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At Tiger 21, Nation’s Wealthiest Provide Peer Support

The Most Exclusive Club in North America

Everyone wants to be wealthy, but some amounts of wealth come with their own price tag. Along with their success, the country’s richest investors have gained huge responsibilities. Some have also discovered that it can be lonely at the top.

That’s where Tiger 21 comes in. Tiger 21 is a club for the highest net worth investors in the U.S. and Canada. The club has about 220 members across 18 different chapters. Its members have an average net worth of $75 million. Collectively, they managed about $20 billion in investible assets. Even among the wealthy, these people have assets that most could never dream of.

The group represents an array of fields, from real estate to robotics. Tiger 21 allows them to share one of their most valuable assets with each other: expertise. “Everyone assumes you’re brilliant because you made a lot of money, but most members know very little outside their domain or expertise,” Tiger 21 founder, Michael Sonnenfeldt told Forbes.

Tiger 21 has opened 18 different chapters since its founding in 1999. Its newest division, based in Dallas, was founded in 2007.  Members of the Dallas chapter include asset protection attorney, Joe Garza, among several of the city’s prominent investors, entrepreneurs, and philanthropists. As Tiger 21 continues to expand, it sets its sights on other metropolitan areas with thriving economies.

Wealth Preservation

At a Tiger 21 meeting, members speak candidly about their financial and personal lives. It’s an opportunity for them to share insights and offer critiques of each other’s financial decisions. According to member William Ade, many have never shown their personal balance sheet to anyone, so they don’t realize what they could be doing better.

For that reason, members must undergo what’s known as a “Portfolio Defense.” It’s an hour long process that occurs during each Tiger 21 meeting. According to the club’s website, every member is “required to present to the Group the complete and intimate details of his/her personal investment portfolio for review and analysis in the context of his/her stated philosophy and goals.” The group encourages each other to make responsible philanthropic decisions as well. Most consider this responsibility to include investing in promising entrepreneurs.

Planning for the Year Ahead

Tiger 21 is a valuable source of advice and information for its members. But the group has also become something of a financial compass for the country. Members aren’t keeping information to themselves; in fact, Sonnenfeldt recently appeared on CNBC to talk about the group’s projections for 2014.

“Last year was such a great market, some of our members are nervous about where it’s going from here,” he confided. A poll of Tiger 21 members revealed that 66% believe that 2014’s financial markets will be worse than 2013.

But members are also confident they’ve found this year’s best opportunities in private equity. Sonnenfeldt was quick to point out that private equity investments require more than sitting back and watching your money grow. “It’s an opportunity to roll up our shirtsleeves and get involved,” he said.

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