Marie Osmond isn’t giving her kids an inheritance: it breeds ‘laziness & entitlement’

Marie Osmond works hard. She’s a singer, of course, but she also has a solid career as a spokesperson, like her Nutrisystem gig. In addition, she designed a doll line that took off on QVC and now they’re sold everywhere. The dolls led to some crafting and embroidery endeavors and Marie’s also written three books. All of that puts Marie’s net worth around $20M. That’s a nice little nest egg. And helpful because Marie has a sizeable family, with seven grown children and eight grandchildren. But Marie is reminding everyone that that’s her money, because she doesn’t believe in giving children an inheritance. She feels if you hand money over to kids, it breeds, “laziness and entitlement.” So no doll money for you, kids. Sorry.

Sticking to her guns. Marie Osmond is a proud mother (and grandmother) of eight, but she remains firm in her plans not to leave her children an inheritance.

“Honestly, why would you enable your child to not try to be something? I don’t know anybody who becomes anything if they’re just handed money,” Osmond, 63, exclusively told Us Weekly on Tuesday, January 10, while promoting her Nutrisystem partnership. “To me, the greatest gift you can give your child is a passion to search out who they are inside and to work. I mean, I’ve done so many things from designing dolls [and much more]. I love trying [and] I wanna try everything. I’m a finisher.”

She continued: “That’s one of my rules with my kids. If you start it, you finish it, you don’t ever have to do it again, but you gotta finish. And, I just think all [an inheritance] does is breed laziness and entitlement. I worked hard and I’m gonna spend it all and have fun with my husband [Steve Craig, whom I remarried in 2011].”

[From Us]

Marie brought this up in 2020. Her stance then, as it is now, is that if offspring know they have money coming to them, they won’t work, they’ll just wait for the money to come in. I know people who come from lesser fortunes, but they’re still going to get some cash when their folks go. It’s a mixed bag, some flit through life because they know they can lean on mom and dad for a handout. Others do work hard and don’t expect anything from their parents. But that’s behavior their parents are reinforcing now, not the future promise of cutting them off. I find the issue with inheritance is people who cling to bad relationships because of the money. Some parents are poisonous, but the kid sticks around because of that money teat. The ones who were fine being cut out of the will and walked away end up possibly poorer, but healthier. Marie’s made it known she’s leaving her money to charity, which is always a good choice, depending on the charity. And as far as I know, Marie is still a member of the Church of Latter-Day Saints. So they’re happy come tithing.

It seems to be popular to discuss not giving your kids money now. People from Gordon Ramsey to Ashton Kutcher and plenty in between have all gone on record that they will not leave their children any inheritance. I’m not sure why they feel the need to share this. If they are hoping to avoid the nepotism argument, they’ll have to change the kids name, too. I also wonder if they really don’t leave the kids anything or do they say that as incentive and then include them in the will after all? People with money have different perceptions of ‘nothing.’ Marie was talking about her kids earning everything for themselves, but then she admitted to helping them out when they needed it. The example she gave was buying a car, that she made them chip in half and she paid the other half. That’s fine, by the way, I have no opinions on buying kids cars. But giving them half the money is not making them earn it themselves, is it? It’s giving them half. Basically what I’m saying is, I wish I had that much money to worry about who I should give/leave it to.

Photo credit: Xavier Collin/Image Press Agency/Avalon and Instagram

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47 Responses to “Marie Osmond isn’t giving her kids an inheritance: it breeds ‘laziness & entitlement’”

  1. shanaynay says:

    Good on her. It’s definitely harsh, but I have to say I agree with her thinking. Not too sure her kids will agree though.

    • Lolo86lf says:

      I don’t agree that she won’t inherit anything to her children. That is too harsh. Charity begins at home and unless her children are really bad people (which it would reflect on her) she should divide her estate accordingly to her children when she is gone. I mean does she want her children hating her and spitting on her grave?

      • BeanieBean says:

        Oh, I think they’ll be alright. Those ‘kids’ have benefited from Marie’s income their entire lives, so they’re doing OK as far as food, clothing, shelter, education–and cars, apparently. She’s just talking about the inheritance, which nobody NEEDS from a parent, unless they’re underage when their parent dies.

    • Josephine says:

      Her older brothers gifted her a career so it seems petty to pretend like her kids need to make it on their own. She certainly did not.

      I feel firmly that no one deserves an inheritence. It’s your money, leave it or don’t. I just don’t like that she’s pretending that she was self-made somehow.

      • Mustang Sally says:

        Gifted her a career? She has performed on her own, released her own albums.

