8 Things I Discovered While Working With Affluent Clients in New York City

After a decade working with the 1%, I learned that they have common traits.

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By Marilisa Barbieri • Dec 12, 2022 Originally published Aug 8, 2021

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

A high-net-worth individual (HNWI) is somebody with around $1 million in liquid financial assets. According to the 2021 World Wealth Report, North America surpassed Asia-Pacific to become the 2020 leader in both HNWI population and wealth. The city with the highest number of millionaires is New York City, with nearly one million millionaires.

I have more than a decade's worth of experience in the luxury design industry, building relationships with affluent clients across North America and in NYC. During this time, I discovered eight traits my clients all have in common.

1. They spend time with impressive people

I noticed all my clients surround themselves with people who energize and support them. They have a powerful network lifting them higher. They make it a priority to spend more time with people who are driven and like-minded.

It's rightly said: Your future depends on whom you spend the most time with. If you spend most of your time with people that have no ambitions, you will also never achieve your goals. If you spend most of your time with those who are goal-oriented and work hard to achieve their goals, you'll be captivated by their energy and be positively influenced.

Remind yourself to spend time with the right people.

Related: How Do Wealthy People Get Away With Not Paying Their 'Fair Share' of Taxes?

2. They detach emotion from the business

During business negotiations, my clients are intentionally objective. They are aware of their emotions and how displayed emotion may be perceived. If they don't feel 100% comfortable in the negotiation, they take their time or ask a third party to negotiate for them.

Emotions cannot be eliminated from negotiations. However, they can be acknowledged — both in ourselves and in others. One of the best ways to train your mind to detach your emotional self from business is to do it deliberately. Once you've decided this is the path you want to take, try to be as objective as possible.

3. They are efficient with their time

The 1% consider every minute precious, and they don't waste it doing something that doesn't add any value to their lives. Time is the ultimate luxury, and high-net-worth individuals are very selective when it comes to deciding where and with whom to spend their time.

Time management plays an important role in our day-to-day lives, and even educating ourselves with basic time management tips can do wonders.

4. They see fear as an opportunity

One thing that always strikes me is how my clients deal with the uncertainty of their new ventures. They mastered a way to manage stress and unpredictability in their unconventional choices. They achieved such a level of self-confidence by seeing fear as an opportunity for personal growth. Either they win, or they learn.

Opportunities are everywhere, but you need to grab them without fear. Most people don't take action because they have fear of losing. Even if you fail, you learn something in the end. Every opportunity comes with an upside and very few downsides.

Related: You've Actually Never Failed at Anything: Here's Why Believing in Your Failure Controls Your Relationship With Money

5. They know how to commit

Individuals belonging to 1% make their reputation a priority. They do what they say, they are consistent, act with integrity, help others achieve their goals and go a step beyond what is expected.

Committing is easy, but fulfilling commitment is not everybody's cup of tea. Build trust and preserve your reputation by under-promising and over-delivering.

6. They worry about themselves

Worrying about yourself is a big job, and the affluent know that no one else can effectively do it for them. They care about others and worry for and with them. But in the end, they are aware that worrying about others can't solve their problems.

Knowing how to worry about yourself and not others is not about selfishness. It's about helpfulness. It's about observing the rules of self-containment, taking responsibility for yourself and working to solve your problems, while knowing how to be happy for others' successes.

Growing yourself cultivates strength and resilience, and inspires others to do the same.

7. They embrace failure

The wealthy know how to embrace success as well as failure. They accept the situation and themselves as a part of life. Failure is an opportunity for growth, but it is not a measure of their future or self-worth. If they want to improve their business, then embracing failure is the goal — even if the process is slow.

Failure generates motivation, creativity and resilience. The more often we navigate failure successfully, the stronger and more resilient we become.

Challenge yourself: Stop avoiding the word "failure." Embrace the phrase "fail fast," and be a culture change leader.

8. They value education

The truth is that anyone who is part of the 1% not only values education, but is also a lifelong learner. Being a lifelong learner helps them understand the world they live in, provides them with more and better opportunities, and improves the quality of their life. It is a deliberate and voluntary choice, not a chore.

Most people are unable to enter the niche because they undervalue the power of self-education. They think that getting some degree will be sufficient to be successful. But it's not like that. Self-initiated education focuses on personal development and offers many long-term benefits, including improved self-confidence, renewed self-motivation and the building of new skills.

Related: 9 Success Habits of Wealthy People That Cost Nothing

Marilisa Barbieri

Business Consultant, Luxury Brand Expert & Educator

A luxury-business expert with an MBA and interior design and arts degree, Marilisa Barbieri helps companies elevate their brand value and increase sales of design service by revealing proven sales strategies employed by top luxury brands.

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