Easy Come – Easy Go?
The old saying has many connotations, referring to many situations in life, and quite often in a joking way, but how would you feel if, at the age of 66, you were to lose around one third of the nest-egg you had built-up over the years to see you through your retirement? Perhaps you wouldn’t feel too badly if you are Christy Walton, who until very recently was ranked by Forbes magazine as the richest woman in the world, and who still has a fortune of around $28 billion.
To be precise, latest estimations show that Christy Walton owns about 11 per cent of the shares of American supermarket juggernaut Wal-Mart, and combined with her three in-laws, Jim, Alice and Rob Walton, retains controls of the company. This situation is courtesy of her inheritance from her husband John Walton, who died in an airplane crash in 2005, the ‘Easy (if tragically) Come’ part.
Christy has obviously been both unlucky and lucky – unlucky to lose her spouse in a tragedy, but lucky that her inherited fortune enables her to live in the manner to which she has become accustomed.
Christy married John Walton in 1985, and was left over $$18 billion on his untimely death. At the start of this year, her fortune had risen to over $40 billion, but the volatile nature of the stock market this year, plus Wal-Mart’s relatively poor performance recently, has seen that amount diminish considerably in 2015. On 14 October alone, more than $9 billion was wiped off the value of Wal-Mart shares, almost doubling the amount technically ‘lost’ in this month alone.
Total Wal-Mart losses this year now mean that Christy Walton’s net worth has slipped to just $28.5 billion, however, Christy is pretty well a silent partner in the Wal-Mart empire, preferring to live as a virtual recluse on her ranch near Jackson Wyoming, but she does take an interest in the Walton Family Charitable Support Foundation which contributes significant amounts to educational institutions. She also has other investments totalling more than a billion dollars
So, does the ‘loss’ of more than $12 billion effect Christy Walton? Considering her conservative lifestyle, perhaps not very much. Surely a very untypical example of ‘Easy Come – Easy Go’.