How Old Money Lives

In The Old Money Book, I detail the values, priorities, and habits of individuals and families who’ve enjoyed wealth and privilege for three generations or more.  Not by accident, the book begins with Old Money Values. If you don’t know what’s important–to you or someone else–mimicking certain behaviors will be a short-lived endeavor with hit-or-miss results in terms of improving your quality of life. (How Old Money Does It is the second section.)

But if you know the know the underlying philosophy behind a way of life, it will make more sense and adopting it will be easier. An OMG (Old Money Gal) I spoke with recently summed it up nicely when she said dryly, “No matter what happens, we aren’t going to behave any differently.”

She was speaking in financial terms, noting that regardless of whether or not her family made a lot of money this year or lost a lot of money (they invest professionally) the lifestyle they live wouldn’t change. Their prosperity or lack thereof wouldn’t determine the clothes they wore (LL Bean), the cars they drove (used, Swedish), or the way they behaved in public (always polite).

The statement is central to the Old Money philosophy. Here are some questions to ask yourself:

If I experienced a financial windfall this year, would I behave differently?

Would I change my friends? Would I buy a new car? Would I dress differently? How? Why?

Would I continue my education if I know that I will never have to work again? Would I drop out?

How would I treat people less fortunate than me? Better or worse than I treat them now?

How many people would know that my financial circumstances had changed? How many people would I tell? Why would I tell them? Would they be able to tell if I didn’t not share the news with them?

Now, ask yourself:

If I experience financial catastrophe this year, would I behave differently?

Would my friends shun me? Would I drive a different car?  Would I dress differently? How? Why?

Would I try to continue my education even if I have to work a job at the same time? Or would I drop out?

How would I treat people less fortunate than me? Better or worse than I treated them prior to losing all my money?

How many people would know that my financial circumstances had changed? How many people would I tell? Why would I tell them? Would they be able to tell if I didn’t not share the news with them?

How you answer these questions will reveal, to a large extent, how much of an Old Money life you’re living right now.

Fortunes come and go. Circumstances change. Live your life on an even keel. Wear your blessings and tribulations with the same grace.

That’s Old Money style.

– BGT


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