A Blog for Today’s Top Financial Advisors

Affluent Psychology 101: The Nine Types of Wealthy Clients – Episode 15


  • High-net-worth psychology can underpin every part of your success with affluent clients.
  • Building your business around the investors who are right for you is more effective than trying to be all things to all people.
  • Each personality type values different things from their financial advisors—including reassurance, strong performance, technical innovation and confidentiality.

How would you like to segment the affluent to know which ones you are going to connect with and serve extremely well—and which ones aren’t the right fit?

If you knew how to do that, you could:

  • Figure out very quickly if a high-net-worth prospect sitting across from you is one you should take on as a client.
  • Streamline your client acquisition process.
  • Spend more time serving only those ideal clients who are best for your business and your skills.

That’s exactly what can happen—if you know the nine high-net-worth personality types of affluent individuals. By understanding how specific types of affluent investors are different in terms of their needs and their psychology, you will communicate better, obtain more qualified introductions and acquire more assets to manage.

The upshot: High-net-worth psychology can underpin every part of your success in your work with affluent clients.

Here’s a look at the nine major high-net-worth personalities you need to know and recognize when meeting with affluent investors.

1. The Family Steward. This is the most common personality type you’ll find among the affluent. Family Stewards’ chief financial and investment concern is to take good care of their loved ones. Their goals usually center on issues such as paying for children’s tuition or passing on wealth to their heirs. When it comes to selecting advisors, Family Stewards want to know that you are prudent and careful. They need to feel that you will protect them and their goal of taking care of their families, and you must demonstrate that ability. This group also is very open to a variety of wealth management services—especially estate and financial planning.

2. The Investment Phobic. Phobics don’t like investing, don’t understand it and don’t want to learn. Instead they prefer to delegate investment duties to a financial advisor they trust. To get Phobics’ business, you must demonstrate that you are a reliable and dedicated expert who can take care of all their financial issues. Interestingly, Phobics are the least sensitive to investment performance of any of the personalities, due to their relative lack of sophistication. But one of the biggest challenges you’ll face working with Phobics is getting them to commit to a plan of action.

3. The Independent. This type of affluent investor wants the freedom that financial security ensures—freedom to do what they want and to go after their dreams and hobbies. Independents are about the same as the other personality types when it comes to investment knowledge, and they’ll often turn to financial advisors to compensate for areas in which they lack expertise and sophistication. Independents want to work with advisors who can give advice (such as retirement planning) that will allow them to attain—and maintain—financial freedom.

4. The Anonymous. These are extremely private people who don’t want to disclose their financial information to anyone—including financial advisors! This type of investor tends to be extremely loyal to a financial advisor who gets through that barrier and earns their trust. To get there, you need to instill absolute confidence that you will protect their privacy and keep all their matters confidential. You can’t emphasize your discretion enough.

5. The Mogul. Power motivates Moguls; they want influence and control in all aspects of their lives. Indeed, they tend to view investing as yet another arena in which to show their importance and influence. To serve Moguls, you need to acknowledge their power but still be forceful yourself and maintain control of the relationship. That can be a tricky balance. Asset protection is often an area of interest for Moguls, who see themselves as (and often are) important people who may be targeted for lawsuits.

6. The VIP. VIPs value prestige, status and other people’s opinions. They usually want their investments to help them buy possessions and respect and to help them look “rich.” They are less control-driven than Moguls—they’ll look to you as the investment expert and are often not especially sophisticated about investing. VIPs prefer to work with firms that are prestigious and well-known among their peers in the community.

7. The Accumulator. These investors save more than they spend and live below their means, often not showing outward signs of wealth. Their goal is capital appreciation. The more Accumulators have, the better and more comfortable they feel. Not surprisingly, they are driven mainly by investment performance. They expect their advisors to focus on making their money grow.

8. The Gambler. Investing for Gamblers is all about the excitement and drama, and they are more likely than any other personality to focus on performance results. Advanced planning services aren’t of great interest to most Gamblers, who instead want to talk about investing and want to work with advisors who feel an emotional connection to investing.

9. The Innovator. Innovators like new products, new strategies, new services and new analytical methods. To garner their business, you need to show how technically savvy and up to speed you are in your knowledge of and approach to investing. Innovators demand that their advisors use the most advanced resources available to make decisions and implement portfolios.


When you understand all the HNW personality types, you’ll have a clearer sense of which types of affluent investors you want to focus on—the ones you would most enjoy working with and those to whom you can bring the most value.

By building your business around the specific affluent investors who are right for you, you’ll put yourself in a better position to succeed than you will by trying to be all things to all people.



To download a transcript of this episode, click here.

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