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.”