Chris M. Johnson

Lead Advisor, Principal

With over 24 years of experience in the financial services industry, Chris is dedicated to delivering personalized investment and financial planning advice.  Prior to joining Dowling & Yahnke Wealth Advisors, he was an Executive Director at J.P. Morgan Chase, where he spent six years consulting and advising wealth management firms, family offices, and banks.  Chris started his career as an equity and option trader with Fidelity Investments.

Chris completed his undergraduate work at Brigham Young University, where he obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Korean and International Business Management.  Additionally, he has a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from the Graziadio School of Business and Management at Pepperdine University.  Chris is currently pursuing his CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ (CFP®) certification.

Chris grew up in North County San Diego and is a proud graduate of Vista High School.  After working in Salt Lake City and in New England, Chris and his wife, along with their four daughters and one son, moved back to sunny Southern California to be closer to family.

What inspired you to work in the financial industry?

Growing up, I witnessed my family experience two financial hardships.  Both centered around economic forces that crushed their entrepreneurial dreams; the first being sky-high inflation during the early 80’s and the other was the Southern California real estate boom/bust cycle during the early 90’s.  These events helped shape my desire and interest in learning as much as I could about economics and finance.  Additionally, I was driven to help others plan for their financial future and mitigate risk.

I love helping clients with…

Uncovering and reaffirming their goals, dreams, aspirations, and objectives, as we sensibly construct thoughtful planning strategies and implement those strategies into prudent investment portfolios.  I have a passion for working with clients to simplify and solve their complex financial situations.  I thoroughly enjoy collaborating with clients on a variety of topics including investments, retirement income planning, employer stocks and options, executive compensation, and business exit planning.  The relationships developed and satisfaction gained from clients reaching their financial goals stand out as the most fulfilling aspects of my career.

What is your favorite family tradition?

Sunday family dinners.  I love a home-cooked meal and lively family discussions.  Each family member shares what they learned the past week, reviews upcoming schedules or events and we end dinner with a 10-question trivia quiz; with topics ranging from Disney movies, holidays, sports, or history.  Our frequent dinner guests do not get a free pass.  The grand prize winner gets out of clean-up duty for the night.

What is your favorite hobby?  Why?

I love being active and outdoors.  Fortunately, my hobbies have transferred to my children’s hobbies.  I’ve taught them to surf during the summer and ski during the winter. We also enjoy hiking and mountain biking throughout the year.  It’s a win-win.  This is one of my favorite things about living in Southern California, there is always an opportunity for some outdoor sport or adventure no matter what time of year!

What is your personal motto or mantra?  Why?

“Make it a Great Day!”  Instead of the typical phrase – Have a Great Day.  From the time my children attended school, I would repeat this phrase to them as they left each day and now all I have to say is “make it a…” and they yell back to me – “Great Day!”  One of my personal foundational beliefs is that you make life what you want it to be.  Positive thoughts coupled with positive actions is the recipe for a full and enriched life.


  • Brigham Young University. B.A. in Korean and International Business Management
  • Graziadio School of Business and Management at Pepperdine University, MBA


  • Financial Planning Association® Orange County Chapter, Member