It may not be a problem that affects all that many people, but becoming newly wealthy can be a stressful experience. When bank accounts start to bulge, there is no shortage of people willing to offer advice on what to do with the excess cash. Some of those people won’t know what they’re talking about, and most of them will be charging fees.
Gotham Magazine has an interesting piece on this very problem, with insight from Lebenthal & Company CEO Alexandra Lebenthal, as well as Liz Claman, anchor of the Fox Business show Countdown to the Closing Bell. The problem with having a few million dollars to invest, as opposed to a hundred million, is that you won’t have access to the best Wall Street has to offer. That makes you part of what Lebenthal calls the “Lost Affluent.”
Advice for the lost affluent
If you can’t afford to hire somebody to take full control as a professional, it’s unlikely that your needs are being met by financial advisers, according to Lebenthal, “They have needs that aren’t really being met by any institutions. Those needs aren’t just investment needs, but cover a whole range of services around finance: bill paying, preparation, insurance services—basically, the job of keeping track of everything in someone’s life that has a dollar sign in front of it.”
Those people are left without the kind of customized advice that they need. FBN Anchor Liz Claman says she faced similar problems when she was first managing large sums of money. She says that are at least a dozen factors that matter apart from total return. Moving to a boutique adviser helped her learn more about those factors, and helped her manage her money better.
Boutique wealth management
Boutique advisers are becoming more popular in the wake of the financial crisis. According to Lebenthal, people and advisers began moving to boutiques when larger investment houses proved less than secure. Boutiques are able to give more customized advice and guide clients through dealing with new wealth.
Liz Claman likens the search for a financial adviser to any other purchase. “People don’t shy away from buying custom rugs and custom couches instead of going to Pottery Barn or Crate and Barrel, so why not invest the same amount of time finding a custom solution to your financial advice needs?”