How many billionaire musicians or celebrity actors can you count? You would be surprised to learn that less than 1% of sports stars and Hollywood celebrities belong to the special group of people we refer to as billionaires, yet they always seem to be living the lives that we always wanted. Being worth at least a billion dollars is a very big deal, because it would take the average person several lifetimes to spend that money. A billionaire has so much money that he or she would not need to work a day in his or her life, and he or she would still live a life far better than the celebrities we see on TV and read about in magazines.
A greater percentage of the close to two thousand billionaires we have in the world have made their money from scratch, and these people have some of the most inspirational stories because they show us that it is actually possible to become a billionaire from nothing. However, there is still a very big chunk of billionaires who were born with a silver spoon in their mouths, and never had to live in the “real world” as we know it. Some billionaires out there inherit businesses, stocks, or company shares from their parents and grandparents that transform them into billionaires without much struggle.
Regardless of how a billionaire got to where he or she is, a billionaire is a special kind of person with immense resources that all of us would die to have. Here is a list of ten billionaires who are worth every penny that they have but owe a good percentage of it either directly or indirectly to their late spouses, parents or grandparents.
10. Iris Fontbona – Net Worth: $13.5 billion
Iris Fontbona is a 72-year-old billionaire from Chile, worth approximately $13.5 billion. Iris’ wealth makes her the richest Chilean and the 82nd richest billionaire in the world. Iris inherited her wealth from her husband Andronico Luksic, who succumbed to cancer in 2005. Luksic built the Luksic Group, a group of companies that were involved in mining, finance, beverages, and the industrial sector; companies that made him the wealthiest man in Chile even before his death. Andronico Luksic left all his wealth and businesses to his wife and three sons, who have continued to run the businesses making them wealthier by the day. This family controls the Antofagasta PLC, a company that owns copper mines in Chile and trades in the London Stock Exchange, as well as in other profitable ventures.
9. Johanna Quandt – Net Worth: $13.9 billion
BMW is one of the best auto brands in the world, and the quality of its brand has made billionaires out of its owners. Herbert Quandt was a wealthy German industrialist, who invested in BMW in 1959. Herbert’s actions of investing a huge amount of his wealth into BMW saved it from bankruptcy and it eventually made him a very wealthy man. Herbert died in 1982 and left his BMW shares with his wife Johanna and two children, who immediately became extremely wealthy. The 89-year-old Johanna Quandt who is Herbert’s widow is worth $13.9 billion, making her one of the wealthiest women in the world. Her children Stefan Quandt and Susanne Klatten are worth $15.6 billion and $16.8 billion respectively, with almost all their wealth coming from BMW.
8. Anne Cox Chambers – Net Worth: $17 billion
Anne Cox Chambers is an extremely wealthy woman of 95 years, who has made billions from the company that her father left her. This American born billionaire is the 28th richest American and 53rd richest billionaire in the world, with riches that have been brought to her by Cox Enterprises. Her father James M. Cox died in 1957, after establishing Cox Enterprises, a media company that today is involved in TV, newspapers, radio, broadband and cable communications, and the automotive industry. Anne Cox is the only surviving daughter of James M. Cox, and can attribute almost all her wealth from her inheritance and the work she has put into the company.
7. Laurene Powell Jobs – Net Worth: $19.5 billion
When you hear the mention of the company Apple Inc., I am sure the mental image of the late Steve Jobs comes to your mind. Steve Jobs was one of the most inspiring entrepreneurs of present times, owing to his struggles early in life including quitting school and being fired from his own company, to later emerge as one of the best innovators in the world. Steve Jobs invested his life into building the Apple brand, which is today a multi-billion dollar company. When Steve Jobs died, his wife Laurene Powell Jobs inherited his wealth of $19.5 billion, making her one of the richest women in the world, the 25th richest American, and the 45th richest person in the world. Laurene is the founder and chairperson of the Emerson Collective.
