How Old Money Operates

For Homecoming two years ago, a large group of my daughter’s friends met at one of the oldest and most prestigious country clubs in our area for pictures.

All of the Moms immediately turned into paparazzi, snapping dozens of pictures. I didn’t take one picture. 🙂

Kirtland County Club was designed and built in the 1920s from a large 580-acre estate by several local OM families. As we walked in to meet everyone for pictures, the club still felt like OM to me. My daughter made the comment that she didn’t really like the place.

I, on the other hand, love it. It’s not glitzy or glamorous. It’s simple, elegant and classy. It’s also quiet, reserved and casts an overwhelming feeling of self-discipline.

There is something really cool about OM worthy of study and contemplation.

So what did this Cashflownaire do to learn more about OM, you might wonder?

He found a few books and stuck his nose in them for several hours.

The reason I had to study OM is because my family is NOT OM. I’ve also haven’t had any OM role models either. And sadly, for a short period of time in my life, I tried desperately to be New Money (NM). I wanted the big impressive house. I wanted to broadcast my success to the world. I wanted publicity for my businesses. I was trying to be someone that I wasn’t. I was miserable, stressed out and hated the public persona that I had created for myself.

It’s hard to admit, but I was the person listed in the NM column in the chart pictured below:

Old Money

After learning a great deal about how to live well, I realized that I was so unhappy because deep down I’m not NM. I’m personally not impressed by NM, and yet this is the person I was trying to be.

Through my reading, I learned that OM isn’t necessarily about money, as we all tend to think it is. It’s more about a certain mindset on what’s important and what’s not important.

OM is not the Vanderbilts, Astors, Du Ponts, or the Rothschild families like we tend to think.

When we think of OM, we think it’s families who have had money for several generations. This may be true, but it isn’t what’s required to live like OM.

Consider the following from the book The Old Money Book: How to Live Better While Spending Less: Secrets of America’s Upper Class by Byron Tully:

“When the general public thinks of wealthy people, they think of them living in big houses, driving expensive cars, wearing fashionable clothes and flashy jewelry…

Old Money response to such behavior: peacock today, feather duster tomorrow. The priority for Old Money is 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 in the morning and do whatever you want to do that day – and every day – that’s quite a luxury.

Independence makes it easier to discover what it is you really enjoy doing, both regarding a vocation and regarding hobbies and leisure.

Independence is easier to maintain when you live simply and focus on doing and being more than spending and having….

Independence often requires hard work to acquire it and diligence to preserve it.

That’s why Old Money lives efficiently and quietly. Money not spent is money that can be saved and invested. 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.”

If we drill into how OM operates, we may find their life philosophy is similar to our Cashflownaire mindset. The Cashflownaire Membership is OM.

To live with the OM mindset, you must approach life from a different perspective.

This perspective focuses on education, personal time, service to others, health, purpose and living a quiet life.

Back to Tully’s book:

“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.”

OM approaches life with a great deal of self-control. This self-control is applied to every area of their lives, including their contribution to the world…

“One’s contributions to family in particular and society in general through hard work, discipline, discretion, and charity are much more important than public opinion or approval. A life built on purpose, infused with poise, filled with joy, and framed with self-imposed guidelines for what is and what is not permissible, is preferable. Being inner-directed and seeking approval oneself rather than others leads to greater fulfillment.”

The bottom line is that we can learn to live well simply by learning to think & act like OM.