Everyone’s always jealous of the kid with the rich parents, but being born rich isn’t always a ticket to wealth. After all, not all rich people want to leave piles of money to their children.
And why not? They fear large sums of money will spoil their offspring and ruin their work ethic. They may have a point.
So who is the exception and what is the rule?
Microsoft founder Bill Gates, the world’s second-richest man, told The Sun in 2010 that he will donate most of his money to charity and “give the kids some money but not a meaningful percentage.” He said on Reddit in February: “I definitely think leaving kids massive amounts of money is not a favor to them.”
Billionaire investor Warren Buffett plans to donate most of his fortune to charity. Peter Buffett, Buffett’s second-oldest son, told DailyFinance in 2011 that his father “transferred values to me, and not wealth.”
CNN founder Ted Turner, who has donated $1 billion to the United Nations, doesn’t have much money left for his kids. He told MSNBC in 2010 that he is “almost to the edge of poverty” — that is, his net worth is only $2 billion, according to Forbes.
Steve Jobs, the late Apple CEO who revitalized the company, said in an interview with Playboy in 1985: “If you die, you certainly don’t want to leave a large amount to your children. It will just ruin their lives.”
George Lucas, the writer-director behind the Star Wars series, doesn’t plan to leave much money for his kids; he is giving most of it to charity. He wrote in a pledge letter that he is “dedicating the majority of [his] wealth to improving education” because “it is the key to the survival of the human race,” according to The Wall Street Journal.
Graham Tuckwell, the founder and chairman of ETF Securities, who has donated $50 million to Australian National University for scholarships, told the Sydney Daily Telegraph he does not plan to give much money to his kids because “lots of money is poisonous to have.” “If you just give them stuff, it almost destroys their desire to do things and you actually end up with kids who are a lot worse off.” (Hat tip: CNBC.)
Steven Hayworth, ex-CEO of Gibraltar Private Bank, told the New York Times in 2010 that he was glad his daughter was going to work at a clothing store that summer because he wanted her to learn “the value of a dollar.”