As the daughter of a billionaire, I know that Sting is right not to leave his millions to his children

Great wealth is not beneficial to someone who has not earned it

Share

Got rich parents? Then you’ll be rich too, right? Well, actually, no. Take Sting’s offspring, for example. The Police frontman and tantric sex god – a giant of pop’n’rock for 35 years and a man worth £180 million  – just revealed that his six children – ages ranging from 37 to 18 – can’t expect a great big inheritance.

In an interview with this week’s Mail on Sunday Sting said: “I certainly don’t want to leave them trust funds that are albatrosses round their necks.”

Is inheritance such a burden to bear? A signal to others to stay away, for here lies evil? A person made lazy, greedy, materialistic by unearned wealth? We do tend to approach rich kids with a vague distaste and suspicion. We don’t feel warmly predisposed to people who have such an unwarranted head start in life. Even I scoff at rich kids, and I am one of them.

My father, the philanthropist and mobile phones entrepreneur John Caudwell, has done his best to navigate what is essentially unknown territory to him: money and offspring. Never before has a Caudwell had to worry about the consequences of an excess of money.

One thing he always felt was that nothing noteworthy was ever born out of complacency. You have to be hungry; you have to have fire in your belly, courage in your heart and rage, rage against your circumstances. You take away the survival instinct and what are you left with? Dad battled his way out of poverty, lean and hardened while all I do is bat away the malaise that comes with a safe, soft life. It’s never really that simple, and I’m not unburdened by strife, but I know my fight does not begin to compare with my father’s. Who knows if I am the better or worse for it?

Dad sensed early on that great wealth is not psychologically beneficial to someone who had not earned it. He made it clear early that he was not amassing wealth for his children to fritter but in order to gather the resources and power to redress some of the great injustices of the world. As a member of Bill Gates’s Giving Pledge, he has already committed to giving away at least half of his wealth to philanthropic causes upon his death. And the rest he wants his family to disperse via the Caudwell Foundation.

In the meantime, I’ve reached my mid-20s unaided – or burdened – by huge paternal hand-outs. Privileged, certainly, but not excessively so, I believe. For now, I have a job

and live off what it pays me, and am no different from my friends and colleagues. Will my siblings and I eventually receive anything personally? I’d like to think that I’ll get a contribution to my handbag fund but the fact is that we just don’t know.  We can’t bank on anything. And thank God: I suspect the flickering candle of my own ambition would be extinguished entirely by such a promise.

Money does not have to be the albatross borne by the future generations.  It does not have to be a signifier of incompetence, indolence and apathy. We have shining examples in Holly and Sam Branson – Richard’s children - who seem to have pulled the albatross from about the necks and have restored it to the sky: an omen of good fortune once more. Wealth springs myriad opportunities and can inspire greatness in those who have the strength of character.

For the rest of us: being good is enough. Over the years I battled with feelings of inadequacy, uselessness and the paralysing fear of not living up to the opportunities afforded me. Dad would reassure me that his expectations were pretty humble: “To be good, happy members of society who contribute more than they take away. That’s what I hope for my children.”

Isn’t that what we should all strive for? And money can either be a massive help or a massive hindrance to that. Ultimately, it is the responsibility of the parent to know if and when their child is able to utilise money to that end. One thing’s for sure, though: no one ever squandered, snorted and partied their way to happiness.

Read next: If history and petropolitics teach us anything, it's that the collapse of Iraq shouldn't come as surprise
How many impaired children will it take until Britain admits to its alcohol problem?  
Luis Suarez and Raheem Sterling prove that football can wash away the worst of sins  

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Account Manager

£20000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This full service social media ...

Recruitment Genius: Data Analyst - Online Marketing

£24000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We are 'Changemakers in retail'...

Austen Lloyd: Senior Residential Conveyancer

Very Competitive: Austen Lloyd: Senior Conveyancer - South West We are see...

Austen Lloyd: Residential / Commercial Property Solicitor

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: DORSET MARKET TOWN - SENIOR PROPERTY SOLICITOR...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Tony Abbott: A man most Australian women would like to pat on the back...iron in hand

Caroline Garnar
Australian rapper Iggy Azalea performs in California  

Hip hop is both racial and political, and for Iggy Azalea to suggest otherwise is insulting

Yomi Adegoke
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there