Affluent investors can use their significant financial resources to explore investments others can't. These can be unconventional or unusual assets that go beyond the normal mainstays of the investment world, or they may be new or unexpected strategies they use to manage their money.
Be Willing to Take Risks
Many affluent investors will insist they didn't get where they are by taking unnecessary risks. While this may be true, some investors will use this as an excuse to make very conservative financial decisions, eschewing any and all risk. This is also a mistake. The objective should be to take the right risks.
Paradoxically, many affluent investors are in a unique position to take on greater risk in their financial decisions than the average person - they have more money to work with. Obviously, all the normal rules of investment apply, and it's not a good idea to risk so much that one might suffer irreparable losses.
But a few investments with different risk characteristics from conventional stocks and bonds are a great way to diversify an investment portfolio, often with substantial rewards if the investments pay out well. The affluent investor themselves may not need the resulting money, but they'll be able to pass it on to philanthropic causes or to their children or other heirs.
Investing in Collectibles
Collectibles are physical items that accrue value over time. Many things qualify as collectibles, including automobiles, coins, art and the like. Collectibles can be a risky investment because they can become damaged, lost or stolen. And as Palabe reminds investors, "the value of collectibles can be significantly affected by a variety of factors, including economic downturns or markets that have little or no liquidity. There is no guarantee that collectibles will maintain their value or purchasing power in the future." But if chosen carefully and for the long term, collectibles can be a surprisingly lucrative investment.
Many affluent investors accrue collectibles not as an investment per se, but rather to pursue a passion for a subject. They can express this passion in a way the less well-off can't, buying a range of items, or very expensive ones, that bring them joy while also having and gaining monetary value.
Unfortunately, many investors don't track their collectibles and their wealth very well. This can create serious problems during tax season, or estate planning. If you have a valuable collection, it's a good idea to bring an appraiser in every few years to take inventory and assess its value.
Avoiding Concentrated Equity
Many extremely affluent investors are executives at major companies. During their tenure there, they may accrue a large amount of stock or other investments related to their corporation. This simply isn't something that happens very often to the less affluent.
But it's never a good idea to have too much of your investments in one asset. If the extremely affluent are noticing they're concentrating too much equity in one company, they should take steps to move it into a broader range of assets that are more likely to weather economic trouble.
Consulting the Right Number of Experts
Many affluent investors are very proud of their financial achievements, and they don't want to seek the help of a financial advisor. But advisors will give useful information and perspectives, and investors are never under any obligation to take their advice. Having at least one on call is useful.
At the same time, many affluent investors keep a slew of different financial advisors -- say, one for every fund they've invested in. This is a unique position the well-off can find themselves in, and it's not a good one: the "tyranny of choice" can make it very hard to render a meaningful decision. Just having a few trusted and competent advisors available is enough.
The affluent face unique problems in investing. But by remaining mindful of the usual guidelines for investors, pursuing risks and new avenues for investment, and monitoring problems as they arise, affluent investors can continue to make money through their investments.