October 14, 1985, was a pivotal day. Had I made a different choice that day you would have never given a crap about anything I would ever say about helping FAs be successful, both in terms of client experience and your own goal achievement. There would not have been a speaking career, industry best-selling books, no articles written or read and no workshops or training and coaching programs. I might have washed out like so many others who enter our business. That was an important day.

As a person with no background or formal education in finance and no contacts in the community, it was not easy for me to get hired at a major firm in a wealthy area like La Jolla, Calif. But now the three-month training program was behind me, the Series 7 test had been passed, and it was my first day in the real world of being a “broker.” It was time to go get clients. My sales manager, Steve, and I had the following conversation:

Bill: So, Steve, what’s the process for me to connect with rich people in La Jolla and get them to change advisors and become my clients?

Steve: Bill, that’s not how it works.

Bill: Uh … not how it works?

Steve: No. You’re 26 years old, you’re not wealthy, you have no experience working with wealthy people, and you don’t have any contacts with wealthy people. You’ll build your business by working in your “natural market.”

Bill: You’re (expletive deleted) kidding, right? Your advice for my success is that I work with other broke 26-year-olds? Am I supposed to wrestle away their beer money to open an IRA?

(Actually, I wasn’t exactly broke. Broke was my goal. My friends would say, “Damn, I’m broke” and I’d respond, “How’d you do it?” If I could just get my net worth back to zero, maybe someday I would be financially successful.)

Steve: As other young professionals grow in their careers and start earning and saving more money, your business will grow with them.

That was the day I fired my sales manager. The choice was to NOT allow myself to be infected with his limiting beliefs about what was possible. Just because he didn’t know how to teach a young advisor how to get older clients with money did not mean it couldn’t be done. On that day, I dedicated myself to figuring out how to develop the people skills necessary to meet financially successful people, how to talk to financially successful people and how to offer them a better value promise so some would leave their longtime relationships with their other advisors. (I’m referring to people with $1 million or more.) Had I made a different choice, you’d surely be reading someone else’s column in FA magazine today.

As an advisor who delivers a high-touch and personal client experience, it makes sense for you to work with people who have more money, right? You’re not trying to have a big clientele with many hundreds of clients. You want 40, 50 or 60 great clients you can really make a difference for. You’re not a mass-market financial services business like a bank or consumer-direct financial services company with employee advisors in a customer service call center or a robo. Hopefully, you’re not a one-trick pony product-flogger either.

Whether you are a veteran or newer advisor, here are some key ideas to consider as you plan to grow your business to the next level.

I’m not a fan of the generation labels like baby boomer, Gen X, Gen Y and millennial. From a business development and client service viewpoint, there are people who have enough money to make your business work and there are people who don’t. Perhaps a more relevant question to consider is, “Will this generation of people over 50 keep their money longer than previous generations of 50+?”

If the answer to that question is “yes,” then worrying about who’s going to inherit their money and when is a non-issue. By the way, the answer to that question is definitely “YES.” The fastest growing demographic is people over 100. Why? Advances in science, medicine, genetics, robotics, nanotechnology, artificial intelligence and synthetic biology will ensure this hard trend continues.