Is there a word or an idiom for rich people who spend only their families' money and do not bother to work, just fool around?
They are known as "trust-fund babies" or "trust-fund kids":
noun: a child of wealthy parents or other relatives who can rely on a trust fund rather than hard work for a living
Traditionally the most common (noun) terms for such a one would probably be a "prodigal" (as in the proverbial, Prodigal Son) or, alternately, a "profligate".
1. a person who spends money in a recklessly extravagant way.
• a person who leaves home and behaves recklessly, but later makes a repentant return.
noun: prodigal son
synonyms: wasteful, extravagant, spendthrift, profligate, improvident, imprudent; see Google prodigal
1. a licentious, dissolute person. "he was an out-and-out profligate"
synonyms: libertine, debauchee, degenerate, dissolute, roué, rake, sybarite, voluptuary
see Google profligate
Indeed there is: "spendthrift" is one, and "wastrel" another. The latter is archaic but I really like it. Derived from "waste", I guess, but pronounced with a short A not a diphthong. You don't have to be stinking rich to be these, though. And there is another archaic word for spending an inheritance etc. quickly and reprehensibly: "to blew". That's not the past tense it looks like, because the past is "he blewed it all". National Lottery please note. No noun that I know of, though.
If your emphasis is not on blewing the money but just being a rich layabout, then, well, Bertie Wooster was a member of "the Drones Club". I think the British "Hooray Henry" and "Sloane Ranger" might fit. The American equivalent would I think be "trust fund babe". (Of which the masculine is what? I don't know,) Less demotic is "the idle rich".
A wealthy man who spends his time enjoying himself, especially one who behaves irresponsibly or is sexually promiscuous:
Apparently the phenomenon is not chauvinistic as playgirl works for her:
A usually wealthy woman who spends much of her time pursuing leisure and romance.
The popularity of Playboy Magazine (and its sister Playgirl) has reinforced the sexual connotations of this expression to the point of dominance, but everyone understand intuitively that casual sex can be a very expensive habit.
I've always liked the term Trustafarian, a portmanteau (of trust and rastafarian) that can be somewhat limited in distribution to college campuses and the "hip" parts of town (and it is a term which can seen as a form of religious and cultural expropriation from the Rastafaris).
- (sometimes capital) ( Brit, informal) a young person from a wealthy background whose trust fund enables him or her to eschew conventional attitudes to work, dress, drug taking, etc
Word Origin C20: from trust (fund) + ( Rast) afarian
Rake is not as overwhelmed with sexual connotations as playboy but it still:
A usually well-to-do man who is dissolute or promiscuous.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition.
It is the reduction of rakehell:
An immoral or dissolute man.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition.
The etymology suggests it is someone racing to hell:
1540s, possibly an alteration (by association with rake (n.1) and Hell) of Middle English rakel (adj.) "hasty, rash, headstrong,"
probably from raken "to go, proceed,"
from Old English racian "to go forward, move, hasten," of unknown origin.
Compare rakeshame (n.) "one who lives shamefully" (1590s).
Although it is denoted as a man, it would welcome gender neutrality in our liberated libertine world.
A dilettante is a dabbler in different subjects, usually the arts. The usage of dilettante peaked in American literature in the 1920's to the 1940's. This is because in those hard times a dabbler needed to be wealthy in order to have the luxury to avoid an onerous or practical occupation.
The word dilettante conjures up a mental picture of an idle, well-off person who has free time and can afford to shift focus from one notion to the next. Necessarily having great wealth isn't part of the dictionary definition of the word. However, I have almost always seen it used to describe rich or decadent people or goods.
There are quite a few wealthy individuals described as dilettante. Using Google Scholar, I identified quite a few. The implication is that the individuals' wealth permits this lifestyle.
A café using the word Dilettante to present as upscale is a modern example. "The Expression of Elegance." Indeed. They sell coffee.
The Dilettante is a pricey car in the video games Grand Theft Auto IV and V.
(I don't have the reputation to post more than 2 links or I would have more citations.)
In a somewhat restricted context, the term remittance man might apply. The term was used in former times (such as the Victorian era) to describe British men who lived abroad and whose income consisted of funds sent by their families.
While this does not necessarily imply that the remittance man was simply fooling around rather than trying to work, there is a connotation that the remittance men were being paid to stay far away from their families in order to avoid embarrassing them, e.g. by dissolute behavior.
The term is old-fashioned but could be used as a metaphor for a modern (and not necessarily British) lifestyle. I think the term remittance woman would be understood as a female form of the same term.
Since the original term described people who received income at someone else's discretion and who were kept socially distant from their wealthy families, I would find it difficult to apply to someone who had the unfettered ability to spend the wealth accumulated by their family or who was permitted to participate in the family's social circle. That is, I think that in order for the usage of the term to make sense, it would need to be more restrictive than the usage of terms such as playboy or idle rich. But in the right context I think it might be used with good effect.
The phrase I've heard is "idle rich".
Dissolute would be a good adjective:
(Of a person or a way of life) overindulging in sensual pleasures:
unfortunately, his heir was feckless and dissolute
Freeloader is what came to mind immediately. Definitely negative connotations, and not necessarily required that the contributing family is rich.
How about "trust-fund squanderer"?
"rentier" -- "An individual who receives an income, usually interest, rent, dividends, capital gains, or profits from his or her assets and investments." (Wikipedia dictionary). Note that this is not necessarily from family money -- but it does have old money connotation. More importantly, if you insist on the "fooling around" part, "rentier" does not imply idleness or frivolity, it just specifies the source of income.
A Woosterish person behaves like the fictional character Bertie Wooster.
Bertram Wilberforce "Bertie" Wooster is a recurring fictional character in the Jeeves novels of British author P. G. Wodehouse. An English gentleman, one of the "idle rich" and a member of the Drones Club, he appears alongside his valet, Jeeves, whose genius manages to extricate Bertie or one of his friends from numerous awkward situations.
protected by Andrew Leach♦ Apr 30 '15 at 11:51
Thank you for your interest in this question.
Because it has attracted low-quality or spam answers that had to be removed, posting an answer now requires 10 reputation on this site (the association bonus does not count).
Would you like to answer one of these unanswered questions instead?