Old Rich Vs. Nouveau Riche: Which Kind Of Wealthy Are You?

“Money talks, wealth whispers.”

There are numerous variations of wealthy. Some are born already with a silver spoon in their mouths, while others had to do some hard digging before striking gold.

Imagine the Rothschilds and the Kardashians–both are filthy rich, but there are some unspoken differences. As the old joke goes, “The old rich is the tycoon who leaves his daughter everything in his will, while the nouveau riche is the tycoon who marries his daughter.”

The Nouveau Riche carries what they call “new money” or first-generation acquired wealth, whereas the old rich keeps “old money” that been passed from one generation to the next.

Old-rich families are distinguishable as the long-established upper class, names synonymous with land ownership, sugar mills, and mining–think the Zobel de Ayalas and the Aranetas.

The new rich are those who accumulated their wealth more recently, hitting it big with emerging businesses and industries. They are the successful overseas Filipino workers, aggressive corporate professionals, enthusiastic entrepreneurs and technopreneurs, athletes, celebrities, and this current generation’s inspirational mavericks.

Behaviors on handling wealth

Apparently, old money is inherited and inheritance comes in the form of properties and investments too. These families bound by tradition are therefore careful with spending their wealth to be able to sustain the family’s assets.

Some who possess old money may even be asset-rich, but are cash-poor. People from such families do not discuss how much they are actually worth. As a measure of wealth preservation, the old rich still bargain for good deals.

New money has been acquired directly by its holder, and is thus spent freely and often lavishly as reward for a job well done. And because they’ve earned wealth with their own blood, sweat, and tears often from nothing, the new rich have more proclivity to be high rollers, with the mentality of deserving such extravagance.

Taste matters

Above all, it’s not only that assets are handed over but the taste and style too. According to Kevin Kwan, author of bestselling book Crazy Rich Asians, the difference between the old and nouveau riche is discretion.

The old rich aim to maintain the grandeur of their inherited properties, and restore ancestral estates and other historically significant lands. Growing up familiar with antiques, they derive pleasure from collecting art, vintage cars, and traveling.

On the other hand, the nouveau riche pick the newest real estate projects and holiday properties, sports automobiles, boats, and private jets to invest in.

In terms of clothing, quality and elegance are always a top priority. Old rich purchase classic and well-made clothes which never go out of style. The newly minted will choose the branded items with popular recall in social media.