Old Money: In Their Own Words

I read your book and really enjoyed it. I only wish I’d read it sooner.

I’m a sophomore at a New England college. The summer of my senior year, a relative of mine died and left me some money in her will.  I had been accepted to the school I’d always wanted to attend, and had been awarded a scholarship which covered a lot of the expenses. My parents had also lived really under the radar and had my college money set aside, so it was all good.

I felt like I was on top of the world. When my parents sat down with me and handed me the check, I had butterflies in my stomach. I had already talked to the older brother of a friend of mine who was into stocks and knew about this IPO (initial public offering) of this company that couldn’t miss. I’d seen a classic car online and thought driving that off to school in the fall would be the bomb. Some of my classmates and I had already planned a vacation, but I decided I was going to raise the bar on that and rent a suite for everybody.

My parents asked me at the dining room table that night if I wanted any advice about handling the money. I said, no, I got this.

So the IPO went nowhere. I didn’t really lose a lot, but it didn’t take off like we all thought it would. The classic car was great until the classic insurance and repair bills started coming in. I drove it off to college and had to park it outside in the rain and snow my freshman year. I also looked like a douche, I realize now, as some of the students there had access to a lot more cash than I did and were driving hand-me-downs or nothing at all.

At Christmas, I panicked at how all the money from the IPO, the vacation (which ended up with a lot of people I didn’t know drinking booze I paid for and telling me what a great guy I was in the hotel suite for 3 days straight), and the car, it was all going out the window. So I sold the car for about half of what I paid for it and, except for a thousand dollars, I put all that in the bank.

Everybody told me to dress for the weather, but I hadn’t listened to that, either. So I took a about five hundred dollars and bought winter stuff on LL Bean, like you said. Ankle boots for the snow, wool sweater, flannel lined khakis and some dress shirts. I bought a blue blazer on sale at a local shop when I got back to campus for the social scene. So all the fashion-y stuff got left at home.

My mom offered the family SUV which is fifteen years old if I wanted to drive that. I accepted, then just went down to the basement, sat on the sofa and just cried by myself. I had about half of what I started with, but still a lot considering most people my age.

I started the second semester not spending much money on anything and trying not to get depressed, studying, which I hadn’t done the first semester because I was whatever I was.

This year, I met a girl and we really hit it off. After a few dates, we had one of those long talks where you really get down to it. She told me that a friend we both knew had told her that I’d inherited a lot of money. I was really shocked. I was really kind of pissed that a guy I knew would talk about that, and I was really surprised that she would bring it up. I didn’t think she was a gold-digger, but then I kind of took a step back.

Then she said, “You’re handling it well. A lot better than a lot of people would. Good for you.” And then she changed the subject. I tried to not show what I was thinking, like, girl, if you only knew.

We went home late, and then I couldn’t sleep. It was like she’d given me the compliment of compliments and I didn’t deserve it. Then I decided that I was going to try to deserve it in the future. I didn’t know how I was going to do that, but I just kind of made that promise to myself.

My parents came to visit for a game weekend, and I talked to my dad about the whole thing. He had a friend who’d read your book, and I downloaded a copy. It was like a road map for somebody lost in the woods.

Thank you. And yeah, I think the girl is old money. We’re still dating.


11 thoughts on “Old Money: In Their Own Words

  1. The wealth required by nature is limited and is easy to procure, but the wealth required by vain ideals extends to infinity.

  2. Love the honesty here. We all make mistakes. You learn and move on and try not to beat yourself up too much.

  3. You may not realize it yet but you are fortunate. You learned an important lesson at an early age and you will be able to make wiser choices. I think the young lady is correct: you did handle it much better than many people,

