Many celebrities like musicians and actors, especially ones who are beginning to settle down with families and focus more on their lives than their careers, have – in the past decade or so – revealed that they will not leave their multi-million dollar inheritance to their children.
Sir Elton John and his husband David Furnish are part of this majority.
In 2016, Elton and David sat down with the Mirror and discussed the reasons behind not wanting to give their kids, Zachary, 12, and Elijah, 10, an unearned “silver spoon” as they eventually make their way through adulthood.
“Of course I want to leave my boys in a very sound financial state,” Elton clarified. “But it’s terrible to give kids a silver spoon. It ruins their life.”
Elton is no stranger to the dangers of having too much money. Once living a lavish high-spending lifestyle, he’s become more grounded since having children later in his life.
“Having children changed everything about my life,” he explained. “I’ve learned that the simplest things in life – like having a minute with them – are worth more than any painting, any photograph, any house or any hit record.
“Before we had the children we just had our lives, and would spend money because we didn’t have anything else to focus on. We have really toned things down because we have enough stuff. There is nothing else we need.”
While constructing their wills in 2016, Elton and David admitted that their kids still live a comparably luxurious life. But they do their best to make them earn their achievements and the tricky part was finding a balance of how much money they would ultimately decide to leave them.
“Listen, the boys live the most incredible lives,” the “Rocket Man” singer said, “they’re not normal kids, and I’m not pretending they are. But you have to have some semblance of normality, some respect for money, some respect for work.”
David references multi-billionaire Warren Buffet’s strategy for leaving his inheritance to his kids, saying Buffet has a “really cool model in that he leaves his children enough money so that they have a house, a car and all their basic needs covered and cared for so they never need worry. But it’s not crazy, silly, go-wild money so that they could be buying Picassos or private jets.”
“Anything beyond the basic, they have to go out and earn it themselves,” he added. “The greatest joys, everything Elton and I have created, have come from hard work and that’s where your self-esteem comes from.”
Despite being one of the best-selling solo artists of all time, Elton remembers his humble beginnings and hopes that his spirit of aspiration and dedication to his craft can be reflected to his children so that they can try to achieve their dreams on their own terms.
“I came from a very working class family and was born in a council estate house. I earned everything I did from hard work and that’s the way they’ve got to do it as well.”
Elton went on to explain the types of methods they utilize to keep their kids hard-working and help them understand that rewards in life are earned, not given.
“They have to do chores in the house,” John shared, “[they] take their plates to be cleaned, help in the kitchen, tidy their rooms and help in the garden, and each time they do they get a little star to put on these charts they’ve made. They understand they need to do these things, and they enjoy it.”
Elton turns 76 on Saturday and is approaching the final stretch of his farewell tour, “Farewell Yellow Brick Road World Tour”, which ends in July this year with a two-night stint in Sweden.