Old money vs new money: What’s the real difference?


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You’ve heard the term old money. But what is old money, anyway? And if there’s such a thing as old money, then what is new money? And what’s the difference between the two? Let’s dive in and learn more about old money and new money.

What is Old Money?

Families with old money have inherited their wealth. In most cases, the money has been passed down for numerous generations. This type of wealth is perceived as a type of social class with the families considered upper class. These individuals have become accustomed to having wealth.


According to Clever Girl Finance, the old wealth families in the United States include the Rockerfellers, Gettys and Vanderbilts. Other families of old wealth include the Agnelim in Italy and the Wendels in France.


What is New Money?

New money is also referred to as nouveau riche. These are people who did not inherit money and instead earned their wealth. They are often considered self-made billionaires or millionaires.


According to the most general social status, these families stand a rung below old wealth. Some even consider them to be lower-upper class. These individuals and families often have roots in the fields of technology, entertainment and sports.

The term nouveau riche also describes anyone in possession of an immense and recent amount of money including entrepreneurs.

Behavioral Differences Between Old Money vs New Money

The key differences between old money and new money are spending habits, social perception and whether the wealth was inherited or earned.


The easiest way to determine if the money is old or new is to look at the source. If the money has been passed down during the course of many generations, it is old. If earned recently, the wealth is considered new.

Many of the families living in the United States with old wealth descended from the early industrialists. New money is more common among entrepreneurs and celebrities. There is no specific number of years money must be passed down for wealth to be considered old. The status is determined by a variety of distinctions.

Saving and Spending

Families inheriting great wealth save their money and strive to ensure it remains in the family. As new generations are born, they inherit money from the investments and savings of previous generations amounting to millions.


While old wealth is usually saved, the same is not true of new money. People considered new money often donate to charities and spend on lavish purchases with little regard for future generations.


A good example of old money is the owner and founder of Walmart, Sam Walton. According to The Richest website, he was raised in a family possessing old wealth.


When Walton passed away, his family was worth approximately $23 billion. This wealth was saved and passed on as new generations were born.


The majority of individuals with new wealth do not amass a large fortune upon their death. This is because there is a much higher likelihood they will spend or donate most of their income throughout their lives. Those with new money put in the hard work necessary to climb the ladder to the top. They are not accustomed to having money at their disposal. This means planning and saving for the future is often more difficult.


Those with inherited wealth have been raised to understand the importance of planning and saving for the future because they have always been rich. They have never had to cope with major financial struggles. The perception between old money vs new money is completely different.

Social Perception

Another key difference is social standing. There is a lot more to old wealth than how many generations have inherited the money. Many families with inherited wealth are located in the Northeast. The general consensus is these families are more respectable, refined and educated.


Families with new money often resemble fairy tales of rags-to-riches. Many of these families began poor and struggled for money. They became rich due to success in entertainment or business. Even if the family has the same amount of money as a family with inherited wealth, there are usually not considered the same level of upper-class as old moneyNew money is often linked to the West Coast.

Hushed vs. Loud

Old wealth families rarely discuss money while new money is often vocal and excited to discuss their wealth. Old wealth is taught at a young age not to mention money. It is almost considered taboo.

There are three golden rules for old wealth. These are:

  1. Do not spend more than necessary
  2. Do not make it obvious the family is wealthy
  3. If people become aware there is money, the family will be treated differently

There is a contradiction between taking pride in old wealth and being ashamed at the amount of money passed down as opposed to being earned. This concept is responsible for the way old wealth functions in society. The families do not want to risk standing out, so they prefer to play it safe.


New money is different because it often screams as loudly and often as possible. New money will drive down the street in a pink Ferrari if they are partial to the color of flamingos. They purchase extremely large mansions because they grew up poor and struggling.


According to Alux, poverty leaves scars. The culture in which an individual spends their childhood impacts adulthood. They want to experience everything they have missed out on in the past and often believe money is the answer. They wear wealth as a status symbol to show the world they have become successful.

Spotlight vs Backstage

New money wants to be in the spotlight, old wealth prefers being backstage.


