What — please tell me — is a HENRY? The catchy term stands for "High Earners, Not Rich Yet." It was introduced by Fortune Magazine back in 2003 and, in my experience, its optimistic vibe really resonates with people. We may even know a HENRY, recognize ourselves as one or are happy to report we are former HENRYs on our way to a better financial future.
From time to time HENRYs enter our office frustrated by the lack of money in their investment accounts. It just doesn't make sense to them that they are making $250,000+ and yet they still have no real money to their name. What they do have are a lot of things and a lot of stuff. And, by the time we see them, HENRYs often are more than a little embarrassed at how much they've spent on their toys.
HENRYs, we don't judge you! You don't need to hide that third car in the garage from us. In fact, the more honest you are, the more we can help you enjoy the fruits of your labors and take steps to secure your financial future.
HENRYs are all ages. And they all have one thing in common: they are acutely vulnerable to the financial risks that can come with disability, death, or divorce. Younger HENRYs have the added risk of inexperience. They don't know what they don't know, innocent to the fact that good fortunes can change on a dime. Older HENRYs have more experience, but time is ticking for them. For years they've told themselves, "One day, when I make more money, I will start saving." Before they know it, they're 60 years old and have made no progress building their nest egg.
Unexpected events can happen to everyone — including HENRYs — and disrupt your plan.
One client came to us after her life took an unexpected turn. She was the primary family breadwinner with an income of more than $1 million per year. She and her husband had small children in elementary school and they were living the dream until her husband became so ill that he was on the brink of death. The businesswoman had considered herself invincible up to this point; after all, she had the killer shoes to prove it. With tears in her eyes, overwhelmed by the responsibilities of caring for him and the children, she told us she assumed everything would be fine as long as she kept earning that incredible income even though they were spending almost every penny. They had a mismatched collection of investments, assembled with no rhyme, reason or coordination. Even worse, their risk management (i.e. insurance for the husband) was inadequate. It was a humbling experience to say the least.
It can be ugly when the non-working spouse of a HENRY goes through a divorce. I often see women who have left the workforce to raise children and have enjoyed a certain lifestyle paying little attention to the family finances. Regardless of the state of the marriage, many times these couples have been living beyond their means.
Ready for the good news? Most HENRYs — with the right planning — can build a road to financial success.
A couple in their late 30s, a sweet family with three children, came to us for help. Their income was in the $400,000 range, but they had few, if any investments, to show for it. The couple did have an amazing new pool and a fancy car, both of which took a heavy toll on their net worth. Now that we have them focused and they have a few toys, they are increasing their net worth at warp speed!One of my favorite clients (actually, they're all my favorites) had a super low investment account balance when I met them. They were about 60 at the time. The wife was the primary breadwinner. They had one child. At the beginning of our engagement, they felt ashamed and embarrassed about how little money they had. Once they let their defenses down and leveled with us, their investment account started accumulating as they started saving! We harnessed that high income and their net worth has tripled in the last three years. They love checking their wealth empire online and often tell me how thankful they are that we started working together. Granted, this is an example and not a promise or indication of future results of any kind.
Get with the program
Are you or someone you know a HENRY in need of help? I urge you to consider our HENRY boot camp. Our system will help you get the basics down emergency reserves, disability insurance, life insurance, college savings accounts, and debt reduction, including student loan payments. We start by hearing your objectives. Do you want to skip the risk management and move straight to wealth building? What good is a snazzy investment account if you haven't protected against the possibility that the breadwinner will unexpectedly die?
Once your risk management strategy is in place, we move to your Wealth Building Account. Here's where the discipline comes in. Wealth building seldom happens overnight. Some people receive a windfall from selling a business or cashing in huge stock awards after working long and hard for that big payday. More often, we see people who have built their wealth one dollar and one paycheck at a time. Yes, that sounds completely boring. But these disciplined wealth builders know something that most HENRYs don't: It feels good to save.
According to a 2013 survey by Ally Bank, saving money tends to improve your sense of wellbeing. The survey, of 1,025 U.S. adults ages 25 and up, found that the more you save, the more likely you are to be happy. Perhaps even more interesting, the survey found that when it comes to happiness, how much you save has a bigger impact than how much you earn. Studies in the United Kingdom and Australia also found links between saving and happiness. A study commissioned by SunLife surveyed 3,000 UK households and found that the happiest 10 percent are more likely to have savings than the least happy 10 percent. In Australia, the Financial Health Barometer research found that regular savers are twice as happy as non-savers.
Getting in the habit of saving is a lot like cutting back on sugar — the desire to indulge and a lot to gain. If you have been nodding along the way, then pick up the phone and schedule your appointment today or click here to pick your time for a visit: HELP FOR A HENRY?
Hooray HENRY, you're this close to gaining a financially secure future — let's get you there.
What is a HENRY? Watch the video and learn how we may know a HENRY, recognize ourselves as one or are happy to report we are former HENRYs on our way to a better financial future.