- Several high-profile millionaires and billionaires have declared they won’t be leaving the entirety of their massive fortunes to their children.
- Many of these wealthy parents have pledged to give the majority of their wealth away to charitable organizations by signing the Giving Pledge.
- Sting said he plans to spend his money instead of leaving it to his six kids, while fellow rock star Elton John plans to leave his fortune to charity.
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Many high-profile business magnates, billionaires, and celebrities believe money shouldn’t be handed to their children.
Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan, for instance, have signed the Giving Pledge; doing so means they’ve promised to give away the majority of their massive fortunes. However, for some, the amount remaining is still worth millions (if not billions).
Business Insider has compiled a list of 11 high-profile millionaires and billionaires – some of whom are the world’s biggest business magnates – who won’t be signing over their fortunes to their kids in their will. We ranked these wealthy parents in ascending order by their net worth.
Keep reading for a look at the 11 high-profile billionaires and millionaires who aren’t leaving their fortunes to their children.
11. British celebrity chef Nigella Lawson wants her three children to have to work for financial security.
Net worth: $15 million
Source of wealth: Food journalism
Nigella Lawson is a food writer, TV personality, and journalist. Lawson was one of the pioneers behind the 21st-century “food porn” revolution with her books including “Feast,” “Nigella Express,” and “How to Be a Domestic Goddess.” Lawson is worth approximately $15 million.
Lawson has two adult children from her first marriage and one step-daughter from her second marriage to advertising mogul Charles Saatchi, which ended in 2013.
“I am determined that my children should have no financial security,” Lawson told British magazine My Weekly in 2008, according to the Daily Mail. “It ruins people not having to earn money.”
10. Gordon Ramsay doesn’t even pay for his kids to fly first class.
Net worth: $63 million
Source of wealth: Restaurants, television
The owner and operator of 40 restaurants around the globe with 16 Michelin stars between them, Gordon Ramsay is one of the biggest names in the British restaurant industry. The well-renowned celebrity chef has a strong TV presence, hosting shows such as “MasterChef USA,” “MasterChef Junior” and “Hell’s Kitchen.”
The father of five has no intention of leaving his fortune to his children, who still sit in economy on flights while Ramsay and his wife, Tana, peel off for first class: “It’s definitely not going to them,” Ramsay told The Telegraph in 2017. “And that’s not in a mean way; it’s to not spoil them. The only thing I’ve agreed with Tana is they get 25% deposit on a flat, but not the whole flat.”
“I’ve been super lucky, having that career for the last 15 years in the US,” Ramsay said. “Seriously, it has earned a fortune and I’ve been very lucky, so I respect everything I’ve got.”
9. Ashton Kutcher isn’t even going to set up a trust fund for his children.
- Steve Jennings/Getty Images for TechCrunch
Net worth: $200 million
Source of wealth: film, venture capital
On a recent episode of the Dax Shepard podcast “Armchair Expert,” Kutcher said he wasn’t creating trust funds for his two children with his wife, Mila Kunis, Business Insider’s Hillary Hoffower previously reported. He also said he’d hear out their business ideas but wouldn’t give them special treatment over the other pitches he hears for his venture capital firm, A-Grade Investments.
“My kids are living a really privileged life, and they don’t even know it,” said Kutcher.
8. Sting said he plans to spend his money instead of leaving it to his six kids.
- Reuters/Norsk Telegrambyra/AS
Net worth: $300 million as of 2014
Source of wealth: music
The father of six, who is best known for being the frontman of rock band The Police, told the Daily Mail in 2014 that his children will not inherit a penny. Sting’s albums and tours earned him a $300 million fortune, Forbes estimated in 2014.
“I told them there won’t be much money left because [my wife and I] are spending it,” Sting told the Daily Mail. “We have a lot of commitments. What comes in we spend, and there isn’t much left.”
“I certainly don’t want to leave them trust funds that are albatrosses ’round their necks,” Sting told the Daily Mail. “They have to work. All my kids know that and they rarely ask me for anything, which I really respect and appreciate.”
7. Sir Elton John believes it’s “terrible to give kids a silver spoon,” he told the Daily Mirror in 2016.
- David Wolff – Patrick/Contributor/Getty Images
Net worth: $450 million as of 2014
Source of wealth: music
With a career in music spanning four decades, Sir Elton John’s retirement tour is expected to gross more than $400 million, according to Forbes, adding to his net worth.
John and his husband David Furnish have two sons – Zachary and Elijah – but the singer has no intentions of spoiling them with his vast fortune. “The boys live the most incredible lives, they’re not normal kids, and I’m not pretending they are,” John told the Daily Mirror in 2016. “But you have to have some semblance of normality, some respect for money, some respect for work.”
The couple borrows from the Warren Buffett school of inheritance. “[Buffett] has a really cool model in that he leaves his children enough money so that they have a house, a car and all their basic needs covered and cared for so they never need worry,” John told the Daily Mirror. “But it’s not crazy, silly, go-wild money so that they could be buying Picassos or private jets.”
6. Andrew Lloyd Webber says it doesn’t bother his kids that he wants to leave his fortune elsewhere, the famed composer told the Daily Mail in 2008.
