Idle Rich

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
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Doesn't every woman go camping in a white mink coat while sipping chilled wine?

Whether old money, New Money, royalty, or nobility, these people just spend their time living off their vast sums of money they earned, or their family's sums of money.

Not to say they just sit around doing nothing (usually). They have too much of their free time taken up by travelling, going to parties and galas, attending horse races and polo matches, keeping up with the latest Society gossip, choosing which clothes to wear, spoiling Mister Muffykins rotten, and occasionally doing at least some token work in their family business. So they can't really be idle. They're too rich to be.

The threat of Passed Over Inheritance is particularly powerful against the younger members of the family in this set.

Now this is some Truth in Television, as some real life people have acted like this (such as during the "Gilded Age"), as do Socialites today. And the Ermine Cape Effect long gave the impression of this among royalty and nobility.

A Rich Idiot With No Day Job exploits this image to hide their superhero activities.

A Super-Trope to Uncle Pennybags, Rich in Dollars, Poor In Sense, Upper Class Twit, Rich Bitch, Spoiled Sweet, Royal Brat, Rich Boredom.

Compare Spoiled Brat, Princess Classic, Screw the Rules, I Have Money, Reclining Reigner.

Contrast Non-Idle Rich, Royals Who Actually Do Something, Rebellious Princess.

Examples of Idle Rich include:
  • Most of the cast of Beverly Hills Teens is like this.
  • Phyllis in Troop Beverly Hills starts out like this.
  • Veronica Lodge of Archie Comics.
  • Nagi Sanzenin of Hayate the Combat Butler, until the events of their overseas trip made her lose access to all of the money.
  • Bertie Wooster in the Jeeves and Wooster stories by PG Wodehouse and the TV series Jeeves and Wooster that's based on them.
  • Most of the characters in Dangerous Liaisons.
  • Wilbur Van Snobbe from Little Lulu.
  • Half the people above stairs in Gosford Park.
  • In Batman, this is Bruce Wayne's cover.
  • In The Thin Man film series, Nick and Nora Charles tried to be this, but someone was always dragging them into a murder mystery.
  • Mr. and Mrs. Hart from Hart to Hart, a modern day Nick and Nora Charles, were this. True, they usually got involved in some crime mystery, but that was just what they did for fun.
  • Gilligan's Island Mr. and Mrs. Howell were this.
  • The Hippo couple in Animaniacs.
  • Charlie Chaplin's wealthy man, who winds up being Identical Strangers with the Little Tramp in The Idle Class
  • Time Scout: Prince Albert Victor, AKA "Eddie". This is also Malcolm's cover when he goes to Victorian London; he's a landholder in the British Caribbean. It explains his long absences, his idiot friends from America, and the occasional wobble in his accent.
  • Miss Milo Roberts in An American in Paris.
  • Jack Donaghy in Thirty Rock refers to this as "Trust Fund Kid Syndrome"; however, his definition of it expands to include anyone born to wealth who uses that to do something other than accumulate even more wealth.
  • In Gene Stratton Porter's Michael O'Halloran, Douglas recounts how a friend of his is training an orphan waif to follow him in his business, because while he has sons, his rich wife is training them to be "men of wealth and leisure".
  • The titular character of Nathan Barley. The original online version summed up the plot of one episode with "Nathan Barley decides what job to pretend to do next".
  • In Dorothy L. Sayers's Lord Peter Wimsey novel Have His Carcass, one professional dancer speaks with contempt of women who resort to the high life rather than making a life for themselves.

"L'amour! These ladies come and dance and excite themselves and want love and think it is happiness. And they tell me about their sorrows -- me -- and they have no sorrows at all, only that they are silly and selfish and lazy. Their husbands are unfaithful and their lovers run away and what do they say? Do they say, I have two hands, two feet, all my faculties, I will make a life for myself? No. They say, give me cocaine, give me the cocktail, give me the thrill, give me my gigolo, give me l'amo-o-ur! Like a mouton bleating in a field."