The Old Money Book
The Old Money Book

The Old Money Book

These families have lived in a certain way and raised their children in a certain way which tended to ensure the preservation of their wealth and the happiness and overall well-being of their descendants. Many of these descendants are still benefiting from this way of life, both financially and emotionally. Therefore, anyone wishing to experience financial independence, wealth, and happiness in their own lives might do well to study this way of life and adopt its principles. (Location 50)

A cornerstone of Old Money thinking is to prioritize personal reality over public perception. This means that Old Money is more concerned with the way things actually are with their personal situation than the way they appear to others. (Location 80)

The philosophy of Old Money is to enjoy life to the fullest; to learn and grow as a person; to work hard and excel in a profession that one enjoys and is passionate about; to preserve and expand one’s financial resources while using them well; to share a rich life with friends and family; to explore the world in order to better understand it, and one’s place in it; to prepare one’s children for a productive, healthy and rewarding life of their own; to benefit society and its less fortunate members through charitable giving or vocation;  to leave a legacy for future generations. (Location 96)

Old Money prioritizes healthy living through diet, as well. Most Old Money households eat fresh vegetables and fruit, and lean meats, usually purchased on a weekly basis. Old Money avoids fast food, processed food, and heavy, overly sweet foods, and watches carbohydrates carefully.  Carbonated drinks are limited, if consumed at all. Fruit juices, vegetable juices, and filtered water figure prominently.  (Brita makes an excellent water filter. Get one.) Organic foods or foods grown at home in a garden are not uncommon. (Location 202)

It’s a waste of money and unhealthy. Canned food is devilatized and can be less nourishing. The most nourishing food is the freshest food. The freshest food is the food that has made the shortest journey from the place it is grown to the place it is consumed. (Location 207)

Old Money parents prioritize their children’s health above all else. They delay luxuries and even necessities for themselves in order to make sure their children have adequate health care and a nutritious, balanced diet. (Location 226)

Old Money families also require regular physical exercise from their children, regardless of the children’s personality or temperament. It requires only discipline and effort to walk, alone or as a family, at given times during the week. (Location 232)

The second core value of Old Money is education. This may be the most obvious core value, given the general public awareness of Old Money’s tendency to send its children to Harvard, Yale and other such institutions. But the value of education, and the actions that result from it, extend more deeply than that. (Location 309)

This will encourage them to associate books with positive experiences and emotions. The value of this association as they go forward in life cannot be underestimated: how different a world it would be if young people sought answers to life’s challenges in the works of great authors rather than in the use of drugs, violence, and alcohol. (Location 314)

Old Money invests time and energy in activities that nourish the intellect and imagination of their children. It takes its children to libraries and on field trips. It eats dinner with them, not in front of the television, and has lively and intelligent conversation. Most importantly, Old Money sets an example by reading more than it watches television. If Old Money watches television, it is PBS. (Location 317)

The expectation that the children will attend and graduate from college is absolute in Old Money families. This sets the tone for establishing good study habits early. There is very little tolerance for poor academic performance. Extracurricular activities such as sports, drama, music, or debate are encouraged, with very little room for negotiation. (Location 331)

Education is fundamental for quality of life, and a common element in upward mobility. Beyond that, it helps one understand society, how things change, and how they never really change. It is essential to learn to do a task, and do it well, even when one doesn’t feel like doing it. On a personal level, education gives the educated options, perspective, and a set of tools that, once obtained, cannot be taken away. (Location 335)

The lists above refer predominantly to institutions in the northeast of the United States. This is the part of the country settled first by Europeans, and thus, has more history, and, some would argue, more culture, than any other part of the country. (Location 364)

Don’t react when they tell you something shocking or unbelievable. It’s not the last time you’ll hear something shocking or unbelievable from them. (Location 379)

They are their own person, on their own path. Do your best to teach by setting an example and being there for them, but some things they’ll just have to learn on their own. As long as these lessons aren’t life-threatening or potentially permanently damaging, that’s okay. (Location 382)

