Brad Wira and Brad Johnson

Brad Johnson – Commentator and ex-AFL player

We first met as teammates at the Western Bulldogs, before he moved back to Fremantle. I work for Fox Footy now and travel to Perth a fair bit during the season, so we always catch up and have remained good mates.

He was a good player, a tagger who made it difficult for the better opposition players. He was one of those blokes the opposition hated because he made life difficult for them, but we loved him as a teammate because he’d minimise the influence of one of the opposition’s best players.

When Brad and his company started talking to a lot of the AFL players through their association, it was a natural fit for me. At the time, there was a fair bit going on and he was able to steer us away from trouble.

What he was able to do for us in a financial sense was really unbelievable. I’m young, you know, and sometimes you don’t take things like superannuation as seriously as you should. I always keep an eye on things, but Brad’s always there – much like a coach. He’s extremely upfront with me and my wife, he always puts it back on us to go and research the things he already understands.

He was always extremely organised, which I appreciated as a teammate. Brad was always on time and respectful of the environment he was in. He always worked hard and pushed himself to the limits, and I think they’re the sort of traits holding him in good stead in the business world.

We always have a joke about when he moved to Fremantle and we had to play on each other a couple of times. He was trying to restrict my influence on the game, very unsuccessfully might I add! We were able to fight hard on the field but remain mates off it as well.

Brad Wira – Financial Adviser, Shadforth

We met in 1995 when I got traded to the Western Bulldogs. My introduction to Brad Johnson – who’s a legend of the game, he’s in the Hall of Fame – was when the coach gave us a marking drill and Brad beat me 9 to 1. I was completely demoralised, but he would do that to 99 out of 100 players.

I retired in 2001 and started working with the AFL Players Association in financial education in 2002, looking after the players’ super fund. Brad became a client in March 2010.

Early on, it was purely superannuation advice, then as Brad got married and had children, it became all encompassing. He’s been working for Fox Footy as a football commentator in Melbourne for five years now and bounces all sorts of financial decisions off me.

Brad played such a long time in the AFL – we like to call it ‘Life in Reverse’ from a superannuation perspective. You earn a lot more money than you normally would at a young age and accumulate assets. We have a rule: take 24 hours on any important decision. In the AFL world, there’s always someone who wants you to invest in a stock, or a pub, or another business. I told Brad and his wife, Donna, to take 24 hours to think about any major decision, then give me a call if they’re still interested. I think that’s served them pretty well.

He’s one of the nicest people you’d ever meet. They call him the smiling assassin, he’ll smile 24 hours a day.

He’s pretty savvy with his finances, I think he’s learnt that over time. He’s managed to play the game he loves and earn a good amount of money doing it, but he’s also prepared well and looked after it. I think he’d agree that getting an outside financial mentor is a big part of that.


Tahn Sharpe is a Sydney-based financial services journalist with a background in financial planning. He writes on advice, superannuation, investment, banking and insurance issues, is a certified SMSF Adviser and holds an Advanced Diploma of Financial Planning.
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