How Did the Walton Family Get Rich?

The Walton family is known for creating the Walmart empire. However, one of the richest families in the world started from one man's ambition.

Kori Williams - Author

Nov. 13 2020, Published 2:35 p.m. ET

how did the walton family get rich
Source: istock

It isn't a surprise that the family behind mega-retailer Walmart is rich. In fact, the Walton family is one of the richest families in the U.S. Even though the coronavirus pandemic has challenged the economy, the Walton family still has a huge net worth. According to The Financial Post, the family's heirs were worth more than $175 billion last year. 

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walton family
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How did the Walton Family make its money?

Sam Walton was the first in the family to start growing its financial success. According to Business Insider, he opened the first Walmart location in Arkansas in 1962. Sam Walton made a number of financial decisions that set his family up for success. 

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Walton minimized the amount of estate taxes his family would have to pay and secured 20 percent of Walton Enterprises stock for each of his children. 

In 1942, Walton married Helen Robson and they had four children together—Samuel (who's called Rob), John, James, and Alice. The Walton children took jobs in Walton Enterprises.  

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Rob Walton was the chairman of Walmart until 2005. He has added to his wealth with a collection of vintage cars and a home in Paradise Valley, Ariz. His brother John was a Walmart board member before his death in 2005.

James (who goes by Jim) is the chairman of Arvest Bank. The bank is owned by the Walton family and its assets are worth more than $20 billion dollars.

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Walmart owns a number of other businesses. Retailers like Sam's Club,, and the fashion retailer ModCloth are all owned by the company. However, those are only some of the businesses that Walmart owns in the U.S. The company owns many other businesses across the world. 

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members of the walton family
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Rob, Alice, and Jim Walton

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What percentage of Walmart does the Walton family own?

Members of the Walton family own 50 percent of Walmart. According to Market Watch, the holding company, Walton Enterprises, owns the stake in the retailer. 

Walmart trades on the NYSE under the ticker symbol "WMT." According to Fox Business, the company went public in 1970. At the time, the stock sold for $16.50 per share. Currently, Walmart stock sells for $147.98 per share.

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How did Walmart become the world's largest retailer?

According to Britannica, a number of factors came together and made Walmart what it is today. For example, Walmart Supercenters are a one-stop-shop for Americans across the country. In fact, Walmart is one of the largest grocery stores in the country. 

But other things like advertising, efficient distribution, and cost controls have also brought Walmart tons of customers while keeping the costs low.  

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According to an article in Medium, Sam Walton thought that Walmart locations had to be within a day's driving distance from distribution centers. Walmart built its centers and stores in more rural areas, while competitors focused on big cities. Walmart's locations created chains of stores around its competitors. 

How much money has the Walton family made from Walmart?

The Walton family makes billions of dollars per year solely from Walmart, according to Market Watch. Last year, Walmart made $514 billion dollars. Because of the holding company's 50 percent stake in the retail chain, the family earned $3 billion from dividends. 


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