Need to rent a nine-bedroom, 12-bathroom oceanfront beach house for a weekend? Wondering where to park your Porsche in Chicago while on business?
As the memorable Apple advertisement once put it, there’s an app for that.
While online app stores have made these bits of mobile software ubiquitous, there’s no denying that apps created for the ultrawealthy serve the ultimate niche market: the 1 per cent.
You might think those with extra cash would be using financial apps such as Yahoo Finance, Stocks Tracker or Mint. But it turns out their phones are loaded with fitness, productivity and lifestyle apps.
At least, that’s what Clay Gillespie, a financial adviser, portfolio manager and managing director of Rogers Group Financial in Vancouver, discovered recently when he asked to have a look at the phones of his high-net-worth clients. (It was not a typical ask; he knew he was about to be interviewed for an article.) While nearly all of them used banking apps, none used them to track portfolios or make trades.
“When I thought about it, why would they?” says Mr. Gillespie now. “Typically, they’re not do-it-yourselfers.”
Jason Heath, a fee-only financial planner with Objective Financial Partners Inc. in Toronto, isn’t surprised that the ultrawealthy don’t bother tracking investments on the go. “They’ve outsourced that function to someone who is managing their money,” he explains.
So which apps solve the day-to-day problems of those with more money than time? Here’s a peek at a few.
For the flush frequent flier
It doesn’t get more classy and convenient than arriving at your destination on a private jet or helicopter. While BlackJet, a private-jet app, went under in 2016, JetSmarter is still in business.
The company connects members to idle jets and unused seats. For the $3,000 (U.S.) initial membership fee, clients can skip airport crowds, book reservations, make payments and connect with other members using in-app messaging. The rates increase for the ensuing years, but the service is a good bet for flexible, last-minute travellers with means who fly within the United States or to Europe and the Middle East often.
Or, using the on-demand service Blade, you can escape downtown Manhattan after a long day on a helicopter. Browse destinations or book a flight that will lift you above the throng and deposit you at the airport in about 20 minutes.
For the car aficionado
Luxury car sales have risen in Canada these past few years, and manufacturers are offering their own apps to make travelling even smoother. Take the BMW Connected Drive North America app, a personal assistant that will be available in Canada later this year.
It estimates drive times and traffic conditions and sends an alert to your Apple device telling you when to leave. The app texts your friends and family letting them know you’re on your way. And its remote locking and unlocking capability is a bonus if you’re sunning in Maldives and your teens back home lock their homework in the car. Tap. Problem solved.
Or, if you don’t want to bother with parking your Tesla in a strange city, Luxe is a personal valet available in New York, San Francisco and other cities. Use the app to tell Luxe valets where you’ll be, they meet you wearing a bright blue jacket, and they take care of your vehicle. They’ll even wash and fill up if you ask.
Wealthy Canadians are likely to be snowbirds, says Aaron Hector, a fee-only financial planner at Doherty & Bryant Financial Strategists in Calgary. And what’s the one hassle super-rich snowbirds often complain about while away at their luxury retreats in Florida, Arizona or California? Being confused about how long they are legally able to stay States-side.
“People need to be really careful about how long they stay in the United States. If they cross over certain thresholds, they could be considered a U.S. tax resident,” says Mr. Hector. “It could get really messy.”
He recommends using apps that do all the calculations for you, so you’ll stay inside the immigration and tax rules. They also send an alert if you’re getting close to the limit. Canadian Snowbird Tracker or Canadian Snowbird US Stay Counter are a couple to try.
For the productive professional
Building wealth rarely happens by accident. It takes long hours and amped up productivity skills.
Tim Stringer, a productivity coach in Vancouver who has worked with wealthy clients, says they need many of the same apps we all do to stay productive.
“Especially in this modern age, people have just got so much stuff going on in their minds, it’s creating unnecessary anxiety,” he says. To counter that brain fog and stay focused, he recommends Evernote to jot down, find and share information – say, with a personal assistant – easily. OmniFocus Personal Task Manager and Todoist are other favourites for getting more done in less time.
But no matter which apps the well-heeled have on their phones, they’re only useful if they’re actually used. “Apps are there to support a practice,” says Mr. Stringer. “Owning a calculator doesn’t make you a mathematician.”Report Typo/Error
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