6. Beate Heister and Karl Albrecht Jr. – Net Worth: $21.3 billion
The combined wealth of Beate Heister and Karl Albrecht Jr. is $21.3 billion, a huge amount of money that they have because of their stake in Aldi supermarkets. These siblings inherited their wealth from their father Karl Albrecht Sr. following his death at a ripe old age of 94 years in July 2014. Albrecht Sr. and Theo Albrecht, his brother, turned their family grocery store into the huge supermarket chain we know today as Aldi, which is doing so well because of their winning strategy of low prices and no frills. Their inheritance makes Beate Heister and Karl Albrecht Jr. the second richest people in Germany and the 37th richest in the world.
5. Maria Franca Fissolo – Net Worth: $23.4 billion
Maria Franca Fissolo is one of the oldest billionaires in the world because at the age of 97, she is worth $23.4 billion. Maria Franca inherited her wealth from her husband Michele Ferrero. Michele Ferrero was an entrepreneur who transformed the small café and bakery he inherited from his father into a billion dollar Confectionery Company. Ferrero SpA is one of Europe’s largest companies today, and some of the products from the Ferrero group of companies include the world famous Nutella chocolate spread, Tic-Tac mints, and Kinder chocolates. Following the death of Ferrero in February 2014, Maria become the richest Italian and is the 32nd richest person in the world.
4. Stefan Persson – Net Worth: $24.5 billion
Stefan Persson is worth $24.5 billion, making him the richest man in Sweden today. This 67-year-old business magnate receives most of his wealth from H&M (Hennes & Mauritz), a fashion chain where he owns at least 28% and serves as the chairperson of the board. It would not be accurate to state that he inherited all his wealth from his father Erling Persson who founded H&M in 1947 because he also has many other profitable ventures, but his inheritance is undoubtedly the main reason why he is a billionaire. Stefan took over his father’s company from 1982 to 1998, a period during which he was the manager. Stefan is one of Hexagon AB’s owners, where he has shares through his real-estate company called Ramsbury Invest.
3. David Kenneth Thomson – Net Worth: $25.5 billion
David Thomson is a 58-year-old Canadian billionaire, whose main source of income is the media, despite having other investments on the side. David together with his family is worth at least $25 billion, most of which is thanks to his inheriting his grandfather’s media company Thomson Corporation. David is now the chairperson of the Thomson Reuters, a merger of Thomson and Reuters, resulting from David’s acquisition of Reuters. His grandfather Roy Thomson established the company as a media and publishing giant, which is a family business, though run via a company called Woodbridge. Peter Thomson is David’s brother and the co-chair of Woodbridge, which is the holder of all assets owned by seven of Roy Thomson’s grandchildren.
2. The Mars Family (Jacqueline Mars, Forrest Mars Jr., and John Mars) – Net Worth: $26.6 billion each
Mars, Inc. is one of the largest private companies in the world, with over $33 billion in sales every year. Frank Mars started this company in 1911, which has grown to become one of the world’s leading food processing companies. Mars, Inc. has six main business segments in the United States, with the various segments specializing in either Chocolate, Pet food, Wrigley, Food, Drinks, and Symmbioscience. Jacqueline Mars, Forrest Mars Jr., and John Mars all have at least $26.6 billion each, wealth that they have because they inherited the thriving Mars, Inc. from their father Forrest Mars Sr., who also inherited the company from his father and founder Frank Mars.
1. Christy Walton – Net Worth: $41.7 billion
The Walton family is the richest families in the world because their combined wealth is much more than what Bill Gates has. The wealthy three here include Christy Walton ($41.7 Billion), Jim Walton ($40.6 Billion) and Alice Walton ($39.4 Billion). The 60-year-old Christy Walton is the richest woman in the world, wealth that she inherited from her late husband John Walton. Her husband was a Green Beret and medic in the Vietnam War and was the son of Sam Walton, the Wal-Mart founder. John Walton died in 2005 in an airplane crash, and at this time, his wealth was estimated to be $18.2 billion. Jim and Alice were John’s siblings, and the three including Christy, are getting even wealthier thanks to the great performance that Wal-Mart is recording in its over 11,000 stores around the world.