Recently, award winning journalist BENJAMIN WEY wrote a piece on Gene Simmons from the rock band Kiss, who, as it turns out, is quite a businessman. During my research for the piece, I discovered that he doesn’t plan on leaving his hundreds of millions to his kids. They’ll get something, but he wants them to work for the rest of it.
Simmons said of his son Nick, 26, and his daughter Sophie, 23, “in terms of an inheritance and stuff, they’re gonna be taken care of, but they will never be rich off my money. Because every year they should be forced to get up out of bed, and go out and work and make their own way.
It turns out, a lot of self-made millionaires and billionaires feel the same way.
Fellow rocker Sting, who is worth £180 million or so (US$280 million or so) has said that his six kids wouldn’t be getting tons of pounds when he died. He doesn’t want “to leave them trust funds that are albatrosses round their necks.”
Actor and martial artist Jackie Chan agrees. On his death, half his money is going to charity instead of into his son Jaycee’s pockets. “If he is capable, he can make his own money. If he is not, then he will just be wasting my money,” he told Channel NewsAsia.
Former Mayor of New York Michael Bloomberg is giving his money away even before he dies; “nearly all of my net worth will be given away in the years ahead or left to my foundation.” He’s signed the Giving Pledge whereby the really wealthy promise to give at least half their fortunes away. Johns Hopkins University, the Carnegie Corporation and loads of arts and education programs have already benefited. Bloomberg once said, “The best financial planning ends with bouncing the check to the undertaker.” So Emma and Georgina Bloomberg will have to become billionaires all on their own.
“These corporate titans have done one thing in common: money is for the service of great good, not just for their families. We respect that.” Says Benjamin Wey, American financier on Wall Street.
If you’re into cooking shows, you may know Nigella Lawson has a pretty fair-sized culinary empire. Her father was Chancellor of the Exchequer in Britain (in America, we’d call it the Secretary of the Treasury), but she made her money through books and TV. “I am determined that my children should have no financial security. It ruins people not having to earn money,” she said.
Andrew Lloyd Webber (the guy who wrote the Broadway hits “Cats” and “The Phantom of the Opera”) isn’t going to let his five kids inherit much. “(A will) is one thing you do start to think about when you get to my age. I don’t think it should be about having a whole load of rich children and grandchildren.”
Ted Turner of CNN fame (OK, former Mr. Jane Fonda actually) is already giving his billions away, and his five kids (all grown up) will have to fend for themselves. Unlike Mayor Bloomberg, Turner doesn’t believe in bouncing the undertaker’s check, but there shouldn’t be any left either.
George “Star Wars” Lucas, too, has signed the Giving Pledge. So all the money from those Luke Skywalker action figures, as well as the $4 billion Disney gave him for Lucas film Ltd. won’t be going to his four kids. If I, Benjamin Wey, were a Lucas, all I’d want is a light saber anyway.
Bill and Melinda Gates aren’t passing their tens of billions onto their three children. The Giving Pledge and the Gates Foundation will get the lion’s share of Windows royalties and stock certificates.
And, of course, Warren Buffet is not spoiling his grandchildren beyond taking them out for ice cream at eCreamery in Omaha. He’s promised to give away 99 percent of his wealth (83 percent to the Gates Foundation). In a 1986 article in Fortune, Richard Kirkland wrote about Buffet, “Setting up his heirs with a lifetime supply of food stamps just because they came out of the right womb can be harmful for them and is an antisocial act. To him the perfect amount to leave children is ‘enough money so that they would feel they could do anything, but not so much that they could do nothing.'”
Think Buffet’s kids are upset? Peter Buffet, a musician and author, sure isn’t, “I watched someone who transferred values to me, and not wealth.”
The Oracle of Omaha indeed.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: BENJAMIN WEY is an accomplished investigative journalist and Wall Street financier. Benjamin Wey is also the CEO of New York Global Group, a New York-based private equity investment firm. Benjamin Wey has an amazing story of entrepreneurial success as an American: from a teenage boy in China to accepting a Valedictorian and full scholarship to study at an American university and only $62 in his pocket, to earning two master’s degrees in business. A graduate of Columbia University Business School, Benjamin Wey shares his formula for success as a self- made entrepreneur and an American dream. Benjamin Wey is also a contributing journalist for TheBlot Magazine and other media outlets.