When it comes to wealth, everyone wants to know which person, family and company is at the very top. Who isn’t fascinated with money? If you’re well off, then you are clearly capable of providing for yourself and those you love. You are able to live comfortably and can do just about anything else that you like.
Even though there are millions of people that strive to become wealthy, a small fraction of them are actually able to work hard enough to reach their goal. However, there are also people that have been able to become rich simply by virtue of being born into a wealthy family.
Here is a list of the top ten richest families in the world that have built their own dynasties of wealth and passed it down for multiple generation.
1. Du Pont Family – $12 billion
As far as old family money goes, the Du Pont family just might be the richest family in the world. The Du Pont dynasty of wealth began back in the early 19th century after French Physiocrat Pierre Samuel du Pont de Nemours fled to America in 1800. After his son, Eleuthere, founded a gunpowder factory, their wealth began to build at an exponential pace over time. Ammunition contracts during World War I allowed their profits to skyrocket. They were able to expand their portfolio by purchasing one-third of General Motors in the 1920s and are also recognized for building Wilmington Trust and Delaware Trust in the 20th century.
2. Mellon Family – $10 billion
The successful financial institution currently known as the Mellon Bank was originally established in the mid-1800s by Judge Thomas Mellon. At the time, this establishment went by the name T. Mellon & Sons and served as the primary foundation and cornerstone of the Mellon family’s wealth over the past two centuries. Judge Mellon’s sons, Richard and Andrew, took their family’s empire to a much higher level after financing the burgeoning steel industry in Pennsylvania, becoming one of the richest families in the country during the pre-World War I era.
3. Haniel Family – $10 billion
Over 900 members of the Haniel family make up this wealthy dynasty that originated with the founding and establishment of Franz Haniel & Cie. This conglomerate has been able to accumulate over $16 billion in sales and has expanded into a wide variety of markets, including construction materials, pharmaceuticals and environmental cleaning. One of their most successful investments that have led to their placement on this list is their 19% ownership stake in Metro AG, a German retailer.
4. Boehringer Family – $10.2 billion
Boehringer Ingelheim is known as one of the top twenty leading pharmaceutical companies in the world, generating revenue of over $5 billion in sales each year from their pharmaceutical sales that benefit both animals and humans. All shares of this company are owned by the Boehringer, von Baumbach and Liebrecht families.
5. Rockefeller Family – $8.5 Billion
The first billionaire in the United States, John Rockefeller, was able to build the foundation for his wealthy family’s empire by leaving his accounting job to establish Standard Oil in 1863. His ambitions rubbed off on his son who was able to focus on finding success in philanthropy and real estate after Standard Oil was forced to close. The Rockefeller family expanded almost just as fast as their wealthy empire did, including a wide variety of politicians, venture capitalists and successful business professionals.
Many experts believe that after accounting for inflation, John Rockefeller might be the richest non-monarch in history. If it weren’t for his generous philanthropy and government breakup of the Standard Oil monopoly, the Rockefeller clan would likely still be the richest family in the world.
6. Engelhorn Family – $8.4 billion
When pharmaceutical firms DePuy and Boehringer Mannheim were sold in the late 1990s for $11 billion, quite a few Engelhorn family members were able to make a spot for themselves on this list by sharing close to 60% of the proceeds that were generated from that sale. Curt Engelhorn received the remaining balance and the family has been able to fund a wide range of other profitable investments over the years since that monumental sale.
7. Phipps Family – $7.3 billion
This dynasty began in the late 19th century, when Henry Phipps became the business partner and lead accountant for Andrew Carnegie. Phipps grew up in a working family and was determined to make sure that he made smart decisions in his adult life that would allow his family to hopefully achieve lifetime wealth. He took the $50 million that he received after Carnegie sold his business to JP Morgan in the early 1900s and developed Bessemer Trust, a business that caters specifically to individuals that have a considerably high net worth. Over $35 billion have been managed in assets over the years and the entire Phipps family has been able to enjoy the wealth that has been generated because of it.
8. Porsche/Piech Families – $7 billion
The largest private company and automobile dealer throughout Austria is Porsche. The Porsche family currently owns close to 80 percent of Porsche AG and is currently working with Volkswagen to revolutionize the automobile industry even further with a new sports utility vehicle that will be added to its popular and profitable line of sports cars. Back in the 1990s, Ferdinand Piech was able to add his own family into this successful, wealthy dynasty by reviving Volkswagen and making it successful and popular again in today’s market.
9. Oeri/Hoffman Families – $6.9 billion
Based on a loophole that exists within Swiss law, over 50 percent of Roche pharmaceuticals is currently controlled by the Oeri-Hoffman dynasty even though they only own about 10 percent of the company’s share capital. Over the years, the family has had to fight to defend this deal numerous times. Many industry analysts and advisors state that this ownership structure will make it extremely difficult to finalize any potential mergers in the future, but the family has responded simply by saying that they will resolve that issue if it does, in fact, arise.
10. Mulliez Family – $6.7 billion
Unlike many other entries that are featured on this list, the Mulliez family did not create a wealthy empire based on the ownership or purchasing of one specific company. This dynasty developed its wealth over the years, simply by having an extensive list of controlling stakes in close to twenty different companies, including a chain of supermarkets in France as well as the successful retailer of sporting goods, Decathlon.