According to my nephews and nieces in the states, this question is a popular one online. So I’ll offer an answer.
Fair warning…it may not be what most people expect, as I’m not going to hold forth on oxford cloth button down shirts, penny loafers, or Volvo station wagons. These things are symptomatic of an Old Money lifestyle, but not integral to the Old Money philosophy.
As I’ve said before, you can purchase a lifestyle and present that to the public in a matter of hours, depending upon your proximity to a clothing boutique that specializes in traditional (preppy) clothing or your relationship status with Amazon Prime.
That’s no big accomplishment. What is more work, and more rewarding, is to adopt the values, priorities, and habits of America’s Upper Class in order to live a richer life. This is the wide load for the long haul, but it delivers in spades.
This is, as I’ve said many times before, the difference between a ‘standard of living’ and ‘quality of life’.
So, how do you do this? First, read The Old Money Book. Then make a list of the Core Values on a post-it note. Put that on the fridge, on your desk, in your calendar, or on your phone. Then go about your daily business.
Before you begin to perform a task or make a choice, ask yourself, Is this in line with my Core Values?
If it’s taking out the trash, it’s probably not that relevant: you’re taking out the trash so it doesn’t stink up the kitchen and attract bugs. If it’s deciding whether or not to spend $50,000 on a wedding that will be over in a day or take that same $50,000 to purchase an apartment building that will appreciate in value and bring in rental income, then it’s very relevant.
How does each action or choice ‘match up’ to the Core Values of Old Money? In the simple case of the wedding vs. the apartment building, you would consider the Core Value of Financial Independence. How well does the cost of a wedding match up? How well does an apartment building–or any other solid financial investment–match up?
A lot? A little? Not at all?
The same can be said for buying junk food. Does that match up with ‘Health’? Does saving money for college tuition match up to ‘Education’? Does broadcasting your life on social media match up to ‘Privacy’?
Take any choice, action, or habit and measure how well it fits in with a relevant Core Value before you make the choice, take the action, or continue the habit. Then make your best choice.
That’s the simple, authentic way to Act Like Old Money.
The wardrobe and the lifestyle will, as surely as day follows night, take shape around you after you adopt this strategy. You will invest in yourself, invest in your family, and invest in the long term. Then you’ll steadily come around to investing in your wardrobe, investing in furnishings, and investing in a home. Quality of life will be yours.
Perhaps not that answer we wanted, but certainly the answer we need.