A Blog for Today’s Top Financial Advisors

Lessons from the Super Rich About Working with the Affluent – Episode 16


  • The wealthiest of the wealthy are great at being highly focused on what they do best.
  • They maintain small but deep networks of relationships that lead to power and influence.
  • Your approach to serving the affluent should be informed by the same principles the Super Rich use to generate tremendous wealth..

There’s a relatively small but determined group of financial advisors today who strive to work with the wealthiest individuals and families out there—the Super Rich.
If you’re among that group, or if you can see yourself joining their ranks at some point, it makes sense to start understanding the key traits and characteristics of the extremely affluent. Armed with that information, you can take calculated action steps that better position you to attract, serve and retain this highly profitable group.

That said, it’s a smart move to understand the Super Rich even if your goal is to serve clients who are “merely affluent.” The reason, of course, is that many people with “just” several million dollars are aspirational. They may see themselves on a path to Super Rich status, and may be looking for financial perspectives and advice that can help them accelerate their progress.

If they see you as an authority on the ways of the Super Rich, they are more likely to raise their hand to work with you.

So let’s get to know more about the Super Rich!

First, let’s define our audience. The Super Rich are individuals and families who have built a net worth of $500 million or more. They tend to exemplify a certain way of thinking and behaving coupled with an intense determination to excel. Add in some luck, and they’ve created outstanding personal fortunes.

When it comes to calculating the size of the high-end private wealth universe, a number of consulting firms and financial institutions have put out numbers. In all likelihood, there are more incredibly rich people than are calculated by the consulting firms and financial institutions. Keep in mind that the Super Rich, and even the rich, often hire professionals to muddy ownership of assets, making the process of counting them even more difficult. Nevertheless, the strong consensus is that the number of Super Rich families and the wealth they control are growing at an amazing pace.


The success of the great majority of the Super Rich has been driven by their thought processes, orientations and actions—patterns that together constitute what we call Billionaire Intelligence.

The following are three powerful ways a great many billionaires think and act that have contributed to their accomplishments.

1. Stay highly centered. The wealthiest individuals recognize the role their skills and expertise play in generating wealth. They are highly centered, which means sticking to their plan and not being distracted by other opportunities or events that call for new and different skill sets.

Generally speaking, the Super Rich are exceptionally capable of focusing and delegating to others in a way that leaves little room for derailment or doubt. Thus, they habitually concentrate their efforts on their areas of expertise and do everything in their power to delegate other tasks and activities.

2. Employ street-smart networking. The Super Rich frequently think about networking as a means to an end—finding the person, information or tools that get them one step closer to their personal and professional objectives. This entails maintaining a small but deep network of relationships that lead not to friendship, but to power and influence. This form of networking maximizes their time and effort toward realizing profit and identifying those things that can further enhance their profit.

Extremely powerful networking is characterized by a few very powerful, highly targeted, deep relationships with people who in turn have an array of similar relationships of their own. This form of networking enables the Super Rich to make the best use of their time and energy as they connect for profit, first indirectly and then directly, with a wide variety of people who can make them wealthier.

3. Use bargaining brilliance. Today’s society praises caring, compromise and collaboration to find the common ground where people (or institutions) with different aims and vantage points can realize enough of their goals to be satisfied. While this approach is comfortable, especially for those who dislike confrontation, it’s not always optimal for ambitious and successful people.

The Super Rich are often very adept negotiators. When negotiating, the wealthiest among us are focused on reaching their goals and never waver or allow themselves to be derailed by the chance for group happiness or pleas for fairness and justice. Skilled negotiation is at the heart of successful economic endeavors. As Bill Gates said, “In business, you don’t get what you deserve. You get what you negotiate.”


What do these traits mean to you? We find that the Super Rich tend to employ Billionaire Intelligence in their decisions about accessing elite wealth planners and structuring the working arrangement with advisors (see the chart below).


To download a transcript of this episode, click here.

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