Alice Walton, a Walmart heiress, is the second-richest woman in the world. Her life has involved a career in finance, the creation of a large art museum, political contributions, a passion for horses, and a few accidents along the way. Even though she didn’t need to work due to her Walmart fortune, Alice led a career in the finance industry for years and even founded her own investment bank.
Although Alice Walton, daughter of Sam Walton, is nearing the top, Françoise Bettencourt Meyers is currently the richest woman in the world with around $57 billion of net worth.
Most of Alice Walton’s net worth skyrocketed without her toiling in the family business (aside from briefly working at the company as a buyer of children’s clothes after she graduated college). Once her father died, she received her 13% stake in Walmart through the Walton Family Holdings Trust and Walton Enterprises. This percentage is assuming that Sam Walton split his shares equally among his four children. Since 1993, Alice has earned around $7 billion worth of stock sales and dividends.
Alice Pursued a Career
While her siblings worked for Walmart, Alice went down her own career path. She graduated from Trinity College in 1971 with a bachelor’s in economics and finance. Afterward, she started off as an equity analyst at First Commerce and then became an options trader at E.F. Hutton. She was also vice-chairman and head of investments at Arvest Bank (the Walton family’s bank).
She Started an Investment Bank
Soon later, Alice started an investment bank called Llama Company and served as CEO. The company closed in 1998 after the bond market crash. Alice Walton was also the first person to chair the Northwest Arkansas Council. She played a huge part in founding the Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport. She provided $15 million of initial funding, plus her investment bank underwrote a $79.5 million bond.
Alice Pursued Various Passions
After Llama Company closed, Alice moved to a ranch in Texas named Walton’s Rocking W. Ranch. There, she pursues her passion for breeding horses for racing.
Aside from her finance career, Alice loves and collects art. She purchased her first piece of art (a reproduction of Picasso’s Blue Nude) at just 10 years old. Later down the line, she founded the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in her hometown. The 217,00 square-foot museum opened in November 2011 and has a vast art collection worth around $500 million. It was the first major art museum to open in the United States since 1974! Because of Walmart's $20M sponsorship, admission is free.
In 2015, Walton listed the farm for sale and moved to Fort Worth so she could focus on the museum.
The richest, Jim C. Walton is worth 52.8 billion while his sister Alice is worth 52.5 billion.
The total Walton family net worth is almost $200 billion!
Alice Walton grew up in Bentonville, Arkansas with her three brothers. One brother passed away in 2005. Her father, Sam Walton, founded Walmart in 1962 (Alice was around 13 years old). By 1990, Walmart became the largest retailer in the United States. Which Walmart co-heir is the richest?
Although Alice isn’t currently married, she married an investment banker in 1974 (she was 24). They were together for almost three years. Soon after her divorce, she married the contractor who built her swimming pool. They divorced soon later as well.
Alice’s father passed away in 1992 at 74 years old because of cancer.
If he were alive, Sam Walton’s net worth would be over $140 billion – he would be the richest man in the world!
Alice Walton’s life hasn’t always been smooth sailing. She has been involved in a few different automobile accidents. For one, Alice lost control of a rental car in Mexico and drove it off a ravine. Years later, she was speeding and hit a 50-year-old woman, killing her.
In 1998, Alice hit a gas meter and a phone booth while intoxicated. Her lawyers argued that she was fatigued and she got off with a fine under $1,000. Once again, she failed a sobriety test when pulled over in 2011 (and had an expired registration).
Unlike many other millionaires and billionaires, Alice is pretty modest in her spending. She doesn’t buy luxury cars, yachts, private jets, and other expensive indulgences aside from some real estate. Surprisingly, Alice’s car is a 2006 Ford F-150 King Ranch, which is only around $40,000. This is much different than Jim Walton (his net worth is pretty much the same, but he has an expensive collection of vintage cars)
Learn more about how the billionaire spends her money below. (Hint: real estate investing plays a big role - you might also want to watch this video showing how passive real estate investing works.)
Alice has racked up a few real estate investments that add to her net worth. For one, she owns a 1,400-acre ranch near Fort Worth, TX. She used to raise horses at the ranch, but is now looking to sell. After selling her horses, she put it on the market for nearly $20 million and has yet to sell. The ranch features equipment barns as well as a 24-stall horse barn. On top of that, there is a 4,100 square-foot house with three bedrooms. There are also extra residences for guests and staff.
Besides the previous ranch, Walton is also trying to sell a 4,400-acre ranch along the Brazos River for nearly $30 million. It has 8.5 miles of land along the river. Plus, there is a 4,300 square-foot home with three bedrooms and three bathrooms.
Aside from these two ranches, Alice owns a condo in New York that she purchased for $25 million in 2014. It has over 50 windows that overlook Central Park, not to mention 6,000 square feet of space.
Since Alice has such a passion for art, it’s no surprise she has dropped millions on art for her personal collection. For one, she purchased Asher Brown Durand’s painting Kindred Spirits for $35 million. Although other prices are unknown, she has quietly purchased works from Martin Johnson Heade, Stuart Davis, George Bellows, John Singer Sargent, Charles Willson Peale, Winslow Homer, Edward Hopper, Marsden Hartley, and plenty more. Many of these pieces are displayed in her museum.
In 2004, Alice was the 20th-largest individual contributor in the U.S. presidential election. She donated $2.6 million to the conservative Progress for America group. Also, she contributed $200,000 to Restore Our Future as well as $353,400 to Hillary Victory Fund.
Aside from her donations to political causes, Alice has volunteered and donated to many causes. She runs the Walton Family Foundation, which supports K-12 education, economic development in Mississippi and Arkansas, as well as environmental conservation in these areas. Alice Walton’s net worth took a tiny dent when she donated $3.7 million of her personal Walmart shares to the nonprofit in 2016. The family foundation also started Camp War Eagle, a Christian summer camp that offers activities for children and provides scholarships to kids when they need it. In 2017, the charity donated $530 million in total.
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