Old Money Lifestyle 2024: 20 Tips for Living the High Life

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Ever fancied leading a lavish lifestyle akin to the upper crust? Perhaps the Old Money Lifestyle may pique your interest.

This lifestyle is all about sophistication, refinement, and a deep appreciation for the finer things in life. From elegant mansions and private clubs to high-end fashion and exclusive events, the Old Money Lifestyle is a world of privilege and exclusivity. But it’s not just about material possessions – it’s also about cultivating a sense of grace, poise, and class that sets you apart.

So, if you’re curious about the Old Money Lifestyle and what it takes to live like the elite, let’s explore this fascinating world together.

Important: You can also implement these tips on a budget. We made sure in our research that no matter what your budget, you can get a little closer to the glamorous old money lifestyle.

Key Things to Know:

  • Emphasize Legacy and Tradition: Value heritage, heritage, and generational continuity in investments and lifestyle.
  • Cultivate Discreet Wealth: Prioritize understated luxury, avoiding ostentatious displays of affluence.
  • Focus on Education and Culture: Prioritize intellectual pursuits and refined cultural experiences.
  • Practice Gracious Social Etiquette: Display politeness, respect, and humility in social interactions.
  • Value Long-Term Investments: Favor stable, enduring assets over speculative or high-risk ventures.

My Top 20 Secrets for Living the Old Money Lifestyle

  1. Emphasize Quality Over Quantity: Old Money invests in high-quality, timeless items rather than constantly chasing the latest trends.
  2. Cultivate Good Manners and Etiquette: Politeness, respect, and consideration for others are highly valued in these classy circles.
  3. Prioritize Education: Intellectual curiosity and a lifelong commitment to learning are essential.
  4. Develop a Taste for Art and Culture: Visit museums, attend classical concerts, and appreciate various art forms to cultivate a refined sensibility.
  5. Maintain Discretion: Old Money keeps personal matters private and avoids ostentatious displays of wealth.
  6. Invest in Classic Wardrobe Staples: Build a timeless wardrobe with well-made, classic pieces that never go out of style.
  7. Learn How to Entertain Gracefully: Hosting events with charm and grace is integral to it.
  8. Foster Strong Family Connections: Family values and traditions are paramount in wealthy circles.
  9. Practice Philanthropy: For old money families, supporting charitable causes and giving back to the community is essential.
  10. Cultivate a Love for Nature and Outdoors: Enjoy activities like horseback riding, gardening, or hiking.
  11. Value Handwritten Correspondence: Taking the time to write personal letters or thank-you notes is a cherished tradition.
  12. Avoid Excessive Consumerism: They often eschew conspicuous consumption in favor of a more restrained approach to material possessions.
  13. Invest in Real Estate: Owning property, particularly historic or architecturally significant homes, is a hallmark of classy wealth.
  14. Learn a Second Language: Multilingualism is often seen as a mark of a well-rounded, culturally aware person.
  15. Enjoy Culinary Excellence: Appreciate fine dining classic recipes and possibly even indulge in a love for gourmet cooking.
  16. Value Intellectual Pursuits: Engage in intellectual discussions, read widely, and deeply appreciate the arts and humanities.
  17. Practice Gracious Living: Show kindness and consideration to all, regardless of background or status.
  18. Embrace Timeless Hobbies: Pursue activities like sailing, collecting fine wines, or playing golf, often associated with the Old Money lifestyle.
  19. Travel with Purpose: Rather than jet-setting for the sake of it, travel to explore different cultures, history, and art.
  20. Foster a Strong Sense of Civic Responsibility: Take an active interest in local and national affairs and contribute to the betterment of society.

Old Money vs. New Money: What’s the difference?

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Wealth and Inheritance

Old money refers to families who have been wealthy for generations and continue passing on their fortune. Your wealth has deep roots with a rich history of success and power. Inherited wealth is a common characteristic of old money, and you may find yourself living off family assets or trust funds.

On the other end of the spectrum, new money people have recently earned their fortune, often due to an entrepreneurial venture, a successful business, or investing in current trends. As someone with new money, you’re more likely to be navigating the unfamiliar territory of wealth management and establishing your financial legacy.

Values and Mindset

The values and mindsets of old and new money can be quite different. As part of the old money circle, you may have grown up with impeccable manners and a sense of tradition. You were likely taught the importance of preserving your family’s reputation and legacy. Old money families often prioritize education and social connections, reinforcing their longstanding social status. They value discretion and tend to be more conservative with their spending habits.

In contrast, if you’re part of the new money crowd, you might have a more excited approach to wealth. You may be inclined to indulge in luxurious experiences, showing off hard-earned success with flashy purchases. New money individuals often emphasize work ethic, innovation, and seizing opportunities, as they likely built their fortune from the ground up.

