Old Money Customs From Other Cultures

When I wrote about the culture of Old Money in The Old Money Book, I wrote about the values, priorities, and habits of Old Money in America, specifically the northeast of the country. (Okay, specifically Boston. Go Red Sox!)

But the USA hardly has a monopoly on Old Money virtues, and we’d be smart to adopt traditions that other cultures practice in order to maximize our quality of life.

Here are a few worth considering:

In India, children are given gold for their birthdays. Sometimes it’s coins, sometimes it’s jewelry. But it’s always at least 18 karat, which is 75% gold, or 22 karat, which is 91% gold, as opposed to 14 karat, which is only 58% gold.

The Indians tend to not waste money on toys as much. As a result, when a young lady is about to make her way in the world, with two decades of birthdays behind her, she can have a nice stash of gold to call her own. Gold which has appreciated in value over that time, and which will continue to appreciate into the future.

The Chinese give small red envelopes full of cash, especially for the Chinese New Year celebrations. My wife and I were in Chinatown in Los Angeles for this year’s events. The restaurant we ate at was packed and abuzz with red envelopes being handed back and forth among the patrons, especially the older Chinese giving to their children and grandchildren.  Again, the absence of retail merchandise was noticeable.

Many cultures around the world give the bride and groom cash as a wedding gift. Personally, I believe this is a much better idea than a bridal registry. Newlywed friends of mine agreed. “We thought we needed a blender and a new set of cookware and all that, but when we counted $7500 in cash after the reception, it made sense to live with what we have right now and bank the money. We wrote and mailed a hundred and twenty five thank-you notes the next day, and I’ll tell you, never have I been so grateful. It’s so much better than an apartment full of stuff.”

So read The Old Money Book and enjoy it, but gleam great ideas and traditions from other cultures as well.  Make them your own. Prosper.


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