Here is a number, 17.7 Billion dollars; it is not a number that means much to most of us. Why, you ask? Because it is a number that is just a fantasy to us, in the same category as a trip to mars or a journey to the center of the earth. It is more money than anyone can win in a lottery (the record is $941 Million in Spain’s Christmas lottery in 2012). If someone gave you a choice between taking $17.7 billion dollars or a dollar for every person on earth, take the cash because the latter will not even get you half of it. And to a few select women, it is the least amount of money you need to get on the list of richest women in the world.
Before we tell you some interesting facts about each of the five richest women, we will also give you some more numbers to think about. The first is $300 Million, which is the number BMW’s Co-owner Susanne Klatten missed being in the top five by. How about 172, that is the new record number of how many of the world’s 1,645 billionaires are women, up 34 from last year. And last but not least, 17.6 Billion, 99.95 million dollars; the amount more I would have to have made to get on the list this year. Overtime, here I come.
5 Gina Rinehart
If you are ever going to be at the bottom of a list, this is probably the first one we would choose. At number five is Australian Gina Rinehart. She has the honor of also being the richest person in Australia, period; take that guys. She is also an heiress that has increased her fortune each year by staying active in her family’s Australian based Iron Ore and Coal mining companies. She is poised to make a leap up this list next year after securing government funding in the amount of $7.2 billion dollars to upgrade the Roy Hill iron ore mine of which she owns a 70% stake (Treadgold 2014).
She is also living proof that money cannot buy you happiness. She is currently in the middle of a bitter trust dispute that involves 3 of her 4 children. Apparently that $5 million dollar a year allowance was just not enough.
4 Jacqueline Badger Mars
At number four, with a paltry $20 Billion, is Mars Candy heiress Jaqueline Badger Mars. This 74 year old co-owner of the US based Mars Candy Company helps oversee a company that generates over $30 billion in sales revenue each year and produces over 390 million M&M’s candies every day. Her father started the company after experimenting with making chocolates at the family’s kitchen in 1911. Her father, Forrest Sr., came up with the idea for the malt nougat and the trademark M&M’s Candy. Among her other claims to fame are a trustee position with the USA Equestrian Team and board membership of the Washington Metropolitan Opera.
One might want to stay off the road when Billionaires are driving because there is an alarming trend to be seen here. She too was convicted of reckless driving in an accident that took the lives of an 86 year old Grandmother and the driver’s unborn child. She mysteriously avoided jail time after the victim’s family suddenly decided to forgive her; maybe she offered them free M&M’s for life? Unlike Alice Walton, Ms. Mars still had to pay a whopping $2,500 fine and lost her license for six months. One more blow to her finances like that and she may move down a notch on this list.
3 Alice Walton
Coming in at number three on the list is another Wal-Mart heiress, Alice Walton, at $34.3 Billion. She is the daughter of the late Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton.
She is rumored to be the driving force behind a Hillary Clinton bid for the presidency in 2016. She has been friends with the Clintons for years now. Not a bad person to have in your corner Hillary, when it comes to funding a campaign.
With all that money she may want to think about giving up driving and hiring a chauffeur. She has a laundry list of vehicle incidents which include; an accident in Acapulco, Mexico in 1983 that left one leg shorter than the other, an accident five years later while speeding that claimed the life of a 50 year old woman (she did not even get a ticket), and her latest arrest in 2011 for a DWI and driving without a registration. I am no Billionaire, but even I manage to keep my vehicle registration current. I guess she was just too busy collecting rare, priceless art, so she has an excuse.
Of interest to note: Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton started out as clerk in a five-and-dime store before he opened up some stores of his own, how is that for a rags-to-riches story.
2 Liliane Bettencourt
This year’s runner up on the list, Liliane Bettencourt, falls to number two after enjoying a year at the top on the way to her 90th birthday. She is the heiress to the L’Oreal cosmetic fortune and her estimated net worth is $34.5 billion dollars. She is no longer a part of the day-to-day affairs of the business. She is also the largest shareholder of the Nestle corporation and its thriving chocolate and food business. Expect her income to rise again next year because as long as there are women in the world chocolate and cosmetics will be in-demand.
At 91, this elegant and well-loved French philanthropist stills gets up early every morning to walk. She is now fighting to retain custody over her fortune after her family claimed she suffers from dementia; this all came about after it was revealed she apparently illegally helped the ex-French President, Nicolas Sarkozy’s election campaign in 2007. Of an interesting note it is not a bad idea for her family to take over her investments, she was the biggest money loser in Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi scheme (Misener 2011).
1 Christy Walton
So who is number one this year? She is a familiar name because she has been at the top for three of the last four years. With an estimated net worth of $36.7 Billion, it is Christy Walton, back to number one after finishing second last year. The widow of John Walton (son of Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton, Died in a private plane crash in 2005) and inheritor of a large chunk of the Wal-Mart fortune, regained the top spot with a whopping 47% increase in her shares in First Solar Corporation.
This woman is no stay-at-home housewife as she has more than doubled the money she inherited in just nine short years, pretty impressive for this queen of Billionaire women. Ms. Walton is a very respected and notable philanthropist also; among her most charitable donations was a several million dollar mansion that was given to International Community Foundation’s (ICF) Center for Cross-Border along with a 4 million dollar grant to maintain it.
Of an interesting note: The six highest net worth members of the Walton family heirs are worth more than the bottom earning 40% of Americans ‘combined’, 40%, that is a staggering figure.