Originally published November 2020
Updated December 2023
The first time I heard the term “HENRYs,” I cocked my head to the side and gave my then-colleague Steve a very confused look. What is a HENRY?
He kindly explained to me that HENRY stands for High Earner, Not Rich Yet.
As soon as he explained, I knew I finally had a word to describe my favorite clients. HENRYs tend to be young and have high incomes but possess few financial assets.
Their “asset poverty” means that my colleagues and competitors often overlook them. After all, why would a Financial Advisor who bills on assets under management consider pursuing someone who lacks assets?
But they can’t see what I see.
When I look at a HENRY, I see so much to adore. This is my love letter to all the HENRYs out there.
HENRYs Are Fascinating
Making a Financial Plan is like putting together a jigsaw puzzle. Planning for a client who is already wealthy and moving into a comfortable retirement is the intellectual equivalent of doing a 200-piece puzzle: fun for an afternoon. Still, after the 100th time, the challenge fades.
But a young client who is just starting to save and invest has competing goals that will unfold over 30 to 60 years, who must make trade-offs now, and in the future, to achieve those goals…that’s more like a 1,000-piece puzzle.
No two HENRYs look alike, and each new client is a new challenge and opportunity for me to learn something.
HENRYs Are More Likely to Value My Work
It could be a generational thing or an artifact of the times, but younger clients tend to place a higher value on the financial planning process.
You see clearly why planning matters, and you engage fully in the process — which can sometimes be laborious.
As we build your plan, we also build trust, and I develop a deep understanding of what matters to you. A client who truly values my work is a client who will stay with me for life.
Who doesn’t love to feel valued?
HENRYs Are More Likely to Be Loyal
As I alluded to above, a client who values the work I do is a client who will tend to stick around for a long time.
Working closely with someone to build something that matters is meaningful. Creating together over time also means you are less likely to be wooed away by a fast-talking, slick competitor once you have graduated from a HENRY to a WOOF (Well Off Older Folk).
When you become a WOOF, everyone will want you — but by then, we’ll already have each other.
We Can Grow Old Together
The single best part of this job is watching clients’ lives unfold.
Picture it: We meet when you’re just starting out; you’ve been out of college a few years, and you’re starting to build a career.
Soon, you’ll meet that special someone.
Next, you’ve settled down and built a family.
Before we know it, you’re just a few years off from financial independence, and we make plans to buy the home where you’ll retire.
The best part is I got to help make some of that happen. And that is one of the most satisfying feelings in the world.
I’m a HENRY Too
Who better than a close peer to guide your financial plan?
I’ve lived many of the same experiences you have, and I understand you in a way that some of my more established colleagues and competitors can’t.
This isn’t to say that I know everything about you and understand every aspect of your life — but in general, we “get” each other.
Why All the Love?
At this point, you may be wondering why I would do business with younger folks who are “asset poor.”
It’s because I love the work.
I have built my business specifically to make working with younger investors possible and profitable — after all, I’m not running a charity.
By offering a financial plan for a flat fee (negotiated with each client), I can serve those who value and have the cash flow to pay for my expertise.
If you are a younger investor looking to start saving for your future, and you’re intimidated by other Wealth Managers who demand large account sizes just to get in for a consultation, consider talking to me.
I might be just what you are looking for. After all, I already know you are exactly what I’m looking for.
Thank you to my former colleague Steve Oniya for helping me conceptualize this piece and for telling me what a HENRY is.
 This term began to appear in news articles around 2003.