Chris Rock once said "There are rich people and there are wealthy people. Shaquille O'Neil is rich, the guy who writes his checks is wealthy!" That's something to think about, isn't it? If you think the rich are different from you and I, think about the wealthy and how really different they are.
When I was single in the 90's, I dated a woman from old line New York/New England money. She didn't throw money around, in truth she was pretty tight with her purse. She had gone to a private girl's prep school in Connecticut and graduated from Bennington. After we dated off and on for a month or so, I realized she wasn't in between jobs, she'd never had one, ever.
She owned a rehabbed brownstone (they are worth around 800 a sq foot) on Marlborough St in Boston's Back Bay, drove a new BMW 535, parked it in a garage that cost $850 a month plus valet service. She wore designer clothing, tasteful, but very expensive. We'd meet for dinner, go to movies, walk our dogs, go to the beach, go sailing all the things other couples in Boston did. I always paid.
For quite a long time I thought she was just a rich girl. Then we went to Greenwich to meet her parents. She grew up on an estate, the house looked like the club house at St. Andrews in Scotland. The patio was 50 by 75, they had a staff, there were 7 bedrooms, 2 kitchens, too many bathrooms to count. She had been an only child growing up in a house the size of a hotel. Her parents were very nice to me, in fact, on the 2nd day, after many single malt scotches, her father confided that he thought I could "handle his little Julie".
Her great grandfather was one of the founders of the New York Stock Exchange and his father had founded one of the major brokerage and trading houses in the world. Her Dad inherited the family fortune and business, Julie was the heir and she wasn't interested in carrying on. I was invited to spend a week on their private island (really) in Maine. I was told it was "rustic", it wasn't.
On Bastille Day, Julie and I went to a party at the French Consulate in Boston. We went on her invitation, not mine. She spoke perfect Parisian French. As luck would have it a friend of mine was at the party, we spent the most of the evening on the balcony drinking expensive French wine and talked about the Red Sox. Julie had a wonderful time or as she said, " J'ai passé un excellent moment et j'ai rencontré des gens merveilleux et mon compagnon vieille école de Paris était là, c'était si bon de la revoir!"
While we were dating, I was transfered to my company's corporate office in Florida. Julie flew down for a week. I showed her a little house I had picked out, 50's era, small with a swimming pool in the back yard. She said, why don't you let me look around and see what I can find. She didn't denigrate my choice, instead the next afternoon we drove to Palm Beach Gardens and looked at a 4,500 sq foot house in Ballin Isles. 4 bedrooms, 4 baths, 3 car garage, infinity pool and it was on the golf course. The house had marble floors, a kitchen with commercial grade appliances and a guest house. It was not only inside a gated community, it was in a gated community with 24 hour guards within a gated community. As Julie said, "double gated is good." The price was only 4.9 million. As we drove away, I turned to her and said, "Julie, sweetheart, a couple of things, it's too big and there isn't anyway I can afford it." She smiled and said, "I can. I'd bet they'll take 4.2 cash."
At that point in my life my daughters were in their early 20's and I had 2 baby granddaughters. Julie was in her late 30's, never been married, an only child and her parents had no grand kids on the horizon, no matter how hard and far they looked. We went to a party at my boss's house and Julie announced that she and I were getting engaged to our hostess, her daughter and a couple of other women. On the way to my temporary place that night. I brought up her 'secret" announcement, I was pissed. She laughed it off and began chattering about getting married and having 2 children as soon as possible. I told her I thought I loved her, but I wasn't ready to get married after less than a 5 month relationship and if I did get married, I didn't think I wanted more children since I was almost 50 years old and the thought of raising them and sending them to college when I was past retirement age was not on my radar. She turned to me and said, 'There's nothing to worry about, they'll have trust funds the day they are born and so will their kids and any and all kids after that. I told Daddy you are the man for me and he agrees. If you want to, you can quit your job and we can travel, get a big boat if you like. Daddy will take you into the business or help you buy something to do or you can stay home with me and make more babies, it really doesn't make any difference what we do." She continued, "What I'd like to do is have you quit your job, then we'll get married and we'll spend the summer and fall on the island. I'll get pregnant and we'll move into my brownstone until the baby comes."
My head was spinning, here I was trying to scrape up enough money to get into a tiny house and she was talking about mansions, babies and trust funds. I was really a long, long way from Grand Forks, North Dakota!
After 2 months of heavy pressure from Julie, I broke up with her and she was pissed. She was used to getting or simply buying what she wanted.
For most of the next year, I stayed home, kept my head down and was fortunate to meet the Cakes just over a year later. Cakes didn't come with any trust funds attached, but I know I'm happier than I would have been as a kept man. I hope Julie is a s happy as I am.