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For the past few years, there has been a problem quietly growing in the financial advising profession. High-level financial management has been limiting its availability to the uber-rich, those who can park millions into investment funds with a level of informality that for many of us peaks at springing for a new pair of shoes. Elite-level portfolio managers want to make sure they will be well-compensated for the effort of bringing in a new client, and thus only court those who are already very wealthy. As a result, many hard-working, financially responsible people with respectable savings are left out in the cold.

Feeling shut out by most knowledgeable financial advisors, most people turn to generic large firms that are more accessible, but offer little in terms of quality financial expertise. Larger firms have lower criteria for investing with them, but they operate on the goal of signing a lot of clients. This focus on quantity leaves clients being treated with a one-size-fits-all service that cuts corners on crafting effective and personalized investment strategies. Valuable savings in the six-figure range get wasted on dime-store financial management because it is so difficult to find a quality portfolio manager who will consider clients with under a specific amount of funds, usually around a million dollars.

The issue is that both the exclusive high-level experts and the large firms trying to bring in as many clients as possible only see what they can get from clients at the outset. Requiring either a large starter fund, or loading up on clientele and then failing to give their portfolios due diligence is a very near-sighted approach to a discipline that is built on applying a broader and longer term perspective. Inherent in long-term investing is the focus on looking ahead, making decisions based on where you want to end up.

While current capital is a starting point that plays a role in what the goals and expectations will be, judging a client’s future success based solely on what they already have, rather than their savings and earnings potential, is putting the horse before the cart. Solving the accessibility problem in the financial advising world means recognizing the prospective wealth in clients. Pairing their steady savings habits and long-term vision with an intelligent and disciplined investing strategy is how clients with potential today later become retirees with wealth.