The Story of WorthLiving™

As told by Richard B. Wagner, JD, CFP, founder and principal of WorthLiving LLC

Several years ago I was in Japan on behalf of the Institute of Certified Financial Planners. As its chairman of the board, I had the honor of addressing the first graduating class ever of Japanese CFP licensees. As a part of our exchange, we met with several Japanese financial planners at their offices. We had first-hand exchanges of professional similarities and differences.

On one such visit, an elegant man welcomed us. Physically striking and spiritually imposing, he seemed to embody the elegance, knowledge and wisdom of Japan. I felt a connection.

During our visit, he took it upon himself to demonstrate some of his methods of working with families. In due course, he pulled out a huge ledger, much like the sorts containing the historical records of a county seat-leather bound, weighty and clearly important. It was in Japanese, of course, and totally indecipherable to me. He then proceeded to take us through some of its sections.

“Here are investment assets. Here are insurance policies. Here is their real estate estate planning and taxes. And this section contains WorthLiving assets,” explained my colleague, as he carefully turned the pages.

Now I had been tracking fairly well, considering the retained effects of jet lag. The list was not so different from a typical client file in America. Suddenly, my awareness alerted. “‘WorthLiving’ assets?” At first I thought I had simply misunderstood. “Pardon me?”

He repeated, “WorthLiving assets.”

I was confused. “I’m sorry. I don’t understand. What are “WorthLiving” assets?”

My mentor hesitated. Then he looked at me patiently and tolerantly. He proceeded to explain hesitantly, as if to a child, using small words imparting wisdom with the sort of accent that makes anything sound profound, “‘WorthLiving’ assets are like family, art, religion, community and education. They are the sorts of assets that make life worth living.”

My head exploded. My host had conceptually communicated a concept at once universal, unique and profound. I shivered with discovery. He had touched my core.

Yet, over time, this memory faded.

Six years later, I was arduously searching for a name to reflect a financial advisory firm devoted to working with money and the human spirit. To me, this meant personal values, goals and spirit. Then I remembered.

“WorthLiving.” “WORTHLIVING.” “WORTHLIVING.” Whoa.

I hurried to the computer. The domain name was available. The next day, I checked with the Secretary of State and then did a trademark check. Again, no barriers. The name was available. In the next couple of days I nervously registered the domain name and the corporate identity. Finally I applied for the trademark and put it into commerce. Meanwhile, I connected with my own heart’s core.