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By Gary D. Halbert
January 13, 2004


1.  The JOHNSON O’CONNOR Research Foundation.

2.  Helping People Find The Best Careers For 81 Years.

3.  Scientific Testing To Determine One’s Natural Aptitudes.

4.  Matching Aptitudes & Careers For Success & Happiness.


This week I veer from our usual investment themes and tell you 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 25 years. 

What I am going to talk about is 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.  Some of you may have heard of it, 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 am 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 urge you to read the following article, 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.

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.  Most college students are unsure 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.  Problem: 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.  She landed a good 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 had an office in the D/FW area.  I requested information on their testing service and subsequently recommended that my friend go there.  She went, and to her surprise, 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 this person over the last decade or so, but 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 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, my test results of my natural aptitudes showed that I was well suited for several fields.  Here were Johnson O’Connor’s recommendations 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 the test results and 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.  “There you go,” the analyst replied, “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 I 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, years later I would be involved in several real estate developments (although primarily as a passive investor).

An Invaluable Store Of Personal Information

As noted above, I have referred dozens of people to Johnson O’Connor over the years.  In every case but my own, the 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 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 and all sorts of little “quirks” we all have.

It is a unique learning experience that can help throughout one’s lifetime.

So, What Is Johnson O’Connor Research Foundation?

The Foundation is a nonprofit 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 school (college) and careers.

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) at least 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 and used their service 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 possess aptitudes NOT used in engineering, your work might seem unrewarding. If you LACK the engineer's aptitudes, your work may be difficult or unpleasant.
Aptitude testing is one 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… The Foundation, however, does not provide employment counseling services.”

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 all of the engineering tests that I could not begin to complete.  That explains why he is a successful engineer and I am 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 80 years 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 aptitude patterns. 

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 the SAT-Verbal 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!

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 possible in some cases to accelerate this to one full day of testing and a half-day of analysis. 

In the last appointment, 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 (before, during or 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, the first of which is free (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 $600.  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 wants 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 any age.  With older people, naturally, they should have a real willingness to make a change.  Don’t waste your money unless the person is willing to at least consider a career change.

Johnson O’Connor has testing centers in major cities around the country.   The locations and phone numbers are listed at the end of this E-Letter.


I could not recommend Johnson O’Connor more highly!  I can tell you that both of my kids will go to Johnson O’Connor before they reach their senior year in high school.  They will each go either at the end of their sophomore year, or at the latest, during the Christmas break in their junior year.  Either way, that will give them (and Debi and me) time to learn about their natural aptitudes and begin to use that information to think about, and plan for, college as well as their likely career ideas.

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 minor, generally with no tax implications, or just pay it directly.

Likewise, if there is a grown person that is close to you (relative, in-law, friend, etc.) who is struggling in his/her occupation, this is a chance to possibly rescue their career. 

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

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 hundreds of thousands of grateful folks who have been through their program over the years.

Johnson O’Connor Locations:



Los Angeles




New York




San Francisco








Washington, DC




All the best,

Gary D. Halbert


2004 election will be a “watershed,” no matter who wins.

Good article on why Bush should win big.

Another view suggesting how the Democrats could win.

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Forecasts & Trends E-Letter is published by Halbert Wealth Management, Inc. Gary D. Halbert is the president and CEO of Halbert Wealth Management, Inc. and is the editor of this publication. Information contained herein is taken from sources believed to be reliable but cannot be guaranteed as to its accuracy. Opinions and recommendations herein generally reflect the judgement of Gary D. Halbert (or another named author) and may change at any time without written notice. Market opinions contained herein are intended as general observations and are not intended as specific investment advice. Readers are urged to check with their investment counselors before making any investment decisions. This electronic newsletter does not constitute an offer of sale of any securities. Gary D. Halbert, Halbert Wealth Management, Inc., and its affiliated companies, its officers, directors and/or employees may or may not have investments in markets or programs mentioned herein. Past results are not necessarily indicative of future results. Reprinting for family or friends is allowed with proper credit. However, republishing (written or electronically) in its entirety or through the use of extensive quotes is prohibited without prior written consent.

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