HNWI: Poor rich folk

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According to a new international poll, money is the most uncomfortable topic of conversation for high-net-worth individuals.

The global survey conducted by deVere Group, an independent financial advisory organization, found that 61% of filthy-rich people ranked personal finance as the most difficult subject to discuss with family, friends and colleagues. Our heart goes out to them.

Indeed such is their discomfort with their whopping bank balances that they would rather talk about almost anything – including politics, sex, religion and health issues – according to the study of 1,125 clients, all of whom had investable assets of more than £1 million. The respondents came from the UK, the US, the United Arab Emirates, Hong Kong and South Africa. So wherever you are in the world, just make sure you don’t bring up money when talking to a millionaire. It will only make them uncomfortable.

Nigel Green, deVere Group founder and chief executive, comments on the findings: "For many, wealth comes with plenty of intense emotions so perhaps it’s little wonder that even the better-off prefer to discuss almost anything else – including those famous dinner party taboos of politics and religion. Money is the last social taboo, it would seem.

"Money may be on most people’s mind much of the time, but this poll underscores that personal finance – which can include income, debt, tax, savings and expenses – is almost universally regarded as the worst topic of conversation. I imagine that it might come as a surprise to many that those who have money still dislike talking about it."

Green continues: "On a wider level, the survey indicates how there remains a ‘bury your head in the sand’ attitude to finances as people simply don’t want to talk about money even to their nearest and dearest."

So the next time you meet a millionaire and are tempted to probe them about their bank balance, be careful and sympathetic and maybe steer the conversation towards sex instead.