Having a lot of money sometimes comes with a lot of trouble and controversy. Sometimes it appears that people have so much money, that they don’t know what to do with themselves. For instance, a few of the families who didn’t quite make the top fifteen list have had instances that we don’t know whether to believe it or not.
Although it is difficult to find reputable information when it comes to the family and scandals, the money that this family has is undeniably candid. The original Duponts arrived in America from France around 1800 (already prosperous), and accumulated more wealth by manufacturing gunpowder. It was normal for the wealthy to marry between cousins during that time, so that’s what the family did to keep the money between themselves. The Duponts started out with gunpowder, but have moved on to paints, plastics and other materials to keep the money flowing.
The entire family is rumored to be worth an estimated $15 billion total, even though a lot of the family doesn’t keep in close contact. The scandals and bad behavior doesn’t seem to be disappearing, either. Robert H. Richards IV, an heir to the DuPont legacy, pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting his daughter in 2008; but never went to jail. John E. DuPont, another one of the heirs to the DuPont fortune, shot Olympic wrestler, Dave Shultz, in 1996. In 2010, John died in his jail cell at the age of 72. He was worth $200 million (according to Forbes Magazine), and had a museum in the state of Delaware, but was unable to enjoy any of that money, since he was “doing time” for murder.
Sometimes having wealth just comes with way too much responsibility; as what had happened with the Ziff family, who now just live off what the family had originally made with their business. The publishing group, Ziff Davis, was created by William Ziff and Bernard Davis; but William Ziff ended up buying out Bernard Davis’ portion, leaving William the sole owner of the company. After William’s death, his son, William Ziff, Jr. took over the enterprise that is known for publishing the magazines Car and Driver and PC Magazine, and sold off the empire back in the early 90s. After the death of William, Jr., the fortune was left to brothers Dirk, Robert and Daniel; who are his children. The brothers did not want the responsibility of the publishing company, and the businesses were sold; but the family has invested so much money into the companies that the Ziffs are now worth $14.3 billion.
Forbes creates a list every year of the richest people in the world, and even has a list of the richest people in America, but here is a list of the richest families in the world as of January, 2015. These are not individuals, but families that have basically taken over the Earth with the amount of wealth and power they have created throughout the years.
15 Thomson Family, $24.7 Billion
Roy Thomson’s parents moved to Canada from Scotland, in the early 1800s, and Roy tried to enter into the military at a young age, but was denied due to his bad eye sight. He ended up selling radios and newspapers, and acquired his own radio station. By 1966, the Thomson Organization was known throughout the world for owning many media outlets; including publishing, newspapers, television corporations and was involved in the traveling industry. The Thomson Family purchased Reuters Group (the multimedia organization in England, now called Thomson Reuters) in 2008, and the family is now estimated to be worth $24.7 billion.
14 Duncan Family, $25.4 billion
The Duncan Family, worth $25.4 billion, is the fourteenth most wealthy family in the world, and number ten in the United States. Dan Duncan obtained his wealth in oil (Enterprise Products Company). He had lost both of his parents at a very young age and was raised by his grandparents. Dan knew what it was like to be poor, so he currently uses his wealth to help out families who don’t have as much as he does. He has donated over $200 million to charities, and in 2007, he won the Petrochemical Heritage Award, in which they acknowledged him for what he has done for others.
13 S.C. Johnson Family, $25.5 billion
If you've ever watched television, chances are that you've heard the name “S.C. Johnson” in some type of advertisement. The family has over five generations that have worked to make that name well-known. Samuel Curtis Johnson had tried multiple times to invest in different companies during his lifetime, but they all had gone bankrupt after his investments. Samuel decided to sell floors, and people wanted something to clean them with after they bought them. In 1886, Mr. Johnson had bought out the flooring business and started making cleaning products for his customers in his bathtub. People who didn’t even buy the flooring ended up buying the products from him. He ended up donating ten percent of all his income to others who needed it in his area, and the rest, as they say, is history.
12 Pritzker Family, $29 billion
The Pritzkers are the family who owns the Hyatt hotels. Donald Pritzker is the founder of the hotel chain, and has three children; Penny, Anthony and Jay Robert. Donald had started out as a manager of the hotel chain in California; despite having a law degree. He eventually became the president of the California hotel. In 1967, the Pritzker family was able to buy one of the Hyatt hotels that was in Georgia (that was in bankruptcy), and ended up calling it the Hyatt Regency Atlanta. According to sources, “it became an instant success and served as the architectural model for all future Hyatt hotels.”
11 Cox Family, $32 billion
Cox Enterprises, Inc. is a company that appears to own half of the media world (more or less). Have you ever received one of those coupon packs in the mail, called Valpak? Cox owns that. Ever tried to look up the blue book value of your used car? Cox owns that, too (Kelley Blue Book, not your car). They also own Cox Communications, Auto Trader and many others. They are based in Georgia, but had started out in Ohio. James M. Cox bought the Dayton Daily News, in 1898, and was governor of Ohio twice. He even ran for President of the United States in 1920, but lost to Warren G. Harding.
10 Arnault Family, $32.2 billion
The Arnault Family is the second wealthiest family in France (under the Bettencourts), and is number ten in the world. The family owns many companies; including Christian Dior, Dom Perignon, Fendi and Bulgari. They are also the major shareholders of LVMH, the French fashion house that is located in Paris, France; which includes the majority of ownership of Louis Vuitton merchandising. Bernard Arnault is currently the CEO of LVMH and of Christian Dior, and the family is worth an estimated $32.2 billion. The Fondation Louis Vuitton was opened in October, 2014, which cost the family $100 million to create. The building was built with a restaurant and an auditorium, as well.
