not sure if you need a private banker? 

Here are 7 essential questions you should ask yourself if you think you could benefit from a private banker.

In 2021, nearly 15 million households1 will have a net worth of $1 million, which would likely qualify them each for a private banker. Do you know if you are among them? The answer may surprise you.

So, what’s your dollar sign?

Emily is a math professor. And she is halfway to being a millionaire.

She doesn’t see herself among the top 1%, but her combined assets put her squarely there. Her home, nearly paid for, is valued at $240,000. She has a retirement account in which she’s been dutifully saving for decades, and a liquid savings of three-month’s salary for a rainy day. Her husband, a family doctor, earns a salary of about $200,000.2 And the cufflinks he recently inherited from a favored uncle are worth well more than they both realized.

They plan to retire in a few years, and also have children for whom they want to prepare their assets.

Emily and her husband are not uncommon in their unrealized wealth, nor in the fact that they, like many households, qualify for a private banker and don’t know it. This unknown opportunity could cost them, and their children, in the coming years.

You may be among them. More than 10% of U.S. households earn at least $200,000, according to research by Statista.3 But even if you don’t fall into that 10%, your combined assets, including income streams from investments, rental properties, and other effects, contribute to the overall value of the household.

There are other reasons to take advantage of the benefits of a private banker, as well. A trusted private banker, in addition to providing financial advice and solutions, will be your advocate, bringing together the necessary resources from all areas of the bank to offer top-shelf guidance. This includes the backing of a team dedicated to tailoring a wealth management strategy to serve the express needs of each client.

Ask yourself these 7 questions

If you are unsure whether you need a private banker, or if you want to put yourself on track to require one someday, ask yourself these seven questions.

  1. Have you ever wanted an “advocate” at your bank to help with loans, investments, succession planning, and other needs? Many people think these services come with layered fees or require a lot of their own time. But a reliable private banking team will provide these services as part of the overall package. What elevates a private banker to a personal “advocate” is a genuine interest in assessing a client’s preferences and goals up front, so they can be objectively applied against risk factors, to develop an attainable plan.
  2. Have you ever calculated your real net worth? That 1966 Gibson Les Paul guitar is a great conversation starter, but having it valuated might fall on your to-do list between “clean the attic” and “learn Mandarin.” But such property, as well as artwork, jewelry, collectibles, and others possessions, can materially add to one’s net worth. A reliable private banker will prod clients to recall forgotten or unrecognized holdings as well as potential (maturing) assets, uncovering wealth sources that can regularly be recalculated.
  3. How protected are your finances? Among the first questions a client should ask when vetting private bankers is the measures they use to protect all assets. A banker’s portfolio of risk management services and expertise, applied on day one of a relationship, is a test of a dependable advocate. Considerations include whether tangible assets are properly insured, long-term care planning, business succession, and complex financial transfers. Expect a private banker who could engage licensed planners, estate settlement specialists, and other professionals for you.
  4. What is your next life stage? Whether you’re planning to launch a small business or preparing to retire, you should need just one bank throughout your life. A private banker should get to know you, your short- and long-term goals, and your needs, and then continuously look for opportunities to achieve those goals. Such opportunity might include putting your investments to better work or suggesting complex borrowing solutions that anticipate coming needs.
  5. What do you want as your legacy? Getting to know a client entails understanding that person’s wishes for family members, heirs, and institutions. If you’re not 100% confident your estate is fully safeguarded, or are unsure of your best legacy options, such as trusts, a private banker can help. More important, he or she will help design a plan that suits your unique needs, even when they change.
  6. Do you ever find yourself struggling to pull all your finances together to plan better for the future? If you are unsure about the monetary decisions you make, don’t be hard on yourself – you’re among good company. It’s common for investment goals to change after a financial plan is first established, which can raise a lot of hard-to-answer questions. And some people simply aren’t the type to be super-active in their investment decisions. From constructing a tailored portfolio to managing debt, a private banker should help you sleep better at night.
  7. How much time do you spend on managing your assets? Research by the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that people on average spend more time doing the laundry than managing their household finances.4 A private banking account can help simplify this work, while growing wealth, by including perks such as automatic money transfers, competitive interest rates, cash flow management, and tax strategies – all with a high standard of fiduciary care. One advisor, backed by a dedicated team, will do the work of many.

If you think you qualify for a private banker, congratulations! The benefits realized from such a specialized service can include discounted mortgage pricing, a private credit card, and VIP services like dedicated toll-free call lines, call center prioritization, and expedited issue resolution.

Most important, a standout private banker will bring you the power of a team with years of experience. It doesn’t matter if you’re a teacher or the CEO of a Fortune 500 company – a banking advocate will know your dollar signs are unique to you, the life you have lived, and want to live. That’s what matters.

If you’d like to learn more about our private banking program, click here.


1 “Net Worth Percentile Calculator for the United States,” DKYDJ.com, https://dqydj.com/net-worth-percentile-calculator-united-states/

2 “Occupational Employment Statistics,” U.S. Department of Labor Statistics, May 2019,  https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes291215.htm; accessed Sept. 28, 2020

3 “Percentage distribution of household income in the U.S. in 2019,” Statista.com, https://www.statista.com/statistics/203183/percentage-distribution-of-household-income-in-the-us/; accessed Sept. 23, 2020

4 “How Much Time Do You Spend on Your Finances?” By Ben Carlson, A Wealth of Common Sense; Oct, 24, 2019; https://awealthofcommonsense.com/2019/10/how-much-time-should-you-spend-on-your-finances/; accessed Sept. 25, 2020

The information on this page is accurate as of January 2021 and is subject to change. First Financial Bank is not affiliated with any third-parties or third-party websites mentioned above. Any reference to any person, organization, activity, product, and/or service does not constitute or imply an endorsement. By clicking on a third-party link, you acknowledge you are leaving bankatfirst.com. First Financial Bank is not responsible for the content or security of any linked web page. Member FDIC / Equal Housing Lender.

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First Financial Bank is not affiliated with any third-party websites. Any reference to any person, organization, activity, product, and/or services does not constitute or imply an endorsement. First Financial Bank is not responsible for the content or security of any linked web page.