Financial Planning

Looking for High Net Worth Wealth Managers?

By  Brian Thorp

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High net worth individuals and families require specialized wealth management services tailored to their unique needs. Get to know the wealth managers specializing in serving high net worth (HNW), very high net worth (VHNW), and ultra high net worth (UHNW) clients, and who can help you enjoy life with less money stress.

Whether you have billions, millions, or even hundreds of thousands of dollars to your name, wealth gives you status, security, freedom, and the ability to give back – among a multitude of other benefits.

However, to paraphrase a popular truism, having too much of anything has its downsides. And when it comes to money, one of the greatest challenges individuals and families with a high net worth must confront is how to manage their wealth effectively.

Do it right, and that hard-earned fortune will benefit multiple generations. Fail, though, and it’s a matter of time before it begins to dwindle.

That’s why we’ve put together this guide to high-net-worth wealth management. Read on for key definitions, further details on why it matters, and how wealth management differs for people with high net worth.

Before hiring a wealth manager who specializes in serving high net worth individuals and families, it’s important to first consider your unique financial planning priorities. In this guide, we’ll share tips to help you get started in your search and introduce you to wealth managers and financial advisors featured on Wealthtender who you may want to add to your shortlist.

How Much Does it Cost to Hire a Wealth Manager?

➡️ How Much Does a Wealth Manager Cost? Read the Article

What Is a High Net Worth Individual (HNWI)?

While there’s no actual legal definition, in financial circles, a high net worth individual (HNWI) is someone who owns at least $1 million of liquid assets. In other words, if you have relatively easy access to a million dollars in cash (e.g., if the money’s kept in a brokerage or bank account), then you’d be considered HNW by a financial advisor.

For clarity, someone wouldn’t fall into this category just because their primary residence is valued at $1 million or they have collectibles worth that amount of money. Liquidity is key – the only million-dollar assets that count toward your HNW claim are those that can be quickly converted to cash.

Interestingly, a 2021 study by Spectrem Group found that 11.6 million American households fit this description – an increase of 600,000 from the year before.

As an aside, being an HNWI isn’t the pinnacle of wealth accumulation. Above it, there are “very high net worth” (VHNW) and “ultra-high net worth” (UHNW) individuals. These are people who have at least $5 million and $30 million in liquid assets, respectively.

What Is High Net Worth Wealth Management?

Wealth management is a comprehensive, high-level financial service that helps affluent individuals with everything from investment advice and retirement planning to debt management and estate planning. It’s carried out by specialist financial advisors, often operating under the title of “wealth manager”.

The nuts and bolts of a wealth manager’s job depend on each client’s individual needs. However, the goal is always the same: to increase their wealth, minimize their exposure to unwanted financial risks, and protect their assets.

Okay, but what about high-net-worth wealth management?

The end goal doesn’t change, but these wealth managers are working with clients who fall into the $1 to $5 million bracket of liquid assets instead. The nature of the work is different too. With more money on the line, growing, maintaining, and protecting the fortunes of HNWIs is more of a challenge.

This has numerous implications, including the need for personalized wealth management solutions and separately managed investment accounts – perks to which less wealthy investors don’t have access. You’ll find more information about the differences between standard and HNW wealth management in later sections though. For now, here’s why it’s so worthwhile…

Why Is HNW Wealth Management Important?

Ultimately, the reason to access high net worth wealth management comes down to this: being rich now doesn’t guarantee you’ll still be rich in the future.

Look no further than the lottery winners who squander their millions for proof.

Likewise, consider the famous case of renowned rapper Curtis Jackson (better known as 50 Cent), who went from being worth $155 million to bankrupt in the space of a few years. And even the 18th US President and renowned Civil War General Ulysses S. Grant went broke after leaving the White House.

The lesson is simple. Just like in business, if your fortune isn’t growing, it’s dwindling.

So if you’re an HNWI and want to avoid this fate – and lack the time, inclination, and/or know-how to do it yourself – it makes sense to seek professional advice that helps protect your assets and increases your net worth every year.

Key Elements of High Net Worth (HNW) Wealth Management

As we noted earlier, certain aspects of HNW wealth management differ from standard financial services of this nature. After all, there’s more to protect, as well as potential issues that don’t impact those with less personal wealth. Here are a few areas where HNW wealth management is of particular importance:

1. Tax Planning

As a high-income earner, you’ll likely have to pay higher income tax rates. But there’s no point handing more to Uncle Sam than you’re obliged to.

A key part of wise investing, tax planning for HNW individuals is a core financial service that’ll help you maximize deductions, leverage tax-loss-harvesting, and take advantage of other techniques to minimize your annual tax bill. Done right, you’ll hold onto a bigger slice of your wealth over time and thus maximize what you can leave to your loved ones in your estate plan. And that leads us nicely to our next point…

2. Estate Planning

Everyone should take steps to get their affairs in order before they die. Once again, though, this is particularly valuable for HNWIs because they’re likely to have sizeable estates to bequeath their friends, family, and favored charities.

A private wealth manager will a) prevent you from making expensive mistakes throughout the estate planning process and b) help you do everything necessary to ensure your assets get divided up in line with your wishes and that the process is as easy (and as lucrative) as possible for your heirs.

3. Succession Planning

For HNWIs who generated their fortune through a family business, succession planning makes sure the right people are available to fill leadership positions that open up in the company.

