Who are the World’s 5 Richest Women?

March 25, 2022

In March, we honor women’s history and celebrate the wearing of the green for St. Patrick’s Day. Of course, every day is a day to celebrate the green in our wallets. This all makes us wonder, who are the world’s five wealthiest women, and do we have anything in common with these multi-billionaire matrons? (Here’s a hint: Four of them are Americans.)

Maybe we don’t share the “b” for “billion” in our net worth, but we do share one common trait: our mortality. Whether we are fabulously wealthy or just comfortable, we are all here for only a short time. We all have beloved family, friends, or charities that mean something to us and that we would like to benefit by passing on something tangible so our memory can live on.

The five most affluent women in the world share the fact that someone put plans into place for them so they would benefit and be able to share their wealth one day.

Behold the 5 Richest Women in the World:

1. Françoise Bettencourt Meyers
Net Worth: $73.6 billion
Source of Wealth: L’Oreal

Meyers, 67, a Frenchwoman and the one non-U.S. citizen in this group, is the granddaughter of L’Oreal founder Eugene Schueller. She inherited her billions from her mother, Liliane Bettencourt, who died in 2017. Meyers joined the board of the cosmetics giant in 1997, and her fortune has risen and fallen – slightly – with the company’s performance. The company has always been a solid asset; it recorded sales of $33.6 billion in 2020. Profits dipped 6% in 2020, partly because consumers bought fewer cosmetics during the pandemic. As demand has picked up, so has the stock, rising by 38%.

The problem was that the Letter of Wishes is not an official document; it is no substitute for a Last Will and Testament (“Will”) or a family Trust. Her family was able to go to court and easily change it to erase her desires and substitute their own. Her sons’ inheritance was delayed by the legal battle, and instead of money, her godchildren received “sentimental” trinkets. Instead, their money went to an exhibition of Diana’s possessions, which made her brother and other relatives even wealthier.

2. Alice Walton
Net Worth: $61.8 billion
Source of Wealth: Walmart

Walton, 71, daughter of Walmart founder Sam Walton, fell from the top spot this year, but at No. 2, she is not exactly in the poorhouse. In fact, her worth rose by $7.4 billion, due to Walmart stock increasing by more than 5% since March 2020. She was another beneficiary of pandemic economics; Walmart introduced free delivery, which helped spike online sales by 69%.

3. MacKenzie Scott
Net Worth: $53 billion
Source of Wealth: Amazon

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos’ ex-wife gave away almost $6 billion to charities. However, her net worth still managed to rise by $17 billion. The 50-year-old philanthropist gave away a chunk of her fortune in highly publicized donations to 500 nonprofit organizations supporting causes, including racial equity, LGBTQ+ rights, and public health. She recently remarried, and her husband has joined her in the Giving Pledge wealth giveaway.

4. Julia Koch & family
Net Worth: $46.4 billion
Source of Wealth: Koch Industries

The widow of David Koch has a 42% share (with her children) of the family business, which recorded $115 billion in sales in 2019 and is the nation’s largest private company. At 58, she serves on the Koch Industries board of directors with David Koch’s older brother, Charles, who is chairman and also owns a 42% stake of the conglomerate.

5. Miriam Adelson
Net Worth: $38.2 billion
Source of Wealth: Casinos

The casino business has been very lucky for Adelson, 75. She inherited a 56% stake of the Las Vegas Sands resort founded by her husband, Sheldon Adelson, who died in January 2021. Nevada’s two-month lockdown during the pandemic pinched the company’s performance in 2020; the company lost $985 million in the second quarter and ended the year with a $69 billion net loss, but Adelson’s pot does not appear to have suffered.

No matter how big or small your net worth, you need expert help to turn it into a legacy. Get started with a free phone consultation by contacting OC Estate & Elder Law at (954) 251-0332 or info@ocestatelawyers.com. Our attorneys are fluent in English, Spanish, and Russian.