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How America’s wealthiest family spends its Walmart fortune

The Walton family
The Walton family

The Waltons are the richest family in America, but they’re pretty discreet about it.

The Walmart heirs have a combined wealth of $130 billion, which is more than both Bill Gates and Warren Buffett. In fact, they are worth $48 billion more than the second richest family in the US – the Kochs.

Despite their fortune, they seem to live a pretty modest life. At least in public.

Here’s what we do know about how the wealthy family spends its fortune.

Sam Walton, who died in 1992, opened the first Walmart store in 1962 in Arkansas. He was married to Helen Ronson. Together, they had four children: Rob, John, Jim, and Alice.

This is Samuel Robson “Rob” Walton, the oldest Walton son. He served as chairman of Walmart until 2015.

Wikipedia

He has a house in Paradise Valley, Arizona, near the base of Camelback Mountain. In the past, protesters have rallied outside of his Arizona home to advocate for better wages and benefits for Walmart workers.

He also has a large collection of vintage cars. In 2013, he ran his Daytona Coupe, which was at the time worth $15 million, off the tracks and wrecked it. The car was one of only five ever made.

John Walton died in a plane crash in 2005 at age 58.

Wikipedia

John was married to Christy Walton and had one son, named Lukas. John left about 17% of his wealth to his wife, the rest was given to charity and to his son.

James “Jim” Walton is the youngest son. He is estimated to be worth $37.3 billion and runs the family’s Arvest Bank, which has assets that total more than $16 billion. He also served on the Walmart board before being replaced by his son Steuart in 2016. Jim is treasurer and secretary of the Walton Family Foundation, which is one of the largest private education donors in the country. The foundation invests heavily in charter schools.

Walmart

The youngest sibling, Alice Walton, is worth $36.9 billion. She has been divorced twice and has no children.

Alice has never taken an active role running the business and has instead become a patron of the arts. She fell in love with the arts at a young age. When she was 10, she bought her first work of art: a reproduction of a Picasso painting for $2, she told The New Yorker. She has an immense private art collection, with original works from Andy Warhol and Georgia O’Keefe.

Alice opened a museum called Crystal Bridges in 2011 to house her $500 million private art collection. When it opened, it had four times the endowment of the famous Whitney Museum in New York.

In 2014, she spent $44.4 million on a Georgia O’Keefe. It was the most expensive work of art by a woman that’s ever been sold.

In 2014, she spent $44.4 million on a Georgia O'Keefe. It was the most expensive work of art by a woman that's ever been sold. Georgia O’Keeffe, Jimson Weed/White Flower No. 1 (1932), Sotheby's.
In 2014, she spent $44.4 million on a Georgia O’Keefe. It was the most expensive work of art by a woman that’s ever been sold.
Georgia O’Keeffe, Jimson Weed/White Flower No. 1 (1932), Sotheby’s.

Alice is also a breeder of horses. Two of her ranches are currently listed for sale. Rocking W Ranch had an initial asking price of $19.75 million. It is now being listed for $16.5 million. It is a working ranch with over 250 acres of pasture and outbuildings for cattle and horses.

Courtesy of WilliamsTrew

Her second ranch up for sale, also in Texas, is currently listed for $22 million. Neither of these properties were sold over the past few years so she reduced the prices on both.

Courtesy of WilliamsTrew

Alice also owns a two-floor condo on New York’s Park Avenue. She bought the property for $25 million in 2014. It has over 52 large windows overlooking Central Park and the city, a media room, and over 6,000 square feet of space.

StreetEasy/Wikipedia

Wal-Mart Stores, Inc, which owns Walmart and Sam’s Club, is the largest business in the US in terms of revenue, with sales of $485 billion per year. When Walmart has a good quarter, the Waltons make hundreds of millions of dollars in dividends. This year, the family is expected to make around $3.361 billion from dividends.

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