For most people, being shot is a life-changing experience. For John Hurlow, it was also a career-changing one.

John Hurlow, managing partner at Hurlow Wealth Management Group. Photos by Jim Krause

Today Hurlow, 46, is managing partner at Hurlow Wealth Management Group, a Bloomington financial services firm that manages client investments totalling more than $350 million. But as a 22-year-old Indiana University graduate, Hurlow was the manager of a supermarket in Indianapolis with no interest in the financial world.

Everything changed while he was sitting at a Bloomington bar with a friend. In a moment of foolishness, the friend pointed a high-powered pellet gun at Hurlow. He thought the weapon was unloaded. It wasn’t.

“I could see down the barrel of the gun,” Hurlow says. “There was one pellet in the chamber. It hit me in the side of my head and stopped in back of my brain.”

Hurlow spent several days in the hospital while doctors watched for infection and decided not to operate to remove the pellet. Initially having difficulty processing words, Hurlow says he read The Wall Street Journal every day during six weeks of recovery at home. “I read it cover to cover to test my brain, and my interest level grew,” he says. “I thought, ‘This is something I could do.’”

Still, he went back to work at the supermarket. “I had been working in groceries from the age of 12, all through high school and college, and my goal was to have my own chain of grocery stores,” Hurlow recalls. “But at that time, a lot of smaller groceries were going out of business. It wasn’t a good career path.”

Hurlow points to the location where a pellet from a pellet gun entered his head.

Then the store was robbed at gunpoint. “I gave him the money, called 911, and then I sent out resumes to every investment firm in the area,” he says.

With determination—but no experience in the field—Hurlow got an interview at Merrill Lynch in Indianapolis and was hired, first as an administrative assistant, then trained as a financial adviser. When he was transferred to Bloomington, he knew he wanted to stay here, so when another transfer loomed, he decided to branch out on his own.

Hurlow Wealth Management, founded in 2002, manages investments for individuals, families, and businesses. The firm is a fee-only fiduciary, not a broker. “We charge a flat fee based on the assets we manage,” Hurlow explains. “There are no commissions for staff, just a salary.”

Hurlow lives in Bloomington with his wife, Christina, and their blended family of six children. And he still lives with that pellet, too