        Their father made a number of very bad business investments and lost the family fortune – money all of the Osmond kids worked (performed) to earn – Donny & Marie were hit the hardest. The two of them also worked the hardest to make it all back.

  2. Boxy Lady says:

    Considering that she and her siblings started working when they were kids, I totally understand her POV.

  3. Emmi says:

    I have so many follow-up questions when rich people announce this. 1) How is your kids’ lifestyle now? Do you keep them in the lap of luxury so they are used to it? Because that’s just mean. They may simply not have your talents or discipline so once they leave the nest, it’ll be rude awakening? 2) Are you paying for a top-tier education? Because that’s even better than an inheritance. The connections they make will put them in a different stratosphere than most people. 3) Who are you leaving your assets to? You can spend the cash but what about your house?

    • equality says:

      Yes. Why not raise them and show an example of charity their entire lives. How much is she donating to charity now? All I see is how she plans to spend money on herself for fun with her husband.

      • SurelyNot says:

        she’s Mormon so she has been giving to charity her entire life — it is part of the ethos of the religion. While I’m not a big fan of many aspects of the LDS church, they are VERY much service and community based. So her kids have seen examples their entire lives and tithing is 10%.

        The church also very highly values education. Of course it also values procreation which is why she has seven kids.

      • BeanieBean says:

        It’s 10% to the Church, not exactly charity. It goes to the organization. A very big, powerful, organization.

    • bananapanda says:

      There are many ways to leave money to your family without dumping cash. You can educate along the way and teach financial responsibility. Then:

      1. Put the money in a trust that is managed. Give out small amounts each year (think $32k which is tax free limit and not enough to live on). Lots of families do this.
      2. Pay for college and/or grad school (directly to the schools). Private school is an option too.
      3. Pay for emergency medical expenses

  4. Snuffles says:

    Sometimes I wonder what I would do if I was in that position. I think I would pay for my kids to have the best education money could buy. Pay for college and any other degrees they wanted to get. Maybe a moderately priced car so they could get around but would make them pay for their own gas and maintenance of it. But I think I would remind them constantly that this is MY money and they asses better work for what they want in life.

    • AnneL says:

      That is basically what we do. We have two kids in their twenties. We paid for their college and got them used cars, and are now covering graduate school for both. After that they are on their own. The rule was that they had to make their own viable financial plans for life. We would pay for whatever schooling they needed to fulfill those plans.

      Both of my kids will inherit some money from their grandfather, but not until my husband has passed, which hopefully won’t be for a long time. It will be very helpful, but it’s not even close to a “set you up for life” amount of money. It will be more of a buffer, a bonus.

      What they get from us remains to be seen. I have no problem leaving my kids money. But I absolutely expect them to earn their own living. Neither would want to be dependent on us. Not because they don’t like us, but because they want to build their own lives, eventually have kids, buy homes, etc. They can’t do that on what we’d be willing to give them after grad school.

      • bananapanda says:

        This is how I was raised. We got summer jobs to pay for expenses (books, clothes, phone) but otherwise school was covered. My first car bought senior year of college was 5 yrs old. I never had a credit card until 22.

        I went to grad school a lot later so I paid for it – but went to UK school using a Stafford Loan.

  5. DouchesOfCambridge says:

    You have kids and love them to death and you want to give them everything. Then they turn to teens and you see how lazy they can be because teening gets them like that, then you start questioning and that’s probably when you end up saying, over my dead body – no heritage for you! They’ll have to work for it because you love them too much to ruin them with money and enable your own brats

  6. equality says:

    Don’t have kids but I would leave something. Even people who are motivated can have health issues or unexpected set-backs that affect their ability to provide. By the time she divided out among her children and grandchildren it wouldn’t be much anyway.

  7. Katie says:

    It’s the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints – those three words that were left out are important.

    My dad told us that he intends to spend everything before he dies, but if there’s anything left, its split equally. His family lives to his nineties, though, so there’s no use not supporting myself now. Even not saving for retirement is a gamble – someone in their nineties has been retired for a long time and my dad has expensive taste! There very well could be nothing left.

    • SallyW says:

      Yeah, If the church gets the money, it will be the worst thing she could do with her inheritance. No one need money less than the LDS. I wouldn’t be surprised if they have been grooming her to do this.

      • Katie says:

        You think I’d stop being surprised by anti-Mormon bigotry and baseless, accusatory speculation, but it’s still gross every time.

        Tithing is ten percent. There is no tradition of more than that – I’m sure she could if she wanted to, but it would be weird.