Families with inherited wealth are extremely protective of privacy. A good example is the status symbol of Forbes magazine. Old wealth will not agree to be featured and new money will pay for the privilege. Old wealth will spend money to ensure a low profile and remain anonymous. New money screams from the tabloids and on Instagram. New money is concerned about the opinions of others and the older wealth simply does not care.


In virtually every traditional culture, old wealth families believe it is vital to protect their family name. They believe bringing shame to their families must be avoided at all costs. This means their number one priority over everything else is to keep family matters private. They will pay to ensure a clean family image and privacy. New money is generally happy to have personal information in the open because it tells the world they are rich.

Entertaining at Home vs Out On the Town

One of the most obvious differences between old and new money is entertainment. With the exception of dining at a favorite restaurant to enjoy the same dishes repeatedly, old money has dinner parties at home and invites selected guests. New money tries every restaurant in town and is not concerned with privacy. They want to taste every new dish, experience the ambiance of new places and say they have had dishes prepared by award-winning chefs. In many instances, they will post pictures on social media showing the food and restaurants they have experienced.


New money tends to celebrate with several bottles of champagne. They have champagne showers in Mykonos, St. Tropez and Las Vegas often costing in the vicinity of $15,000. There is actually a trend where new money posts on social media to talk about the amount of money they are spending on a single night out. It is not uncommon for new money to spend more than a quarter of a million dollars. Older wealthy families would not even consider spending this much and are shocked by those that do.


Old Money vs New Money: Which Spends More Helping Others?

Families referred to as old money often look down on anyone they do not consider to be of the same class. Socialization only occurs among families in the same income bracket.


The same is not true for new money. Generally speaking, they are down-to-earth, willing to lend a financial hand to those less fortunate and have a closer relationship with the general public. The belief of new money is more wealth can always be earned. Families with old wealth simply want to ensure the money lasts for future generations.


New wealth has been accumulated recently and these individuals are usually in the spotlight. Since their lives have become more predictable, they are willing to spend money. Think of new money as the team playing on the field and old wealth as the spectators with stakes on the outcome of the game. Families accustomed to having wealth have diversified their portfolios according to the advice of financial planners and financial advisors.


These families are not receiving a full return because their intention is not to win the game. Instead, they play a different game of making certain their wealth is not lost. Making certain wealth can continue to be passed to future generations is a rare skill and must be learned and passed on. There is a substantial difference in the ability to earn wealth and the skill to keep it.


One of the best examples of all time is a family living in Florence, Italy. During the 1400s, this was one of the richest families in existence. They are still one of the richest families in the world.


This article originally appeared on Wealthtender.com and was syndicated by MediaFeed.org


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Wealthy people think differently than the average Joe. Here’s how


LeBron James is obviously a great basketball player, but it turns out he’s savvy about business and understands how to build wealth, too. For example, he’s friends with Warren Buffett, Ray Dalio, Bill Gates and many other successful moguls.

In other words, he has leveraged his brand and name to meet with these business and investment icons — not to pick their brains about stock tips and investment ideas, but to get their insight into his ideas.

Wealthy people, like LeBron James, understand that relationships, reputation, and network are the most vital elements necessary for building wealth. Leveraging the experience and network of others is a powerful way to get on the fast track financially.

The wealthy have other unique characteristics and mindsets as well. Here are eight examples of how the wealthy live and think differently than most. I share more about how to emulate the wealthy and strategies for wealth building in my book “Heads I Win, Tails You Lose: A Financial Strategy to Reignite the American Dream.”


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Society is conditioned to look at life as dog-eat-dog, which means the only way to be successful is by winning at the expense of another’s loss, often referred to as a zero-sum game.

The mantra of the wealthy is win-win or no deal. They realize that relationships, reputation, and improving the lives of other people are going to improve their own lives subsequently.

A quote from Adam Smith, the social philosopher and economist who was a key figure in the Scottish Enlightenment of the 18th century, magnifies the idea.

Smith wrote the following: “[The rich] consume little more than the poor, and in spite of their natural selfishness and rapacity…they divide with the poor the produce of all their improvements. They are led by an invisible hand to make nearly the same distribution of the necessaries of life, which would have been made, had the earth been divided into equal portions among all its inhabitants, and thus without intending it, without knowing it, advance the interest of the society, and afford means to the multiplication of the species.”

