Real Money." That was what wealth was called in the old days.
It's described in lavish detail in the 2018 book "Jackie, Janet & Lee."
The author J. Randy Taraborrelli captures the world of Jackie Kennedy Onassis, her mother Janet Auchincloss, and her sister Lee Radziwell. The three made it their business to align with Real Money.
And, just as with middle-class strivers today, Real Money all too often became over-extended.
Janet's second husband, Standard Oil heir Hugh Auchincloss, as were many others in the book, came to that financial point of almost or actually losing it all because of an over-the-top lifestyle.
Lifestyles become addictive. Also, some felt and still feel that they are entitled to them. So, they sort of hit a wall when more keeps going out than coming in. They don't know what to do.
If the men seeking their hand in marriage were in that pickle, Jackie and Lee would have to ditch them. That's just the way it was. Janet socialized her two daughters to follow the money. Money was power.
For the money Janet married Auchincloss even though he informed her he was impotent. In her previous marriage to Jackie's and Lee's father Black Jack she sure enjoyed sex.
Today, the ethos of maintaining a certain lifestyle isn't much different.
There are variations on the theme, of course. Woman can earn their own money. In addition, digital technology has produced billionaires who have been able to transcend the conspicuous consumption of the Real Money of the 20th century.
Just like Auchincloss couldn't get a handle on the pickle he was in, some of those I coach feel downright responsible to hold onto a much more than simply comfortable lifestyle.
No, they aren't up there with the 1%. But their expenditures lock them into a brutal professional situation. This is especially a common scenario as they become older and ageism threatens everything from job security to ability to max earned income.
Unfortunately, when they have that ah-ha moment and want to "do something" a lot of the fixes aren't easily available.
Take selling the large house in the good school districts with the high property taxes. According to Bloomberg, the real estate market has already entered its worst slowdown in years. According to some of those over-50 I coach, not much is selling in their suburbs. With gallows humor, they discuss being stuck in those houses at age 110.
Other expenditure downsizings can be emotionally problematic.
The children expect to attend the college of their choice and the bills to be picked up by parents. That assumption can go beyond college to advanced degrees. One insurance executive in central Connecticut got caught in one of those perfect storms, couldn't fund his daughter's master's degree, and committed suicide.
The non-working spouse can't imagine getting a job, not after all those years. Push on that and put the marriage in play.
The nice vacations are restorative.
The reality is that that exiting being overextended can be a slow, messy experience.
It requires self-forgiveness. After all, no one starts out with the objective of facing financial ruin.
In addition, the others in the loop such as colleagues and neighbors also have to be compassionate. Hold the blame.
The good news is that, while the exit ramp isn't easy to find, it's there.
That could include bankruptcy. Several of my clients chose that option. Currently they are thriving. One former medical doctor has become a consultant for scientific communications.
Or, it could be minimalism. A disbarred lawyer who served two years in prison rents a one-bedroom for under $600. He took early Social Security. As yet, he hasn't figured out what kind of work can supplement the monthly check.
In 2003, I embraced the vow of poverty. That was after having to sell my This Old House in CT and the beach cottage in New Jersey. My two startups are thriving.
For those who are overextended and remain unemployed here, free to click open and read, is my most recent book "Outwitting Ageism To Land, Hold, And Move On To Better Work" Download Outwitting ageism.
The mantra among the aging is: How Is Your Now!
Contact Jane Genova firstname.lastname@example.org.