“Everyone has the impulse to be elite.” – Alfre Woodard

Celebrated Living, the luxury magazine for American Airlines premium class passengers, had an article in their summer issue called, “Private Banking: Privilege. Access. Impressive rates and impeccable service. Welcome to the world of private banking. Is it for you?”

Someday, if I ever join the ranks of the super rich, Private Banking would be up there on the list of wants with a car & driver and a personal shopper/stylist. Until then I can read about “rich services” while sitting in business class with free upgrades earned as a road warrior.

The article lets us peek into the world of “Millennials with money, a few dozen up-and-coming NextGenners who are destined to inherit great wealth.” Damn, you say, why do we care about them? Well, we can all learn a bit from their wealth summit.

JP Morgan did a study over a 22-year-period of the country’s richest families and this is what they concluded: only 13 percent of the families on the list managed to maintain their precarious perch in the loftiest branches of affluence. What was their demise? Well, the key threats: “Over-concentration, over-leverage, over-spending, taxes, family discord, liability suits, death, and shifting assets.”

High net worth individuals are defined as “anyone with $1 million or more in financial assets (don’t count the house). Anyone who scores $40 million or more in manageable assets can add a U in front of HNWI, for ultra high net worth.”

The analysis continues, “One of the central problems in maintaining wealth, though, lies in the simple fact that riches are often accumulated by people who seized the right opportunistic risks. Keeping your money, on the other hand, requires some caution.”

On top of that, “Most families prepare the money for the family, but very few prepare the family for the money. After all, most of these families are led by Type A personalities. Their kids typically don’t start to make decisions until they reach probate court — which can be a tough learning experience.”

Instead of feeling sorry for junior, we can learn from him or her. Everyone has to grasp the basics of money sooner or later. JP Morgan had good advice… there is a delicate balance between risk and caution when it comes to investing and protecting your assets.

Over-concentration, over-leverage, over-spending… where have we heard that before? It applies to both the rich and middle class. Live within your means and invest wisely. Now, I’m running off to catch a plane in a few minutes… I’ll let you know what American Way has to say in coach this week. Airline magazines are usually full of good advice!