How the Rothschild family’s net worth was built
Born in Germany in the 1700s, Mayer Amschel Rothschild began the business dealings that eventually made the Rothschild family a financial powerhouse. He got his start as an apprentice under Wolf Jacob Oppenheimer, a financier whose firm specialized in extending credit to royalty and participating in international trade. Oppenheimer gave Mayer Rothschild the knowledge that he would use to build his family’s fortune.
Rothschild used money from his wife’s dowry and his personal business deals to invest in the Industrial Revolution and sell arms. He began extending credit to his customers, which proved to be the catalyst that led to the family’s current net worth of $400 billion.
Though Rothschild had 10 children total, he focused on his five sons to expand his family’s influence. He sent each to a different European city to establish the family’s financial services in potentially profitable areas.
To prevent his family’s fortune from being lost due to inheritance laws, he prohibited female relatives from receiving a direct inheritance, a rule that encouraged women to marry their relatives.
As of April 2017 the Rothschild family’s net worth was estimated at $400 billion by Celebrity Net Worth.
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- Born: 1744 (Mayer Amschel Rothschild)
- Birthplace: Frankfurt, Germany
What they’re up to now
Though numerous descendants of the original Rothschild family are alive today, the family does not enjoy the same global financial dominance that it did in the 1700s and 1800s. Rothschild Group, an investment banking company that serves multiple nations, boasts annual revenue of about $500 million — less than what many modern-day corporations make.
The family has diversified its interests beyond banking. The family fortune currently includes investments in winemaking, farming, mining and real estate.
In the mid-19th century, the Rothschild family was known as the most successful global bankers of their time. The family also has the distinction of being the wealthiest family in history. Mayer Amschel Rothschild is credited with being the inventor of modern banking.
Many members of the Rothschild family are billionaires who hold massive fortunes. With an individual net worth of $1.61 billion, Swiss banker Benjamin de Rothschild comes in at No. 1,121 on the Forbes world billionaire list.