How the Waltons — America's wealthiest family and heirs to the Walmart empire — live their lives

  • The Walmart heirs’ combined worth is more than $US155 billion, according to Forbes.
  • The family grants money and resources to support education, environmental efforts, and their home community through the Walton Family Foundation.
  • In public, the Waltons live pretty modest lifestyles despite their wealth. Here’s how they spend their fortune.

The combined wealth of the Walmart heirs – which includes Rob, Jim, and Alice, as well as John’s wife, Christy, and their son Lukas – is more than $US155 billion, according to Forbes, which released its 2019 Billionaire’s list on Tuesday. The Walton’s saw their net worth drop from the previous list.

While some work in the family business – whether that’s serving on the company board or working to manage the family’s wealth – others chose to pursue areas of personal passion.

Sam Walton, the original man behind the company that now encompasses both Walmart and Sam’s Club, set his family up for financial success when he divided the ownership before he died.

He wasn’t a man of flashy luxury, but you can see how his children are living a slightly more lavish life now.


Sam Walton opened the first Walmart store in Arkansas in 1962.


He married Helen Robson on Valentine’s Day in 1942, and together they had four children: Rob, John, Jim, and Alice.


By the time Sam died in 1992, he had set up the company ownership in a way that minimized the estate taxes anyone on the receiving end of his will had to pay.

Source: Fortune


He set up his ownership of Walmart’s stock in a family partnership — each of his children held 20% of Walton Enterprises, while he and Helen each held 10%. Helen inherited Sam’s 10% tax-free when he died.

Source: Fortune


Samuel Robson “Rob” Walton is the oldest Walton child.


He served as chairman of Walmart until 2015.

Rick T. Wilking / Stringer / Getty Images

Rob has a house in Paradise Valley, Arizona, near the base of Camelback Mountain.

Google Maps

In the past, protesters have rallied outside of his Arizona home to advocate for better wages and benefits for Walmart workers.


Rob also has a large collection of vintage cars.

Ben Pruchnie/Getty ImagesWalton’s personal collection not pictured.

In 2013, he ran his Daytona Coupe, which was worth $US15 million at the time, off the tracks and wrecked it. The car was one of only five ever made.


John was the second-oldest child. He died in a plane crash in 2005.


He was married to Christy Walton and had one son, Lukas.


John left about 17% of his wealth to his wife, and he gave the rest to charity and to his son.

Source: Business Insider


John served in Vietnam as a Green Beret. When he returned from the war he held a series of jobs — like the Walmart company pilot, a crop duster, and the owner a few yachting companies — before becoming a Walmart board member.

Source: Fortune


In 2013, Christy decided to sell their Jackson Hole mansion. She also listed the family’s ranch, which includes its own elk herd, for $US68.7 million — it’s now listed for $US39 million.

Jackson Hole Real EstateThe family’s Jackson Hole mansion.

Source: Curbed and Ranch Marketing Associates


The 8,606-square-foot home was put on the market for $US12.5 million.

Source: Curbed


James “Jim” Walton is the youngest son.

Walmart

He is chairman of the board of the family’s Arvest Bank, which has assets that total more than $US18 billion and is estimated to be worth $US45.3 billion.

Google MapsOne of many Arvest Bank locations in Bentonville, Arkansas.

Source: Bloomberg


He also served on the Walmart board before being replaced by his son Steuart in 2016.

Rick T. Wilking /Stringer/Getty

Now, he presides over Walton Enterprises — the private company that deals with the investments and finances of the Walton family only — from modest offices in Bentonville, Arkansas.

Source: Fortune


The youngest sibling, Alice Walton, is worth $US44.4 billion. She has been divorced twice and has no children.


Alice has never taken an active role in running the family business.


Instead, she became a patron of the arts, which she fell in love with at a young age.

D Dipasupil/Getty Images

When she was 10, she bought her first work of art: a reproduction of Picasso’s “Blue Nude” for about $US2, she told The New Yorker.

