friends who went back for follow-up discussions regarding jobs they were considering, how those opportunities fit their aptitudes and/or what adjustments they would likely have to make in that particular job. This is an excellent opportunity!

The cost for the Johnson O’Connor experience is currently $675 ($750 in New York). While this might seem pricey at first glance, I can’t tell you how many times I have seen this testing pay off in spades. This is especially true for high school students who don’t know what they want to do. It can save years of expensive college costs if the student knows in advance what he/she is best suited to pursue.

Just as important, it can change the life of an adult child, loved one or close friend that is stuck in an unhappy or unsatisfying job situation. Johnson O’Connor tests many adults who are in their twenties, thirties and even forties. Actually, this information on your aptitudes is very useful and very interesting to know at almost any age.

Johnson O’Connor has testing centers in major cities around the country. The locations and phone numbers are listed below.

Conclusions

I could not recommend Johnson O’Connor more highly! Whether you are a parent, a grandparent or whatever, you can give a young person a big advantage by having them tested at Johnson O’Connor. Even if you are not related, you can “gift” the testing fee to the person, generally with no tax implications, or just pay it directly. As noted below, Johnson O’Connor has a gift certificate program.

With the kids out of school for the summer soon, now may be a great time to plan to schedule having your high-school or college student tested. You’ll be glad you did. Likewise, if there is an adult person that is close to you (spouse, relative, in-law, friend, etc.) who is struggling in his/her occupation, this is a chance to possibly rescue their career.

But if you plan to have a child or other loved one tested this summer, you had better make a reservation RIGHT NOW, as the testing centers are the busiest during the summer months when kids are out of school. See the list of testing centers just below.

Even if you are happy and successful in your career, you will find it very helpful to know what your natural aptitudes are and are not, and which personality type you are. You will understand a lot more about yourself.

I encourage you to learn more about Johnson O’Connor Research Foundation at:

http://www.jocrf.org

In closing, let me remind you that I am not associated with Johnson O’Connor in any way; I receive no compensation or anything else for recommending them. I am merely one of many hundreds of thousands of grateful folks who have been through their program over the years. Check it out – you won’t be disappointed!

Johnson O’Connor Locations:

Atlanta

404-261-8013

Los Angeles

213-817-6625

Boston

617-536-0409

New York

212-269-0550

Chicago

312-787-9141

San Francisco

415-772-9030

Dallas

972-991-8378

Seattle

206-623-4070

Denver

303-388-5600

Washington, DC

202-828-8378

Houston

713-462-5562

All the best,

Gary D. Halbert

© Halbert Wealth Management

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