9 Hearst Family, $35 billion
If the Cox family owns half of the media world, the Hearst family most likely has the rest. Or at least that is what it seems. The Hearst family controls their own tower in Manhattan, New York, and has possession of hundreds of magazines, newspapers, radio stations and television programs, throughout the world. The Hearst family even owns their own broadcasting company, Hearst Television, Inc., that was created in 1997. Just a few of the things owned by this family are the magazines Esquire, Good Housekeeping and Redbook. They also own over twenty television and radio stations, many cable networks and fifty percent of A&E (Walt Disney owns the other half).
8 Bettencourt Family, $35.9 billion
In the early 1900s, a French man named Eugène Schueller created Auréale, a hair care product in France that he later renamed L’Oreal. It may have been created in Paris, but the name is now well-known throughout the world. The brand is recognized for its cosmetics, makeup and hair products; but also is a leader in preventing the testing of cosmetics on animals.
Liliane Bettencourt is the daughter of Eugène Schueller, and had asked Nestle to buy part of the company in 1974, for reasons regarding the French government. The Bettencourts now have more of a stake in the company since buying back their shares, as well as owning several other businesses associated with the L’Oreal name. This includes Carita, Decléor, Niely Cosmeticos Group, the Chinese beauty manufacturer Magic Holdings, and NYX Cosmetics.
7 Edward Johnson Family, $39 billion
Fidelity Investments, a large financial planning service, is one of the biggest ones in the world; and is owned by the Johnson family. The Johnson family is worth $39 billion, bringing them to the seventh richest family on Earth. Fidelity was formed in 1946, by Edward C. Johnson II; who was the grandfather of Abigail Pierrepont Johnson, who is now the president and CEO of the company. This fact makes “Abby” one of the richest women in the world. She is also the only woman to be a member of the Financial Services Forum; which is a group of CEOs who are involved in financial planning businesses.
6 Cargill-MacMillan Family, $43 billion
Cargill Incorporated, is a privately owned food processing company that was started in Iowa, and is the “largest privately owned company in the world,” according to Forbes Magazine. The founder of the company was William W. Cargill, who passed the business along to his son-in-law, John MacMillan after his death. John was able to save Cargill from going bankrupt after the takeover, and now the entire families of Cargill and MacMillan are individually worth over $1 billion each. The company is responsible for many imports and exports of processed foods, oils and live food; including selling products to fast food restaurants throughout the world.
5 Quandt Family, $49.7 billion
Herbert Quandt came from a family in Germany that was rumored to have hired slaves from Nazi Germany, yet he was never fully investigated. Herbert Quandt turned around BMW in 1962, during a time when Germany had thought the company was going to go bankrupt. It was when the luxury car was not quite popular yet, and the BMW1500 was getting ready for production as he took over the company. This made the man billions of dollars, and after his death, he made sure that all of his children were able to get equal shares of the company so that it was fair. Today, the Quandt family is estimated to be worth around $49.7 billion.
4 Mars Family, $60 billion
Mars is the brand that owns some of the best candy bars in the world. If you've ever had a Snickers bar, a bag of M&Ms or a Twix, you have contributed to the $60 billion conglomerate of the Mars family. They also make Milky Way, Dove chocolate, 3 Musketeers and a ton of other magnificent chocolate candy. This company also owns various pet food companies; Pedigree, Whiskas and Banfield, just to name a few of the 35 pet brands that they operate. In addition to the candy and pet products, Mars owns Wrigley.
The company started out in 1922 as a man just trying to create “a chocolate-malted drink in a candy bar,” and the Milky Way was born. Today, the Mars company rakes in an estimated $30 billion a year, and make sure that cleanliness and quality are almost always their first priority.
3 Carlos Slim Helu Family, $70 billion
Carlos Slim Helu and his family live in Mexico and are worth somewhere between 69 and 71 billion dollars, as the amounts are continually fluctuating. They live in Mexico, and own a telecommunications business, where Carlos controls the phone market. He owns so much that he has to sell some of it so that he will comply with the new laws that Mexico has against controlling so much of the broadcast area. They also own prepaid wireless companies in the United States, including TracFone. The family also has a few stocks in The New York Times and Saks Fifth Avenue; but who’s counting?
2 Koch Brothers, $89 billion
Koch Industries is a privately owned company (the second largest, right under Cargill), that is owned by the Koch family. Two brothers, Frederick and William, each own 42% of the company, and are CEO and vice president. Their father, Fred C. Koch, helped found the company in 1940, by creating a new way to refine oil. There have been many different rumors surrounding the company; one of which the brothers have been accused of trying to buy presidential elections, and another was of the family trying to end Medicare and Medicaid. According to said rumors, the Koch brothers are just another family that doesn’t want the government interfering with their personal lives.
1 Walton Family, $174 billion
If you have ever shopped at Walmart or tried to get a great deal at Sam’s Club, then you have contributed to the $174 billion wealth of the Walton family. Sam Walton started out by buying a Ben Franklin store, and made a substantial amount of money during the first few years that he owned it. It was doing so well, that the owner of the place where it was located refused to renew the lease to Sam, so he moved the store somewhere else. Sam had two stores that were 220 miles away from each other, and eventually opened the first Walmart store in 1962, after seeing the Meijer store do so well with its one-stop shopping idea. After his death, he left the stores to his children and the rest of his family, and today the Walton family is worth almost double than the #2 richest family in America, the Koch Brothers.
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