John Smith CFP®, AEP®


What do you enjoy most about being a part of the BDF team?

ALL team members live and breathe our culture. It is great working with people who all share the same vision of doing what’s best for our clients and at the same time are focused on helping each other.

Why did you choose to get involved with the Business Owner Team?

Business owners spend all of their time working in and on their businesses which oftentimes results in neglect on the personal financial side. I think it is critical for business owners to integrate these two aspects of their lives (business and personal) in order to give them the opportunity to enjoy a life outside of the business.

What is the one thing you wish every person knew when making financial decisions?

It is not about getting it right all of the time; it’s about minimizing the number of big mistakes along the way. Emotions make this very difficult for most people to do on their own.

What’s the most influential book you’ve read and why?

The Art of Possibility – This self-improvement book presents a philosophy and strategy for seeing and living in the world from a standpoint of abundance and possibility vs. scarcity and restriction. There are great anecdotes and examples designed to help achieve a paradigm shift of viewing the world and your surroundings with optimism and full of possibility.

Who in your life has influenced your career choices?

I have been with BDF since the very early stages of my career and have been greatly influenced by watching the founders of BDF help make BDF the company it is today. I have also learned a lot over the years from clients I work with in understanding the steps they have taken to become successful and live rewarding lives.

Full Bio

John found a home with BDF shortly after earning his BS in Financial Counseling and Planning from Purdue University. Building on his degree and Certified Financial Planner™ and Accredited Estate Planner® certifications, over the past 27 years John has grown in the firm from a financial analyst to a wealth manager to a true strategist and visionary who understands the big picture of what clients want to achieve.

Embracing BDF’s team-focused environment, John knows how to assemble all the pieces of a client’s wealth management puzzle. Whether those pieces involve complex personal tax or estate planning issues or working with clients so they understand the options that exist in creating and preserving family wealth, John enjoys leading the team of accountants, attorneys, and other business advisors to implement that financial plan. “My job is to understand all of the issues and what is most important to the client so I can determine who to bring in, and  in what capacity.”

John oversees financial planning for many busy business owner Founders and Family members. He also has a passion for serving the “serial entrepreneur”. He knows how to balance protecting a client’s accumulated nest egg while embracing the fact that many successful business owners want to continue taking certain types of risk to increase their after-tax wealth and understands the notion of a business owner who is always working “in” their business and how it’s important to also work “on” your business. “There’s never a definitive right or wrong when trying to balance business goals with personal financial goals, yet if you understand the tradeoffs and how your decisions are impacting other areas of your life, you can make an informed decision.” John often is invited to participate in clients’ family meetings, helping to maintain harmony as family members work together to maintain and grow their family legacy.

John has been interviewed by publications including The Wall Street Journal, The Chicago Tribune,, Financial Advisor magazine and Investment News on topics such as real-estate investments, tax strategies for business owners and wealth management strategies for doctors. John is a member of the Chicago Estate Planning Council and the National Association of Estate Planners and Councils and holds the ACCREDITED ESTATE PLANNER® designation.  He is a member of the Financial Planning Association and a member of the University Club of Chicago and an active member of the club’s Golf Society and Wine Society.

If you’re looking for a holistic advisor to help you put together all the pieces of your financial puzzle, call John.