NEW YORK (MainStreet) — After a successful modeling career abroad, Lizanne Falsetto launched a protein bar called thinkThin. “One of my early breaks came when a buyer at Trader Joe's agreed to take the bars in,” Falsetto told MainStreet. “When I saw the first order come over through the fax machine, it was the biggest I had ever received.”

Today, thinkThin is a top ten brand in the nutrition bar category, and Falsetto is a wealthy business woman. She is among the emerging affluent who look very different from days past. For one thing, more than two-thirds of the emerging affluent are women, according to the 7th Millionaire Outlook from Fidelity Investments.

“The Internet is stripping away some of the obstacles that were once on the road to financial success,” said Derek Holman, co-founder of EP Wealth Advisors in Torrance, Calif. “Good ideas and intelligent people regardless of gender have more ways to rise up and break from the pack. They depend less on the connections from family and friends, which have been the traditional channels for wealth creation.”

That goes for the emerging affluent business leaders of color as well.

Some one-quarter of the emerging wealthy are non-white.

“All entrepreneurs have worked very hard to build their businesses, and they want to ensure that their wealth is preserved; however, individuals who have come from less and understand the difficulty in overcoming obstacles may have a greater sense of appreciation for their wealth,” Holman told Mainstreet.

While the emerging affluent may look different from the established millionaires of today, they demonstrate many similar attitudes and behaviors.

Some 31% of the emerging affluent are concerned about supporting their desired lifestyle in retirement compared to 32% of millionaires. “For those who wish to pursue the emerging affluent dream, embracing education, hard work, integrity, ingenuity, and most importantly sacrifice are monumental in helping pave the way to a more successful life and lifestyle,” says Brian Schwartz, a premier wealth advisor and vice president with HSBC Securities USA. 

One way that established millionaires differ from the emerging affluent is that 40% hold alternative investments compared to only 20% for the emerging affluent, 20% were invested in derivatives compared to only 9% of the emerging affluent and 42% are invested in emerging market securities compared to only 29% of emerging affluent.

“The emerging affluent and millionaires share a willingness to invest aggressively, but the emerging affluent are missing an important element, which is knowledge,” said Bob Oros, executive vice president with Fidelity Clearing and Custody and head of the registered investment advisors (RIA) segment.

Overall, lack of knowledge is not an obstacle, because the emerging affluent have time to learn.

"On average, emerging affluent investors are just 40 years old, which means they have time to accumulate assets," Oros told MainStreet.

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