You are their first teacher, and their most important. (Location 386)

Don’t stifle your child’s creativity. That’s their joy, their gift to the world. Encourage them to use it productively. (Location 390)

Communicate to your child that you’re fine with whatever profession they choose. The only criteria being that it makes them happy and that they do their best. But they still must get an education. (Location 393)

Your child has friends. Know their parents. Forge a strong relationship with those parents who share your values. (Location 399)

Video games are a waste of money and a brain drain. Limit your child’s exposure to them. Limit your exposure to them. (Location 406)

If possible, take your children on vacations and short trips with family members only. (Location 421)

Isolating your children in this manner for a period of time makes it more difficult for them to hide things from you. It also makes them think twice about doing something to disappoint the family. (Location 423)

Teach your child to handle money, alcohol, and sex. Managed correctly, all three contribute generously to the enjoyment of life. Mishandled through ignorance or neglect, disaster looms. Be blunt, honest, and available to answer questions. Conversations can be awkward, but negligence is far worse. (Location 431)

Old Money realizes that there’s no good chance at happiness without purposeful, productive work. Obviously, in many cases, Old Money doesn’t work because it needs the money. It works because there’s joy in doing what you love. Whether it’s a profession that provides a paycheck, or volunteer work for a charity, Old Money works.  All of the world’s religions advocate the concept of being of service. So does Old Money. Go figure. (Location 448)

It is also essential to excel at one’s chosen vocation, regardless of its potential financial rewards or perceived status in society. Old Money gets after it. This work ethic is instilled at an early age. Old Money grows up around achievers who have a strong sense of the privilege they’ve been born into and the responsibility that comes with it. That responsibility precludes laziness, half-hearted efforts, or just getting by. (Location 465)

Old Money saying: get your butt in gear. Inspiration and direction can be found in notable examples of the Old Money work ethic. (Location 471)

Old Money is often focused on maximizing the moment, whether it’s being productive at work or being joyful at home. Maximizing the moment means committing to what you’re doing, without distraction, for the time that you’re doing it. The biggest enemies of this are mobile phones, emails, the internet in general, and television in particular. (Location 492)

Multi-tasking, a term Old Money loathes, is often just pretending to do more than one thing at a time and doing none of them well. Focus on a task, activity, or person. Invest fully. You will be more productive at work and have more fun when you play. (Location 499)

Old Money knows that so much of life depends on the ability to do what needs to be done, when it needs to be done, whether you like it or not. Indeed, this may be the major lesson in all of formal education. (Location 503)

It is the work of life to take the circumstances of our birth and issues of our childhood and discard, refine, and remake them in order to become the person we want to be. (Location 516)

You will never be or be near Old Money for long if you are rude or lack manners. There are numerous books available which discuss manners and etiquette in detail. Purchase one and read it frequently, regardless of what you think you know. Note: Old Money is never condescending to others, regardless of their social position or vocation. (Location 562)

Children, for the most part, will learn more from watching their parents than they will from a thousand lectures. It’s a harsh reality that most parents learn too late, many times when they see abhorrent behavior in their offspring and ask, “Where on earth did they learn that?” (They learned it from you, dear.) So, parents, mind your manners. Little ones are watching. (Location 594)

The meal will be concluded and, if the children have behaved well, a small, appropriate reward will be given. (Location 613)

Old Money knows that it’s important to not only be polite to friends, colleagues, and strangers, but to family members as well. Perhaps it is most important to be polite to family. (Location 621)

It offers to help if someone’s cooking a meal. Old Money is dressed; no walking around in boxer shorts with no shirt on, thanks. (Location 623)

Napkins are in laps. Food is eaten slowly and enjoyed. The television is not on. The radio is not on. (Location 629)

Old Money children and adolescents keep things generally in order. They must study. They have friends over. Standards must be met. (Location 634)

