Money Cant Buy You Class: Are You Old Money or New Money?

Money Can’t Buy You Class“, that’s the new song from Countess Luann Delesepps that kept ringing through my mind as I chatted with a friend last night.  This is an old college friend and we caught up on old times and where we both are in our respective lives today.

As our chat went on, he started discussing ad nauseum how many cars he drives, the new home he just bought in an exclusive neighborhood on the North Shore, the new designer shoes and clothes he buys weekly and blah blah blah!  Don’t get me wrong, I celebrate all of my friends when they experience financial increase in their lives but I get turned off easily when they begin to act “new money“. It reminds me of the rappers on TV where all they can talk about is the diamonds in their new platinum chain and then see them in 3-5 years with nothing to show for all of it.

There is absolutely no need to tell everyone how much your house, shoes and cars cost unless you’re filling out a mortgage application or a fellow personal finance blogger who discloses this information for self and reader motivation.  To do otherwise wreaks of classless behavior and as we all know, money can’t buy you class.

I appreciate books like Millionaire Next Door because it tells the lifestyles and habits of people who truly value money in such a way that it does not define them but used as a tool to create abundance and support their lifestyle.  You’ll never catch me bragging about buying brand name shoes or clothes, our making countless references to the kind of car I drive or acting as though all these material things define me in any way whatsoever.  When I see someone doing that I always think “they must be new to having some kind of money”.  SMH

How do you tell if you’re old or new money?  Check out my list here:

Old Money Habits

  • They are frugal in their spending habits. They realize that the car you drive does not measure wealth nor by the house you own.
  • Values saving and long term investing for financial stability
  • They believe that financial independence is more important
    than displaying high social status.
  • They live well below their means, not on borrowed money
  • Values giving back to the community

New Money Habits

  • Spends money in the name of social status and for the sake of impressing others
  • Live well above their means on borrowed money
  • Has nothing to show for the “bling” in just a few years after coming into money
  • Only discusses how much they spend and not how much they invest in themselves and their future (retirement, community projects, charity etc)

My advice?  Share how you make, manage and invest your money, otherwise you risk looking foolish blinging out with nothing to show for it a few years down the line.

Where do you fall?  Be honest!  Old or New Money?

  • RC

    my family has oil money

  • Sam

    This is intresting. My mother comes from a family with about two or three gens been in the upper middle class whilst my farther was born to a farming family who mighnt had mod cons but were asset rich even if cash poor. My mother rejected her privileged backround and worked as a maid and nanny for years when she met my farther. In the beginning they hadn’t very much but at least they owned our home and later m dad built a second for leasing. Nowdays both are very financially secure but despite that we had a pretty middle class upbringing (always any toys we wanted and travel at least once or more a year) I always found their conservative view about money rarther annoying. I feel they don’t live life enough, I have rebelled and I am a little more impulsive. Though note I do avoid anything flashy and hate trends, I rather to buy things out of quailty and uniqueness then just it been a label. I do like some designer clothes and do prefer them to budget brands but I cant stand big logos or monograms. My point is I think life is too short for scrimping and saving too much but its important to stay black and not red, and life is too short not to travel or buy mundane clothes that fall apart six months later. My tip is avoid logos and look for brands with good quality and in your budget, own brands from department stores or local and new up & coming are wise choices. This it the se for food or furniture ect. I think enjoying luxury but discreetly and in your means is the key to been classy and living well with out looking desperate or “new money”.

  • Quina

    expensive cars when there is an option to buy cheap Japanese cars. Car is no more a luxury therefore one should go economical.

  • Used Mitsubishi Canter

    Thanks for your posts. I found them to be very informative and useful.

  • James Henderson

    Im from Britain and the true old money or upper middle class, as class is a generation objective, can not be bought. You have to have generations of money to be able to have the same upper class as say a Lordship or hereditary knighthood. Take Paris Hilton or most modern American socialites they are the outcome of one or two generations of money and do they really have class? True old-money generally buy their groceries at the cheapest shop possible if not there local butcher or grocer, where they have been going for years. They have absolutely no interest in which brand of clothing they wear as long as it'll last for years and is fit for purpose. If they have a large land, house or castle it is generally been in the family for years or has been a new investment for money purposes. Plus all that is said in" Old Money Habits". You can't buy class.

  • Ankit Bansal

    Our Choices make our class and of course money is required to support it but only money can do no wonders……

  • meg

    This is a great thread! The "keeping up with (or exceeding) the Jones' is a huge problem – people are just not saving enough. I think people should enjoy the day-today, however I just don't think people are planning for the future as well as they should be. Millionaires next door, keep living below your means!!!

  • Trish Cardona

    I love this post, and I love your blog. As an immigrant from a so-called third-world country, coming into the so-called first-world has given me access to new money like never before. So let me confess that I have enjoyed the new money a little bit too much, going against all the old money values I grew up with. But it's never too late, and I'm going back to my roots from now on.

  • Pamela

    Ppl who grew up without money treat it as a novelty as adults. I often have to remind myself that everyone doesn't come from big cities and families where certain things are just the norm rather than how they put it on display to everyone else as if it's the newest thing since sliced bread.

    My girlfriend always comes over and asks why I don't wear certain brand names anymore (I have a few LV, Yves St Laurent purses/handbags) and my reply is always..been there done that I wore that in college and got my first Fendi bag in high school. My mom makes well into the 6 figures so these things werent and arent "brand new" to me. But I realize that for some adults it is…but I just want them to realize that it's OK to have these things but you look foolish flaunting it to the rest of us who already have it but don't need to show it. It doesn't define us, just merely an accent.

  • gingercorsair

    I grew up in an area with a mix of Old Money and New Money in the truest sense (real billionaires live in my town, yo. We don't have mansions, we have ESTATES).

    Everyone wanted to appear as if they had tons of money, but I think that most of them were in debt up to their eyeballs. Me and my family are all old money though, so we stuck out like sore thumbs because we didn't drive the newest Mercedes or live in the biggest house. But you know what? We're way better off than most of the schmucks around here.

  • Money Obedience

    I only earned new money but I have old money habits.

  • akilah

    Ha….love this. I have old money habits even though I don't have alot of money, I could splurge if I want cause I have paid off a lot of debt (mort and student loan are what's left)

  • Michelle

    There's nothing more I hate than someone who brags about what they have. My cousin did that, moved from the country to the big city (Boonies in GA to DC) and went crazy. If she bought a new LV bag then everyone had to know and how much it cost, if she moved to a new house (little did she know it was still the hood) we all had to know. You would think we knew her bank balance the way she talked so openly about money. And it wasn't in a just casual, it was purposeful in that she needed everyone to know. SMH indeed Ginger! Good article!