Four Simple Steps HENRYs Can Take to Live Their Best Lives

HENRYs emoney

HENRYs, or High Earners Not Rich Yet, are attractive prospects for financial advisors. Despite their lack of accumulated wealth, HENRYs earn high discretionary incomes, which they sometimes spend unwisely. Advisors can help these clients turn that discretionary income into a sustainable foundation for a solid legacy. While HENRYs might be just the type of client you’re looking for, it’s important to remember their pain points, as well as their potential, before you can start making a difference.

Equifax defines HENRYs as:

  • 55 years old or younger
  • With an income of over $100,000
  • Having investable assets of less than $1 million

Furthermore, IXI Services’ data suggests that HENRYs make up 13 percent of U.S. households, have an average income of $136,000, an average of $214,000 in assets and spend an average of $68,000 annually.

Studies have also pointed out that HENRYs are spending more money on real estate than they are investing. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but coupled with the fact that they tend to focus on “keeping up with the Joneses,” this can be dangerous. HENRYs also tend to buy real estate in metropolitan areas, which increases their cost of living and tends to misallocate their discretionary income. Sure, leveling up can be exciting, but it can also be stressful when paying down student debt, pre-funding a child’s education, and managing possible income fluctuations from one year to the next.

Help your HENRYs by pointing out the crucial factors that they might be overlooking. Educate them on how they can attain financial wellness while maintaining the lifestyle they’ve grown accustomed to (or something close to it).

Create a budget.

This obvious first step may seem overwhelming. Seeing how income, expenses, and goals all interact with each other is often eye-opening for clients and helps bring them back to reality.

Pay yourself first.

Although putting money away in an emergency fund and making regular contributions to retirement accounts might not seem like the most glamorous thing to do with your money, it’s one of the wisest. Compound interest is a powerful thing, and the earlier contributions begin, the earlier financial freedom in your golden years can begin!

Develop an estate plan.

Make sure you have at least a simple will and medical directives drawn up. Having a few difficult conversations now and properly planning for what nobody likes talking about (a premature death scenario) will have a major impact on the legacy you’re leaving behind. And it will prevent some of the emotional and logistical problems that might otherwise burden your heirs.

Don’t try to do it all at once.

Getting that performance-based bonus or that annual raise is definitely a confidence booster and makes you feel like you can have it all. This isn’t true. Set realistic and smart goals. For example, real estate can be an excellent investment, but buying an overpriced property in an expensive city early on, might actually prevent you from achieving your bigger, ultimate goals down the road, like retiring. What HENRYs might not realize is that the Joneses probably carry a crippling amount of credit card debt and will have to continue working much longer than planned.

While these four things might seem simple, educating your HENRYs on the basics will provide them with the foundations they need to follow your advice, make the right decisions, and achieve financial wellness.

Ryan Coburn

Written By

Before joining eMoney in June of 2016, Ryan attended UMass Amherst where he earned his B.A. double majoring in Economics and French, and then his M.A. in French. While completing his Master’s degree, he taught French at UMass for two years and English at the University of Toulouse in France for a year as well. Ryan passed the CFP Board exam in November of 2017 and is now working towards fulfilling the experience requirement so that he can begin using the marks. He and his wife are expecting their first baby (a boy!) in May and couldn’t be more excited!