Many billionaires and business men and women of the world are keeping their pockets zipped shut when it comes to their offspring. And it’s not about being greedy! Most are big investors to charities, pledges, scholarships, non-profits, universities, and industries. They want their children to learn to be themselves and work hard, just as they did. It is about giving back!
Not all of the world’s billionaires are dedicated to being extraordinarily altruistic — many decide to spend their money indulging in fancy cars, planes, and yachts. But others want to spread as much of their wealth as possible before they die. A select few even want that last check to only cover the cost of their funeral.Of course, not everyone stands to gain from such selflessness — namely, the children of these generous donors. Though they will still have untold opportunities, advantages, and connections, to help them succeed, the children of these 15 tycoons won’t be living large off their inheritances.
—Eric Goldschein also contributed to this story.
1. Business magnate Warren Buffett
As an incredibly wealthy investor and philanthropist, Buffett has pledged to give away 99% of his wealth, either during his life or when he dies. He started by promising 83% of it to the Gates Foundation, according to FORTUNE Magazine.
The Oracle of Omaha isn’t worried about his children not getting their fair share. Echoing a common sentiment on this list, Buffett said in his letter to the Gates Foundation:
“I want to give my kids just enough so that they would feel that they could do anything, but not so much that they would feel like doing nothing.”
2. EBay founder Pierre Omidyar
Ever since Omidyar became a billionaire when he was 31 years old, the eBay founder has made it his life’s work to donate the majority of his money to those less fortunate instead of to his three children, according to Forbes.
He signed the Gates and Buffett Giving Pledge in 2010, and continuously gives eBay shares to the Omidyar Network, his philanthropic investment firm.
He and his wife Pam are also the single biggest private donors to the fight against the human trafficking industry.
3. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg
But Bloomberg is also an avid philanthropist, having donated millions to Johns Hopkins University, the Carnegie Corporation, and thousands of other non-profits.
In his letter to The Giving Pledge, Bloomberg wrote that “nearly all of my net worth will be given away in the years ahead or left to my foundation.”
Bloomberg’s two daughters, however, may be left to foot the bill upon his death. Bloomberg once said,
“the best financial planning ends with bouncing the check to the undertaker.”
4. Microsoft founder and CEO Bill Gates
Bill Gates is one of the richest people in the world. But he and his wife Melinda aren’t interested in keeping their money for themselves, or for their three children.
“I knew I didn’t think it was a good idea to give the money to my kids. That wouldn’t be good either for my kids or society,” he told The Sun in 2010.
Instead, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation was founded in 1994, and today has assets of over $37 billion. The Foundation even started “The Giving Pledge,” which invites other wealthy individuals to join the Gates’ lead and donate half their money to charity.
Guided by the belief that every life has equal value, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation works to help all people lead healthy, productive lives. In developing countries, it focuses on improving people’s health and giving them the chance to lift themselves out of hunger and extreme poverty. In the United States, it seeks to ensure that all people—especially those with the fewest resources—have access to the opportunities they need to succeed in school and life. Based in Seattle, Washington, the foundation is led by CEO Jeff Raikes and Co-chair William H. Gates Sr., under the direction of Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett.
5. Director and producer George Lucas
Lucas signed on to Bill Gates and Warren Buffett’s Giving Pledge back in July of 2010, promising to give at least half of his wealth away by the time of his death.
“I am dedicating the majority of my wealth to improving education,” Lucas wrote in his pledge letter.
The father of four also said in a statement that he would donate the $4 billion+ Disney paid him to acquire Lucas Films to charity as well.
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