Old Money: In Their Own Words

As you all know, this blog is about the values, priorities, and habits of Old Money. Obviously, these posts are from my perspective and based largely on my experience. That being said, I thought it might be helpful to include comments from others who grew up in an Old Money home. There are some real pearls of wisdom here. Enjoy.

“There is no specific definition of “old money”, so this certainly isn’t a definitive statement. But as someone who grew up with more money than most everyone I knew, and had at least one parent who also grew up in a monied environment, and have children who have also grown up in a monied household, at least I can give you my personal impression.

“In our case, money was never discussed, was never flaunted, and was never consciously an issue of any kind, in and of itself. Rather, it was the absence of money as a limiting factor that was probably the most important thing. Never in my life was I ever told that anything was “too expensive”, or that I couldn’t do something or have something or go somewhere because it cost too much.

“By taking money completely out of the equation, everything ultimately was forced to stand on its merits: was this the “right” thing to do? was this gift “appropriate” for someone of my age? would doing or buying something make other people feel uncomfortable?

“I received an allowance from as far back as I can remember, but it was divided into thirds: one third for enforced ‘savings'; one third for spending (although I always saved mine anyway); and the final third for charitable contributions to the cause of my choice (religious, civic or otherwise.)

“Although times in general have changed, and we are not raising our own children in the same manner, I grew up in large, luxurious households (both primary and secondary), with a full complement of staff (cook, maid, butler/chauffeur, laundress, gardner). Vacations were spent traveling through Europe with large sets of matching Vuitton luggage, my siblings and I all went to private schools and Ivy League colleges, our family parties were often black tie affairs with full catering staff (the same caterers for 40 years, so they became almost like full-time staff).

“In retrospect, what I find surprising is that although this was quite a bit more than almost anyone else we knew (although now I realize that a number of my childhood friends came from families that were even richer than we were), virtually all of the memories of my family life were of the warmth and people and activities, with the money and surroundings playing only a supporting role.

“So I guess the bottom line is that, at least in my case, “old money” means the lack of a need to worry about money, combined with a strong sense of responsibility to ‘do the right thing’ and contribute back to society.”


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Princeton Man – Part 2


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February 28, 2015 · 11:47 pm

Huey Lewis, Cornell University


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February 24, 2015 · 12:47 am

As Old Money Ages

There are some things that, as time passes, I’ve come to learn. Here’s a short, current list:

1. Always choose an experience or opportunity over the acquisition of material things.

2. Risk is inevitable. You take them, thoughtfully or recklessly, or eventually you run the risk of being a victim of your indecision.

3. When you’re young, you think of how you want to live. When you get older, you start thinking of how you want to die. Which may explain why you see so many people over 50 who are exercising and watching their diet.

4. When you’re young, you think of what you can get for yourself. When you get older, you think of what you can leave behind for others.

5. People make their choices. With few exceptions, people are where they are by their own doing. And by a certain age, the dye is cast and they cannot change. This makes helping people tricky: how do you help someone who’s going to make the same mistake again and again? But you still have to be charitable. Where there is life, there is hope.

6. Talk about free will all you want, but destiny has a big hand in the game. It is silent and invisible, but you will learn to recognize it. When you recognize it, accept it. There is no negotiating with it.

7. Giving advice is truly difficult, for we never truly know another person’s situation. If we know them well, we may be a part of their problem. Set an example ten times before giving advice once. And never, ever give unsolicited advice unless a life is in danger.

8. Life is short, but certain moments are eternal.

9. The opinions of others matter not. The truth is, others probably aren’t thinking about you at all.

10. Diplomacy is important and can make the worst news bearable. It also preserves the dignity of the recipient.

11. Candor, though painful, never killed anybody. It can also be a real time saver.

12. They don’t make them like they used to. In time, you will know the truth of this statement. If you find something you like and use it, and it works perfectly well just the way it is, it will be changed. And it is maddening. The only advice I have is that, once you have located such a product, purchase as many or much of it as you possibly can. Ration it. Use it wisely. Take care of it. Make it last as long as you can, and pray that it will remain the ┬ásame.

13. Things are never as bad (or as good) as the media portrays them to be. Why? Because the really dangerous things happening in the world are generally kept secret until it’s too late. Think about the Great Depression, the atomic bomb, and perhaps about the real value of the dollar bill you have in your wallet. Also, every generation has its advantages and challenges. With the present generation, that would be social media and attention span, respectively.



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Game of Thrones

bowtie game of thrones

I understand it’s a television series, but I don’t have cable.

Or a microwave.

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Bill Nye, Old Money Guy

Bill Nye - Sidwell Friends School Cornell

Sidwell Friends School. Cornell.

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How To Tie One On

bowtie instructions

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February 8, 2015 · 9:42 pm