It exists, even if we in the New World pretend it doesn’t. No matter where you fit in, someone is going to despise you. Accept this. Money and talent smooth out a lot of divisions; rich people and brilliant people rise to the top, whatever their background.
People who know how to behave can fit in anywhere. Humour, charisma, charm, sensitivity and discretion will allow you to triumph in any social setting, from a bikies’ pub to the royal enclosure at Ascot. Recognise the types and walk towards the one you want to be your destiny, picking the best and avoiding the worst characteristics of each.
Old Money, Old Family (OMOF)
We can learn a lot about how to live from these people. They not only know hot to behave, they’re usually very responsible about their wealth and the privileges that come with it. They don’t flaunt it, they don’t talk about it, they just live it.
If money stays in a family for four generations, it usually breeds an admirable degree of restraint in everything they do- from dressing themselves and furnishing their houses to the way they treat their home help and tradespeople. They know how important such people are to the running of their lives, treat them with respect and loyalty, and often keep them for generations. Good Aspects: Discretion, consideration, sense of public duty, lovely manners, restraint. Bad Aspects: Snobbery (often not expressed but deeply felt), ignorance of others people’s lifestyles. Hallmarks: Lovely houses andgardens, elegant taste, comfortable, lived-in furniture, lots of upholstery and good fabrics, painted family portraits, not much technology apart from a laptop in the library and one discreet plasma television hung among the eighteenth-century landscapes.
No Money, Old Family (NMOF)
Often more snobby, inbred and pretentious than OMOFs, because they have only past glory to cling to as, bit by bit, they sell off paintings and antiques. Living as if you are NMOF, however, is probably a smart way to behave, because even if you have got millions stashed away, it’s wise to not let on- least of all to your own family. Children brought up with solid values and a sense that money is in a short supply do better in the long run than ones brought up confident that Mum and Dad have very deep pockets. Good Aspects: Sense of history, beautiful manners, a lovely and authentic way of doing things, even if it’s just a cup of tea around the kitchen table. Bad Aspects: Stinginess, bad food, cheap wine, a tendency to live in the past, snobbery. Hallmarks: Reliable old car, yachting jacket and tie with a slightly old-fashioned cut, well-worn but beautifully polished shoes, nothing new in the house, patches of darker paint or wallpaper marking the site of picture that has disappeared, mismatched but good china, lovely flowers, comfortable and pretty spare bedrooms, no technology apart from a Seventies television and an old Queen Mary of a computer. Terrible plumbing and no heating. Never visit them in Winter.
New Money, New Family (NMNF)
Danger! Danger! Lottery winners, bonus-enhances bankers, advertising types, drug dealers and inheritance junkies are the people most likely to go from riches to rags, building monuments to bas taste on the way. NMNFs are hallmarked by their vast modern piles filled with expensively hideous furniture and gadgets that are destined to be worthless in five years. These are the people most likely to have a hi-fi plumbed into their shower recess and climate-controlled cellars. They make it a point of pride never to look at price tags. They often treat home help and tradespeople like second-class citizens, but are punished by invoices that would cripple anyone else. They move house often, always looking for a bigger and better Nirvana. Good Aspects: Generous, impulsive, throw lavish parties with good food and wine, good networkers, lots of parking and things to gawk at. Bad Aspects: Top-dollar decoratingbut no innate understanding of what it’s all about. No restraint. Bore visitors with a guided tour of the house’s remote controls. Fair-weather friends. Hallmarks: Mega-houses with motorized everything, leather everything, open-plan everything and interiors dominated by stainless steel, glass, stone and timber. Too many bathrooms, garages and plasma screens and not enough books. Crystal bowls of expensive sweets dotted around the house. Car-obsessed (there’s always a Porsche somewhere). Mention computers and they talk compulsively about technology. Lavish amounts of home help, art in the form of huge, expensive, black-and-white ‘artistic’ family photographs and abstract canvases because they never trust themselves to buy anything else; wickedly expensive bathroom fixtures. Each child has a computer, games system, TV, iPad and chauffer. High staff turnover.
