What Do UHNI’s Know?

by | Apr 13, 2021 | Business

Rich people adapt. You might think it’s because they have money. But maybe it’s their adaptation that allows them to be so well off.

What’s a UHNI, you ask? It’s an acronym for Ultra-High Net Worth Individual. When I first learned of this acronym, widely used in the yacht industry, I thought it was funny that it even exists. Then I looked more closely. UHNI’s are tracked globally in myriad ways. Net worth, travel habits, vacation preferences, real estate, risk tolerance, etc.

What’s a UHNI, you ask? It’s an acronym for Ultra-High Net Worth Individual. When I first learned of this acronym, widely used in the yacht industry, I thought it was funny that it even exists. Then I looked more closely. Want to know more? … Click To Tweet

The Superyacht Industry

The Superyacht Industry Understands UHNI’s in Particular Ways. The movement of UHNIs around the globe affects the superyacht industry (and others) directly.

Where is this population increasing, and where is it decreasing? Are they spending or holding their discretionary funds? How much of a UHNIs wealth is discretionary? Of course, it’s somewhat relative. The superyacht industry understands that UHNIs will pay as much as ten percent of their net worth for a superyacht run as a charter business.

I recently attended the Superyacht Summit in conjunction with the Palm Beach International Boat Show. At the summit, four superyacht owners, each qualifying as UHNIs, sat for a joint interview about their pandemic experiences in their lives and businesses.

None of the four had inherited wealth; each is “self-made” and sits atop substantial business holdings and some brand names you would recognize.

Guess what? The COVID-19 virus did not discriminate, and they and their businesses were all impacted. They adapted, learned what they could of conditions, shifted priorities, and reallocated resources. In short, they could readily change plans to make the best of a bad situation.

Make The Best Of A Bad Situation.

One owner was traveling on his superyacht in Thailand when the lockdown froze their plans in place. The owner took advantage of a favorable scenario and accelerated a significant refit for his superyacht in place. Today, his superyacht is being shipped back to the United States in like-new condition.

One owner had his newest superyacht build under construction at a facility in the Southeastern United States that he had explicitly bought to build his new toy. He suddenly found himself dealing with issues of workforce protections, health and safety, and retention. Sound familiar?

Another owner similarly recognized it was time to invest in the boat and the crew. He, too, turned inward and applied financial resources to make the improvements that would otherwise occur in a coming couple of years. Rather than deferring maintenance until some imaginary ideal time, he recognized the moment and acted. Others soon followed. 

The last owner had acquired the famous Walker’s Cay in the Bahamas in 2018. Wow, he and his wife bought an entire island resort? Sounds cool, right?

Then Hurricane Dorian came through in 2019 and effectively leveled the Abaco Islands, in which one finds Walker’s Cay. Terrible luck, you might think, a crushing hurricane followed by a pandemic shutdown. Nope, these were just obstacles to overcome.

Do you think like a UHNI?

During the pandemic, have you repositioned your business in a meaningful way? Are you preparing for the next business disruption?  Hurricanes, lengthy power outages, cyber intrusions, theft of IP, or supply chain failures?

During the pandemic, have you repositioned your business in a meaningful way? Are you preparing for the next business disruption? Click To Tweet

They are all predictable in that they will happen. Wouldn’t it be great if we knew when? UHNI’s can redeploy resources because they keep some resources at the ready to redeploy when needed.

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