According to Forbes, there are now 45 American families with a net worth of at least $10 billion. The wealthiest family, the Waltons, owns approximately 45% of Walmart and has a combined net worth of $267 billion as of January 16. This figure is significantly higher than Elon Musk’s net worth of about $202 billion, making the Waltons the wealthiest family in America.
Together, these 45 super-rich families have an estimated total net worth of roughly $1.3 trillion, which is about ten times that of Warren Buffett’s personal fortune. However, some prominent names such as Carnegie, Vanderbilt, and Getty have been omitted from the rankings for reasons including stock-price performance, legal disputes, taxes on stock sales, and charitable giving.
The Mars family is the second wealthiest to the Waltons, possessing a fortune of $117 billion. Other well-known families such as Koch, Lauder, Hearst, and Marriott are also listed. The descendants of John D. Rockefeller barely made Forbes’ list with a fortune of $10.3 billion due to their ownership stakes in public companies like Cargill-MacMillan and others who sold their stakes in businesses like Busch family and Haslam family.
It appears that building vast generational wealth is most effectively achieved by creating a lasting business that can be owned or taken private by future generations or sold for profit to other companies or investors.