The member spotlight for April is on Nick Economos, Co-founder, Managing Principal, and Chief Retirement Officer at Fiduciary Financial Partners, an independent financial consulting firm for families, individuals, entrepreneurs, and institutions. Nick is passionate about speaking to companies about behavioral finance, retirement, building more effective retirement plans, and providing educational programs. Learn about how he went from a paperboy delivering the Chicago Tribune around town to where he is today.
EO Member: Nick Economos
Company: Fiduciary Financial Partners, LLC
Years in Business: 8
How long have you been a member of EO Chicago and why did you join the organization?
I joined EO in 2017 because I was looking to grow personally and professionally. Growing up, my dad always told me that if I wanted to get better, I needed to surround myself with good people. I like to think that by joining EO, I did just that.
At the time that I joined EO, I experienced some challenges with a now-former business partner and was looking around at some other groups like Vistage. But they just didn’t feel right—it felt like I was being sold something and most seemed focused only on the business side of life. When I discovered EO, it felt like the right fit for what I was looking for.
What was your first job?
Paperboy. I used to ride around on my BMX bike and deliver the Chicago Tribune. Nothing like the door-to-door delivery and collections business to cut your teeth—“I don’t have any cash on me right now, kid, come back tomorrow.”
Can you describe your entrepreneurial journey? Where did you start and where do you hope to go in the future?
I knew at an early age that I was going to go into business. I came from a family of entrepreneurs, so I could always visualize it. I started my practice while I was in college and never had a paycheck. I then partnered up with a couple of guys I met shortly after college. It was an “eat what you kill” kind of structure and we shared expenses. I always joked that while my friends were getting paid to go to work, I was paying to go to work. It was a tough road to do it the way I did. In 1999, I broke off and went out on my own. My wife was my first employee, which had its advantages and disadvantages. I had a client who was a CPA and I convinced him to partner with me so we could start offering tax and accounting services to my clients. We formed a company and started to build. In 2012, we split the businesses and I co-founded Fiduciary Financial Partners. Currently, I’m working on developing gen 2 so that the business is viable without me. Although it’s over a decade away for me, I’m already working on the succession plan.
What do you enjoy most about your work?
Marc Anthony said, “If you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life.” That’s how I feel. I am so grateful that every day I get to wake up and help people improve their financial lives. It’s more than just the dollars and cents—it’s about helping people create security and freedom so they can live their lives with purpose and focus on what is truly important to them. What I enjoy most is the close relationships with our wonderful clients and working with my talented team members at FFP.
What daily challenges do you face at work?
Controlling my ADD. Is that a squirrel? It is a daily (hourly) challenge.
What is the best career advice you ever received?
Early in my career, a mentor in the business told me, regarding achieving success in my industry, “It’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon, so stick with it.” Many times along the way something shiny came along or I would have second thoughts, but I’m so glad I took the advice to stick with it.
What are your goals for the future of your business?
My goal for the future of FFP is to have it serve our clients well, grow, and prosper with or without me being directly involved or responsible for any boxes in our accountability chart other than visionary.
What’s the coolest thing you’re working on right now?
Outside of my business, I am on the Board of Female Strong, a nonprofit organization driven by a community drawn together with a common purpose: to offer hands-on programs, mentorship, and experiences that build confidence in middle and high school girls, propelling them to become future leaders.
As a father of three daughters in this age range, I think it’s a really cool and important organization. We are working on raising funds via grants, corporate sponsors, and individuals who support this mission so we can impact more girls and expand our programming. One of my favorite programs is YEA! Chicago (Young Entrepreneurs Academy). This is the only all-girls YEA! Program in the world. Through the program, girls learn the skills necessary to be entrepreneurs. It culminates in a Shark Tank-like pitch session where the winners receive funding. Pitch night is coming up soon and I’m on the investor panel. It’s super cool.
Who or what inspires you?
I am inspired by my wife and kids, my brother, my team members at work, giving back to others, and people who achieve excellence in their discipline or field or sport — too many to name.
If you could go back in time five years and share advice with your past self, what advice would you share?
I would tell myself to implement EOS sooner than we did. It would have saved us time, money, and energy.
What is the greatest challenge you have overcome?
The greatest challenge I overcame was really a trifecta of events that happened over a four-year period. In June of 2006, I broke my femur terribly, and that took about a year and a half to recover from. It led right into the great financial crisis of 2008, which crushed my business and real estate holdings. Then, I battled cancer in 2010.
I like to think that those four years qualify as challenging. Over that period, I learned from those challenges and experiences. I wouldn’t change anything, except I do wish my femur didn’t break into my knee—osteoarthritis in the knee and skiing don’t mix well.
What brought you to Chicago?
I was born and raised in Wheaton, IL. Family is very important to me, and that is what kept me here. I also had a lot of friends from college move to the city, which helped. Plus, the natural network I had in Chicagoland made it a great place to start building my practice.
How do you find work-life balance?
I focus on my values to guide me and surround myself with really smart, talented, and reliable people—my team members at work, my EO Forum, and my YPO mentor—to keep me grounded and support my efforts. I don’t think I’ll ever arrive at the work-life balance “station.” That train keeps on rolling, but I am always practicing and working on it, something I think my forum mates would agree I do a pretty good job of.
When you were a kid, what did you say you wanted to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be a stockbroker or investment manager.
What are your favorite things to do outside of work?
Spending time with family and friends, skiing, fishing, boating, playing pickleball, and, I’ll admit it, playing a little Fortnite.
What’s one thing still left on your bucket list?
Heli-Skiing—planning to check this off next year!
What are you currently reading?
Currently, I’m reading “The Power of Bad” by John Tierney and Roy Baumeister. I’m also re-reading “The Great Bull Market: Wall Street in the 1920s” by Robert Sobel.
If you could recommend one podcast, what would it be?
Right now, I’m into “Exponential Wisdom” with Peter Diamandis and Dan Sullivan.
What’s your favorite restaurant in Chicago?
There are so many to choose from, but I would say Bandera on Michigan Ave. My brother and I lived together near Southport after college, and he was the manager there. I have some great memories there with family and friends over the years, plus the food and service are always solid.
What is your favorite part about working in the Chicagoland area?
The people. There’s nothing like Midwesterners.
What is your top Chicago activity?
Besides spending time with the cool people of EO Chicago, I would say it’s hanging out on the lake or lakefront in the summer and going to Cubs games. Even better if you do all three in the same day!
Where’s your favorite place in the world to visit?
The Rocky Mountains—I love to ski and the summers are amazing.
Thank you to Nick Economos for sharing his story for our April member spotlight. The Entrepreneurs’ Organization is a global business network of more than 14,000 entrepreneurs in 198 chapters and 61 countries. EO is the catalyst that enables entrepreneurs to learn and grow from each other, leading to greater business success and an enriched personal life.
If you’re interested in becoming an EO Chicago member, check our membership requirements and submit an application to join today.