Family businesses have their place in the market. There are innumerable families that have been doing the same business for generations. You see some of them in the retail supermarket business whereas some have diversified into a range of businesses. However, the main point to note is that they are still united as a family. Maybe, this unity is their strength.
Normally, you see people breaking away from families as the family tree grows longer. The ones who stick together in difficult times do emerge as the stronger ones overall. This is a list of the top 10 richest families in the US. We are not talking about individual businesses at all. Otherwise, you would have people like Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, and Warren Buffet on the list. We restrict this list to family businesses alone.
Here is the top 10 richest families of America in 2017-2018
10. Duncan Family: $22.4 billion
We begin out list with the Duncan Family at the No 10 spot. The head of the family, Dan Duncan is no more today, but his flagship company, Enterprise Products is managed by members of his family right since the time Dan Duncan established the same. This family is here at this position today because of the collective hard work done by all of them. Dan Duncan did not have the smoothest of beginnings in life. Having lost his parents and brother when he was very young, Dan served in the US Army and a pipeline company as well before establishing Enterprise Products Co with $10,000 and two propane trucks in 1968. Today, this Texas family is worth $22.4 billion. This is what unity can achieve.
9. Edward Johnson Family: $26 billion
From running a pipeline business, we come to the investment field. We have the Edward Johnson Family at the No 9 position in this list. The owner of Fidelity Investments and Fidelity International, Edward Johnson has several firsts to his credit. He was the first person to permit writing of checks on money market funds. He also has the distinction of introducing discount brokerage services to banks, insurance companies, and other consumers as well. Edward had a stint in the US Army as well before joining the company founded by his father Edward C Johnson II. Today, his daughter Abigail runs the business. With a net worth of $26 billion, this family stands at the No 9 spot.
8. S C Johnson Family: $28.8 billion
The entry at No 8 must truly qualify as a family business because the S C Johnson family has been doing the same business for more than five generations. Founded by Samuel Curtis Johnson Sr in 1886, the company S C Johnson & Son is one of the prime manufacturers of household cleaning supplies and consumer chemicals. Based in Racine, Wisconsin, this company has its operations in 72 countries and its market in more than 110. This company manufactures many consumer chemicals. The name, Johnson Wax should ring a bell. With a worth of $28.8 billion, company is the source of livelihood for more than 15,000 families in the world. They are worthy occupants of the No 8 spot in this list.
7. Pritzker Family: $30 billion
We do have a diverse range of activities here. From pipelines to investments and consumer chemicals to the hospitality industry, we have completed a full circle. The No 7 spot in this list goes to the Pritzker Family, the owner of the Hyatt chain of hotels. This company had associations with the Marmon Group as well before selling their shares to Berkshire Hathaway. They had their holdings in the TransUnion Credit Bureau as well as the Royal Caribbean cruise. Originally of Jewish descent, this family has made Chicago their base more than 100 years ago. Originally starting off as a law firm, they diversified their interests into the hospitality business with the Hyatt Chain of hotels being present all over the world today. The total net worth of their family is estimated at around $30 billion today.
6. Hearst Family: $32 billion
It is a chance for the media and communication industry to show its strength through the Hearst Family. This family, the owners of Hearst Communications is one of the leading newspaper chain and media company. Founded in 1887 by William Randolph Hearst, this company is famous for its flamboyant yellow journalism. This type of journalism does have its importance because people love the ‘Man bites dog’ kind of stories more than reality. However, this communication company has stood the test of time for more than 130 years mainly due to the united face the put up when in trouble. William Hearst had political leanings as well. With a net worth of $32 billion, the Hearst Family are proud occupants of the No 6 spot in this list.
5. Cox Family: $34.5 billion
We have one of the leading communication and automotive services company at the No 5 spot. The Cox Family is well known in Atlanta as they are the prime owners of the family conglomerate Cox Enterprises. Founded by James Cox way back in 1898, Cox Enterprises have interests in telecommunications, automotive, and the mass media industry. The fourth generation of the Cox family owns this business today with 99% of the shareholding in their name. Having built the company from scratch, this conglomerate ranks No 5 in the family business list with a net worth of $34.5 billion.
4. Cargill-MacMillan Family: $45 billion
We now move into rarefied territory with the wealth multiplying exponentially. One of biggest giants in the trading industry, Cargill Inc is the largest privately held corporation in the US today. Found in 1865, this company has its hand in various pies such as energy trading, livestock, pharmaceuticals, financial risk management, electricity, and gas. This family employs over 140,000 employees and is responsible for more than 25% of the total grain exports from the US. Every person who has been to McDonald’s should know that every egg used in these restaurants has to pass through Cargill’s plants. With a net worth of $45 billion, this family stands at the No 4 spot in the list.
3. Mars Family: $80 billion
Children would love to see this family reach the top of the list. This is because every child in the US would have at some point in life, gorged on the confectioneries manufactured by Mars Inc, owned by the Mars family. At one point in time, this family was the richest family in the US. They are fiercely protective of their privacy with no person in the family other than a couple of women like Jacqueline and Victoria being photographed in public. This family does not give any public or press interviews as well. With a total net worth of $80 billion, they have slipped to the No 3 spot in the list today.
2. Koch Family: $86 billion
The Koch Family is the proud owner of the No 2 spot in this list. They could have easily topped the list had it not been for a feud in the family that caused a divide. Today, two brothers, Charles Koch and David Koch run this family business started by their father Fred Koch. The second largest privately owned company in the US, Koch Industries is into the refinement of crude oil into gasoline. The Koch brothers have political leanings as well with David Koch became the Libertarian Party’s nomination for the Vice President in 1980. They have done a lot of charity with the establishment of organizations like the Charles Koch Foundation and the David Koch Foundation, etc. Today, this family has a net worth of $86 billion.
1. Walton Family: $149 billion
Who do we have at No 1 in the list? Your guess is as good as mine. It is the Walton Family, responsible for starting the largest retailer chain in the world, Walmart. Found by the brothers, Sam and Bud Walton, this retailer chain started out in a very small way. Over the years they have diversified into the world’s largest chain with presence in virtually every country in the world. In fact, one can say that this chain is responsible for revolutionizing the concept of retailing. Today, the third generation of this family runs the show with 50.8% holding in the company. Having a total net worth of $149 billion, this family business is at the No 1 spot by a long way.
Family business can run well provided there is complete cooperation among the members of the family. With the passing of time, the family gets bigger. At the same time, the drift gets bigger as well. This can ruin the business. The family that stays together in tough times reaps the benefits in the best possible manner. This is the main secret of the top 10 richest families in the US today.