  4. To a young man whom I assume lives in the US: for the best IPO’s I recommend names like TOWLE, REED & BARTON, GORHAM, FRANK SMITH and WALLACE. If young couple wishes to have a family, above IPO’s are antibacterial. After all, why the bluebloods survived plague in Europe? If it was good for the Emperors, the Kings and the aristocracy, it should be good for you and your future family as well.
    Money in the bank? Why?
    You never had money in your hands, I guess. The numbers you see on the screen are called promise. The bank promises to return your “money” on demand. Well, the bank doesn’t have legal obligation to return your “money” to you (look what happened to the Greeks and check The Royal Mint stats. Greeks had “money” in the banks). What you do, you basically provide liquidity to your bank. You lend your “money” to the bank at what interest? Zilch! If one wants to be real OM, one must understand deference between currency – “money” and money. Money I mean what is money for thousands of years. Not IOU’s. It is not money.
    Let’s say you will pass whatever the number of greenbacks to your kids. Socialist taxman will hit them, right? And now, how will taxman hit your kids if he does not have any idea how much IPO’s (which I recommend) you pass to your kids?
    Classic cars? Yes, I like to watch them.
    Once you will have your family you will discover pure luxury in finding out what that little girl or boy is trying to tell us, or watching them taking first steps, or learning how to ride a bicycle… Hmmmm, and then one day you and your wife will turn around the kitchen island and will hear you little one reading. “My God, I am 6 years older” you will read in your wife’s face. …….
    You and your wife will have to teach your children about IPO’s, bed time reading, what OM money are, how to pronounce Florence (I would in Italian)…… and I guess you know what I mean. So, is there any time for Classic cars?
    You burnt yourself already, so there is nothing to be scared of (except taxman). Just take your time and take a loooooooong view.
    And remember, what will you be talking about to your kids and grandkids if not about that young silly fella you used to know. Will you advice your sons and grandsons on cars or on what qualities they should be looking for before they get married?
    Wishing you good luck!

  5. This young man was able to pull back before he saw total disaster; that is to be commended. This reminds me of a school friend who was awarded a large insurance settlement. He was not old money, had no one to provide guidance or advice, and proceeded to blow it all on good times. Unfortunately, the funds were needed to pay for ongoing medical treatment as a result of the original accident which provided the settlement. His financial life was ruined and I believe still is decades later.

    This young man seems to have had enough early training and guidance to keep this scenario from happening to him. Thank goodness!

  6. I’m impressed with his maturity and how quickly he gained it. In one semester he went from the party- hard–set- the lampshade-on fire guy to a stable, studious,and sensible young man.
    Sounds like his parents set a good example that rubbed off on him.

  7. Passing judgment.
    Your parents failed! Maybe they live American dream and to live that dream one has to be sleeping. (no offense given. I lived in the states for a year and something). You parents provided money but no culture no discipline. Do not make the same mistake. OM is not about money at all. OM is about family, the people you care the most about, the people you share your visions with, the people you leak your wounds with, the people you can be honest with, the people you learn from (all of us suffer from the same problem. At certain age they violently and against our will separated us from our families and put us to the classroom with the kids approximately the same age and almost the same intellectual abilities, and almost identical experience. Now what happened is that they destroyed natural family bonds. It’s in the family where you learn everything. It’s our grand parents, parents, siblings, uncles……….. In family we learn how to read, write and do math before we start school. Only in family one can learn about Money, values, love, pain, joy…… Family members are the ones you can trust and rely on when clouds are on the horizon. In family the family culture gets into your veins and the family hard is pumping it through your body; you learn from your grandparents, your relatives, older sibling and cousins….. Do not tell me you remember your grade 2 classmates. I do not. But I remember that night I slept holding my new skates under the bed and I remember next day when my parents took me on the frozen pond for skating. Loooong time ago but I still see their happy faces).

    It’s extremely hard to hold family together; it’s extremely hard to resist influences coming from outside, media……….. it’s hard to delay gratification, it’s hard to live in austerity for years and teach your children not to consume but produce and save so those coming after them will have chance to add more to the OM wealth (I do not mean money – money are only means).

    That’s the reason why only a fraction of families are and still can become OM for generations. I think Byron hit the nail: family is above the law. And it is above the law and the state or country.
    Do not fail like your parents did.

    If you are still interested in classical cars, meet Byron’s old pal Tom (maybe you will have a side project, you already know how fats classical cars rust. And if you take a closer look around you, chances are you will spot your next happy customer. And remember that every car has at least two seats and requires a test drive after fixing. If your relationship with your girlfriend is serious, she will encourage you and you can drive any classical car you wish). I can give you a direct link, but I want you to dig. And I strongly encourage everyone to read all Byron’s posts, relax, reject, deny, twist, screw, do not follow, unless it resonates with the deepest corner of your soul and after that come back resurrected YOU and enjoy long ride.

    And do not live under mistaken assumption that Byron is writing for you! He is writing for your children and grand children. You only have to pass it and ensure that torch will burn.

    Thank you Byron for doing this.

    Very quick one for you Byron, if you have not started a book how OM rise their children, I strongly encourage you should start. Please!

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