What Smith means is that the wealthy are compelled to gain, as are all of us. However, it is a non-zero-sum gain. In the process, their innovation, risk tolerance, and intention ultimately improve the lives of all.


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The wealthy have a growth mindset. Failure doesn’t exist, only lessons. They are always learning and never arrive at a final “learned” destination. They don’t take criticism as a personal attack; they take criticism as an opportunity to get feedback from another perspective and grow.

If you want to be in a better place financially, start with yourself and determine if you have a fixed or a growth mindset. Then seek to build more financial assets through relationships, education, and shifting from the intention to get to the intention to give.

Finally, associate with like-minded individuals. Turn your Facebook or social media experience into a virtual mastermind group. Avoid friends that don’t influence you for good, and follow those that inspire you to be better and do more. Jim Rohn said, “You are the average of the five people you surround yourself with.”


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Most of us either hold the thought pattern, “Once I have [fill in the blank with whatever you want], then I will be [fill in the blank].”

For example, you might think, “If I got that promotion, then I would be able to afford that house.” Or maybe “If my investment doubles, I will have more freedom.”

Having is a function of doing. The reason you don’t have something is because you haven’t become the person who creates sufficient value to justify what you might get in return.

Therefore, the counsel is three simple steps:

  1. Seek out the person who has the results you desire.
  2. Discover what they are doing differently, then distinguish their behavior compared to yours (work ethic, interaction with others, schedule, organization, etc.).
  3. Adopt their behavior, mimic their interactions

When it comes to wealth, the formula isn’t any different.

Be: If you want the results of wealth, you must acknowledge that who you are hasn’t sufficiently developed into the person who produces that measurement of value. Therefore, focus on yourself and the tremendous opportunity to course correct and be that person who warrants wealth. Study the person who already has what you’re seeking: Their persona, their characteristics, their demeanor, and overall behavior.

Do: Your behavior will change. The way you interact with others, your vocabulary, your schedule, your work ethic will be different.

Have: Money is simply the exchange of value. Those who have money exchange it for what they value more than money. As you evolve into a wealthy being, you will naturally be driven to create more value for others. That value is reciprocated with money.


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I fundamentally disagree with the idea of retirement. It’s anti-life and inherently flawed. The goal of wealth building isn’t retirement at 65. It’s financial freedom as soon as possible.

A good financial strategy isn’t to stop producing but to structure your finances, investments, and employment to make the biggest difference and achieve a fulfilling lifestyle. The preparation for this lifestyle is just as much mental as it is financial, which in turn fosters a paradigm shift.

Your heart turns from maxing out your 401(k) contributions, suffering through unhealthy office culture, and sacrificing time and energy away from your family. Instead, your goals become establishing liquidity, investing in yourself (your greatest asset to maximize your earning potential), investing in assets for maximum cash flow, and then discovering your calling, unique genius, and a conducive professional environment to execute that discovery.

That environment will provide flexibility to mix in the other important aspects of life, such as family events and travel. Imagine a lifestyle where your investments pay you cash flow monthly, and you use your years of training, experience, and wisdom to consult, work remotely, or be with a company that offers flexible lifestyle benefits. Today, more than ever, that lifestyle is absolutely possible.

Many live it every day.


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Our life is the foundation of wealth, and all other rights and principles are corollaries to it. Our life belongs to us, and likewise, the life of another is theirs and cannot be claimed by us. Life is the context in which we experience everything, and without it, nothing else would matter.

When the environment of life is free, the dynamic sets in motion an innate ingenuity to nurture, improve, and subsequently optimize our physical world. This same motivation carries directly to the same stewardship over our most precious and valuable asset —ourselves.

The result?

Our personal drive to grow and progress will grow stronger. The desire to discover how to be the most valuable to others will intensify. The exchange for that value is not only material wealth but the remuneration of fulfillment and freedom.

Unlike other assets that are finite in nature, there is no end to your degree of understanding, knowledge, education, training, and capacity to be the greatest value to the greatest number of people.

Your capacity to build wealth is unlimited. Investment in you takes precedence.

Each of us has a unique genius inside waiting to express itself for the benefit of others; it is an asset waiting to be discovered, enhanced, and made even more valuable.


