Daniel Craig’s dilemma: the latest ‘public display of virtuous disinheritance’?

Last week, the James Bond actor said he does not plan to leave ‘great sums’ of his estimated £116m fortune to his daughters

Daniel Craig
Daniel Craig as James Bond in Skyfall

There’s nothing like a Daniel Craig interview to put one’s own problems in perspective, said Camilla Long in The Sunday Times. “Never has anyone been more horribly embarrassed or clinically depressed by his life choices than the star of five hugely successful James Bonds.”

Last week the actor was brooding about what he would do with the estimated £116m “he has amassed flying around the globe pretending to shag lovely ladies while reciting laughable dialogue”. Describing the idea of large inheritances as “distasteful”, Craig said he was not planning to leave “great sums” to either of his daughters. “My philosophy is: get rid of it or give it away before you go,” he said.

There will be “a lot of giving away to do”, said Rebecca Nicholson in The Guardian. Variety revealed last week that Craig is now the highest-earning actor in the world: Netflix has reportedly agreed to pay him $100m to appear in two sequels to the comic thriller Knives Out.

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Good on him, said Karren Brady in The Sun. The son of a Merchant Navy midshipman from the Wirral, Craig earned his fortune through his own hard work. He’s rightly keen that his children’s development isn’t stunted by the expectation of inheriting untold riches.

Craig is one of many celebrities who have made “public displays of virtuous disinheritance”, said Helen Rumbelow in The Times. Bill Gates says he’ll give his children a mere $10m each. Nigella Lawson declared back in 2008 that she wants her children to have no financial security, saying “it ruins people not having to earn money”. It’s a reckoning that many parents are having to make these days, albeit to a lesser degree, as the unprecedented wealth of the boomer generation passes down.

In the UK alone, an estimated £327bn is set to be inherited by younger people over the next decade. The billionaire investor Warren Buffet famously said that the trick was to give children “enough money so that they feel they can do anything, but not so much that they could do nothing”. But the question of how much is too much is very subjective. As Buffet’s example shows – he plans to leave his children $2bn each–the “genetic imperative to protect your offspring is hard to override”.

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