45 American Families with a Net Worth Exceeding $10 Billion, Waltons Surpass Elon Musk in Wealth

The 45 Billionaire Families: Building Generational Wealth with Legacy Businesses

According to Forbes, there are now 45 American families with a net worth of at least $10 billion. The wealthiest family, the Walton heirs, owns approximately 45% of Walmart and has a combined net worth of $267 billion as of January 16. This figure surpasses Elon Musk’s net worth, which is estimated to be around $202 billion. 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.

The Mars family is the second wealthiest family on the list, with a fortune of $117 billion. Other well-known families such as Koch, Lauder, Hearst, and Marriott are also included in the rankings. However, some prominent names such as Carnegie, Vanderbilt, and Getty have been excluded due to reasons including stock-price performance, legal disputes, taxes on stock sales, and charitable giving. The descendants of John D. Rockefeller barely made Forbes’ list with a fortune of $10.3 billion.

Many of America’s wealthiest families built their fortunes by establishing the country’s largest private companies or maintaining ownership stakes in public companies they helped build. For example, the Cargill-MacMillan family is worth over $60 billion due to their ownership of about 88% of Cargill, a major ingredients company. Others still maintain ownership stakes in public companies they helped build like the Dorrance family with nearly 40% of Campbell Soup and the Brown family with about half of Brown-Forman. Some families have sold their stakes in businesses like the Busch family who sold its stake in Anheuser-Busch to InBev in 2008 and the Haslam family who sold their stake in Pilot Travel Centers for about $13 billion to Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway over several years.

The list suggests that building vast generational wealth is most effectively done by creating a lasting business that can be passed down or taken private if desired without significantly impacting its success or value

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