Let me start off by admitting that I am not rich. I was not born rich. I probably won’t die rich. In the intervening years, I will probably never be considered rich.
But for most of my life, I’ve had the privilege (and, some would say, the curse) to be surrounded by people who are rich. I grew up in an affluent suburb, where the average housing prices were in the $400,000 range (my family lived on the “wrong side of the tracks” – literally – in a house currently valued in the $231k range). I then went on to an elite East Coast university, where my freshman year roommate arrived on campus with a Coach luggage set crammed into the back of the BMW convertible she’d received as a high school graduation present. Since college, I’ve seen my friends go into lucrative fields like I-banking, law, and medicine, amassing obscene fortunes for 20- and 30-somethings in the midst of the economic recession.
The point is that, although I am not rich, I do know a lot about rich people.
And that’s where this list comes from. Part tongue-in-cheek, part stark reality, these are ten signs that you – or someone you know – might be rich:

  1. They go to a restaurant where prices aren’t listed on the menu (meaning they cost more than my monthly mortgage payment)… on a Tuesday night… and they’re not celebrating a birthday/anniversary/new job.
  2. They name their children horrendous names like Randolph Edward Channingsworth IV in honor of the family’s forebearers who earned, subsequently squandered, then redeemed the family’s inscrutable wealth. They endearingly call the over-monikkered child “Trad.”
  3. They don’t go on vacations; instead, they “summer.” Maybe they “summer” at the coast, or maybe they “summer” at the mountains. They never, ever go on road trips.
  4. They talk with a slightly British accent, a la Madonna, although they don’t have a single ancestor with ties to the United Kingdom.
  5. They fly first class. Seriously, nobody except a millionaire can afford to fly anything other than coach these days.
  6. When they say they have “season tickets at the Met,” they mean the Metropolitan Opera, not the New York baseball team.
  7. They are impeccably accessorized. If you comment on their Louis Moinet watch, they’ll brush it off – “This old thing? My parents gave it to me when I graduated from Haaaaaahvard” – but you’ll know it cost upwards of $2 million.
  8. They have a driving range in their attic (no, this is a true story – I recently met a man who has a full-fledged driving range in his attic; I didn’t believe it until he whipped out his iPhone to show me pictures).
  9. They have the job title “Consultant” printed in bold font on their business cards. When you ask them what exactly it is that they do, they reply, “Ohhh, you know, a little bit of this, and a little bit of that.” No, you don’t know.
  10. They call their gym a “health club.” They never use any of the cardio equipment, nor do they lift weights. At best, they may indulge in a game of racquetball or a round of golf, although they’re usually found hobnobbing in the steam room.

Reader, what quirky habits tip you off to someone’s wealth?

Libby Balke
Libby Balke