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'I don’t believe in inherited money at all': From Warren Buffett to Bill Gates, these billionaires aren't leaving their money to their kids

'I don’t believe in inherited money at all': From Warren Buffett to Bill Gates, these billionaires aren't leaving their money to their kids
'I don’t believe in inherited money at all': From Warren Buffett to Bill Gates, these billionaires aren't leaving their money to their kids

When your parents are rich — like Forbes list rich — you might think you’re set for life. No work, no commute, just Mai Tais and sandy shores from age 18 to 80.

Not so fast, kid.

Some of the world’s wealthiest have already decided they’re not leaving their fortunes to their offspring. Many are donating their money to philanthropic causes, while others are just determined to make their kids learn the value of work.

Here are 11 billionaires who are ripping away the silver spoon. Net worth figures are based on the most recent data from Forbes and Celebrity Net Worth.

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Bill Gates

Bill Gates
Lev Radin / Shutterstock.com

Net worth: $106 billion

The Microsoft magnate, farmland aficionado and one-time richest person in the world has made philanthropy his mission for many years now.

In 2010, Gates and his then-wife Melinda Gates joined their friend Warren Buffett in launching the Giving Pledge — a commitment by the world’s wealthiest to spend the majority of their wealth on society’s most pressing problems.

Bill Gates has been crystal clear about his desire to not spoil his three children.

“It’s not a favor to kids to have them have huge sums of wealth,” Gates told This Morning in an interview. “It distorts anything they might do, creating their own path.”

He and his ex-wife — they divorced in August after 27 years — will leave much of their wealth to their Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which has a mission of wiping out poverty, disease and hunger worldwide.

Mark Zuckerberg

Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan, at home with their children.
Facebook / Mark Zuckerberg

Net worth: $57.1 billion

When Mark Zuckerberg and wife Priscilla Chan welcomed their first child in 2015, shortly after signing the Giving Pledge, the Facebook co-founder said he would reroute 99% of the new baby’s inheritance toward philanthropic efforts.

“We have a moral responsibility to all children in the next generation,” the couple posted on Facebook (naturally). “Our initial areas of focus will be personalized learning, curing disease, connecting people and building strong communities.”

He and Chan have since launched the Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative, which has the stated goal of “advancing human potential and promoting equal opportunity.”

Warren Buffett

Warren Buffett addresses a classroom of students.
Becoming Warren Buffett / HBO

Net worth: $101 billion

The Oracle of Omaha, who co-created the Giving Pledge alongside Bill and Melinda Gates, has promised to give away the entire fortune he amassed through his brilliant investing moves. Relatively little will go to his three children.

If the goal was to encourage his children to challenge themselves, it’s worked. Buffett’s eldest, Susan Alice Buffett, is a philanthropist in her own right. Middle child Howard has been a businessman, politician and author, and youngest son Peter is a musician and composer.

Instead of leaving them cash, Buffett has pledged to leave $2.1 billion in stock in his company, Berkshire Hathaway, to each of his children’s philanthropic organizations. The bulk of his fortune will go to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, run by his close friends.

Larry Page

Larry Page, co-founder of Google
Niall Kennedy, Flickr

Net worth: $91.9 billion

Sorry kids, this money’s not for you. It’s going to Uncle Elon.

Google co-founder Larry Page is another signatory of the Giving Pledge, meaning that he plans to give away the vast majority of his fortune. Beyond that, Page is famously guarded about his family and personal life.

But at a 2014 TED conference, he did discuss some unorthodox plans for his fortune. Page said that instead of donating his wealth to a charity or nonprofit, he’d prefer to fund a visionary entrepreneur who could bring about dramatic change.

“Most people think corporations are basically evil. They get a bad rap,” he said, calling Space X founder Elon Musk’s plan to populate Mars “philanthropic” because it could provide a second home for humans.

Michael Bloomberg

Michael Bloomberg
Gage Skidmore / Flickr

Net worth: $76.8 billion

The former New York City mayor and multi-billionaire says he hopes to give away his entire fortune before he dies. Most of it is expected to go to Bloomberg Philanthropies, his humanitarian initiative.

In his letter to the Giving Pledge, Bloomberg wrote that the best thing you can do for your kids is “to support organizations that will create a better world for them and their children.”

Bloomberg’s two daughters, Georgina and Emma, both sit on the Bloomberg Philanthropies board and work with other philanthropic causes, so they’re probably OK with it.

George Lucas

George Lucas
Joi Ito / Flickr

Net worth: $10 billion

The creator of Star Wars became one of the richest people in Hollywood after selling his company Lucasfilm to Disney for more than $4 billion in 2012. But the father of four isn’t passing all of those galactic credits to his younglings.

