In the world of the rich, there's old money and new money — and people on the internet are sharing how you can spot the difference.
1. SCREAMS NEW MONEY: "Wearing head-to-toe logo mania — only buying designer items that CLEARLY have the name front and center."
"For example, my roommate got a pair of Burberry track pants that are a bright blue, sports material, button up the side, with only 'Burberry' written above one of the back pockets. Super cute for her, but she was out with a guy wearing a Burberry button-down who made some slick comment about her being dressed down. She said, 'Well, we both got the Burberry memo,' and he was too stunned to speak lol."
2. WHISPERS OLD MONEY: "No conscious need to show off their wealth."
"I went to an Ivy League school as a middle-class kid, and I ended up meeting a lot of friends from old money families. Truly old money families do not care about brand names, and they do not go out of their way to buy flashy, branded items. Being dressed from head to toe in visible brands is considered somewhat tacky. They focus on owning quality items that are more timeless and less flashy or trendy; many of their garments and accessories are bespoke or tailor-made, especially men's suits. Open snobbery about wealth was something I saw more in middle-class circles — the upper classes were far less insecure."
3. WHISPERS OLD MONEY: "Total comfort around domestic servants."
"Old money people have an incredible ability to treat the help as if they're part of the furniture; they will discuss deeply personal matters in front of the maid like it's no big deal. Middle-class families who hire a maid once a week will often be very awkward about having a conversation in front of them while they're working, while the rich are accustomed to having help."
4. SCREAMS NEW MONEY: "Telling every single person they come into contact with how much they spent on something."
"A former employer of mine told me he had to send in this $8,000 heater from his second plane for a $2,000 service because it didn't get hot anymore. Like, I'm struggling to keep a roof over my head and food on my table, and this is the shit you're telling me?!"
5. WHISPERS OLD MONEY: "Old-school hobbies."
"Maybe it's a stereotype, but most of my rich friends are quite accomplished at squash, sailing, tennis, fencing, crew, and equestrian sports. It's just a normal thing to enjoy in their circles. Playing some sort of sport at an elite school was sort of an expectation."
6. WHISPERS OLD MONEY: "Adherence to old-school traditions and notions of politeness."
"I would get handwritten invitations to dinner at my friends' houses, and a handwritten thank-you note for any birthday or Christmas gifts, regardless of how little they cost. My rich friends are very big on thank-you notes, formal greetings, and never turning up to an event empty-handed. They always knew who you were supposed to tip and how much was appropriate. Again, I saw a lot more open snobbery in my hometown — my truly wealthy friends showed the same level of politeness with everyone."
"This is a fairly specific set of instances, but I've worked in very expensive restaurants, and old money people are polite AF. They stand when their elders arrive, leave, or use the bathroom. Louis Ward's widow is an example. Not super-old money, but they got rich on Russell Stover's. They didn't flaunt their money and usually treated me very well. They tipped cultural standard and no more, no less. Never ordered a bottle of wine that cost more than $140 and discussed it as if they knew what they were talking about. They all spoke very quietly, and everyone shut the hell up when the matriarch spoke. New money people often have a chip on their shoulder about it."
8. WHISPERS OLD MONEY: "The one thing I learned from the wealthiest woman I ever knew: Everything is repairable."
"Throwing out broken things is a sign of middling wealth. My dad was a furniture upholsterer and carpenter and made scads of money off of rich old people who didn't want to part with things and were willing to hire a professional in a field rarely heard from to fix something older than they were, rather than go to Ikea and get a replacement."
9. WHISPERS OLD MONEY: "Family heirlooms are extremely important."
"An engagement ring is an old heirloom from a wealthy grandparent, not something new and flashy. The newly wealthy received brand-new diamond stud earrings for a 16th birthday; the old money received Grandma’s gold pendant that had been in the family for generations."
10. SCREAMS NEW MONEY: "Big new homes and expensive new cars."
"New money buys big new homes and expensive new cars. Old money keeps the older home and the older car, but both are in pristine condition, and it is a point of pride."
11. WHISPERS OLD MONEY: "Old money is impeccably kept, but in a different fashion — hair, clothes, skin are nice, but not obvious."
"Plastic surgery (the obvious kind) is gauche, as is dyeing one's hair long past the age where it is plausible. Less importance on perfectly done manicures — more emphasis on well-groomed nails and skin."
12. WHISPERS OLD MONEY: "There’s a sense of classism that is different — it’s less a disdain for the poor than a disdain for poor behavior."
"Old money has more respect for a middle-class family who represent themselves well in behavior and manners than a very wealthy family who make their wealth obvious. In my hometown, the old money would disapprove of the newly rich because the newly rich wanted to show everyone how wealthy they were. The old money were secure enough not to show off."
13. SCREAMS NEW MONEY: "Flashy behavior."
"Old money WILL NOT flaunt it in an obvious way. New money often finds old money style to be boring — it is. It is deliberately boring because being tacky is déclassé. Anyone you see who evokes the response, 'Wow, I bet they’re rich' is almost certainly NOT old money."
"At our country club, people hated one family because the women and men were all obviously fake tanned and drove bottom-tier but brand-new flashy, red Mercedes-Benz automobiles. They were extremely wealthy entrepreneurs, but their conduct left them ostracized."
14. WHISPERS OLD MONEY: "Connections would be the best way to insinuate old money. Being able to access back doors denied to other people, even if the individual was rich."
"Having relationships with other developed companies where favors could be found. An old money family would likely have a library of favors at their disposal, where problems could be easily solved by calling a number or making a passing comment."
