In May this year, Australian mining magnate Andrew “Twiggy” Forrest and his wife Nicola made history, donating $400 million to a number of charities making it the largest philanthropic donation by any living Australian.
It was to be used, they said, for a number of causes. Cancer research, the eradication of slavery, Indigenous disadvantage, cultural and arts facilities in regional Australia. The money will seep into so many facets of Australian society, and it was a move Malcolm Turnbull dubbed a “gift to society”.
That donation, and the pledge for more to come, meant the children of Andrew and Nicola Forrest would see little of their parent’s wealth. But according to 22-year-old Sophia, second eldest child and now Love Child actress, she doesn’t mind a bit.
In an interview with Sunday Life Magazine and journalist Jenna Clarke, the actress said the idea of inheritance is a messy one and never guaranteed to bring happiness.
“Inheritance has never really made sense to me,” Sophia told the magazine. “You watch it tear families apart and it baffles me. You’re not entitled to that money, you haven’t earned it, you haven’t worked for it – I don’t see why you think it should be yours. So we all agreed to give it all away.
“It’s a relief to know it’s not my problem. It’s going to better things. I don’t need it. I’m going to work and make it on my own.”
In 2017, The Australian Financial Review estimated Andrew Forrest’s worth as A$6.84 billion, ranking him as the sixth wealthiest Australian.
The family’s $400m donation was no anomaly either. The Forrests were the first Australian signatories to Bill and Melinda Gates’s The Giving Pledge, which promises to give the majority of the family’s wealth to charitable causes in their lifetime. As 22-year-old Sophia knows, along with her siblings – 23-year-old Grace and 17-year-old Sydney – that means most of their inheritance will be given to philanthropic causes.
In July last year, in an interview with Perth Now, Nicola Forrest explained why this was the best decision for all involved.
“Everyone wants the best for their children but lots of money is not the best for anybody. It can corrupt. It can attract the worst sorts of people,” she told the newspaper.
“You don’t have to look far to see families who have had lots of money and it hasn’t brought any happiness to them.”
This mum has a great tip for helping girls save and it starts with her superannuation.