In The Old Money Book, I give advice on How To Live Better While Spending Less. The concepts I articulate, like the importance of financial independence, the work ethic, and family, and the fundamentals I detail, like how to dress and behave, are time-tested and straightforward. There’s no magic. There’s no instant gratification. The philosophy and culture of Old Money is a lifetime commitment. The rewards are in the long term and often intangible. And that’s a very difficult thing for some people to accept.
We live in a society where we’re constantly told that if we take this pill or buy this product, we’ll see results overnight, and with little or no effort on our part. All we have to do is make a purchase. Believing that with any important aspect of our life can be devastating. For both the goals we have and the problems we face, effort is required. As an aunt of mine once put it to me a long, long time ago: “Real silver requires polishing.”
Even the wisdom in The Old Money Book has its limits. First, it must be read, a requirement that one person who reviewed the book recently failed to grasp. In his comments, he admitted that he skimmed and skipped some chapters, and then complained that the book was “condescending.” Apparently, one of the pages he skipped was the one in which I specifically and emphatically state, in bold letters no less, that under no circumstances is anyone to behave in a condescending manner to another person, regardless of their income level or station in life.
Another complaint was that there really wasn’t anything new in The Old Money Book. The irony of this comment was not lost on me, or on my mother, who threw her hands in the air in exasperation when I relayed the criticism. There may not be anything new in a book that details how families create, preserve, and pass wealth–not to mention values–on from generation to generation, over decades and sometimes centuries. But there just might be something helpful.
And, from the vast majority of reviews and emails I’ve received, it seems that the information has been helpful. It has also been appreciated, and for that I’m truly grateful. A reader thinks the book perfectly summarizes the values they were raised with. Another tells me the book landed in their hands at the perfect time, providing a spark of inspiration and a sense of direction as they work to improve their lives.
By far, the most heart-warming comments that I receive are the ones in which parents who have read The Old Money Book tell me they’re going to buy extra copies so they can give the book to their children.
It’s one thing for someone to read and appreciate what I’ve written, but when they want to pass it on to those they care for most, I’m truly humbled. Because it’s not as much a testament to me as a writer, it’s a testament to them and their values, they way they’ve raised their families, and the dreams they have for the next generation.
“Thank you” seems inadequate. But it’s really all I can say.