British celebrity chef Nigella Lawson told the U.K. magazine My Weekly that she didn’t plan to leave her fortune to her children. She said it “ruins people” to have money if they haven’t earned it. "I argue with my husband Charles,” Lawson said, “because he believes that you should be able to leave money to your children. I think we'll have to agree to disagree." (MSN.com)
What the commentators said
So, Nigella thinks rich kids are jerks, said Stuart Heritage in the blog Hecklerspray. Fair enough, but isn’t it a bit odd for her to leave her own children penniless, when she’s married to a man, Charles Saatchi, who is worth a couple hundred million dollars, and is the daughter of an heiress and a former Chancellor of the Exchequer? “We’re just saying.”
Lawson isn’t the first celebrity to try to protect her children from the burden of enormous wealth, said a London Telegraph blog. The founder of Body Shop, Anita Roddick, announced in 2005 that she was giving her entire fortune away, and investor Warren Buffett is giving away billions, while leaving his children “enough so that they could feel that they could do anything, but not so much that they could do nothing."
It’s hard to strike that balance, said Finlo Rohrer in BBC News. “Rocketing house prices may have left one generation with a windfall, but the next needs more of a parental leg-up than ever.” Financial experts say that someone who receives a hefty inheritance is more likely than peers to start a business. Lawson has a point when she says there’s a philosophical case for not passing on money, but it’s possible to give kids “enough to get a start” without “giving them too much.”