We don’t advertise.
Those were the words engraved into my brain as a child and young man. We enjoy our money and accomplishments in private, and we endure our hardships in private, too.
If you’re doing well, not many people really want to know. If you’re not doing well, not many people really want to know. The people who know you well will know you well enough to know, one way or the other. And they’ll ask if something’s wrong. And you can share your good news and know they won’t be envious.
You’ve run the New Yorker cartoon with the two couples talking at a cocktail party, and the man says ‘We just decided to stay preppy like nothing happened,’ or words to that effect. The telling aspect of that caption is that you can’t tell what happened. Did they have a windfall of cash? Did they lose everything?
Exactly. We don’t brag. We don’t complain. We don’t ‘share’. WASPy backgrounds and private schools have pretty much tamped down emotions by the time you’re 18, for better or worse. And emotions aren’t necessarily the best guides in life. Passion for a particular line of work perhaps being an exception.
We don’t talk about being ‘survivors’ of any particular disease. We don’t talk about ‘disease’ much at all because we don’t want to call that in or focus on that. We talk politics from an issue or fact based perspective, pretty much free of dogma and extremism, with a sense of historical context.
Our ‘support group’ is our family or our friends from prep or college. We discuss money in business meetings when we’re talking business, or with investment advisors, lawyers, or accountants in private. In my family, we’d get called into my father’s office over the garage. The door would close, we’d sit down, and finances would be discussed in a very straightforward manner. When my father was finished, he’d open the door, we’d walk out, and discussions of money were finished.
Talking about your money in social situations will get you dirty looks. Talking about other people’s money will get you 86’d.
So you asked my advice? Stay preppy. Don’t advertise. That’s pretty much it. – ASP