One of the most popular questions to come up during our new business launch has been “Why ‘Chicory Wealth,’ and what does that mean?”
First, as we considered what to name our new firm, I was determined that it not be named after me. While I hold myself in high esteem (wink), I did not think an eponymous firm name would benefit us in the long run. We wanted to build a firm that would withstand the test of time, and a name like mine (which requires spelling out loud several times a day) seemed like a bad foundation on which to build. We also didn’t want a name that would “date” us. In thirty years, we didn’t want a name that sounded like orange shag carpet and avocado kitchen appliances now look – tied to another era and no longer relevant.
When our communications director, Liz McGeachy, and I started brainstorming about this, Liz sent me a list of plant and animal names, as we hoped to draw inspiration from nature. The chicory plant was not one of them. But as I stood there thinking about it, the name “Chicory” fell out of the sky – or so it seemed. Then I remembered a song I love, that coincidently Liz’s husband and music partner of many years, Tim Marema, had written called “Chicory Road.” It’s a beautiful song that you can listen to by clicking here. There is one line in it that was running through my head: “I found love on a Chicory Road. The tougher the soil the sweeter it grows.” The idea of being able to grow and bloom in the worst of soils captivated me. It’s a powerful metaphor, and it caused me to ponder what it might mean to have “chicory” wealth – a kind of wealth that includes but is MORE than money.
While it is absolutely true that my team and I are experts in helping our clients navigate complex financial markets, tax codes, and life changes, it is also true that we recognize that “money” (blips on the screen, cards in your wallet, and maybe even the greenbacks in your pocket for those who are old school) is not the ONLY kind of wealth you or we are concerned with. We also know that our beloved communities are part of our “wealth,” as well as our children, grandchildren, friends, and other family members. Our overall sense of wellness – emotional, physical, and spiritual – is also one of the foundations of our true wealth. So to have and to nurture “chicory wealth” is to pay attention to and intentionally cultivate ALL aspects of our wealth, not just the parts we can quantify on a computer screen.
Now, I am not suggesting that the increase of monetary wealth is not the centerpiece of our work here, and we are clear that our clients hire us to help them build and maintain a solid financial foundation through their lives and into the next generation. We also know it is rough out there and the soil in which our monetary wealth is planted can be harsh and unforgiving. We know it is our job to help our clients navigate the risks and complexities of our modern money system and our markets. And we take that responsibility with the utmost seriousness. But unlike many of our counterparts, we strive to put the monetary in conversation with all the other aspects of life, so that, at the end of the day, we have helped our clients achieve the three C’s: Calm, Clarity, and Confidence in themselves now and into the future.