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What Are High Earners Not Rich Yet (HENRY) Individuals?

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A financial advisor meeting with high earners who are not rich yet (HENRY).

Attracting new clients to your business is essential for growth and if you’re forward-thinking, you might be interested in getting the attention of the high-earner-not-rich-yet (HENRY) crowd. These are individuals who have the income to propel them to wealth but lack the assets. There are some definite advantages to working with HENRYs, but the key is knowing how to attract and retain them as clients.

Ready to grow your client base? SmartAdvisor helps you connect with leads.

What Is a High Earner Not Rich Yet (HENRY)?

The term ‘high earner not rich yet’ refers to individuals who earn substantial salaries but aren’t actively leveraging it to build wealth. HENRYs are typically younger people who may be just getting started in their careers but are already earning six-figure salaries. However, they lack the assets you’d typically expect a high earner to have such as a home, retirement accounts or other investments.

Being a high earner not rich yet doesn’t mean that someone lacks the motivation to build wealth; it simply means they’re not making the necessary moves to do it right now. That can result from several factors, including:

  • A higher cost of living, which may be typical of HENRYs living in major cities
  • Significant levels of student loan debt associated with earning a professional degree
  • Higher levels of spending and debt associated with FOMO or lifestyle creep

HENRYs may have a low or even negative net worth, depending on their financial situation. A doctor, for instance, might be making $300,000 a year and saving 7% of that in their 401(k) but have $200,000 in medical school debt to pay down. They don’t own a home yet and have only a few thousand saved for an emergency fund, putting them firmly in negative net worth territory.

Benefits of Working With High Earner Not Rich Yet Clients

It may seem counterintuitive as an advisor to try and attract clients who have no real wealth accumulated. After all, your revenues may depend on the level of assets you manage. However, there are some advantages to adding HENRYs to your client base.

As the name implies, they’re not rich—yet. That doesn’t mean, however, that they’re not interested in building wealth. They may just need some guidance on how to do it.

HENRY individuals have the income necessary to grow their assets, but they may need advice on things like:

  • How to balance paying down student loans or other debts with investing
  • Where to allocate the funds they’re investing to further their goals
  • How to account for life changes that affect them financially, such as getting married or having kids
  • What to do with salary increases as their earnings rise year over year
  • How to plan for unexpected challenges, such as a job loss or an illness that prevents them from working

Someone who’s a high earner, not rich yet offers another advantage, in that they’re most often younger. Attracting younger individuals to your business means they have the potential to remain your client for decades, providing you with a consistent stream of revenue.

How to Attract HENRY Clients

Financial advisors discussing a marketing strategy to attract high earners who are not rich yet.

Marketing to high earners who are not rich yet often comes down to two things: Understanding their unique needs and knowing where to target your marketing efforts.

If you’ve already developed an ideal client profile for your business, you can apply the same principles to the HENRY crowd. That comes down to understanding:

  • Who they are demographically
  • How much income they have to work with
  • How they tend to spend that income
  • What assets, if any, they may bring to the table
  • How much debt they may have if any
  • What they consider to be the biggest obstacles or challenges to building wealth
  • Where they’d like to be five, 10 or 20 years from now, financially speaking
  • What their degree of knowledge is regarding financial planning

High earners may understand the basics of personal finance, like budgeting or the importance of adding to their retirement plan at work. However, they may not know how to fully utilize the income that they have to reach their goals. Or they may be a blank slate and need more in-depth guidance on financial concepts.

Crafting your marketing message to speak to those needs can be critical to getting their attention. How much fine-tuning you need to do can depend on which type of HENRYs you’re hoping to attract. Young physicians, for instance, may have different concerns than a 20-something working in a fast-growing segment of the tech industry.

Once you’ve given some thought to the type of messaging you want to create, the next step is deciding where to spread that message. Digital marketing is an obvious choice if you’re trying to attract a younger crowd and your efforts might include:

  • Creating social media content around topics that are relevant to HENRYs
  • Developing video content for YouTube or TikTok
  • Writing blog content or crafting an email marketing campaign
  • Trying text messaging campaigns
  • Using Google ads to boost local searches
  • Paying for LinkedIn ads to catch the eye of young professionals

You may also consider collaborating with influencers in the personal finance space who have already built a sizable following of high-earning individuals. For instance, you might consider being a guest on a financial podcast that targets the HENRY audience. This is an opportunity to show off your expertise and knowledge and get yourselves on prospective clients’ radars.

Referrals are another opportunity to attract high-earning professionals to your business and breach generational gaps with your services. If you have older clients who have young adult children, for instance, you can let them know that you’re always happy to schedule a meeting to discuss their finances. They may be willing to refer their kids to you if you’ve taken care to cultivate a positive professional relationship with them thus far.

Does that mean you should discount offline marketing tactics altogether? Not necessarily. Print ads, local TV ads, billboards and participating in local community events all have the potential to yield results. You may consider allocating a smaller slice of your marketing budget to offline strategies to test the waters initially and see how they’re received.

There’s one more thing you can do to market yourself to high earners who are not yet rich: consider lead generation. Lead generation services can offer a direct connection to people who have already expressed an interest in meeting with a financial advisor and may be in buying mode. The best lead generation services also give you the tools you need to follow up and boost conversions.

Bottom Line

A financial advisor working with a couple of high earners who are not yet rich.

Working with high earning not rich yet clients can open up a vast range of possibilities for your advisory business. If you’ve overlooked these types of clients up until now, it may be time to consider where they could fit into your long-term growth plans.

Tips for Growing Your Advisory Business

  • Having a professional website and social media presence are two of the most basic building blocks for online marketing. If you’ve become frustrated at how long it’s taking to generate traffic and build a following through those channels, you might consider taking a shortcut with a lead generation service. SmartAdvisor, for instance, can connect you with leads so that you’re free to focus your energy on other tasks that are necessary to scale your business.
  • One of the most important things to consider when developing a marketing plan is how much to budget. A common rule of thumb for planning a financial advisor marketing budget is to use a percentage of your annual revenue, typically 1% to 10%. However, it’s important to consider what you can realistically afford to spend and how to put those dollars to work to produce the best return on your investment.

Photo credit: ©iStock/courtneyk, ©iStock/shapecharge, ©iStock/Drazen Zigic

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