March 1, 2023

5 Biggest Stresses that High Net Worth Families Deal With and How to Address Them

High net worth families have a unique set of stresses. Seemingly every day, they are faced with a myriad of decisions that could have a long-term effect on their financial stability. In this blog post, we’ll explore the five biggest stressors for high-net-worth families and discuss how to handle them.


1. Learning How to Say “No”

High net worth individuals, more often than most, will generally receive requests from various avenues in their lives. Between private investment requests from friends and acquaintances to monetary requests from family, high net worth clients must develop the habit of saying “no” tactfully to maintain their balance sheet and keep their financial plan in order. Too many “yes” responses to these types of requests can lead to a chaotic balance sheet that is difficult to track– which can weigh on a high-net-worth client mentally and financially. Additionally, any private equity investment request must be vetted in full before proceeding.

So, how does one learn to say “no” to keep their plan well on track? It’s important for high-net-worth individuals to have a trusted team of advisors to properly investigate all requests and ensure that one’s balance sheet remains on track and in alignment with their overall goals.

Delegating the process of “no” to their team of advisors or having an email or response template for the “no” response are two solutions we have seen to be most effective, ultimately helping remove the emotion and decision fatigue associated with these conversations.


2. Balancing Their Time

One common thread between most high-net-worth clients is that there isn’t enough time in the day to properly balance all that is going on in their busy lives. Studies have shown that 80% of a parents’ time spent with children will be when their kids are under their roof until age 18. The remaining percentage is small– being that once kids graduate high school, they will more than likely begin taking shape and ownership of their own lives outside of the home. One major component of a life that is in balance, particularly for high-net-worth individuals, is figuring out how to balance spending time with family and managing the competing time and energy demands of a high stress career.

What does this mean in practice? The answer truly is individualized on a case-by-case basis. For some, it’s ensuring that weekends are sacred for family time, and family time only. For others, it’s configuring a schedule to be home for family dinner some nights or for a child’s sporting event. Whatever the compromise comes out to be, the important idea is that a compromise exists to make sure that the time in one’s day is in balance between professional and personal obligations.

EWA loves the advice:

  • Don’t prioritize your schedule
  • Instead schedule your priorities


3. Gifting Strategies– Helping vs. Enabling

While lifetime gifting is generally an advisable strategy for high-net-worth individuals, there must be a plan and strategy in place to ensure that the wealth transfer is helping the next generation, while not enabling the next generation. This is a delicate balance that must be treated with utmost care. Most high-net-worth families want to see a successful wealth transfer to the next generation but want to do it in a way that does not deprive the next generation of any motivation or ability to handle adversity by themselves.

This is a paradox—as by helping, sometimes you end up hurting your kids more in the process.

This can be avoided, due in large part, to having conversations about money and initiating this strategy while the high-net-worth individuals are living. Simply leaving the next generation with a large inheritance, with no context or value behind the accumulation strategy, can lead to irresponsible handling of the wealth.


4. Letting Money Dictate Your Life, Instead of Supporting Your Life

Too often, we find with high-net-worth individuals that money is dictating life’s decisions and actions. Our philosophy is the opposite– money should support your life by design.

An exercise that is valuable to most clients is ranking their top five most important values in their life and evaluating these on an annual basis as life changes. It is crucial that one’s financial plan is in alignment with the values that one finds most important in life. Otherwise, finances and life can be moving in opposite directions, not coordinating into one plan


5. Not Having A Coordinated Financial Plan

Most high-net-worth individuals have a trusted team around them to help keep their affairs in order. Likely, an estate planning attorney, a CPA or tax advisor, an investment manager, and / or an insurance agent would qualify as members of this team. Where issues could arise is if these team members are not “coordinated” or communicating with each other to ensure the plan is always moving in the same direction.

For example, if a trust is created, but it is not communicated to the insurance agent or investment manager to update policy and/or account beneficiaries, the trust is completely useless. Having constant communication between team members, or even having one team monitoring all affairs can better lead to full coordination of one’s financial plan.

Ensuring that all five of the above factors are accounted for and in order is vital to a sustained, successful financial plan.


Equilibrium Wealth Advisors is a registered investment advisor. The contents of this article are for educational purposes only and do not represent investment advice.

Stock markets are volatile, and the prices of equity securities fluctuate based on changes in a company’s financial condition and overall market and economic conditions. Although common stocks have historically generated higher average total returns than fixed-income securities over the long-term, common stocks also have experienced significantly more volatility in those returns and, in certain periods, have significantly underperformed relative to fixed-income securities. An adverse event, such as an unfavorable earnings report, may depress the value of a particular common stock held by the Fund. A common stock may also decline due to factors which affect a particular industry or industries, such as labor shortages or increased production costs and competitive conditions within an industry.  For dividend-paying stocks, dividends are not guaranteed and may decrease without notice.

Past performance is no guarantee of future results.  The change in investment value reflects the appreciation or depreciation due to price changes, plus any distributions and income earned during the report period, less any transaction costs, sales charges, or fees. Gain/loss and holding period information may not reflect adjustments required for tax reporting purposes. You should verify such information when calculating reportable gain or loss.

This content has been prepared for general information purposes only and is intended to provide a summary of the subject matter covered. It does not purport to be comprehensive or to give advice. The views expressed are the views of the writer at the time of issue and may change over time. This is not an offer document, and does not constitute an offer, invitation, investment advice or inducement to distribute or purchase securities, shares, units or other interests or to enter into an investment agreement. No person should rely on the content and/or act on the basis of any matter contained in this document.  The tax and estate planning information provided is general in nature.  It is provided for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal or tax advice.  Always consult an attorney or tax professional regarding your specific legal or tax situation.

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Securities and advisory services offered through EWA LLC dba Equilibrium Wealth Advisors (a SEC Registered Investment Advisor).
* Government bonds and Treasury Bills are guaranteed by the U.S. government as to the timely payment of principal and interest and, if held to maturity, offer a fixed rate of return and fixed principal value.  However, the value of fund shares is not guaranteed and will fluctuate.
* Corporate bonds are considered higher risk than government bonds but normally offer a higher yield and are subject to market, interest rate and credit risk as well as additional risks based on the quality of issuer coupon rate, price, yield, maturity, and redemption features.
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