Net worth: £820 million ($1.07 billion)
Source of wealth: theatre
The famed composer and father of five told the Daily Mirror in 2008 that he didn’t plan to pass his vast fortune on to his children: “I am not in favor of children suddenly finding a lot of money coming their way because then they have no incentive to work,” he said.
Webber is the musical theater composer behind award-winning, long-running shows such as “The Phantom of the Opera,” “Cats,” and “Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat.” The composer – with seven Tonys, three Grammys, an Academy Award, and a knighthood – has a net worth of approximately $1.07 billion, according to The Sunday Times’ annual Rich List.
Instead, Webber told the Daily Mirror that he wants to invest his fortunes into musical projects after his death – although he has no finite plans for the time being. “It is extremely likely that my wife Madeleine will outlive me so I will leave the problem with her,” Webber said.
5. “Star Wars” creator George Lucas plans to use his multibillion dollar fortune to fund the education of other people’s children.
- Reuters/Dylan Martinez
Net worth: $6.4 billion
Source of wealth: film
Lucas saw his net worth rocket to $6.4 billion after selling the Star Wars franchise and his production company “Lucasfilm” – both of which Lucas owned 100% of the rights to – to The Walt Disney Company for $4.05 billion in 2012, Business Insider previously reported.
The father of four has one adopted daughter from his first marriage, two further adopted children, and a fourth daughter with second wife Mellody Hobson, born in August 2013, Business Insider previously reported.
However, a spokesperson for Lucas told the Hollywood Reporter that the majority of the funds made from the deal would go towards educational philanthropy projects. Lucas founded the George Lucas Educational Foundation, also known as Edutopia, which aims to research and improve educational practices used in schools in order to make sure that children are gaining the absolute most from their education.
4. Presidential hopeful Michael Bloomberg also plans to give his fortune to charity instead of to his daughters.
- Reuters/Henry Romero
Net worth: $54 billion
Source of wealth: financial media
In addition to running for president, Bloomberg is also the founder and CEO of software, data, and media company Bloomberg L.P. and the fourteenth richest person in the world, Business Insider’s Emmie Martin and Katie Warren previously reported.
The former mayor of New York City has publicly announced that he hopes to give away his entire fortune before he dies – the majority of which will be donated to his philanthropic initiative, Bloomberg Philanthropies.
Bloomberg’s two daughters, Georgina and Emma, both work for philanthropic causes themselves, Business Insider previously reported.
3. Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan wrote on Facebook in 2015 that they intend to leave his fortune to charity instead of to his daughter “because we have a moral responsibility to all children in the next generation.”
Net worth: $72 billion
Source of wealth: Facebook
After welcoming his first daughter, Max, into the world with wife Priscilla Chan in December 2015, Zuckerberg publicized the child’s birth by posting an announcement on Facebook. In the post, Zuckerberg declared that he and his wife would be donating 99% of Max’s inheritance to charity.
The post, addressed to Max, said: “We want you to grow up in a world better than ours today” adding “we will do our part to make this happen, not only because we love you, but also because we have a moral responsibility to all children in the next generation.”
The couple launched the Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI), which aims toward “advancing human potential and promoting equal opportunity,” according to Inside Philanthropy.
The couple has since welcomed another daughter, August, Business Insider previously reported.
2. Warren Buffett is leaving much of his fortune to his best friend Bill Gates’ foundation instead of to his children.
- Reuters/Rick Wilking
Net worth: $88.8 billion
Source of wealth: Berkshire Hathaway
Buffett made his name as an investor and serves as the CEO and chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, which owns or holds stakes in dozens of companies including Kraft Heinz, American Express, Duracell, and even Apple. Buffett has been named “one of the most successful investors of all time” by Forbes.
Buffett is a keen philanthropist and plans on pledging 100% of his vast fortune to various charities when he dies, leaving nothing to his children.
Rather than handing each of his three children money directly into their pockets, Buffett has instead promised to give approximately $2.1 billion of Berkshire Hathaway stock to each of his children’s charities as rewards for the success of the foundations.
The majority of his fortune will go to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, with a percentage also going to the Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation that the tycoon founded with his first wife.
1. Bill Gates may be a centibillionaire, but his kids will only be millionaires.
- Shutterstock Rex for EEM
Net worth: $113 billion
Source of wealth: Microsoft
Like many of the world’s richest billionaires, Microsoft founder Bill Gates is a keen philanthropist and plans to pass on the vast majority of his $113 billion fortune to charitable causes. Gates and his wife Melinda own the world’s largest private charitable foundation – The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation– which works to “help all people lead healthy, productive lives.”
Gates’ three children have inherited their father’s philanthropic gene, and are reportedly happy to not be inheriting their father’s fortune. In a Reddit AMA, the Microsoft magnate said his children will inherit just $10 million each – equivalent to less than 1% of his fortune.
In the AMA, Gates said: “I definitely think leaving kids massive amounts of money is not a favour to them. Warren Buffett was part of an article in Fortune talking about this in 1986 before I met him and it made me think about it and decide he was right.”