Net Worth: $14.3 Billion
Notable Member(s): Dirk Ziff
Industry: Media and Finance
Claim to Fame: PC Magazine
The Ziff brothers are a case of family money being passed down and being handed to someone simply because of a shared bloodline. However, these brothers were able to take that wealth and build upon it. In this case, their grandfather was a media mogul who owned several publications, including PC and Car and Driver.
After his death, they inherited his fortune and started an investment firm – Ziff Brothers Investments. The decision proved to be a wise one and the wealth continued to grow with each new investment the siblings made until eventually, they found themselves worth nearly $15 billion – or just over $5 billion each. The brothers, who are said to shy away from the cameras of the media, recently put their family estate in Manalapan up for sale for a whopping $195 million. They also closed out their hedge funds and decided to part ways and sold another property that they owned in Palm Beach. They’re also said to be pretty philanthropic, donating to several causes and charities over the years, including Republican legislators that support gay marriage, and Harvard’s hockey program.
Net Worth: $2 Billion
Notable Member(s): Roger Penske
Claim to Fame: Penske Co.
Penske is one of the biggest names in the auto world, and even those that really aren’t all familiar with that would have probably heard the name more than a few times. Roger Penske began building the family empire in the 1950s when he started racing and selling cars. By the ’60s, he was well-known and winning all kinds of awards.
Roger wasn’t just racing cars, though, he was selling them, too – and turning quite a profit. Aside from being named Sports Illustrated “Driver of the Year,” in 1961, he was becoming quite a success financially, as well. In 1965, he retired from racing and focused on the business side of things, like opening up his first dealership. Now, you can’t go to a race without seeing the name Penske all over everything. Penske even runs his own IndyCar team and has dealerships all over the United States and throughout Canada and some parts of Europe. The racing legend has been inducted into several Hall of Fames and has amassed a net worth of over $2 billion.
Net Worth: $34 Billion
Notable Member(s): Phil “Buck” Knight
Claim to Fame: Nike
Nike just so happens to have an incredible success story behind it, as well as a pretty awesome creator. Phil Knight, who founded the company, didn’t grow up with a ton of money, and he certainly didn’t have his first company handed to him. Although his father did own a newspaper, he refused to just hire his son and instead made him work for everything.
Out of spite, Phil headed over to his father’s rival newspaper and got a job there – where he worked his butt off. The office was 7 miles away from his home – and he walked to work and ran home every single day. He went on to become a distance runner for his alma mater, the University of Oregon. After school, Knight enlisted with the army, where he served a year of active duty and 7 years in the reserve. After his first year, he went to the Stanford Graduate School of Business and earned his MBA. He traveled the world after graduation, including a trip to Japan, during which he got the idea for the company. Now, Nike pulls in almost $9 billion per year, making he and his family some of the richest people in the country.
Net Worth: $4.4
Industry: Health and Wellness
Notable Member(s): Frank L. Vandersloot
Claim to Fame: Melaleuca, Inc.
The VanderSloot’s are another great example of a name that not everyone’s heard of, but that’s attached to multiple things laying around any given house at any second. The VanderSloot’s founded Melaleuca, Inc, a health and wellness company that sells personal care and household items to customers and businesses all over the world.
When Frank L. VanderSloot first founded the company in 1985, they started fairly small, selling things like tea tree oil. Unfortunately, they didn’t quite hit the mark the first time around and he was forced into closing temporarily. He even went so far as to describe the initial failure as a “mess.” But when VanderSloot relaunched his health and wellness company, he was able to grow it into a fortune 500, thanks to his multilevel marketing tactics. They still depend on the same marketing schemes, with their website promising that they can “erase your debt.” But hey, they’ve become an empire, worth over $3 billion…so, anything is possible, apparently even with MLM!
Net Worth: $5.8 Billion
Notable Member(s): Jim Davis
Claim to Fame: New Balance
New Balance was actually founded all the way back in 1906, but it remained as just a small-time footwear company in Boston until Jim Davis came along and bought it in 1972. Davis turned the company into the conglomerate that it is today and racked up a net worth of nearly $6 billion.
Now, the shoe mogul has multi-million-dollar deals with big name brands all over the world, including a recent $40 million per year deal in Liverpool with Warrior Sports. The company is also known for sponsoring athletes like the Toronto Raptors Small Forward, Kawhi Leonard, in 2018. Unfortunately, New Balance got caught up in political controversies around the 2016 election which prompted a social media frenzy that showed thousands of people tossing their sneakers in the trash and vowing never to buy from them again. However, they seem to be doing just fine, and they recently hosted their 19th annual New Balance Nationals in North Carolina.