Every advisor wants wealthy people as clients. The tricky part is getting them. Social networking makes lots of sense, but many people think the seriously wealthy as seriously scary. Reality TV shows like The Apprentice and the Real Housewives franchise reinforce that opinion.

Advisors can join the right groups and get themselves into the right places. Walking across the room and starting a conversation with a stranger can be intimidating if you sense they are worth 100 times your next worth. There can be hesitation over the age difference, especially if there’s a 30-year gap.

Generally speaking, these myths aren’t true:

1. Wealthy older people don’t socialize with younger people. This implies they are only comfortable with people their own age. Not necessarily.

Why it’s not true: If they own a business, they sell a product or service. The younger generation has money to spend. What are their values? How do they think? What’s important to them? The easiest way to get the answer is to know some of them. Here’s another reason: Nothing makes you feel older than being surrounded by older people who are dying off. It can get depressing. Having a range of friends spanning generations lets you feel younger.

2. Rich people don’t make new friends. This implies they are cliquish. They go to their private clubs to be with their own kind. Generally speaking, this isn’t true either.

Why it’s not true: Their social circles are dynamic. Even if they spend lots of time at their club, new members appear on the scene; they get to know them. Wealthy people have hobbies and interests. They enjoy sharing them with fellow enthusiasts or amateurs with a sincere desire to learn. As a property developer told me: “Everyone needs something.” Even if it’s just another person who shares the same interests. 

3. We have nothing in common. They are rich. You are not. They have a mansion. You have a townhouse. They drive a Bentley. You drive a Honda.

Why it’s not true: You are likely meeting these wealthy people in the context of community involvement. They may be serving on the board of the historical society or the symphony. You both share the same interest in the organization and the cause. They might serve on the board. They can write big checks, but don’t have the time to do the work volunteers do. They might be the Treasurer of the group. There may be an unspoken rule they can’t step down until they find or groom their replacement.    

4. Rich people splash money around. I can’t do that. The Real Housewives series have lots to answer for. Have you ever seen any of them reach into their pocket and pay a bill? Do something we would consider “working?” How can they afford all those designer clothes? Rich people you encounter aren’t likely to be like that.

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