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Saving is supposed to be the preservation of capital.

With savings (ideally), you’re not going to lose money. If you have a dollar now, and you put it into a savings account in a bank, you’re going to have a dollar tomorrow or five years from now. The saved money is guaranteed by the bank. It’s not at risk, other than the bank’s stability. It’s also liquid — you can take it out at any time. You get a yield, and you’re not likely to lose any principal.

Saving is about preserving money. Investing is about growing money, but it comes with risks — nothing is guaranteed. With investing, if you start with a dollar today, you might have $1.50 in a couple of years, or you might have only 50 cents.

A big dilemma with the United States personal finance industry is that saving has now somehow morphed into investing. They’re considered the same thing, but they’re not.

Most people are confused about the definition of an investment. An investment to most people is:

  • The stock market
  • A mutual fund
  • An exchange-traded fund
  • A 401(k)
  • An IRA
  • A piece of real estate

The best investment strategy is to figure out a way to make another dollar, not give money to a stockbroker so that they could make you another dollar. The first one you have control over, the second you don’t.

If you want money to grow, you need to figure out how to do it with what you can control, like your business or an investment you understand. When you make a profit, then you can store the capital in savings.


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How do the wealthy use insurance differently than the average person?

It’s not that the wealthy have all their money in insurance. Rather, insurance is used as a foundational wealth vehicle by dynasties, executives, banks, and corporations. The middle class isn’t doing that.

Author Barry J. Dyke, in his book, “Guaranteed Income,” writes that Wall Street is the mechanism used by the elite to become massively wealthy. The bulk of their assets come from the middle class through their 401(k) contributions.

The contributions buy mutual funds to the tune of billions a year. Mutual funds use the money to buy stock in the companies that the elite control. A seemingly infinite flow of money goes into their coffers, month in and month out. The profits and wealth that result are often stored in insurance products.

For the wealthy, insurance fulfills multiple roles:

  • Traditional role of death payout. This is the original purpose of insurance, dating back to the 1800s. If something unexpected happens, there’s a payout.
  • Liquid assets in case of emergency. This is money withdrawn or loaned against the policy and can be used for an unexpected event, such as a medical emergency or job loss.
  • Guaranteed loan provision. You can borrow against the policy to take advantage of any purchase opportunity — including business, investment, or personal — that requires liquidity and fast action.

Insurance isn’t an exclusive investment vehicle the way a 401(k) is. If you have a 401(k), you tie up your money, possibly for decades. To take advantage of a business opportunity, for instance, you’d have to find another source of capital, even though you might have enough money in your 401(k) to do the deal. But if you allocated the money you were previously saving in your 401(k) into a wealth maximization account instead, you can have all its benefits, plus you can use the loan provision to take advantage of any number of opportunities.

I often use the saying, “When you have cash, opportunities seek you out.”


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When you control your money and financial potential, you are truly free. The biggest step to financial freedom is to consider yourself your most valuable asset, not your 401(k), home, an investment property, or your bank account. When you adopt this mindset, you start to think differently about how you dress and groom yourself, how well you maintain your body, how you treat other people, and how you look for opportunities — how to be more valuable to your employer, your colleagues, your children, and yourself.

If you don’t have control of your money right now, that means the control is with someone else. Who is that someone else? It’s someone who didn’t earn the money that you’re investing with them. It’s someone who is managing a lot of other money from other people as well. Do you really think that the mutual fund manager who’s taking care of your 401(k) account is thinking, “What can I do with [insert your name]’s money that’s in their personal best interest?” No. That person is thinking, “How can I make the most money for me? How can I hit my bonus this quarter?”

At the banks and financial firms, collectively they think, “We’re a public company. We need to hit our quarterly projections. If that means individual account holders suffer, too bad.” Everybody’s pressured to grow, grow, grow, grow — at your expense.

You’re putting control of your financial future in the hands of people who don’t have your best interests in mind. You’re relinquishing control to big institutions that serve their own needs first and yours a distant second. You’re increasing your risk while minimizing the earnings on your money. The typical financial mindset benefits institutions, not you.

This article was syndicated by MediaFeed.org.


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