      • Ange says:

        You’ll find there isn’t a lot of sympathy for any religious institution in these parts and for very good reason. Sort out your own house then cry bigotry.

  8. smcollins says:

    I would find myself somewhere in the middle if I were in the position. I’m reminded of a line from The Descendants about wealth & inheritance: Give them enough so they can do *something* but not so much that they do *nothing*.

    • AnneL says:

      I think that’s a good rule of thumb. It’s fine to leave your kids some money, but you have to teach and model good financial habits. Have a plan, get an education, make a budget and stick to it, etc.

  9. Frippery says:

    I wonder about property. She seems to be speaking just about cash or things like stocks, investments, etc. But things like her house, sentimental items, heirlooms…..

  10. Dena says:

    I think she’s right to an extent – I went to school with plenty of rich kids who’d had it all handed to them and many didn’t take their education seriously at all. But life is tough and the unexpected – like medical bills – can wipe it all out in months. If I had that kind of money to give, I’d worry that my self-sustaining kids would run into a problem like that and then have major financial issues through no fault of their own. So I think there’s a healthier balance than – you get nothing!
    You can set up trusts with external trustees and strict limitations on withdrawals. Education, medical, etc. i think that would be a better thing for her to do but – it’s her money.

    • TigerMcQueen says:

      I totally agree with this. There’s a difference between giving your kids so much money they don’t have to work and giving them a nest egg. I’ve seen firsthand how a small inheritance can made a huge difference in a family’s life. My dad (who worked hard and budgeted responsibly) had medical issues when I was growing up that impacted his salary. His inheritance from my grandfather took so much stress off him. He knew we’d be able to go to college without needing too many loans. He was able to put a little away for retirement (which was lucky, because his pension turned out to…not be the best).

      I want to be able to do that for my kids if I can. Just give them enough to take a little stress off. Sure, the money’s hers and she can do what she wants with it, I just don’t understand the ‘they get nothing’ when there are ways to ensure any money is used responsibly. I can’t see myself going that route with my kids if by chance I ever get rich (LOL).

  11. Rapunzel says:

    I’m sorry, but if you’re that worried about your children not handling their inheritence properly, then maybe you haven’t done a good job raising your children. And maybe you should work on that instead of using your money to teach some lesson that it’s your job to impart.

    If your child is that lazy and entitled, disinheriting them is not going to fix that. It will just make them, lazy, entitled, resentful of you, and broke.

    • Josephine says:

      This is an interesting point, and considering her kids are adults with families of their own, it seems strange to suddenly worry that they will become entitled.

      I also wonder what impact her family’s bankruptcy played into her thinking. I personally find it outrageous when rich people claim bankruptcy and let the rest of us pay for their debts through relief from the gov’t.

      • SurelyNot says:

        She had a Vegas residency for like 100 years —- I don’t know how she is only worth 20 million with all of her projects.

        Maybe it is her poor money management skills manifesting?

  12. Lorna says:

    She’s buying them a house and a car that’s what most people work for. Some who say they won’t leave them an inheritance give their children trust funds. I wouldn’t mind inheriting a bunch of money, but a paid for house doesn’t sound like a hard life. They’re still incredibly privileged.

  13. Hazel says:

    My very first thought was that your kids can become lazy, entitled brats – even without an inheritance.

    In her situation, since her kids are already grown (based on the fact she has grandkids), their personalities are most likely fully formed and it’s unlikely they will *suddenly* turn into entitled adults. They’ve probably had the best education opportunities and are in actual careers that support their own families? Unless of course she’s been telling them since they were young not to expect anything, which can also be problematic if used as weapon in their upbringing, but I don’t think that’s the case here.

    The other thing she mentions screams privilege that she doesn’t seem to acknowledge- wanting her kids to finish things they started (which can be good or bad, depending on what it is!!). Encouraging “passion to search out who they are inside and to work…” like… designing dolls? Can you imagine trying to make a go of that as a non-famous and not-wealthy person? She says, “I love trying [and] I wanna try everything.” Which is great… when you have the money and privilege to do that.

    • AnneL says:

      Exactly. People wouldn’t be buying her dolls if she weren’t Marie Osmond. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure she good at it. She’s a good performer too. But she’s been famous for most of her life. She has name recognition and a fan base who will buy them.

  14. Louise177 says:

    I don’t understand the logic of an inheritance will form laziness. In most cases the children won’t see it until they’re in their 50’splus. They would have to support themselves and families somehow. It’s the parents who financially support their adult children who develop laziness and those who have trust funds at an early age.

