Gloria Vanderbilt Didn’t Leave Her Fortune To Her Kids. Should You?

Gloria Vanderbilt, socialite, heiress and successful fashion designer, died last week at age 95.

Years ago, she reportedly decided not to pass on her substantial fortune to her children, including CNN anchor Anderson Cooper.

In a 2014 interview with Howard Stern, Cooper explained why he was OK with her decision.

 “My mom’s made clear to me that there’s no trust fund.”

“I don’t believe in inheriting money,” he said. “I think it’s an initiative sucker, I think it’s a curse. Who’s inherited a lot of money that has gone on to do things in their life? From the time I was growing up, if I felt like there was some pot of gold waiting for me, I don’t know if I would have been so motivated.”

“It’s just fascinating to me that she wouldn’t leave you her fortune,” replied Stern.

Responded Cooper, “We believe in working.”

In fact, said Cooper, his mom made more money working as a successful fashion designer and artist than she ever received through inheritances.

Vanderbilt inherited a trust fund worth about $5 million when her father died in 1925 (that’s the equivalent of roughly $70 million today). According to, Vanderbilt was worth $200 million at her death this month, much of her wealth earned by building a personal brand of designer jeans, perfume, and other high-end goods.

About Mari Adam

Mari Adam, Certified Financial Planner™ has been helping individuals and families chart their financial futures for over twenty-five years. Have a question about your financial situation? Ask Mari!

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