Imagine a life in which you are surrounded by the most opulent luxury; the world is your office and your modes of commuting include private jets and yachts; you meet some of the most prominent people in every arena and dine on the finest cuisine… and you are paid a salary for it. Estate management is stress management. Such is the life of estate managers of ultra-high-net-worth individuals and, like any top-tier position, it is a mix of incredible perks and sometimes crushing stress. If you have or are considering a career in estate management, here is a glimpse into the level of dedication, stamina, and expertise needed to get to the upper echelon.
A Curious Mind. Anyone being considered for such a position must have a resume that boasts both a stellar work history and a formal education such as real estate or the culinary arts. However, what sets those who excel apart from the rest is a love, not only of service but of lifelong learning. Your principal’s interests and passions are likely to be extensive, varied, and complex, and in order to do your job you must adopt them as your interests as well. Depending on the relationship and level of trust you share with your principal, he or she may even give you responsibility for their large assets, including negotiating sales and purchases. Whatever your degree of involvement, you will need to dive in and become an expert on art, wine, private planes, and so on, so you can protect your employer and provide seamless service at all times.
Attitude is Everything – On a related note, top estate managers must feel comfortable navigating the insular world of UHNW individuals and moving back and forth between it and the one most people inhabit. As the representative of your principal, you must be the epitome of decorum and integrity. You also must cultivate a chameleon-like ability to communicate with their associates and colleagues one minute and those providing them with goods and services the next, often with a mix of humility and authority.
Estate Management is Stress Management – Anyone working in this field can speak of the pressures of having to be “on” and available to their clients day and night. That pressure increases exponentially, however, when one is working for an ultra-high-net-worth family, when heightened vigilance about privacy and security are paramount. To bear this responsibility one must be diligent about their own mental hygiene, meaning they have practices in place to manage stress and work/life balance. This may include things they can do to take care of themselves (i.e., physical fitness and meditation) as well as tools to help them do their job more efficiently – for example, hiring similarly talented individuals to whom they can delegate important tasks and using the latest technology such as a singular platform that allows them to access and oversee every detail of their principal’s schedule and assets from a smartphone. Bottom line: serving as estate manager to the UHNW set is more than a job or even a career – it is a lifestyle and, in many ways a state of being, that has its own unique challenges. That said, with the right skills, tools, and perspective, you, like your principals, can step into a world of excitement and endless possibility that few people rarely get to step into.