Believe it or not, no matter how hard top billionaires like Carlos Slim, Warren Buffett and Bill Gates work, and no matter how much money they rake in, they will never be considered as equals by the old rich families that have been wealthy for centuries. These families view themselves as a class of their own, made up of only a few select few, and newcomers to the world of the rich are not allowed to barge in to their stratosphere.
Old rich families are those whose wealth have been merely inherited and passed down from generation to generation. They are not like the nouveau riche, whose wealth came fairly recently as a result of business and investment successes. Old rich families think of themselves as having ranks equivalent to those of European monarchy. They consider themselves as high society and quasi aristocratic, whose names alone are enough to conjure images of prestige and class.
They do not feature that prominently anymore in lists of the richest people on the planet, but nevertheless, they are still considered as the people on top of the world. Here now is a list of the old money families that have been richest the longest.
Astor Family: Considered America’s First Aristocrats
The Astor family is considered as America’s first aristocrats. The family traces its roots to Germany and England, and is related to other prominent families like the Livingstons, the Roosevelts, the Dudleys, the Winthrops, and the Bayards. Their earliest known ancestors worked as butchers in Germany, before the family moved to England to become flute makers. They then moved to Baltimore where they continued with their flute business, before becoming merchants of furs, pianos and real estate. Eventually, they moved to New York.
The family’s imprints can still be seen everywhere. They were once called the landlords of New York, where some of the places are still named after them, like the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, Astor Row, Astor Court, Astor Place, Astor Avenue, and even the Astoria neighborhood in Queens. There are also towns named Astor in Florida, Georgia, Kansas and Iowa, as well as places called Astoria in Oregon, Illinois and Missouri. In Wisconsin, there is also an Astor Park.
The family was especially prominent in Newport, Rhode Island and Mackinac Island in Michigan. They still have a summerhouse called Beechwood in Newport. The Grand Hotel in Mackinac Island still has rooms called the Lord and Lady Astor Suites, while the salon is still called Astor’s.