Old money vs New money? Or just about attitude??

Posted: March 28, 2010 in Uncategorized
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A couple of days back, I was driving back with an old school friend, who’s family has enjoyed immense wealth, for a few decades now. If not more. We were driving in his comfortable Honda City car. He can afford bigger and more fancier wheels, but I guess a Honda City is about as comfortable as he may want to be. And it works fine for him.

He was talking about taking the summer break, and about how the rooms at hill stations have become so expensive, and how a trip to Goa can put him behind by more than Rs. 50,000.

Now, he would probably still take the trip if he wants to, and it will not really impact his net wealth by much. But the fact is that, he notices the cost, and he is not happy about it. It is not about affordability at all, it is about noticing what appears to be overly expensive.

Likewise, I remember an even richer gentleman, with family based out of UK and Europe, an ex-banker (“owning a bank, not just working on one”!), with huge wealth from many many years, in the family. He was visiting from the UK that time, and as we had lunch together, he remarked about the travel that he needed to do, in India. And he asked for opinions on the flights that he could take, with an emphasis on the low cost carriers.

With the money that he had, I’d have expected him to travel Kingfisher First Class at all times. But he doesn’t. He doesn’t think a short flight of an hour or two justifies the use of first class travel, and he’d prefer to even take low cost carrier, rather than a full service expensive flight. This came as a shock to me. That he was thinking of cost of travel, using lower costing flights, etc.

Again, I believe it is not about affordability, but rather about ensuring that money is not wasted.

Both of the above cases are of people who had money in their families for several years. And yet both of them were conscious of using that money. And not wasting it.

Cut to the story I heard of a recently successful new entrepreneur. He has come into very good money.

And he has spent. Fancy wheels for self and for wife (separate). Huge new apartment. And then an another. In expensive areas of Mumbai. Exotic vacations every now and then.

Sure, its his money. He can afford it. I am no one to question the usage.

Just pointing to the striking contrast in the approach. Between the first two gentlemen, and this guy.

Is this the difference between old money and new money?

Or is it just today’s attitude of living it up? Fully??

I am not sure. But the evidence of the fact is clearly there.

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Sanjay Mehta, Sanjay Mehta. Sanjay Mehta said: The diferenec in attitude between old money and new money. What do you think? http://bit.ly/aYJFZk […]

  2. Samudra says:

    I feel it is because being born into money makes you less materialistic. Maybe the newly-rich will also develop similar tastes, after being that rich for that long.
    Also, could be a generational shift in attitudes towards money.

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