Generally, manners contribute to the Old Money home, making it a relaxed and civilized environment where children and adults alike can feel safe, welcome, and supported. (Location 637)

Do not speak or laugh loudly in public. Smile. (Ladies, use good judgment with this one in public, as not to be misunderstood.) (Location 646)

If you are a man, never, ever abandon a woman who may be in danger, regardless of the situation. Come to her defense. If you are a woman, never, ever allow a man to be accused or humiliated unjustly by others. Come to his defense. Do not discuss sex outside the bedroom. Do not discuss illness outside the family. Do not discuss money unless it pertains to a business transaction. (Location 660)

Old Money response to such behavior: peacock today, feather duster tomorrow. The priority for Old Money is financial independence, not display. If you have to get up in the morning and go to a miserable job in order to pay for a big house, expensive car, and high-end wardrobe, what’s the point? If you can get up each morning and do whatever you want to do that day—and every day—that’s quite a luxury. (Location 693)

Financial independence is easier to maintain when you live simply and focus on doing and being more than spending and having. (Location 697)

it’s a good life. But it’s not to be flaunted to those less fortunate, and it certainly is not an end unto itself. (Location 702)

Old Money knows that buying things and spending money does not make one happy for any extended period of time. Old Money is fortunate, and it knows it. It does not squander, but it is not cheap, especially with family and friends. Old Money is an investor, not a consumer. (Location 705)

The principal is rarely touched, as it is the goose that lays the golden eggs. Ideally, the goose will lay the golden eggs for this generation and the next. (Location 709)

It knows that freedom means infinitely more than material possessions. (Location 711)

Financial decisions are made logically and strategically, not emotionally. (Location 714)

Shopping will be less of a social activity and more of a strategy: getting the highest quality product for your money, in the least amount of time, so you can get back to doing what you love. (Location 738)

Old Money knows that a generation without good financial habits is a generation—and possibly a fortune—lost. (Location 742)

Encourage them to earn money by mowing lawns, babysitting, or starting a neighborhood or internet business. (Location 746)

Teach them to shop wisely. If there’s a new gadget that they absolutely must have, let them buy it with money they’ve earned. Over time, they will learn what has value and what doesn’t. (Location 748)

Children should know this. Discussions about other people’s money or possessions are off limits. (Location 751)

They can have their allowance, but if they can’t go hang out with their friends, money doesn’t mean much. This is an important lesson: the role and limitations of money. (Location 753)

Therefore, no matter how young or how healthy it is, Old Money has a will prepared, signed and notarized. You should, too. Simple and straightforward templates can be found online if you estate is small and heirs are limited in number. For larger estates, consult an attorney who specializes in this practice area. (Location 760)

Extravagance is the fear of poverty and the need for attention. Discretion is the fear of nothing and the need of nothing. (Location 829)

Old Money marries later in life and marries once. Chemistry is important, but shared values are more important. Chemistry will come and go, but shared values (like the ones documented in this book), where a couple is going, and what behavior is acceptable—those keep people together. (Location 878)

Not because their parents had money and they have money, but because their parents had a common set of values and they have a common set of values. (Location 881)

Old Money is never in a rush to get married. You shouldn’t be, either. If you truly believe your love is eternal, why not date for a while? A three-year engagement is good. (Location 884)

Get feedback. It’s not just in the movies: when a single Old Money person begins to get even remotely serious about a potential mate, the potential mate is scrutinized intensely by Old Money friends and the Old Money family. (Location 890)

their children. Student loans can be eliminated or greatly reduced. Conservative investments can be made to form the initial nest egg for a young couple, reducing the stress of potential unemployment or making it possible for them to pursue a passion while underemployed. (Is the bride or groom an artist or musician?) Money (Location 908)

Old Money is prepared, emotionally and financially, to make a commitment. You should be, too. You should think it through. Emotions are powerful. So is rent. Numerous honest and articulate discussions about making a life together never hurt any couple. If the passion cools considerably in the hard light of day, weigh that. If thinking and planning a future together reasonably and thoughtfully only ignites more passion, you may have chosen the right mate. (Location 919)