Source: The New Yorker


She has an immense private art collection, with original works from Andy Warhol and Georgia O’Keeffe.


Alice opened a museum called Crystal Bridges in 2011 to house her $US500 million private art collection.


The collection includes a Georgia O’Keeffe painting she spent $US44.4 million on in 2014 — the biggest sale for a woman’s piece of art in history.

Courtesy of Sotheby’sGeorgia O’Keeffe, ‘Jimson Weed/White Flower No. 1’ (1932), Sotheby’s.

Source: The Observer


When it opened, it had four times the endowment of the famous Whitney Museum in New York.


The museum’s grounds are filled with flora …


… and surrounded by streams that make it look like the buildings float on water.


It’s so beautiful that people use it as a wedding and special events venue.

Weddings at Crystal Bridges/YouTubeThey can host both indoor and outdoor ceremonies.

Source: Crystal Bridges


Alice is also a breeder of horses.


Her Millsap, Texas, property, Rocking W Ranch, sold to the Three Amigos Investment Group of Kermit in September 2017 for an undisclosed amount.

Courtesy of WilliamsTrew

Source: Star-Telegram


It had an initial asking price of $US19.75 million, but was most recently listed for $US16.5 million. The working ranch has over 250 acres of pasture and outbuildings for cattle and horses.

Courtesy of WilliamsTrew

Source: WilliamsTrew


Her other 4,416-acre Texas ranch was previously listed at a reduced price of $US22 million.

Courtesy of WilliamsTrew

Source: Fortune


The modest, three-bedroom, two-bathroom home overlooks the Brazos River.


Alice also owns a two-floor condo on New York’s Park Ave., which she bought for $US25 million in 2014.

Source: Business Insider


It has more than 52 large windows overlooking Central Park …

evenfh/ShutterstockView of central park from the southeast.

Source: Business Insider


… plus a media room featuring bookshelves and a television …

Bespoke Real Estate/YouTubeThe living room of another unit in 515 Park Ave.

Source: Business Insider


… a bedroom — and a stairwell — with a view …

Bespoke Real Estate/YouTubeThe bedroom of another unit in 515 Park Ave. Walton’s bedroom has multiple walls of windows for a wider view of the city.

Source: Business Insider


… and more than 6,000 total square feet of space.

Google MapsThe main entrance sits on the corner of Park Ave. and 60th St.

Source: Business Insider


In January 2016, Alice donated 3.7 million of her Walmart shares — worth about $US225 million at the time — to the family’s nonprofit, the Walton Family Foundation.

Facebook/Walton Family Foundation

Sam and Helen started the foundation as a way to teach their children how to give back and how to work together.


The charity awarded $US535.5 million in grants, each helping a cause that aligns with their values.


The foundation has three main areas of focus:


The foundation’s focus on education was led by John. His brother, Jim, said John was really interested in being able to give parents choices when it came to their child’s schooling.

Source: Walton Family Foundation


Rob spearheaded the foundation’s venture into environmental outreach. One of the first grants they gave was one that helped develop a sustainable fisheries label.

Source: Walton Family Foundation


A commitment to the family’s home in Arkansas is another large part of the foundation. Whether it’s creating a system of mountain-bike trails through the Ozarks or developing the grounds around Crystal Bridges, the Waltons are celebrating the community that helped their family get to where they are.

Walton Family Foundation/YouTubeThe Bentonville town square.

Source: Walton Family Foundation


Walmart Inc., which owns Walmart and Sam’s Club, is the largest retailer in the US in terms of revenue, with sales of $US500.34 billion per year.

Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

Source: Fortune


When Walmart has a good quarter, the Waltons make hundreds of millions of dollars in dividends.

Source: Forbes and The Guardian


The company reported in February that same-store sales in the US up 3.6% for fiscal 2019.

Source: Walmart


Even though the Walton family is raking in billions as a result of the company’s success, they remain relatively under-the-radar in terms of flashing their wealth — much like their patriarch, Sam, did in the early years.

Tripadvisor/Waltons

Source: Fortune

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