“I am dedicating the majority of my wealth to improving education,” Lucas wrote in his Giving Pledge letter in 2010. “It is the key to the survival of the human race.”

Education is a longstanding passion, as he founded the George Lucas Educational Foundation in 1991.

Lucas’ three adult children — he and his second wife Mellody Hobson welcomed their first child together in 2013 — seem to be doing well on their own.

His eldest, Amanda, fought in MMA before retiring to have a child in 2014. His other daughter Katie is a writer and contributed to the Star Wars: The Clone Wars TV series. And son Jett works in the film and TV industry, including visual effects work on the hit Disney Plus series The Mandalorian.

Ted Turner

Ted Turner
Al Teich / Shutterstock

Net worth: $2.2 billion

Former media mogul Ted Turner made his billions founding giants like CNN, TBS and TNT but soon became as famous for his philanthropy as his empire. He’s donated billions to charitable organizations all over the world.

Turner’s five kids won’t get much when he passes. He’s signed the Giving Pledge, writing in his letter that upon his death, “virtually all my wealth will have gone to charity.”

Turner’s kids will probably be all right with the decision, as they’re involved with his charitable Turner Foundation. His son Robert “Teddy” Turner, a high school economics teacher, ran in a South Carolina Republican primary for an open Congressional seat in 2013. He came in fourth place.

Andrew Lloyd Webber

Andrew Lloyd Webber and family
Featureflash Photo Agency / Shutterstock

Net worth: $1.2 billion

The award-winning composer behind stage hits like The Phantom of the Opera and Cats is eager to see his offspring achieve greatness on their own.

“It is about having a work ethic; I don’t believe in inherited money at all,” he told the Daily Mirror in 2008. “I am not in favor of children suddenly finding a lot of money coming their way, because then they have no incentive to work.”

The eldest of his five children, daughter Imogen Lloyd Webber, is a successful author and broadcaster, formerly of MSNBC, while his oldest son Nicholas is also a composer.

Webber says he plans to leave his fortune to social programs aimed at promoting music and the arts.

Laurene Powell Jobs

Laurene Powell Jobs
Rhododendrites / Wikimedia Commons

Net worth: $14.8 billion

Laurene Powell Jobs inherited billions of dollars of stock in Apple and Disney when husband Steve passed away in 2011, but she’s chosen to donate her massive fortune, rather than keep it in a trust fund for their three kids.

“I inherited my wealth from my husband, who didn’t care about the accumulation of wealth,” she said in an interview with the New York Times in 2020. “I’m not interested in legacy wealth buildings, and my children know that. If I live long enough, it ends with me.”

Powell Jobs founded Emerson Collective in 2004, a private organization dedicated to creating systemic change in education, immigration, climate and cancer research and treatment.

The Jobs’ eldest son, Reed, serves as a managing director at Emerson, middle daughter Erin Siena works as an architect and designer and youngest, Eve, is a professional equestrian and once modelled for Glossier.

Pierre Omidyar

Pierre Omidyar
OnInnovation / Flickr

Net worth: $10 billion

The eBay founder and his wife committed themselves to giving away the majority of their wealth after the online auction corporation went public, and signed the Giving Pledge a decade later.

“We have more money than our family will ever need. There’s no need to hold onto it when it can be put to use today, to help solve some of the world’s most intractable problems,” Omidyar, who currently owns a 5% stake in eBay and 6% stake in PayPal, wrote in a letter.

The couple has three children.

Forbes says Omidyar has put over $1.5 billion so far into philanthropic investment firm Omidyar Network, which he and wife Pam launched in 2004.

Bernard Marcus

Bernard Marcus
ROBERT HUFFSTUTTER / Flickr

Net worth: $8.1 billion

The billionaire co-founder of Home Depot has donated about $2 billion to organizations over the course of his life so far. He plans on leaving 80% to 90% of his fortune to his foundation after he dies.

“I’ve got all the houses I need. I live very well. My kids are taken care of. Everything I live for now is finding the right things to put my money into and that can give me a rate of return in emotion and doing good things for this world,” Marcus told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution in 2019.

The Marcus Foundation supports sustainability and enhancing community food resources. Marcus also signed the Giving Pledge in 2010 and was a top contributor to Donald Trump’s presidential bid in 2019.

Marcus’ stepson, Michael Morris, worked as an investment banker before becoming the publisher and owner of weekly newspaper, Atlanta Jewish Times. He also serves on several charity boards. Daughter Susanne Marcus Collins has her own private charitable foundation as well.

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