15. WHISPERS OLD MONEY: "Not understanding the stress that comes from being poor or middle class."
"I jumped between poor and middle class as a kid and wound up going to college with a bunch of rich folk. If you talked about how stressed you were over paying the rent or having to eat tofu and spend hours on food prep, they wouldn't insult you about it or think less of you — but it was very clear they didn't understand the emotional weight of those problems. They could hear about your stress and just shrug it off because they didn't get what it's like to be financially insecure. Sometimes they'd even offer to help pay for a meal, but you could see the confusion in their faces when they picked up on the fact that you were still stressed, because they didn't realize you were now worrying about your next meal.
"Every so often, this disconnect would show up in more overt ways: They'd tell people abused at work to just quit their jobs, or tell kids on scholarship (me) to 'take a break from work and come party' — not realizing that you wouldn't be able to enjoy yourself knowing that you had a paper to finish, and that if you didn't finish it, you could drop a grade, lose your scholarship, and be unable to attend next semester.
"Ultimately, it was a lack of understanding that didn't necessarily come with any disdain or antipathy."
16. SCREAMS NEW MONEY: "New money knows what it is like to be poor or middle class."
"So they don't always come off as spoiled or clueless about the real world. On the other hand, old money grew up in rich surroundings, and you can tell."
17. WHISPERS OLD MONEY: "If they've attended an Ivy League school, they say the town or city where they went to school instead of the school's name."
"For example, if you say, 'Where did you go to school?' they would reply, 'New Haven' instead of Yale, or 'Cambridge' instead of Harvard."
18. WHISPERS OLD MONEY: "They might be a real stickler for everyday expenses but still pay vast amounts for holidays or cars."
"They probably own old real estate. Maybe a countryside mansion — that's probably the best symbol of it. This would, of course, be in addition to the hyper-modern apartment in the city. They might know about special vineyards that make rare, but not necessarily famous or particularly expensive, wines. Same kind of niche preferences may apply for food, music, whatever.
"I know some children of very rich families, and from just seeing them on the street, you wouldn't think they were anything but normal teenagers. Other kids can be spoiled and just go for designer clothes."
19. SCREAMS NEW MONEY: "People who come into money quickly can have a tendency to go overboard. They get the biggest, best, shiniest everything."
"They aren't satisfied with the lifestyle. They used to be like you. Now they're better. It's not enough to be rich — they want you to know they're rich. That comes across as tacky and lacking in class."
20. WHISPERS OLD MONEY: "Fluency in another language is much more likely (due to a better general education)."
"I'm from the UK, so we may have slightly different customs, but we have a lot of very old and wealthy families here with hereditary titles and historic family homes. In the UK, they'd usually be fluent in French or German. Knowledge of Latin and Greek used to be more common; your older family members will be better versed in these subjects, but it's still taught well in the public schools. The kids will not study dippy subjects at uni but will be encouraged towards things like law, medicine, and classics. If they are into music, they will go to a conservatoire. Even if they never intend to practice these things, it's mainly for their parents' approval, and so that they are not seen as academically mediocre.
"Many have to work hard in order to impress their parents and maintain their approval; this isn't because the parents are harsh, but usually because they are aware of their wealth and privilege and try to ensure the kids don't grow up too spoiled and entitled. Enforcing rigorous household rules, good manners, and humility and pushing for academic success is a good way to ensure that the children don't just get an easy ride to inherited wealth, and that they hopefully grow up polite and appreciative of what they have. This doesn't always work out, though."
21. WHISPERS OLD MONEY: "I have noticed that my extremely wealthy friends have a slight discomfort or bemusement with establishments generally considered a bit down-market (places like McDonald's and ones in the UK like Poundland, Wetherspoons, etc.)."
"They are always extremely polite and usually able to get into the spirit of the thing, but I remember taking one woman on her first trip to McDonald's (at age 23) and the kind of awkward, slightly bewildered way she reacted."
22. SCREAMS NEW MONEY: "A Range Rover sport."
"Totally misses the point — it's a classy vehicle dumbed down for the wrong type of owner."
23. WHISPERS OLD MONEY: "The disconnect from the value of money and how hard it is to get for most people."
"It wasn't that they necessarily preferred things like high-end restaurants and expensive clothes — it was that they just didn't think about them. They would throw around money and make frivolous purchases, not to show off, but because the need to save money just didn't enter their head."
"Old money can contribute to certain types of attitudes around money. The most visible one, in my opinion, is how many times they can be oblivious to how differently they treat money compared with others. They can say yes to activities, opportunities, even things, without a second thought. They can impulsively say yes because they don't have to consider whether or not they can afford it. And they can seem insensitive to others who do have to take those things into consideration — not by being rude, but by being oblivious."
24. WHISPERS OLD MONEY: "Investing. Many old money families retain their wealth by being conservative (both with money and in other ways)."
"Most of their members don't make exceptional money; they are lawyers or doctors earning good but not wild amounts of money. I imagine that they wouldn't go on heaps of expensive trips to places, but instead have a summer home that they go to for holidays. They would go to expensive private schools and drive secondhand cars. A lot of their hobbies would be based around property in the right places, like dressage or rowing — they aren't necessarily expensive sports, but they require a river or lake or land for horses."
25. SCREAMS NEW MONEY: "An overall cocky attitude — because they are new to the whole scene."
Do you agree with these differences? What are some other signs someone might be new money or old money? Let us know in the comments below!
Note: Some responses have been edited for length and/or clarity.