What the lives of the Waltons - America's wealthiest family and heirs to the Walmart and Sam's Club empire - are really like

the walton family walmartAP/April L. Brown

  • The Walmart heirs are worth a combined $157 billion.
  • They grant money and resources to support education, environmental efforts, and their home community through the Walton Family Foundation.
  • In public, the Waltons live a pretty modest life despite their wealth. Here's how they spend their fortune.

The combined wealth of the Walmart heirs - which includes Rob, Jim, Alice, John's wife Christy, and their son Lukas - is $157 billion, according to Bloomberg.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

Samuel Robson "Rob" Walton is the oldest Walton child.

He served as chairman of Walmart until 2015.

He served as chairman of Walmart until 2015.

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

Rob 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.

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.

Rob 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.

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

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.

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

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

John left about 17% of his wealth to his wife, and the rest he gave 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 being the Walmart company pilot, a crop duster, and owning a few yachting companies — before becoming a Walmart board member.

John served in Vietnam as a Green Beret. When he returned from the war he held a series of jobs — like being the Walmart company pilot, a crop duster, and owning 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 $68.7 million — it's currently listed for $39 million.

In 2013, Christy decided to sell their Jackson Hole mansion. She also listed the family's ranch, which includes its own elk herd, for $68.7 million — it's currently listed for $39 million.

Source: Curbed and Ranch Marketing Associates

The 8,606-square-foot home was put on the market for $12.5 million.

The 8,606-square-foot home was put on the market for $12.5 million.

Source: Curbed

James "Jim" Walton is the youngest son.

James "Jim" Walton is the youngest son.

He is chairman of the board of the family's Arvest Bank — which has assets that total more than $18 billion — and is estimated to be worth $45.3 billion.

He is chairman of the board of the family's Arvest Bank — which has assets that total more than $18 billion — and is estimated to be worth $45.3 billion.

Source: Bloomberg

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

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

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.

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 $40.4 billion. She has been divorced twice and has no children.

The youngest sibling, Alice Walton, is worth $40.4 billion. She has been divorced twice and has no children.

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

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

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

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

When she was 10, she bought her first work of art: a reproduction of a Picasso's "Blue Nude" for about $2, she told The New Yorker.

When she was 10, she bought her first work of art: a reproduction of a Picasso's "Blue Nude" for about $2, 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'Keefe.

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.

Alice opened a museum called Crystal Bridges in 2011 to house her $500 million private art collection.

The collection includes a Georgia O'Keefe painting she spent $44.4 million on in 2014 — the biggest sale for a woman's piece of art in history.

The collection includes a Georgia O'Keefe painting she spent $44.4 million on in 2014 — the biggest sale for a woman's piece of art in history.

Source: The Observer

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

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 ...

The museum's grounds are filled with flora ...

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

... 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.

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

Source: Crystal Bridges

Alice is also a breeder of horses.

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.

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

Source: Star-Telegram

It had an initial asking price of $19.75 million, but was most recently listed for $16.5 million. The working ranch has over 250 acres of pasture and outbuildings for cattle and horses.

It had an initial asking price of $19.75 million, but was most recently listed for $16.5 million. The working ranch has over 250 acres of pasture and outbuildings for cattle and horses.

Source: WilliamsTrew

Her other 4,416-acre Texas ranch was previously listed at a reduced price of $22 million.

Her other 4,416-acre Texas ranch was previously listed at a reduced price of $22 million.

Source: Fortune

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

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

Alice also owns a two-floor condo on New York's Park Avenue, which she bought for $25 million in 2014.

Alice also owns a two-floor condo on New York's Park Avenue, which she bought for $25 million in 2014.

Source: Business Insider

It has more than 52 large windows overlooking Central Park ...

It has more than 52 large windows overlooking Central Park ...

Source: Business Insider

... plus a media room featuring bookshelves and a television ...

... plus a media room featuring bookshelves and a television ...

Source: Business Insider

... a bedroom — and a stairwell — with a view ...

... a bedroom — and a stairwell — with a view ...

Source: Business Insider

... and over 6,000 total square feet of space.

... and over 6,000 total square feet of space.

Source: Business Insider

In January 2016, Alice donated 3.7 million of her Walmart shares — worth about $225 million at the time — to the family's nonprofit, the Walton Family Foundation.

In January 2016, Alice donated 3.7 million of her Walmart shares — worth about $225 million at the time — to the family's nonprofit, the 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.

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 $535.5 million in grants, each helping a cause that aligns with their values.

The charity awarded $535.5 million in grants, each helping a cause that aligns with their values.

The foundation has three main areas of focus:

The foundation has three main areas of focus:

The foundation's focus on education was lead 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.

The foundation's focus on education was lead 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.

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.

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.

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 $500.34 billion per year.

Walmart Inc., which owns Walmart and Sam's Club, is the largest retailer in the US in terms of revenue, with sales of $500.34 billion per year.

Source: MarketWatch

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

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 November that same-store sales were up 3.4% in the third quarter.

The company reported in November that same-store sales were up 3.4% in the third quarter.

Source: Walmart Inc.

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.

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.

Source: Fortune

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