While it can be argued that different individuals could benefit more than others from a financial plan, it is my humble opinion that everyone needs and deserves one. That plan could be either a simple or complex guide that shows the individual their current cash flows, goal attainment, and some protective elements such as insurance, long-term care, and disability. In fact, providing financial planning for the high-net-worth is often one of the largest value indicators of the relationship between a family and a financial firm, given that many firms do not even offer comprehensive financial plans.
Let’s take a look at some of the benefits gained by offering financial planning to high-net-worth clients.
Defining the HNW
Who are the high-net-worth? This is a good question and the answer varies depending on how each firm defines it themselves. There is no hard and fast industry standard, although many generally agree on a standard range. For example, a report by Asset Mark divides investors into three main groups: mass affluent, high-net-worth (HNW) and ultra-high-net-worth (UHNW). Of the total population, about 10% falls into the $500,000 to $5 million range of investments. This is seen as the sweet spot due to the segment’s substantial wealth and desire for the type of holistic planning that savvy investors can provide.
My belief on defining the high-net-worth comes down to answering a couple fundamental questions about you and your firm:
- What is your top client’s value?
- Are they “good” clients, do you provide value and in turn make a living working with them?
Typically the overall financial plan, and especially the discovery phase, is the place to uncover different ways to service a HNW or UHNW client. Leading global wealth information and market research company, Wealth-X, says that “Many wealthy prospects have unique financial concerns, often including multi-regional estate and tax planning and management of unique assets. In addition to these areas, philanthropic planning is a key wealth management need for HNW individuals who give to charitable causes, sit on non-profit boards, or manage charitable trusts….”
Without taking the step to formally construct a financial plan, advisors may never uncover a client’s need for additional services such as advanced estate and tax planning. Even more so, advisors risk losing their clients to other firms willing to make the financial planning effort.
Growth and retention
Lastly, financial planning can often be a launching pad to the growth and retention of valuable HNW clients. Loosing and then gaining new clients is extremely inefficient in terms of both time and cost. By maintaining financial plans for clients, they will be more likely to stick with you over time. And as your clients continue to grow, many more opportunities will arise for you to serve their needs.
For information on how to provide holistic, comprehensive financial plans to HNW clients using NaviPlan, click here.