Most people dream of being rich, but the financial professionals who serve the wealthy as clients get to see up close and personal what that dream looks like in real life. Whether they do their taxes, handle their investments or guide their business decisions, money managers for the 1% have access to the most intimate secrets of the elite. They get a firsthand look at their relationships, habits, strategies, stresses, proclivities and peculiarities — and GOBankingRates got four of them to tell their stories.
The following is a look at the surprising things about millionaires and billionaires that the general public will never see for themselves, as told by the people closest to them. So, you think you know what it’s like to be rich? Well, keep reading.
Cathryn Chen is the founder & CEO of MarketX Ventures, a global venture capital firm focused on fintech, deeptech and vertical SaaS. She was raised in poverty, riding a bus four hours to school every day, and grew up to make the Forbes 30 Under 30 list in 2019 at the age of 29.
A former investment banker, she sees many of her ultra-wealthy clients embrace the same ideals of monetary minimalism that helped her survive her own challenging childhood.
“At MarketX Ventures, I work exclusively with wealthy clients and billionaires to help them invest,” said Chen. “Many are surprisingly frugal, shopping at Costco and bargain hunting. It probably comes from their habit as entrepreneurs to get more bang for your buck mentality. I respect that and strive to find the best deals globally to give them the most return.”
They Care a Lot About Money — but Not Only Money
Bret Magpiong is a former advisor and C-Level executive at Aspiriant, a wealth management firm with more than 220 employees, 11 offices and over $13 billion in assets under management. He’s also the author of “The Delta Theorem: An Innovative Framework for Being Fully Alive and Truly Wealthy” and the founder of Rudius Strategies Group.
“I’ve spent my entire career advising not just the one-percenters, but the less-than-one-percenters,” said Magpiong. “And without exception, the most surprising thing the wealthy discover as their wealth increases is that it’s rarely about financial wealth alone. Sure, having lots of money matters to them, but what starts to matter equally enough, if not more, is the wealth of relationships, health, mind and spirit, and their time. Money can buy a lot of things but it can’t buy everything.”
Andrew Gosselin is a CPA and a former senior strategy consultant for Ultimate Kronos Group, a multinational technology company that provides workforce management and human resource management services. He’s currently the senior editor of Money Inc.
“So, you’re thinking that managing money for millionaires is all champagne and caviar?” Gosselin said. “Let me tell you, there’s a lot more to it than meets the eye. Wealth may bring its perks, but it often comes hand-in-hand with some complex financial dilemmas.”
But money managers for the rich aren’t the only ones who shoulder a lot of stress — their wealthy clients do, too.
Gosselin told the story of a millionaire client who he described as a “self-made tech wizard.” He said, “When he sold his startup, instead of feeling elated, he was a bundle of nerves. You see, with the inflow of cash came a surge in financial responsibilities and potential risks. It’s a feeling that resonates with many of my affluent clients.”
Casey Jones is the founder and head of marketing and finance at CJ&CO, an award-winning global digital marketing company that has helped business owners build over $175 million in revenue. Many of the Jones’ clients were already rich — and he made them richer.
He learned that upon making the leap from rich to wealthy, barriers dissolve.
“The thing is, being rich and being wealthy is like the difference between a million and a billion,” said Jones. “Rich people understand what it feels like to have a lot of money. Wealthy people, though, know what it is like for nothing to be impossible. With their level of affluence, they can have access to anything, sometimes including unethical and troublesome access.”
Jones told the story of a wealthy client who spent $100,000 to clone his dog through a pet “genetic preservation” company called ViaGen.
“But, the more intriguing aspect is political. They have the ability to buy their way into almost anything. Super Bowl? No issues — just let us know where you want to sit.”
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