Old Money vs New Money - Meaning & Psychology Behind it

old money vs new money

Old Money vs New Money

You've probably heard of the term "old money vs new money" before and you know the gist of of it. However, in this article we'll try to explore the actual psychology behind this classic expression. 

What is Old Money?

When talking about expression "old money vs new money", the old money refers to accumulated wealth over a longer time period. 

In some cases it can refer to someone getting rich through a lifetime of work, but more commonly it refers to money accumulated through generations within the same family. It means that someone with old money usually inherited it or received it through a trust fund that setup within the family.

What is New Money?

New money is an term for wealth that has been recently acquired - be it through a successful startup company, high income professions, lottery winnings or even crime. 

In essence, whoever earned new money most likely haven't had any significant wealth within the family, or at least that wealth was never passed on to the next generation.

The Psychology of Old Money vs New Money

Those who have access to old money most likely grew up with a somewhat different environment than most others. Old money implies great wealth, and such wealth can bring with it a variety of different effects on the human psychology (thoughts, emotions and behaviors). 

Below are the three most important aspects that someone growing up in a home with old money would be aware of, which consequently would affect how they act and what choices they make.

Old money psychology

1. The Science of Money is Taught

Generational wealth is made possible much due to the fact that the next generation continuously gets educated about money. Old money kids don't only learn how to practically handle money, but also the theoretical knowledge behind it. Topics related to money (e.g. the economy, investing, market psychology, running a business) will frequently be discussed from a young age. 

2. Wealth is The Best Insurance

Financial security is one of the most important benefits of being wealthy. Money acts as an insurance for many problems that might show up in life. It certainly doesn't solve all your problems, but just it let's you take more risks at life, pursuing dreams and creative ventures without having to ever worry about how you'll pay your bills or feed your family. 

3. Flaunting Makes You a Target

An old money family might have the net-worth of a small city, but that doesn't mean everybody should know about it. This makes you a target for crimes such as theft, or worse, the the potential victim of violent crimes. Not showing of your wealth is taught either through behavioral modelling by the parents (such as choosing modest looking cars and clothes) or openly talked about when the next generation is being raised. 


To summarize, the expression "old money vs new money" doesn't just imply where the money came from, but it heavily emphasizes the difference in behavior between someone with old money versus new money. It's a strong generalization that nonetheless holds some waters to it, and maybe more so for predicting how old money will act rather then telling us anything about new money. After all, someone who successfully acquired new money might very well adhere to the above three points as well, through shear common sense. 

Someone with new money who doesn't consider any of the above aspects probably got rich through shear luck anyways, and they would stick out like a soar thumb for a couple months, before yet again losing their wealth. Sudden wealth syndrome is a real thing after all.

Easy come easy go, as they say it.

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