Jeff Johnston started a new business with two things.
The University of Northern Iowa alum graduated in 1989 with a major in finance and an emphasis in investments, in addition to minor credits in psychology.
A short stint with an insurance business quickly taught him that that wasn’t the right model for him.
“I came to Cedar Rapids and started Premier Investments of Iowa Inc. with a phone book and a cubicle,” he said.
That was 23 years ago, and Johnston and his business partner and co-owner, Brock Renner, grew their business venture into an operation that today employs 12 financial advisers and 8 full-time administrative assistants who handle a client base that numbers 3,000.
“The one part of the insurance business that we don’t do,” Johnston said, “is property-casualty. We don’t do autos, things like that.”
Johnston points out that while his degree and experience is in finance and investments, he uses his psychology studies 10 times more.
“I’m sort of a financial psychologist,” he explained. “We talk about behavioral finances with our clients all of the time — and the aspects of greed and fear. If I could remove greed and fear from the equation, my job would be really, really easy.”
He went on to explain that what he loves most about his job is the behavioral finance part.
“I love the human thought process that people do when they make financial decisions,” he said, but was quick to add that he is not a coach.
“We have a lot of very successful people who are just too busy — they understand investments and they have their desires, but they don’t have the time to do the investing work, so I become the time part of their financial planning for them,” he said.
In 2006 the company built their new building on First Avenue NE and in March 2009 they began offering a one-hour, call-in investing radio program on WMT-AM.
“We do that live show from 6 to 7 o’clock every Tuesday night,” Johnston said. “I really enjoy this format a lot, and it just validates what I am trying to do every day for my clients.”
Owner: Jeffrey A. Johnston
Company: Premier Investments of Iowa Inc.
Address: 3600 First Ave. NE, Ste. 100, Cedar Rapids
Phone: (319) 363-3811
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