  15. goofpuff says:

    I always tell my dad to spend everything he has and live it up. He worked hard for that money. He can give it all to charity. We just want him to be happy.

    But at the same time, I would feel hurt if he just suddenly announced that he wasn’t leaving anyone anything and we could fend for ourselves and be so proud of that statement. It’s not getting money that hurts (none of us need it, we are doing very well and fine), it is the public implication that you don’t mean anything to even get something like a heirloom. The tone of how she said it is just off-putting to me.

  16. Case says:

    I don’t agree with this mindset at all. I feel like parents who can afford it should want to know their kids have a cushion and will be taken care of once they’re gone. Because parents who can’t afford it would give anything to set their children up like that.

    Of course, the kids don’t need tens of millions of dollars or anything, but donate half to a charity and split the rest between the kids. I think the super rich thinks this makes them seem more down to earth to not leave their kids an inheritance, when in reality most of us normal folk leave our families everything we can.

  17. Twin Falls says:

    “Lazy and entitled” is such a dog whistle phrase. Extremely rich people who proclaim they aren’t sharing their wealth with the people they brought into the world as some moral high ground sound like complete assholes to me.

  18. Miss Melissa says:

    But she’ll continue to tithe to that cult of a church so that Its Patriarchy can continue to abuse people.

  19. J says:

    She just sounds like a jerk and I feel badly for her kids having to listen to that. It’s such a diss to not leave anything at all, she has more than enough

  20. death by bacon says:

    I think this is kinda mean too because even though she started working as a child she had talent and access.

    Everbody does not have the talent, luck, intelligence to become a multimillionaire.

    She doesn’t have to leave them everything but raising a child wealthy and then leaving them to their own devices when they will never have the grit that comes from lack. Mean.

    And I know her kids will be alright because of access. But I have heard middle/upper middle class Folks
    say this and point to stars who say it. And it comes across as mean and spiteful and dumb. Generational wealth starts with wealth.

  21. Glamarazzi says:

    That’s gross, but she’s right about one thing – it’s her money and she can do what she wants with it.

    But a little objectivity – $20M spread between 8 kids isn’t life-changing sloth-inducing money. It’s a nice farewell gesture, but no one’s going to be able to retire on that.

    • Lizzie says:

      As Marie years ahead of her, her children will probably be in their 50/60’s when they inherit. I agree with her philosophy, but I think it applies to teens through 20’s. Any of her kids still struggling to make a good living in their 50/60’s could use a bit of inheritance.
      FYI, my MIL left everything to charity. She was in her 80’s and one or two of her children struggled financially. While I respect it was her money, I wish she had left them something.

  22. Rachel says:

    We aren’t loaded, and we have four kids, but my husband is an only child and will receive everything when his mother passes. I think it has affected his life choices. He has never and will likely never make a job choice based on maximizing his pay. He’s phenomenal in his chosen profession, but has ZERO ambition as far as advancement and higher pay – and I’ve always believed it’s because he knows he’ll always be bailed out by his inheritance. My parents always told me and my two siblings that they’re spending it all and leaving us nothing, but my mom ended up leaving us a not huge, but not insignificant sum when she died and my dad will likely do the same. But growing up believing we weren’t getting anything did have a profound (part positive, part negative) affect on all of us. So I guess I get it from both sides a little… no one wants to raise entitled brats, but I also want my kids to not feel alone in making it in the world – especially these days!

    • equality says:

      Maybe your husband is well-grounded and appreciates that not everything is about money. Being happy and successful in a job is important also. In some fields advancing means doing less of the job that you enjoy and more of managing other people (not enjoyable).

  23. HeyKay says:

    IMO, a trust with a paid for house + 5 years taxes + insurance covered + 1 new car for each child.
    What else is money for? She is worth Millions, has 7 or 8 kids. $500K to each while she is still alive to see it.

    I assume her kids are all college educated and have jobs and kids of their own.
    I’d setup trusts for grandkids education also.
    Then live your life, leave a ton to charity.

    All this public declaring is BS. If your kids are bone idle lazy or entitled, you should have addressed that years ago and continually.

  24. WTF says:

    My problem with this is that her parents had her and her siblings ON THE HUSTLE, from day 1. The Osmond kids were grinding as hard as the Jackson kids. If your kids have been living in the lap of luxury all of their lives, but you haven’t had them out earning their supper, then this seems unfair to me. But I suspect it’s slightly disingenuous. I met Warren Buffet once. He also claimed he wasn’t leaving his kids anything. But they all work for him in senior management positions (making huge salaries I’m sure). You don’t really have to leave them anything if you spend your fortune building theirs.

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