20 Old Money Activities (Even on a Budget)

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  1. Attending the Opera or Symphony
    • On a Budget: Look for community or student performances or attend open rehearsals.
  2. Gourmet Dining
    • On a Budget: Explore local restaurants with good reputations but without the high-end price tags. Opt for lunch specials or early bird menus.
  3. Visiting Art Galleries and Museums
    • On a Budget: Many museums have free or discounted admission days. Look for local galleries and smaller museums that may have lower entrance fees.
  4. Horseback Riding
    • On a Budget: Consider trail riding at a local stable or look for Groupon or similar deals for discounted riding experiences.
  5. Antique Collecting
    • On a Budget: Attend estate sales, flea markets, or thrift shops to find unique and affordable pieces.
  6. Gardening and Landscaping
    • On a Budget: Start a small garden at home or join a community garden. Take advantage of free resources like gardening forums and seed exchanges.
  7. Hosting Elegant Dinners
    • On a Budget: Prepare a gourmet meal at home, and focus on presentation. Use inexpensive tableware creatively for an elegant touch.
  8. Sailing or Boating
    • On a Budget: Look for local sailing clubs or rental services for affordable options. Consider group rentals to share costs.
  9. Historical Tours and Preservation
    • On a Budget: Explore local historic districts, take self-guided tours, or attend free talks and lectures on history.
  10. Reading Rare or Antique Books
    • On a Budget: Visit used bookstores, thrift shops, or online marketplaces for affordable vintage or collectible books.
  11. Fine Wine Tasting
    • On a Budget: Attend wine-tasting events at local vineyards or look for wine shops that offer free tastings.
  12. Participating in Philanthropy
    • On a Budget: Volunteer time or skills to local organizations. Organize or participate in community events for a cause.
  13. Traveling to Historic Destinations
    • On a Budget: Explore nearby historical sites or plan budget-friendly trips to less touristy locations.
  14. Culinary Classes
    • On a Budget: Take advantage of free cooking classes online or attend workshops offered by local community centers.
  15. Attending Polo Matches or Equestrian Events
    • On a Budget: Look for local events and check if they offer affordable ticket options or have free viewing areas.
  16. Learning a Second Language
    • On a Budget: Use language-learning apps and websites, attend language exchange meetups, or find free resources at local libraries.
  17. Skiing or Snowboarding
    • On a Budget: Look for ski resorts with discounted rates for beginners or consider renting equipment instead of buying.
  18. Organizing Formal Gatherings
    • On a Budget: Host potluck-style dinners or cocktail parties where guests contribute a dish or drink.
  19. Art Collecting
    • On a Budget: Start with prints, photographs, or local artists’ works. Attend art fairs or auctions for potential deals.
  20. Attending Polo Matches or Equestrian Events
    • On a Budget: Look for local events, and check if they offer affordable ticket options or have free viewing areas.

Education and Etiquette

Ralph Lauren Old Money Aesthetic

Ivy League Institutions

Your pursuit of knowledge will likely lead you to esteemed Ivy League institutions. These prestigious schools, including Harvard, Yale, and Princeton, are known for providing top-notch education and opening doors to influential social circles and powerful career opportunities. So, buckle up and strive for academic excellence at these elite institutions!

Manners and Lifestyle

Once you’ve enrolled in one of the Ivy League schools, adopting the impeccable manners and lifestyle associated with old money is essential.

  1. Politeness: Always be polite and considerate in your interactions with others. A genuine “please” or “thank you” can go a long way in demonstrating your graciousness.
  2. Dress code: Dress conservatively with a touch of refinement. Think of timeless blazers, midi skirts, and classic accessories to convey that old money elegance.
  3. Discretion: Practice discretion when it comes to your wealth and accomplishments. Remember, you’re aiming for an “us against them” mentality, as elegance coach Anna Bey mentioned.
  4. Social events: Attend social events that can help you expand your network, but be mindful of not showing off or overspending. Opt for understated elegance when it comes to event attire and offerings.

Fashion and Aesthetic

Classic and Vintage Styles

First up, focus on building your wardrobe with timeless pieces like tweed blazers, crisp white button-downs, and cashmere sweaters. Don’t forget to include a few vintage accessories like silk pocket squares or a beautiful leather handbag. As you curate your old money clothing, prioritize clothing items made from high-quality, natural materials that will last, including silk, cashmere, and linen.

Stealth Wealth and Quiet Luxury

Another essential aspect of the old money aesthetic is embracing the concept of “stealth wealth” and “quiet luxury.” This means showcasing your sophistication without being flashy or ostentatious. The old money fashionistas know that less is more and cherish discreet elegance.

To achieve this quiet luxury, opt for subtle, understated pieces that still exude refinement like a delicate gold necklace or a pair of simple yet exquisite earrings. This aesthetic is all about quality over quantity, so invest in classic pieces that won’t quickly go out of style.

For the ultimate old money look, blend your classic and vintage wardrobe staples with your understated “stealth wealth” pieces.

Family Dynamics and Relationships

Marriage and Social Register

In the old money lifestyle, marriage is crucial in preserving family wealth and status. Often, these families seek out potential spouses from their own social circles, even arranging marriages for their children. This way, they can ensure that their wealth remains within the same social strata and their influence is maintained. This practice is still prevalent in some circles today.

