If you’ve ever watched soap operas you know wealthy people aren’t strangers to intrigue, betrayal and personal agendas. They test people before bringing them into their orbit and passing is no easy task. Here are some examples.

Read: How rich prospects test you socially


They take great vacations, and they want to associate with similar people.

Scenario: They returned from a luxury safari. Everyone is talking vacations. You want to fit in so you embellish your story about your vacation to Paris. You claim you stayed in a better hotel than you did and that you ate at the best restaurants.

Outcome: They’re well traveled, and ask questions only a person with firsthand experience can answer. They know exactly when that famous restaurant closes for vacation, and are astounded to learn it was reopened – just for you!

Test Result: Fail. They know when a person is stretching the truth. More seriously, you lied. You said something untrue because it’s what you thought they wanted to hear.

Better Approach: Be awed. Ask questions. Deliberately downplay. “We went to Paris, but we didn’t stay at your hotel!” They will draw you out.

Charity Events

Somehow you got on “the list.” Now you get invitations for every gala in town, and you even serve on a committee. This can get expensive.

Scenario: You receive an invitation to a charity gala. “Hope you can come” is handwritten on the card by one of your acquaintances. He’s a committee member and attended the gala for your charity a month ago. But you’re busy that evening or funds are tight.

Outcome: Responses are reviewed, and you’re not listed as an attendee. He went to your event, but you’re skipping his.

Test Result: Fail. There’s an unwritten rule among the charitable wealthy: If you receive an invite with a handwritten note from a friend on the committee, you either buy tickets to attend or send a cash contribution. You “can’t belong” because you don’t understand the rules.

Better Approach: Call and acknowledge receipt. Outline your intended action.

Remembering Details

You meet people at events, but remembering names is tough.

Scenario: You encounter a person in a group setting and introduce yourself. She remarks that she met you at an event two weeks ago and another before that. You don’t remember her name or her spouse’s.

Outcome: She sees you as insincere because you didn’t remember them.

Test Result: Fail. She suspects you are superficial or want something.

Better Approach: Before each event make a mental list of who might be there. What are their spouses’ names? How do you know them?

Bragging About Being Cheap

We assume the wealthy are thrifty, and it’s often true.

Scenario: You’re chatting at an event and the topic is vacations. You’re a superb shopper, always finding great deals. Once you hear where someone is planning to go, you explain he could visit the same hotels for so much cheaper if he did this or that.

Read: Your rich clients are getting richer

Outcome: Although the wealthy are interested in value for money they don’t want to be considered cheap — it gets around. He takes a polite interest and admires your skill at finding bargains.

Test Result: Fail. You communicated to the group you thought he’s cheap.

Better Approach: Have the same conversation with him in private. He’ll be thrilled.

Living Beyond Your Means

You’re well established, living in a large house in a nice neighborhood.

Scenario: You have people over for drinks. Your spouse wears couture clothing, your watch is expensive. You have paid staff serving, and an exotic car sits in the driveway.

Outcome: They have a pretty good idea what a person in your position earns. They conclude you’re living on credit to create the impression of a grand lifestyle, or worse, you’re engaged in illegal activities that supplement your income.

Test Result: Fail. Wealthy people are usually prudent, admiring people who live within their means. Your lifestyle could lead people to believe you’re taking unnecessary risks, a trait they avoid in advisors.

Better Approach: If you live well, don’t lavishly display the trophies.

Getting accepted into a wealthy community isn’t easy. But being yourself and exercising common sense will pay off.

Read: Advising the wealthy retiree

Bryce Sanders is President of Perceptive Business Solutions Inc. in New Hope, PA. His book “Captivating the Wealthy Investor” is available on Amazon.com.
Originally published on Advisor.ca
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