Millions of people turn to financial advisors for guidance on how to invest their money. But for high-net-worth clients, wealth management involves far more than just taking money and investing it. Advisors who specialize in working with clients with high levels of wealth must know how to handle many issues that traditional brokers and financial advisors typically can't. In particular, the following five things often arise for high-net-worth individuals and are a must for true experts in wealth management.
Once a client has enough money, the biggest challenge is managing the risks that threaten to take it away. Traditional insurance products can only go so far in helping high-net-worth individuals, because the high policy limits necessary for true protection often require customized underwriting from insurance companies. Moreover, special types of insurance are necessary to provide full protection against the diverse sets of risks that high-net-worth individuals face. Examples like key-person insurance in the business context and customized forms of liability protection are crucial to ensure that every risk is managed to the fullest extent possible.
2. Asset protection
Protecting assets from potential creditors and other claims is also an important aspect of high-net-worth wealth management, because with no need to make particularly risky investments, threats like litigation, theft, and damage take on added significance. This is especially true for high-net-worth individuals in risky professions, such as medical professionals. Knowing the ins and outs of titling assets in the best possible way, employing creditor-protection trusts, and understanding the protection that bankruptcy and debtor-rights laws grant even to high-net-worth individuals goes a long way toward ensuring that clients will be able to hang onto their wealth.
High-net-worth individuals often have high profiles as upper-level business executives, well-known celebrities, and others who are constantly exposed to the public eye. These people face a constant threat of kidnapping for ransom and other threats to personal security, and advisors providing wealth management need to know how to get protection for their clients to ensure that they don't face extortion attempts and other brazen actions designed to harm clients and their interests.
4. Estate planning
With the increase of the estate tax exemption to almost $5.5 million, the threat of estate taxation has disappeared even for many wealthy individuals. Yet high-net-worth individuals still face the potential for draconian tax rates of up to 40% on the federal level as well as additional estate and inheritance taxes in many states. Wealth management advisors don't have to be estate planning attorneys themselves, but they should at least have good networks of professionals who can help their clients navigate estate planning issues in a way that ensures that as much money as possible will remain in the family.
5. Family interpersonal relationships
High-net-worth families have plenty of privileges that less wealthy people can only dream about, but those circumstances also create opportunities for discord and misbehavior that can threaten lives and family relationships. Having the resources to consult with trained professionals will allow wealth management advisors to play a much deeper role in working with high-net-worth families, almost becoming a family counselor to help create a unified vision of the client's strategic goals and what's necessary from each member of the family in order to make that vision a reality going forward.
Go beyond money management
High-net-worth individuals have already demonstrated an ability to make money. What they need in an advisor goes beyond simple investment advice. If you truly want a financial professional who will add value to your relationship, someone who addresses these five topics is a must.