The Social Register is another essential aspect of family dynamics in old money lifestyles. It is a directory of prominent families within high society, measuring an individual’s or family’s status. Having your name in the Social Register can open doors and create lasting connections for generations. Families prioritize securing a spot within the registry, as it reflects and solidifies their social standing.

Influence and Legacy

Old money families have strong ties to their past, valuing their lineage and the contributions made by previous generations. As a part of an old money family, you must ensure that your ancestors’ legacy lives on. This might mean managing family businesses, taking on philanthropic endeavours, or setting up foundations in their names.

You’ll notice these families leveraging their wealth and connections to maintain positions of influence within society. By fostering relationships with other prominent families and engaging in philanthropy, they uphold their reputation and remain at the top of the social hierarchy.

Embracing the excited energy of the old money lifestyle, you can see how family dynamics and relationships play a crucial role in maintaining wealth, status, and societal influence. By focusing on marriage, the Social Register, and their lasting legacies, these families remain a vital part of history and continue to shape our world.

Leisure and Hobbies

Classy Minimal Old Money Outfits
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Country Clubs and Sailing

You’ll love being part of the Old Money lifestyle, especially regarding leisure activities and hobbies! Embrace the elegance and excitement of the country clubs attire, where you can play golf, tennis, and enjoy fine dining. These clubs offer a perfect setting to socialize with like-minded people from the Old Money community.

You’ll also have the opportunity to explore the thrilling world of sailing. Whether it’s cruising on a yacht or engaging in competitive races, sailing is an exhilarating pastime that permeates the Old Money culture. Master the art of sailing, and you’ll awash in an ocean of adventure and camaraderie.

Charitable Endeavors

Giving back to society is a core value in the Old Money community, and you’ll be passionate about dedicating your time, skills, or resources to philanthropic causes.

Some popular Old Money hobbies include:

  • Polo: This equestrian sport is favored by royals and provides a thrilling physical challenge. Remember that it can be expensive, like the Detroit Polo Club’s $3,000 annual membership fee.
  • Art collecting: Acquire timeless pieces by renowned artists or invest in emerging talent. Your collection will reveal your refined taste and appreciation for creativity.

Influential Old Money Families

Rockefellers and Vanderbilts

You’ll be excited to learn about the grandeur of the Rockefeller and Vanderbilt families! As two of the most influential old-money families in America, they have left an indelible mark on society. The wealth of the Rockefellers came from the oil industry, where they built the mega-corporation Standard Oil, which at its peak controlled over 90% of oil refineries in the United States! Their fortune continues today, with the family worth around 11 billion dollars. Some of their famous philanthropic endeavors include constructing the Museum of Modern Art and establishing Rockefeller University.

You’ll be amazed that the Vanderbilts acquired their fortune by revolutionizing the shipping and railroad industries in the 19th century. Cornelius Vanderbilt, the family’s patriarch, is known as the “Commodore,” and was one of the wealthiest Americans in history! Though their money dissipated over time, their impact on America remains, with grand mansions and significant infrastructure, such as the beautiful Biltmore Estate and the iconic Grand Central Terminal in New York City.

Du Pont and Astor

Your excitement will only grow to learn about the Du Pont and Astor families, two other influential old-money dynasties! The Du Pont family hails from France, where they originally manufactured gunpowder. Today, the family is associated with the eponymous chemical company and has a fortune estimated to be worth around 15 billion dollars. The Du Pont legacy includes the luxurious Longwood Gardens and numerous philanthropic endeavors, such as the Hagley Museum, preserving the history of American industry.

You will be thrilled to discover the fascinating story of the Astor family, who made their wealth through fur trading and real estate in the 19th century. John Jacob Astor, the family’s founder, was once the wealthiest man in America! His family’s imprint on society can be seen in landmarks like the luxurious Waldorf Astoria Hotel, the New York Public Library, and their generous donations to the arts and education sectors.

FAQ:

u003cstrongu003eWhat are the habits of old money?u003c/strongu003e

Old money habits include understated fashion, conservative investing, and a focus on education and cultural refinement. They tend to prioritize long-term wealth preservation over flashy displays of wealth.

Do old money families still exist?

Yes, old money families still exist, and will continue for many years. While some families may not be as wealthy as they were in the past, others still have substantial fortunes.

How to look like you are from old money?

To look like you are from old money, focus on understated fashion, classic hairstyles, and well-maintained skin. Prioritize education and cultural refinement, and avoid flashy displays of wealth. Good manners and etiquette are also important. 

What is the principle of old money?

The principle of old money is prioritizing long-term wealth preservation over flashy displays of wealth. Old money families tend to invest conservatively and focus on education and cultural refinement. They also value good manners and etiquette. 


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Elisa Steffes
Elisa Steffes

Elisa Steffes reviews designer fashion brands and elegant pieces for a living. She also loves Old Money Brands and is passionate about writing about topics related to this classic style.
She has close to 3 years of experience in SEO and has taken the Streetstylis Pinterest account to one of the most popular magazines on Pinterest and Instagram.
When she's not working, you'll find her doing Pilates, dancing or hanging out with her friends in Malta.

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