This past weekend The Wife and I visited Newport Rhode Island for our One Year Anniversary, and I learned three very applicable personal finance lessons, and it came from our trip to the mansions.

The normal thing when visiting Rhode Island is to do Mansion Tours.  The Wife and I checked out two of these RIDICULOUS homes.  We first saw “Marble House-Marble_House,_Newport,_Rhode_Island

Marble House cost $11 million in 1892! It was built by one of the great grandsons of the amazing Cornelius Vanderbilt.  This house was in a word, nuts.

It has 500,000 cubic feet of marble, and would cost approximately $140 million in 2008 dollars!

Guess my shock when I went to the next home which was even bigger!  The second home’s name is The Breakers (mental note, I am naming my next home regardless of the size).

The Breakers was built by the older brother of the Vanderbilt who built Marble House.  If the other mansion was nuts…this house is *&$*@! Crazy.  I have literally never seen anything like this place.  The_Breakers_Newport

It has 70 rooms, yes that is 7-0, with over 65,000 square feet of living space.  In comparison, my condo has 1,800, and not all over it is even livable lol.

There is NO Limit to the Amount of Money You Can Make in America

Both of those houses come from the amazing amount of wealth created by the Commodore, Cornelius Vanderbilt.  When he died his estate is estimated at $100 million in 1877!  It is estimated that would be equal to $143 billion in 2007 dollars.  That is three times the net worth of Bill Gates.

When the Commodore died he left 95% to one of his sons (he had 13 kids!).  That son was the dad of the 2 guys who built the above mansions.  That Son turned $100 to $200 million in about 10 years.

Lesson:  Even in this communist like times of America there is untold wealth out there to be made – be an innovator.

Take Pride in your Job

I may be “un-cultured” but I saw something really cool on these tours that I had never seen before.  Each person got a headset while you walked around.  As you entered each room the voice on the headset would tell you a story about that particular room.

Well, one particular voice came through on the headset, it was an elderly gentleman who indicated that he was a worker there.  Specifically, he was a butler.  After talking about his daily routine, he then something which amazed me,

You should always have pride in your job, even if young people don’t get that today!

Lesson:  The butler said it best – I don’t care what your responsibilities are – ROCK IT OUT!

Always Treat Others with Respect

The family which owned the bigger, Breakers, were one of the first of the gilded age to refer to their workers, not as “servants” but rather as “staff.”

Lesson:  How you treat others will far outlive you!

If you ever get a chance to visit Rhode Island do it up!  And for us youngens there are a good amount of bars but they close at 1am.