“What I’ve seen from other parents is that they don’t want to provide too much money that they take away their child’s sense of purpose,” Debra Radway, a certified financial planner, trustee and investment advisor with Radway Advisory Services LLC, tells USA TODAY.
“I don’t believe in passing on huge amounts of money,” the CNN anchor revealed on Air Mail’s The Morning Meeting podcast in late September. “I’m not that interested in money, but I don’t intend to have some sort of pot of gold for my son. I’ll go with what my parents said… ‘College will be paid for, and then you got to get on it.’ “
Cooper, who has an estimated net worth of $200 million,is following in the same financial footsteps as his late mother Gloria Vanderbilt, who “made clear to me that there’s no trust fund,” Cooper told Howard Stern in 2014.
“I think it’s a curse… From the time I was growing up, if I felt like there was some pot of gold waiting for me, I don’t know if I would have been so motivated.”
As a trustee and investment advisor, Radway says many of her clients want to provide a safety net for their children, without making them “dependent on money left in the trust.”
Do trust funds cause more harm than good?
“It’s not whether their child is going to be a billionaire, or a millionaire or a middle-class individual, they just don’t want to provide too much wealth that will squelch their child’s desire to contribute something to this world,” she says.
When you think of trust-fund babies, names like Paris Hilton, Rob Kardashian and Lisa Marie Presley come to mind. The term is usually associated with individuals who depend on their family’s money without the need to work in any substantial way.
Some stars claim that leaving their children with an excess of wealth may limit their desire to forge their own path. “It’s terrible to give kids a silver spoon. It ruins their life,” Elton John told the Mirror in 2016.
“If you leave hundreds and millions of dollars to a child, there is a potential (they won’t) have work ethic and will sit around living off the money,” Rawley says. “That’s not healthy. Most people need to work to feel fulfillment in life.”
But Rawley says it’s ultimately up to individuals on “how they want to use their money,” adding that it’s not always cut and dried.
From wanting their children to grow up to be self-sufficient to choosing to donate their wealth to charity instead, these are the celebrities turning their back on generational wealth.
In 2018, Kutcher said he’s not leaving trust funds for his two children with wife Mila Kunis – daughter Wyatt, 7, and son Dimitri, 4 – in hopes they will earn their own living and “be motivated to have what they had, or some version of what they had.”
In 2016, John said he plans to leave his two sons with husband David Furnish – Zachary, 10, and Elijah, 8 – a small sum of money, but “anything beyond the basic, they have to go out and earn it themselves.”
“Of course I want to leave my boys in a very sound financial state. But it’s terrible to give kids a silver spoon,” he told the Mirror. John, who grew up in a “very working-class family,” added that he “earned everything (he) did from hard work” and that’s what he hopes for his children as well.
“Congratulations, kids. My husband and I decided that you do a great disservice to your children to just hand them a fortune because you take away the one most important gift you can give your children, and that’s the ability to work.”
Osmond is a mother to eight children from two different marriages.
She shares Jessica, 33, Rachael, 32, Brandon, 24, Brianna, 23, Matthew, 22 and Abigail, 19, with ex-husband Brian Blosil. The pair also shared son Michael, who died in 2010 at age 18.
Osmond shares son Stephen, 38, with her current husband Steve Craig.
“You see it a lot in rich families, where the kids don’t know what to do so they get in trouble, so I just let them be proud of what they make,” Osmond said.
In 2014, the Police frontman said he’s raised his six children to “have the work ethic that makes them want to succeed on their own merit.”
“I certainly don’t want to leave them trust funds that are albatrosses round their necks,” he 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.”
Sting has two children with ex-wife Frances Tomelty – Joseph, 44, and Fuchsia Katherine, 39 – and four children with current wife Trudie Styler: Mickey, 37, Jake, 36, Eliot, 31, and Giacomo, 25.
He added, “People make assumptions, that they were born with a silver spoon in their mouth, but they have not been given a lot.”
In 2007, the Kiss frontman said his two children with wife Shannon Lee Tweed – Nick, 32, and Sophie, 29 – will “never be rich” off his money.
“There’s gonna be a yearly allowance so that their rent and their food (is) taken care of, but if you want riches, you should do that yourself,” he said during an episode of his reality show “Gene Simmons Family Jewels.”
He added, “I don’t want them to say, ‘Thanks, dad, for making me rich.’ No, you wanna be able to stand on your own two feet and say, ‘I did that.’ “