1. Cultural institutions. The wealthy are often philanthropic. That’s a good start. You want people with assets. They have money to give away.
Obvious: Local museums. They have membership programs. Entry level is fine, but the higher the tier you join, the more exclusive the events.
Surprising: Local historical societies. Often less intimidating, often holding events evoking the cocktail culture.
2. Medicine. The major medical facilities you drive by often have a donor’s name on the newest wing. Supporting local medical care and research is a noble cause.
Obvious: Local hospitals. They have donor programs and donor recognition events.
Surprising: A disease-specific hospital (such as cancer care) might have local chapters raising funds. They have galas, art shows and golf outings. Wealthy local residents are involved.
3. Nonprofits. There are many. The symphony and the opera are good examples. They have events (performances) plus galas. These draw the wealthy.
Obvious: Most communities have a symphony, opera or ballet company.
Surprising: The animal shelter, zoo, park and aquarium are also nonprofits. They raise funds from the public and hold events.
4. Business organizations. There are groups organized by profession or industry. By geographic area. They draw professionals and business owners, people usually qualifying as HNW.
Obvious: The chamber of commerce immediately comes to mind.
Surprising: Many people think of “the chamber” and stop, because other advisors got there first. There are multiple chambers, especially in the surrounding suburbs. Do some research to see which are underrepresented by advisors and agents.
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5. Private clubs. Some wealthy people prefer to socialize with one another, to the exclusion of others. Think country clubs and private city clubs.
Obvious: Country clubs are designed to be expensive. They often offer a slimmed-down social membership that includes dining and bar privileges plus access to events.
Surprising: Many city clubs have been struggling for years. You might discover it’s easier to get in than you thought. Plus, it’s a great place to take clients to lunch.
6. The old school tie. Your college alumni association brings together people from across the age spectrum — the wealth spectrum, too. Some people are very connected to the school.
Obvious: Your college alumni association.
Surprising: You didn’t attend just one school! High school can be a powerful connection, especially in smaller towns. Prep schools are famous for a reason. You might have attended graduate school elsewhere.
7. Vacations. You’ve heard about advisors who take expensive vacations as a way to meet people who can afford those trips and value the exclusivity.
Obvious: Besides the trips referenced above, I like cruises. You can be seated at a table of eight people for seven days.
Surprising: Your airline likely has airport lounges accessed through annual membership or higher-tier flight tickets. You need to be tactful, but you can meet interesting people, many in the mood to talk.
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8. Restaurants. It seems the wealthier some people get, the less likely they use their kitchens at home. They dine out.
Obvious: Your city has its own “see and be seen” restaurants. Become a regular.
Surprising: I like BYOB restaurants. So do other serious wine fans. Always bring serious bottles. When you see another couple with an interesting bottle, ask if they would like to share a glass of your wine. Now you’ve made a connection.
9. Special interests. The world of yachts, motor homes and exotic cars have barriers to entry. They also have clubs for enthusiasts. People love to share their passions with fellow enthusiasts.
Obvious: Sports car clubs are everywhere. Older models of the club’s namesake car might not be that expensive to buy. They have road rallies.
Surprising: Wine is a crossover area. It attracts wealthy people, yet the barriers to entry are low. There are clubs, conventions and wine-specific tours.
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10. Others. Plenty of other places attract wealthy people. Expensive grocery stores. The service area at your car dealership.
Obvious: Your homeowners association is a good choice if you live in an upscale area. Your neighbors should be doing as well as you, shouldn’t they? There’s often a monthly meeting to discuss administrative stuff and permits.
Surprising: Auction houses. They attract serious collectors. There’s lots of downtime for chatting and learning about their interests.