Finances are the most obvious source of strain, but an unplanned pregnancy can put hopes, dreams, education, and careers on the back burner, or out of reach all together. This can foster resentment, unhappiness, and ultimately a separation or divorce. Plan. (Location 925)

Make your own rules and solve your own problems. Go to relatives for help and advice only as a last resort. Anything unflattering that you tell your parents about your spouse will be held against them (the spouse) for a very long time, perhaps forever. Even after the difficult time has passed, and you’ve returned to marital bliss, your parents will remember what you told them. So don’t tell them anything but good things. (Location 936)

Her income is not as steady or as substantial as Jack’s, but her potential as an artist is strong. It’s also what she loves to do. Her uncle is an OMG, and she learned about money and work from him. (Location 958)

It has been said that Old Money individuals who live appropriately have their names in the newspapers three times: when they’re born, when they marry, and when they die. (Location 1002)

Old Money lives discreetly. There are reasons for this. Discretion minimizes resentment from others. It minimizes requests for financial assistance from friends, relatives and strangers. It minimizes attention from criminals, as well as would-be suitors who wish to marry into money. It assists in developing and maintaining healthy friendships with others who may have less money. (Location 1009)

Old Money knows that sometimes, like it or not, others look to it to set an example, to set a standard, to deal with good fortune and bad with equanimity. Old Money knows that this is most easily done by with an eye on work, family, and friends, and not fame. (Location 1016)

Family background is omitted or obscured whenever possible. The focus remains on the work. And when the show or the game is over, Old Money goes home. (Location 1019)

The number of people you have slept with is not an accomplishment to be proud of, for either sex. Do text messages and explicit photos need to be discussed? (Location 1025)

If you can, do not have your actual home address on your driver’s license. If you can, do not have your home address printed on your checks. Use a mail drop or post office box. (Location 1065)

An Old Money saying: It should take someone five minutes to realize that you’re well-dressed. Old Money dresses in a generally low-key way because they have no need or desire to call attention to the fact that they have money, status or privilege. But that does not mean that they do not dress well. (Location 1104)

Old Money dresses. Everybody else dresses up or barely gets dressed at all. Old Money looks presentable always. Shirts, blouses, skirts and pants are pressed; well-made and well-cared-for shoes are worn. Hair is combed and clean. A certain benchmark is met, even in the most casual of settings. (Location 1118)

The Old Money Guy focuses on quality and value, simplicity and comfort. This starts with shoes. (Location 1129)

When you are ready to buy clothes the way the OMG buys clothes, go to Brooks Brothers, Ralph Lauren, or J. Press and explain your situation to a salesman there. (Location 1135)

The go-to garment for the Old Money Guy is the navy blazer. The blazer can be single or double breasted. (Location 1167)

With a tie, you are dressed appropriately for almost any occasion. Worn without a tie, you are still well-dressed. The shirts worn with this blazer are the same blue and white shirts worn with the suit. Brooks Brothers makes the iconic model. Quality blue blazers are made and sold the world over. Knock yourself out. Note: do not wear suit pants with a blazer. (Location 1169)

Other odd jackets that serve the OMG well include the brown or grey tweed for winter, the brown or navy corduroy for fall, and the wheat or blue linen sport coat for spring and summer. Cashmere is for sweaters and scarves only, not jackets, and is a fundamental luxury later in life. (Location 1172)

Is the logic in all this becoming apparent? The OMG gives others the impression by the way he dresses that he is reliable and intelligent, that he has taste, and that he has no need to impress. He enjoys the benefits of convenience, comfort, classic style, and saving money. (Location 1186)

Old Money has the benefit of inheriting sofas, chairs, tables and the like from well-heeled ancestors who had an eye for quality, the means to acquire it, and the brains to hold on to it. Perhaps you’ve inherited good pieces, and you’ve been spared the expense of furnishing your residence from scratch. (Location 1403)

