Ultra-high-net-worth (UHNW) individuals often enjoy a privileged life that others long to experience. While this type of wealth allows for unique opportunities and experiences, it can also bring distinct challenges. From balancing growing wealth and managing complex tax issues to social pressures and family dynamics, the ultra-wealthy must frequently overcome a variety of obstacles throughout their lives. This article explores three challenges UHNW individuals commonly face and discusses how they might prepare themselves for what lies ahead.
Finding a trustworthy advisor – Navigating significant wealth can be difficult at times, given the complex investments, business opportunities, and tax implications that tend to accompany it. Most super-wealthy individuals know they need guidance to make informed decisions, but this means finding a financial advisor they can trust. It's not always easy to identify an advisor who will act as an unbiased partner in growing and preserving wealth.
It's essential that UHNW individuals select financial advisors who will put their interests first and be accountable and reliable – in short, someone who won't take advantage of their financial resources. The best advisors are professionals who are transparent about fees and genuinely committed to providing honest advice that is tailored to each of their client’s individual needs. It’s worthwhile to invest time and energy into finding a trusted adviser as the guidance they provide tends to pay off in the end.
Fluctuating tax codes – Moreso than the average earner, the ultra-wealthy must wrangle with an ever-changing tax code. As tax laws continually change and new regulations come into play, it can be a real challenge for these individuals to stay abreast of changes to ensure they’re paying the proper amount. In some cases, investors find themselves in violation of local or federal laws despite taking what they believe are adequate steps to remain compliant.
As a result, it's crucial that UHNW individuals understand the gravity of this issue. Not only must they deal with frequent changes to tax codes and payment requirements, but any misstep can potentially lead to serious legal ramifications. Fortunately, there are a variety of resources available for those with substantial wealth who need guidance on how to best handle their taxes, from tax professionals and financial advisors who specialize in high-net-worth clients to software tools that track changes in laws over time.
Mitigating estate taxes – It’s in the best interest of the ultra-wealthy to take steps to reduce estate taxes so they can keep more money in their families for future generations. An important source of revenue for the federal government, estate taxes can vary significantly based on the location and composition of the estate. Super-wealthy individuals must understand how applicable laws may affect them so they can work with their financial advisor to strategically plan for distribution and minimize what must be paid out. If not done effectively, it can mean losing out on a substantial portion of hard-earned wealth. Estate tax bills can be expensive, but proper planning with taxation and financial professionals may reduce taxes owed after death, potentially saving thousands or even millions of dollars.
Compared to lower-income earners, the ultra-wealthy frequently encounter their own set of special financial challenges. Fortunately, however, there are ways to overcome these difficulties that include finding and working with a trusted team of advisors who specialize in serving this clientele, understanding and taking full advantage of changes in tax codes, and taking steps to plan for and mitigate estate taxes. While having vast wealth affords certain unique concerns, there are ways to properly manage these issues, particularly with the help of a trusted financial advisor.