Virtual Accountants – Getting by is still a struggle for most people in America, in fact according to CareerBuilder 78% of full-time workers live paycheck to paycheck. CNBC reported that even 10% of those making nearly $100,000 or more can’t make ends meet due to debt. 56% of all workers can only save about $100 or less per month. But this accounting blog isn’t about those people, it’s about the 10 richest families in the world. Those that live extravagant lifestyles, own tons of property, and have at least $34 billion in net worth.

Banking, Real Estate, Wineries and Charity: The Rotschilds

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The richest families include a mix of royalty, financial pioneers and generations of entrepreneurs. Without further ado, your virtual accountants present the wealthiest of them all: The Rotschilds originating from Germany. Think international banking since the 1700s. Mayer Rothschild who became an orphan at 12 years old, the original patriarch was an assistant and finance manager of the German royal family. Eventually, he developed a banking business for German aristocracy and provided capital for business such as railways and the Suez Canal.

The French Revolution has also been profitable for the Rotschilds since they supplied the Austrian Army with wheat, uniforms, horses, equipment and also facilitated financial transactions for Hessian mercenary soldiers. Today, the wealth has been divided to many heirs and spanned many industries including financial services, real estate, wineries, mining, energy and charitable work that has a total of 30 foundations. The Rotschild’s net worth is estimated between anywhere from $350 billion to $2 trillion.

From Variety Store to Retail Empire: The Waltons

Of course, your virtual accountants know that no richest families list would be complete without the Waltons. Before opening Walmart, Sam Walton, who attended the University of Missourri, owned variety store franchises in the late 40s. By July 1962, the first Walmart store was open in Rogers, Arkansas. His success is due to his mastery of logistics, distribution, selection and supplier contracts. Sam Walton had four children and was personally worth $8.6 billion at the time of his death in 1992.

In 1998, Walmart founder was included in Time’s list of 100 most influential people of the 20th Century and was ranked richest person in the U.S. from 1982 to 1988. Walmart stores operate in the U.S. and in over 15 international markets including Argentina, Canada, Costa Rica, Malawi, Tanzania and Kenya. Today, the largest publicly-traded family-owned is the largest non-governmental employer worldwide with about 2.3 million employees as well as the largest company by revenue with over $500 billion.

Candy, Rice and Pet Food: The Mars’

richest families in the worldCandy is even sweeter when it you the third richest family in America. Mars Inc, yes the largest private confectionery company behind M & Ms and the delicious Mars bar, was estimated at $80 billion net worth. Frank Mars founded the company back in 1911, when he started selling candy from his kitchen in Tacoma, Washington. By 1929, Forrest Sr. invented the malt-flavored nougat that turned into what we know today as the Milky Way and Snickers. Later M&M was born, of which 400 million are produced every day in the U.S. The Mars company also makes Uncle Ben’s rice and owns pet food brands including Pedigree and Whiskas. Talk about richest family in the world!

Haircare, makeup and skincare: The Bettencourts

richest familiesAnother richest family in the world got their start in 1909, when Eugene Schueller developed a unique hair dye in Paris which later grew into cosmetics juggernaut L’Oreal. The French pharmacists and businessman graduated from the Institut de Chimie Appliquee de Paris and first started selling his hair color which he called Oreale to Parisian hairdressers. Today, your virtual accountants know L’oreal is a world leader in cosmetics, beauty, haircare and perfume. The company owns tons of brands including Lancome, Biotherm, Kiel’s, Maybelline New York, Redken, Mizani, Cacharel, Diesel, Essie and plenty more. Eugene’s daughter Liliane Bettencourt is the wealthiest woman in the world with $36.4 billion.