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BOOK REVIEW: Wealth, Actually By Frazer Rice

Tom Burroughes, Group Editor , March 15, 2019

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This publication reviews a book advising UHNW individuals about the issues they confront.

This publication is sent a lot of books on the dos and don’ts of wealth management and, to be blunt, reading some of them can be a chore. It is therefore a refreshing change to be sent a 355-page book that can be read at speed. Frazer Rice, a private wealth manager, writer, trained lawyer and podcaster has fashioned a breezily-written page-turner pitched at UHNW clients. (Frazer has also spoken at an FWR conference held in New York last Fall.)

One of the salient features of Rice’s book is that he sets out issues and challenges very concisely and with plenty of real-world examples, leavened with a few well-placed jokes (there are references to singing heavy metal music, and I need to talk to Frazer about this further). He examines issues such as managing kids’ expectations, dealing with the demands of old age, luxury spending and communication with family members. A substantial chunk of the book could be described as “client coaching”. In fact, just as sports trainers dream of the perfectly coachable student, so advisors must yearn for coachable clients who have clear goals, understand their own motivations, and are not trapped or intimidated by money. But getting such ideal clients is hard and, in many cases, clients often don’t fully know what they want, or have been raised in a way that has made them naïve about sources of wealth, over-confident, or easily intimidated. Rice describes all these factors very well. A big task for the smart advisor is to inculcate good habits into clients, if possible. That might be one of the most challenging and important advisor tasks today.

There is also a strong section on understanding investment. While pitched at the so-called “one per cent”, a good deal of the advice in this segment could apply to the wider population as a whole. With great wealth comes added complexity, but Rice demonstrates how this can be managed. An example of his no-nonsense approach, for example, is the idea of the investment policy statement. It is so important to write down what one wants and how to achieve it. This might be heresy in this digital age, but your reviewer cannot help wonder about the virtue of everyone writing out a sort of “investment journal” and regularly reviewing it and checking it against what is going on.

The book is crammed with tips and advice about handling unexpected events, or how to hire lawyers and evaluate them, and I liked the way that Rice pointed out the need for even the richest of clients to remember that they only have one life, and to attend to their health. There is no point having a big bank account if you are stressed, have sky-high blood pressure and barely have time to relax with family and friends. 

Rice’s book lacks footnotes, but it has a short and succinct guide for further reading at the back. For a fast, sympathetic and engagingly-written overview of the issues for UHNW clients today, this is an excellent read.

Wealth, Actually is published by Lioncrest. ISBN 9781619618602

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