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New Money Vs Old Money

As a large wave of individuals discover newfound ways to earn a lot of money, how do they differ from those who depend on generational wealth?

What does it mean to be old money?

From the owners of large corporations like Walmart to the British Royal family, the term old money depicts wealth that has been inherited by family members for decades. Regarded as part of the upper class of society, they are seen as classy and privileged, as a majority of people believe they do not necessarily have to work for their wealth.

People from this societal niche can be found all over the world. An example is the African-American Johnson family, which established the Johnson & Johnson company. Their generational wealth can be traced back seven decades ago. In Europe, old money is considered to be mostly aristocrats or members of royal families.

This images describes societies depiction of what old-money families look like. From their outfits to the interior in the background, it is  likely that it portrays class, simplicity and wealth all at once
Societal depiction of the old-money aesthetic

Over the years of constant media attention, old money became an aesthetic of its own, with users on TikTok and Instagram creating content based on the way "old-money" individuals are believed to dress and act. However, this came with a lot of backlash as some social media users believed that the aesthetic was impractical and promoted a "fake" lifestyle that lacked Genuity and realism.

The new money sesthetic

This term describes individuals who have recently earned a lot of wealth through their occupation, talents or even by luck. This is becoming increasingly popular, as youths are discovering more ways to earn large amounts of income independently. With platforms like TikTok, forex trading, and podcasts which all exist online, teenagers have found new sources of income.

New money is commonly associated with being flashy and occasionally showing off wealth, unlike the old money who is assumed to be more conservative about their money and lifestyle. Examples of new money can be spotted in the entertainment industry from rappers like Nicki Minaj, and The Migos to reality TV stars like the Kardashians. Celebrities and social media influencers who have acquired newfound wealth from their fame and talents are not afraid to show fans and the public what they do with their money and promote their lavish/ expensive lifestyles. However, a downside to the new-money lifestyle is the temptation to fall into excessive consumerism. With the influence of social media, constantly buying new things, is a form of showing off your affluence and individual style to show your ability to keep up with consumer trends.

This shows an individual who clearly is trying to show that he has a lot of money
Societal depiction of the new money aesthetic

Psychologically, the act of wanting to show off what you have most likely stems from insecurity. which is one thing that is significant with the new-money ideology. Most are raised by families that do not have as much wealth as they have made independently. Therefore, there was little to no financial security in their households that they could depend on. On the other hand, individuals raised in an old-money environment were completely financially secure in the sense that they did not lack most things they wanted which gave them confidence in their wealth and in themselves to not feel the need to show off their wealth.

Apart from having a lot of wealth, the major difference tween the two is that individuals that identify as old money have a different upbringing and were raised in a more financially secure environment than the others. However, an important point is to notice how having a lot of wealth/money, regardless of how it was made, still enables individuals of different upbringings, races and religions to be able to afford a lifestyle that a large percentage of the world would not be able to experience due to social, economic and. sometimes even political factors.

Therefore, regardless of the classifications, individuals from old-money families are just as capable of losing their wealth. This could be due to mismanagement of family funds, like inheritance, or a lack of financial realism, which means being rational with money due to being in a safe financial bubble for a long time.

This is true, but unfortunately, according to a new credit Suisse report 53.2% of the world population share a combined wealth which is just 1.1% of the total global wealth. Therefore, whether old money or new money, they are all classified as the same when we talk about the societal and economic impacts of extreme wealth. Overall, It doesn't matter if a person's wealth was inherited or self-made, but if it did?... Where would you want to fit in?

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