Anderson Cooper’s Mother is Worth $200 Million, but he wants no inheritance

Anderson Cooper, host of the CNN show “AC360,” is an interesting guy. He’s one of the most prominent gay Americans in the country and is also one of the most respected talk show hosts around.

by Dr Boyce Watkins

I’ve been on his show more times than I can count, and I’ve always appreciated the way he has treated me with decency and respect every time.

Anderson’s respect level went up a notch when I recently read that despite his mother Gloria’s massive wealth, he wants no part of an inheritance. This hasn’t resulted from any kind of family feud, but rather, Cooper sees easy money as the quickest pathway to a weak and unproductive mindset. This is what Cooper said, according to Good Morning America:

“My mom’s made clear to me that there’s no trust fund. There’s none of that,” he said. “[And] I don’t believe in inheriting money.”

The 46-year old Cooper says that an inheritance is an “initiative sucker” and even a “curse.” He also says that his mother gave him an outstanding work ethic, which was the greatest gift of all.

“Who’s inherited a lot of money that has gone on to do things in their own life? From the time I was growing up, if I felt that there was some pot of gold waiting for me, I don’t know that I would’ve been so motivated.”

Financial Juneteenth lessons from this story:

1) Taking away the entire inheritance from your children may not be the outcome, but you must always be wary of the possibility that you’ve given them so much that you cripple them for life. If someone gives you a wheelchair from the time you’re born, then you’ll probably never learn to walk.

2) Some billionaires, including Oprah Winfrey and Warren Buffett, have committed to the “Giving Pledge,” which asks them to give half of their wealth to charity when they die. Giving back to the world can be a powerful thing, since thousands of hungry children might have the chance to live off of one gift from a billionaire, who would still have enough money for his children to waste it on luxury vehicles and expensive vacations. As you pursue a wealthy life, avoid the temptation of allowing your soul to become filled with greed and selfishness.

3) While Anderson’s mother may not be leaving him any money, she was able to give him a multitude of other valuable assets that have served him well. First, a mother’s love is the most precious thing that any child can receive. Second, I’m sure Gloria’s connections might have had something to do with the way Anderson was able to rise up the CNN ladder so quickly. Third, there is the work ethic his mother taught him, as well as the opportunities to attend expensive schools and obtain a good education. One of the most valuable things you can give your child is an opportunity to be successful, you don’t have to give them money (even Bill Cosby used to joke to his kids that “We aren’t rich…I’m rich”). Giving your kids the chance to climb strategic hurdles and prove themselves allows them to grow into strong, independent adults, making them assets in your life rather than severe liabilities.

Dr Boyce Watkins is a professor at Syracuse University and author of the book, “Black American Money.” To have Dr Boyce commentary delivered to your email, please click here.

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