But if you’re just starting out or starting over, auction houses liquidating the contents of local estates for heirs or creditors are a great place to get sofas, chairs, rugs, and tables for a fraction of their retail price. These items are generally traditional in style, sturdy in construction, and vary considerably in condition. They can be like new, or they can be worn threadbare. (Location 1418)

Reading will improve the quality of your life and the quality of your relationships, as the quality of your conversation will in large part be dependent on what you have read. Intelligent, well-read people seldom have lengthy or regular conversations with those who have not read well. (Location 1515)

Biographies of great men and women will offer a glimpse of the very human person behind the legend. Their stories will inevitably reveal dark moments, which may help when you encounter dark moments of your own. They came through theirs and prevailed. So will you. (Location 1523)

If you are just starting out or starting over, feel free to rent rather than rush into owning a primary residence. OMGs seek financial independence first, if they do not already have it, and then seek the comfort of owning a primary residence later. (Location 1566)

Old Money does not habitually socialize in bars, though the occasional after-work drink is not unheard of. Most socializing occurs in private homes, restaurants, or private clubs. (Location 1614)

Do not ask personal questions such as what someone does for a living, how much money they make, or what kind of car they drive. You may ask them where they are from or how they know the host of the event you are both attending. If you are drinking wine, ask them if they know anything about wine. (Location 1631)

Don’t try to be funny. You’re either funny or you’re not. In either case, use humor cautiously during an initial conversation. Do not tell jokes. Do not do a stand-up comedy routine. You may tell brief—emphasis on brief—interesting stories about things you have done or want to do. (Location 1637)

Old Money social events are upbeat. Conversation is lively and optimistic. Tragedy, personal problems, and unpleasant topics are not discussed. (Location 1646)

“Networking” among Old Money is done very, very diplomatically. When you tell someone what you do or what you are interested in doing for a living, wait for them to inquire further about it. Do not press. Old Money can spot a sales pitch a mile away. (Location 1651)

If you came alone, leave alone. If you came with a guest, leave with that guest, unless they are driving and have been drinking. Then inform your host. (Location 1663)

More importantly, Old Money also thinks less about cars than any social class. Cars are acquired to function, providing safe, reliable transportation for family. They are not acquired to impress others, attract attention, or compensate for deficiencies in character or physique. (Wink, nod.) (Location 1686)

Old Money enjoys the experience of travel. Yes, travel requires time and money, but its benefits are numerous and enduring and well worth the planning and expense. Travel broadens perspective; it shatters preconceived notions. Mark Twain said it best when he wrote, “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.” (Location 1791)

You cannot consider yourself truly well-educated unless you travel. Obviously, it helps to have money to travel and enjoy it, but just as crucial is the planning. If you are willing to plan your travel a year or more in advance, you can make almost any trip, regardless of your income level. That may seem like a long time to plan, but part of Old Money’s success in life is the result of planning. Learn this and benefit. (Location 1799)

The first thing Elizabeth will do is rethink. Most people think of travelling in the summer. She’ll avoid summer. Summer is when the rest of the world travels. Transportation and destinations can be hot, crowded, and expensive. Old Money, and Elizabeth, will have none of that. (Location 1829)

Old Money makes the best use of its time and money by hiring competent staff rather than paying retail for services. Many people take their shirts to the dry cleaners to have them washed and ironed. They go out to restaurants frequently because, with two working adults in the family, who wants to cook every night? And they waste their weekends cleaning house (hopefully—wink, nod) and doing laundry. (Location 1918)

Respect is given instantly and universally. Trust is earned over time. Let’s not tempt anyone. (Location 1928)

Old Money represents a set of values that prioritizes modesty over display, investment over consumption, work over idleness, and refinement over brashness. It believes in delaying gratification in order to achieve long term, worthwhile goals. (Location 1940)

Old Money is affluent and joyful because it uses its resources wisely and prioritizes for the long term. (Location 1944)