Self-Made Money (SMM)
These people are either very proud of their journey from Struggle Street, or ashamed of it. Most of them cling to the first dollar they ever made but a few are like the Trevi Fountain, splashing their wealth about everywhere. SMMs should study the OMOF lifestyle: living that way, they’re more likely to enjoy the style that wealth can bring, shake off sycophants and spongers and be appreciated by their brilliance and eventually expect the family to become OMOFs. Good Aspects: Canny, hard-working, solid friends, full of sound advice. Bad Aspects: Workaholics (often driven by fear of failure) who don’t know how to have a good time with their money. Often have a big chip on their shoulder about their underprivileged childhood and lack of education. Disapprove of how other people acquired their wealth. Tend to be loners or social cripples. Are sure everyone is ripping them off. Often fail to bring their children up to handle wealth well. Hallmarks: Still living in the first house they ever owned because they would feel uncomfortable anywhere else. Dress badly. Never go on holidays. Still prefer the food they ate as children. ‘It’s all I need’ is a phrase they most often use. Business is their only topic of conversation. Die with vast amounts in the bank.
No Nothing (NN)
The classic winner’s background. They have a blank canvas on which to paint their lives, create their own money and style, and have an unmatched opportunity to use their initiative and get-up-and-go. Good Aspects: No expectations. No-one waiting to pull them down. Unpretentious. They know their friends like them for who they are. Sky’s-the-limit opportunities for the positive ones, and, when they make it, they have no-one to thank but themselves. Bad Aspects: There’s no room for shyness, or even ethics: they might have to cut corners, or even throats, to lift themselves up in the world. Hallmarks: They never take you to their homes, or introduce you to their families. Often out-of-towners. Watch for invented pedigrees or degrees.
Some Money, No Style (SMNS)
There’s money there, but it’s all so middlebrow. The hallmarks are dull, safe furnishings and clothes and a general smugness about everything they do or say. There’s an unwillingness to take risks, however mild, and frequent comments such as, ‘What would the neighbors think?’ Hopelessly uninteresting. Good Aspects: Dependable. Honest. The people most likely to water your garden when you’re on holidays and phone and phone the police when they suspect a burglar is in your house. Bad Aspects: Very dull. Glue a mobile phone to your ear whenever you see them. Hallmarks: Lace half-curtains, wall-to-wall carpets. Always edging their lawns. Floral china. Drive spotless four-door white sedans. Very particular about how they hang their washing (underwear on the inside railing).
No Money, All Style (NMAS)
They live in humble surroundings, but make them look and feel grand. They surround themselves with fabulous things, and you never know where the hell they’ve got them (the two-dollar shop probably). They know how to pull themselves and their houses together, mass unusual leaves in an umbrella stand, and even serve spag bowl in style. They’ll do things before anyone else, and never follow trends, but have a way of starting them. Even their little clapped-out-cars seem the epitome of chic. They haven’t got a brass razoo, but somehow they travel regularly and manage to own a real Chanel suit or Hermes bag, and they make everyone else look like try-hards. Good Aspects: You always come away feeling inspired. They know where to get everything- the best and cheapest facial in New York, the best black trousers in Paris, the best little café in Morocco. They serve quality food (but not much of it). They know a lot about art and antiques and have loads of interesting friends. They are real authorities: hang around with them for an hour and you’ll learn more than you would in three years studying Fine Arts. Great to go shopping with: you’ll score some real bargains. You can invite them anywhere: they’ll never let you down and will make you seem interesting. Bad Aspects: Septic bathrooms and terrible kitchens, but with lovely soaps and towels. Unreliable cars. Not pragmatic. Picky, and inclined to tell you how to do everything: they want things a certain way. You’ll probably end up paying for lunch and driving them everywhere. You’ll feel daggy next to them. Hallmarks: They never have a fridge that works. Interesting books, paintings, collections, flowers, fabrics. Great juxtaposition of objects, colours and textures.
