In a rare appearance on British talk show This Morning, Bill Gates explained why he’ll be donating his US$82 billion fortune to charity instead of leaving it to his children, Metro reports.
Instead of leaving billion-dollar trust funds to their kids, Gates, 60, and his wife Melinda, 52, are encouraging their children to pursue their own careers instead.
“It’s not a favour to kids to have them have huge sums of wealth”
“Our kids will receive a great education and some money so they are never going to be poorly off but they’ll go out and have their own career,” he explained.
“It’s not a favour to kids to have them have huge sums of wealth,” he continued. “It distorts anything they might do, creating their own path.”
Almost all of Gates’ fortune will be donated to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which is the largest transparently operated private foundation in the world, according to SFGate. The foundation aims to alleviate poverty around the world with education and healthcare.
On the next page: why we should be careful about leaving our children large sums of wealth.
The world’s richest man has a point. By concentrating on equipping his children with good education and just enough, he lessens the risk of them being complacent and lazy. In a Forbes article titled “Why Family Wealth Is A Curse”, Deborah Jacobs (who comes from the family that founded Georgia-Pacific Corporation) writes:
The biggest curse of intergenerational wealth for me and many other people is the illusion that you don’t have to do much with your life. You might want to and you might make the effort, but you don’t have the same pressure to earn enough to live on. And that takes away a lot of the incentive to find meaningful work.
Gates’ kids “proud” of his decision
Gates explained that his children have come with him and his wife to trips around the world to see how their money is helping other people. His children understand his reasoning, and are even proud of how their dad is committed to making a difference.
According to Metro, Gates’ oldest child Jennifer, 20, is studying at Stanford University, taking up biology. Rory, 17, and Phoebe, 14, live with their parents in their home near Seattle, Washington.
(Lead image: Wikimedia Commons)
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