Some wealth managers will help you identify those critical roles, highlight potential vacancies, select the key skills/competencies that’d promote business continuity, and implement an action plan to upskill individuals so they can assume those roles as/when they open. Ultimately, this puts the business in a much stronger position and helps ensure its long-term financial success for you and your family.

Find a Knowledgeable High Net Worth Wealth Manager

Having more money doesn’t mean you’ll have fewer financial problems. In fact, it often opens the door to a unique set of issues! And one particular challenge that plagues the world’s wealthiest people relates to managing their money effectively.

That’s where high net worth wealth management comes into play. With the right guidance, you can invest in sensible places and take action that mitigates financial risk, leading to less stress and a fortune that keeps on growing.

Smart Tips for Finding a Wealth Manager for High Net Worth Individuals and Families

Before hiring a wealth manager, here are a few quick tips to help you find the best advisor for you.

1. Decide Which Services You Need

Before hiring a wealth advisor, determine what services you need from them. Whether it’s full-service investment management or a plan focused on a specific area of your finances, put together a list of what you’d like help with before contacting a wealth manager.

Though many people among the emerging affluent use a financial planner simply to invest for retirement, this is only a small part of what most high net worth wealth managers offer. Here’s a quick rundown of potential services a wealth manager may offer you:

  • Budgeting and money management
  • Debt management
  • Insurance planning
  • Retirement planning
  • Other investment planning
  • Inheritance planning
  • Estate planning
  • Tax planning
  • Personal concierge services

As you can see, wealth managers for high net worth individuals can help with your entire financial picture, not just investing.

Finding the right wealth manager can help you minimize risk, maximize gains and take advantage of tax breaks while investing for your future. They can also help you protect your assets with the right kinds of insurance and help you pass on your financial legacy with a proper estate plan and charitable giving strategies.

2. Consider Your Budget and Payment Preferences

Once you have a list of services you would like, review the fee structures common among wealth advisors. Finding a balance between the services you need and the cost of those services will help narrow down the field of advisors you may want to work with.

If you are looking for a full-service wealth manager to manage all of your investments, consider searching among fee-based financial advisors. If you want to manage your money yourself, consider the flat fee and monthly subscription advisors for ongoing support.

3. Interview Multiple Wealth Managers

Once you have chosen the services and fee structure you prefer, it’s time to contact a few wealth managers and interview them. Here are questions to ask wealth managers:

  • What services do you provide?
  • What are all the ways you get paid? (fee transparency)
  • What is your investment strategy?
  • How do you measure investment performance?
  • How do we communicate about my plan?

Interview multiple advisors to get a feel for who you want to work with. A combination of fees, services, and customer service will help you determine the best fit for your financial advice.

4. Review Wealth Manager Credentials

Once you find a wealth advisor (or two) you feel comfortable with, it’s always a good practice to check their credentials and the firm’s details. You can do this at the Investment Adviser Public Disclosure (IAPD) website

You can check both the individual and the firm to view their background and experience details, as well as any disciplinary action taken against them or their firm.

As licensed financial professionals, there is oversight into how financial advisors conduct business, so running a quick (free) check on them is recommended.

For additional information about the credentials of a wealth manager, read our article to learn the most popular designations held by financial professionals, as well as specialized credentials which may be important to consider if you have unique financial planning needs.

Get to Know High Net Worth Wealth Managers

📍 Click on a pin in the map view below for a preview of high net worth wealth managers who can help you reach your money goals with a personalized plan. Or choose the grid view to search our directory of wealth managers with additional filtering options.

Have Questions About Financial Planning for HNW Individuals?


Frequently Asked Questions & Additional Resources

Before I hire a new wealth manager, should I fire my current advisor?

You don’t need to fire your current advisor before beginning your search for a new wealth manager. In fact, your new advisor can help coordinate the transition of your assets from your previous financial advisor.

Where can I read reviews about wealth managers written by their clients to help me decide if I should hire them?

After 60 years of regulatory prohibition of wealth manager reviews in the US, a rule issued by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) became effective on May 4, 2021 that means both wealth managers and directory websites that help consumers search for wealth managers can collect and display client reviews, an important factor worth considering when choosing who you’ll hire to manage your investments and life savings. 

Wealthtender is the first independent wealth manager review platform designed to be fully compliant with the new SEC rule, and we look forward to helping you evaluate wealth managers based on reviews written by their clients.

I’m a wealth manager interested in being featured in this guide. How do I get started?

Thanks for your interest. We look forward to learning more about your practice and helping you attract your ideal clients where you may be a good fit based on their individual needs and circumstances. Please click here to learn how you can join wealth managers featured on Wealthtender.

About the Author
A headshot of Brian Thorp, the founder and CEO of Wealthtender

About the Author

Brian Thorp

Brian is CEO and founder of Wealthtender. He and his wife live in Texas, enjoying the diversity of Houston and the vibrancy of Austin.

With over 25 years in the financial services industry, Brian is applying his experience and passion at Wealthtender to help more people enjoy life with less money stress.

Connect with Brian on LinkedIn

To make Wealthtender free for readers, we earn money from advertisers, including financial professionals and firms that pay to be featured. This creates a conflict of interest when we favor their promotion over others. Learn more. Wealthtender is not a client of these financial services providers.
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