Sponge Money (SM)
Soaking up the wealth from their families, these people are often well into middle age, but happy to allow Mum and Dad to pay their mortgage, the rent, the electricity, the telephone, the petrol, the car, the kids’ school fees. Unable or unwilling to break free of this financial adolescence and take responsibility for themselves, SMs treat their families like the welfare state. If they are still living like this at twenty five, it’s probably too late- even though it would be far better for SMs to fall (or be pushed) into NN territory for a time, and build their own lives. Good Aspects: None, apart from enforced family contact. As Mum and Dad say ‘Money ain’t everything but it sure keeps the kids in touch.’ Bad Aspects: Forever adolescent, forever dependent, forever useless, forever under the thumb. Hallmarks: No job. No prospect of a job. Live with Mum and Dad, or in a property Mum and Dad own. Constant whining. Lots of excuses. Always indignant about how people aren’t doing enough for them.
Second-Generation Money (SGM)
A very risky prospect. This is the generation that either sets up a dynasty or destroys any hope of one. If they’re good and lucky, they’ll multiply the money they’ve inherited. If they’re useless or just unlucky, their fortune will evaporate. The first generation can do their best to instill work ethic, but often they pick the wrong child to be the future fortune-builder and neglect the importance of surrounding their successor with enough good people. The pressure is too much for many SGMs and when they inherit, they can retreat to NMNF, SMNS or even SMs. Good Aspects: A financial head start, and the chance of glory. Bad Aspects: Huge weight of expectation, and enormous condemnation if they fail. Hallmarks: A highly placed job in the family business. A beautiful swimwear-model girlfriend, a regular spot in the social and business pages, and a bunny-in-the-headlights gaze, for the first few years at least.
Third Generation Money (TGM)
Almost out of the woods- but not quite. This generation is in danger of thinking that a privileged life is theirs by birthright. When Daddy’s name is on the new school library, and a new polo pony is juts a Christmas stocking filler, it’s hard for these people to believe they have to put much effort into building a career, or even a personality. But everything depends on them, if they don’t want to prove the old ‘shirt-sleeves to shirt-sleeves in three-generations’ maximum. These people need to get over the third-generations hump by putting their heads down, surrounds themselves with good people and staying on track. Good Aspects: an even better financial head start. A lifetime surrounded by beautiful objects, endless opportunities and international connections in high places. No trouble getting work-experience placement. Bad Aspects: Everyone is waiting for them to fall. Everyone knows their surname. There’s no chance of glory. At best- this is a generation of consolidation: earlier and later generations will get the credit. Hallmarks: Indolence. Brilliant polo-players and sailors. Great holidays. Dress ‘smart casual’ better than anyone else. Too many friends.
Sugar Babies (SB)
The ultimate go-getters who go-got their sugar daddy. Often not in the first flush of youth, but smart enough to know what they want and how to get it. They’re happy, proud members of the second wives’ club, enjoying the lifestyle that comes with a man of a certain age. And don’t think they don’t work for it. They’re the ones running big households, organising corporate at-home parties and putting him on a pedestal (something first-wives’ rarely do). Don’t be judgemental: she genuinely admires him, and he can’t believe his good luck. Good Aspects: Glamorous, good-looking and fun to be with. Honest- you know where they’ve come from and why they’re there. Bad Aspects: Not quite PLU (people like us). You know where they’ve come from and why they’re there. Hallmarks: Breasts that defy gravity. Big diamonds that aren’t fake. Big, super-white smile. Stilettos. Big earrings. Never without make-up. Designer logos on everything. Inclined to leave Big Daddy for the landscape designer if the mood takes her.
Married Into Money (MIM)
Living on lavish amounts of housekeeping money, but always slightly shrot of cash. Always having to work on their husbands for some unnecessary trinket, renovation or holiday. Never work, but always going on about how busy they are. Forever dropping their children at ballet, training, drama class, tennis, rugby, rowing, violin, coaching and therapy. Good Aspects: Always on for tennis, lunch, morning walk and coffee. Bad Aspects: Always haunting you for tennis, lunch, morning walk and coffee. Hallmarks: Well-cute streaked hair, designers sunglasses, honed bodies in designer gym gear diamond earrings drilled into skull, scarily Stepford Wife wardrobe. Belong to book club. Often have a law or arts degree but you’d never know it.