MEET THE WALTONS: How America's wealthiest family spends its Walmart fortune

  • The Walton family is the richest family in America.
  • Sam Walton founded Walmart in 1962. It is now the world's largest retailer by revenue with sales of $500 billion from its nearly 12,000 stores worldwide.
  • Walton's descendants have a combined wealth of $151.5 billion, according to Bloomberg. This is more than Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, and Warren Buffett, and $52.8 billion more than the second-richest family in the United States, the Kochs.
  • In public, the Waltons live a pretty modest life despite their wealth. Here's how they spend their fortune.

The Waltons are the richest family in America, but they're pretty discreet about it.

According to Bloomberg's Billionaires Index, the Walmartheirs have a combined wealth of $151.5 billion, which is more than Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, and Warren Buffett. In fact, they are worth $52.8 billion more than the second-richest family in the United States, the Kochs.

The three children of Walmart founder Sam Walton co-own Walton Enterprises, which is the biggest shareholder of the company and the reason behind their wealth. Walmart is the world's largest retailer by revenue with sales of $500 billion from its nearly 12,000 stores around the world.

Only one of the siblings, Rob Walton, sits on the board of the company. James Walton, his brother, served on the board until 2016, before being replaced by his son Steuart in 2016.

Alice Walton, the youngest sibling, has never taken an active role running the business and has instead become a patron of the arts.

When the company has a good quarter, the family makes millions of dollars in dividends. However, despite their fortune, the Waltons seem to live a pretty modest life, at least in public.

Here's what we do know about how the wealthy family spends its fortune: 

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America's wealthiest family's spending habits
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America's wealthiest family's spending habits

Sam Walton, who died in 1992, opened the first Walmart store in Arkansas in 1962. 

Photo credit: Getty

He was married to Helen Ronson. Together, they had four children: Rob, John, Jim, and Alice. 

The Walton family own 50% of Walmart's total stock between them.

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This is Samuel Robson "Rob" Walton, the oldest Walton son. He served as chairman of Walmart until 2015. 

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He 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. 

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He 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. 

Photo credit: Getty

John Walton, pictured here second from left, died in a plane crash in 2005, at the age of 58. 

Photo credit: Reuters

John was married to Christy Walton and had one son, named Lukas. John left about 17% of his wealth to his wife, and the rest was given to charity and to his son. 

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James "Jim" Walton is the youngest son. He is estimated to be worth $42.1 billion. He is chairman of the board of the family's Arvest Bank, which has assets that total more than $18 billion. He also served on the Walmart board before being replaced by his son Steuart in 2016. 

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

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Alice has never taken an active role running the business and has instead become a patron of the arts. She fell in love with the arts at a young age. When she was 10, she bought her first work of art: a reproduction of a Picasso painting for about $2, she told The New Yorker. 

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

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Alice opened a museum called Crystal Bridges in 2011 to house her $500 million private art collection. When it opened, it had four times the endowment of the famous Whitney Museum in New York. 

Photo credit: Reuters

In 2014, she spent $44.4 million on a Georgia O'Keefe painting. It was the biggest sale for a woman's piece of art in history. 

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Alice is also a breeder of horses. Her Millsap, Texas, property, Rocking W Ranch, recently sold for an undisclosed amount. 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. 

Photo credit: WilliamsTrew

Her other 4,416-acre Texas ranch was previously listed at a reduced price of $22 million. The modest, three-bedroom, two-bath home overlooks a river. 

Photo credit: WilliamsTrew

Alice also owns a two-floor condo on New York's Park Avenue. She bought the property for $25 million in 2014. It has more than 52 large windows overlooking Central Park, plus a media room and over 6,000 square feet of space. 

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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. The charity donated around $530 million in 2017. 

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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. 

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

Photo credit: Getty

In its more recent quarterly results, reported in May, the company's share price climbed by 1.1% after online sales soared by 33%. 

Photo credit: Getty

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