What Can the 1% Teach the Rest of Us about Aging?
Updated: Oct 6, 2022
Even the richest among us have fears. They often share many of the same worries the rest of us have.
But there is one difference. The Super Rich, people with a net worth of at least $500 million, often take some highly effective steps to address those worries and, quite often, overcome them.
The Super Rich tell us that they struggle with three main fears about their lives and the lives of their families:
Severe health problems for themselves or loved ones
Dysfunctional family members doing substantial damage
Losing their wealth
If you share one or more of these fears, consider taking a page from the Super Rich playbook to tackle it.
Fear #1: Severe health problems
Severe health concerns for you or the people you care most about can be a distraction and a drain, emotionally, physically, and even financially. Dealing with these concerns is a top priority for the Super Rich, as it is for most everyone else.
Of course, the Super Rich are in a stronger position than many others to potentially mitigate the possibility of severe health problems. They are also in a better position to deal with them when they arise. But the fact is, anyone can have heart disease, get cancer or contract a debilitating illness. Genetics can be a strong counterbalance to the power of personal wealth.
To address health-related concerns, consider these Super Rich steps:
Join a concierge medical practice. Concierge medicine is a membership model. For a fee, you get access to “boutique” medical practices with relatively small ratios of patients to physicians. This means faster appointments, longer visits, and significantly more personalized care given (in many cases) by physicians with far greater expertise than typical care providers. Concierge practices might also offer tech-enabled care such as telemedicine through smartphones.
Pursue a longer life. Concerns over possible severe health problems are prompting more people to work on ways to extend their longevity. One example is personal genome sequencing, a process that can reveal a person’s specific future health risks so they can be addressed early on. Longevity-focused care providers are increasingly in demand, and common, as well.
Fear #2: Dysfunctional family members
Most families across the wealth spectrum have some conflicts. But family-related issues can get especially challenging when there’s wealth involved.
Consider “bad seed” family members who exploit their families (and sometimes their family businesses) for personal gain, to the detriment of other family members and the company. Bad seed family members can destroy family harmony as well as family wealth and the future prospects of that wealth.
Another common problem is self-absorbed and entitled children. Some of these more hedonistic kids get themselves into jams such as being arrested or being center stage in lawsuits.
The most forwarding-thinking Super Rich parents tend to combat these and similar problems in two ways:
Financial solutions. Trusts with built-in oversight of an overprivileged child’s inheritance can be an effective way to protect the child. Such trusts might also help protect assets from creditors and others. Of course, the best way to use a trust will depend on the situation.
Personal solutions. Crisis management and behavioral professionals are tapped to address any damages, provide counseling and rehabilitation, and help families take other steps to transition the child into more responsible behavioral patterns.
Fear #3: Losing their wealth
Despite their wealth—or perhaps because of it—the Super Rich worry about the emotional and financial pain of losing their affluence and all that accompanies it. That’s especially true among the Super Rich who have the other two worries noted. After all, severe health problems and family dysfunction can certainly contribute to the Super Rich losing their wealth.
That said, the Super Rich also worry about people who might maliciously try to take their wealth. Their affluence makes them targets, in many cases, of actual criminals—as well as targets of lawsuits, creditors, former spouses and others.
What do the Super Rich do to prevent the loss of wealth? Some examples:
Finding and working with reliable trusted advisors. Elder law and estate planning attorneys, accountants, and financial advisors with proven integrity and full operational transparency are vital members of the team. Typically, such high-caliber advisors are found through referrals from trusted peers and other professionals.
Implementing asset protection strategies. Various forms of insurance (such as an umbrella policy) and trusts can discourage others from attempting to take your wealth via unfounded lawsuits and similar attacks. Placing assets in the name of someone else, such as a spouse, may also help build a moat around wealth.
Shoring up physical protections. The Super Rich often make use of advanced security and monitoring systems that employ technology such as infrared cameras and sensors. But even setting a realistic-looking fake security system can deter many thieves.
To varying degrees, families who are not Super Rich can use many of the same approaches to dealing with these types of fears and challenges.
For example, concierge medicine is becoming increasingly cost-effective and available to a broader array of people. Likewise, many high-caliber financial professionals now serve the “merely affluent.”
Applying the tactics used by the Super Rich may help you conquer your fears and achieve results you never thought possible, enabling you and the people you care about most to live great lives.
Adding Takacs McGinnis Elder Care Law to your team of trusted advisors can help you address all your fears about growing older. Just give us a call at 615.824.2571 to schedule a consultation.