There are many ways of looking for the pockets of wealth that dot the country. The IRS and the Census Bureau have data that show it in the typical way. AdvisorOne set out to create a novel look at where the wealth is in the United States and compare it with a snapshot of the number of advisors in each area, which we call AdvisorOne Wealth Zones.
To create our Wealth Zones we started with a list of the Top 100 wealthiest zip codes ranked by adjusted gross income. We then grouped neighboring wealthy zip codes and compared the number of households (as determined by tax returns filed in each zone) to the number of subscribers to Investment Advisor and Research magazines. This allowed us to see if advisors were tripping over one another or if the wealthy were in “danger” of having their assets neglected.
In the end, we created 20 Wealth Zones. Most Wealth Zones were composed of several wealthy zip codes, like in Chicago, because advisor headcount varied greatly from zip codes that abutted one another and excluding them would radically skew the results.
There were a few surprises. There were a couple of zip codes in the Boston area on the Top 100, but they were spread out and didn’t make our cut. Fairfield County, Conn., had three towns on the Top 100 list, but they are not neighbors. Still, Connecticut is well-represented on this list.
We’ll be mining this data from time to time to provide what we hope is interesting, maybe even actionable, information for advisors. Last week, we unveiled the Top 10 Wealth Zones With Fewest Advisors per wealthy household. Our second effort is here, the Top 10 Wealth Zones With the Most Advisors per wealthy household.
10. St. Louis
Average AGI: $137,301
1 per 103
The Gateway City might not have come to mind when thinking of Wealth Zones, but one zip code in the city helped vault it into 10th place. Besides the pocket of wealth, St. Louis boasts Forest Park (site of the 1900 World’s Fair), the Cardinals (still looking good even without Albert Pujols) and the Gateway Arch (which sits along the mighty Mississippi).
9. Brentwood, Tenn.
Average AGI: $110,135
1 per 102
Situated outside Nashville, Brentwood is part of Williamson County, one of the wealthiest counties in the nation. It’s a perfect place to find clients and then run into Music City to enjoy country tunes. And the weather is moderate, with only about 10 inches of snow expected in an average year.
8. Austin, Texas
Average AGI: $200,771
1 per 93
The capital city has been a trendy place for the last couple decades. From a vibrant music scene to the state’s namesake university, Austin has drawn top corporations. They include the headquarters of Whole Foods Market, Dell Computer and regional offices of Apple, Google and others.
7. Summit, N.J. (Basking Ridge, Randolph, Morristown)
Average AGI: $126,504
1 per 97
New Jersey can claim its fair share of the wealth in the Tristate area and no place more than the Summit Wealth Zone, which includes Basking Ridge, Randolph, Morristown and, of course, Summit. Just a half hour from Manhattan, the area has been a magnet for the wealthy looking to escape the city. Advisors have followed them.
6. Greenwich, Conn.
Average AGI: $269,516
1 per 88
Think of Greenwich and several things might come to mind: polo, a coveted beach, a high-end shopping district on what locals call “the Avenue” and great schools. Oh, and money. Yep, Greenwich has that and advisors don’t miss a trick. Many have figured it out.
Average AGI: $148,841
1 per 87
The Atlanta zone includes four zip codes—in Alpharetta, Duluth and two in Atlanta proper—and advisors have found it fertile ground for finding clients. Those setting up shop in the zone can find plenty to do in their off hours, from outdoor activities to taking in sporting events and visiting cultural institutions.
Average AGI: $176,742
1 per 82
It’s no surprise that Manhattan is on the list. There are obviously many pockets of wealth and the island is a Mecca for the financial services industry. The competition might be stiff, but if an advisor can make it there … well, you know how the song goes.
3. McLean, Va.
Average AGI: $134,431
1 per 73
The McLean Wealth Zone includes the nearby town of Vienna, big presence of Internet companies and the CIA to track of everyone. Located in Fairfax County, the zone is close to Washington, with its cultural attractions and access to the corridors of power. Advisors looking for clients in the three zip codes included in the McLean zone will find plenty of colleagues with the same idea.
2. Wayne, Pa.
Average AGI: $126,644
1 per 71
Located on Philadelphia’s Main Line, the Wayne Wealth Zone covers several towns including Radnor Township, Tredyffrin Township and Upper Merion Township. It is home to SunGard, a software company that had $4.5 billion in revenue in 2011.
1. Westport, Conn.
Average AGI: $204,863
1 per 52
Fairfield County has a reputation for wealth, and it lives up to it with Westport nabbing the top spot. The town Paul Newman famously made his home for decades is known for its arts community, which manifests itself in the Westport Country Playhouse. The adjusted gross income in the tony town is second on our list, and plenty of advisors have figured that out—there is one for every 52 households.
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