The name Rothschild has become synonymous with wealth, and the story of the Rothschild family started with a man called Mayer Amschel Rothschild. His beginnings were what you might call humble, since he lived in a Jewish ghetto in Frankfurt, Germany, sharing a house with another 30 people.
Both his parents died from smallpox when he was just 12 years old, and prior to that, it was their wish that he become a rabbi. That didn’t happen, and instead at age just 13 the young Rothschild started an apprenticeship at a bank in Hanover.
Through his teens, he practiced commodities and money-trading as well as sold rare coins. Through that, he rubbed shoulders with German nobility, and while he was working, he was also making children, ten in all.
So, we know it all started with Mayer Amschel Rothschild. In fact, this man is sometimes called “The founding father of international finance.” We know he had ten kids, and five of those were sons.
Each of these sons was responsible for running a finance house in Europe’s centers of finance.
Rothschild family, or empire, worked under the motto: Unity, Integrity, Industry. We are told that understanding all the ways the Rothschild family earned its fortune is not exactly clear, with one journalist saying, “There is no book about them that is both revealing and accurate. Libraries of nonsense have been written about them.”
We do know that war made the family rich, with the Rothschild making hay during a time when the European sun shone on conflict after conflict. The Rothschild family lent money to governments to finance war and also had a hand in many industries.
Before Mayer Rothschild left planet Earth in 1812, he had thought up ways to keep all the money he and his sons had made by maintaining a close knit family. According to an article in Discover magazine in 2003 called, “Go Ahead, Kiss Your Cousin,” the plan was for cousins to marry cousins, thereby keeping the money in a close gene pool.
That magazine tells us, “For generations the Rothschild family had been inbreeding almost as intensively as European royalty.” It also tells us, “Four of Mayer’s granddaughters married grandsons, and one married her uncle. These were hardly people whose mate choice was limited by the distance they could walk on their day off.”
Nathan Mayer Rothschild – the third son that started everything
We are told that of Mayer’s five sons it was the third that made the most cash. His name was Nathan Mayer Rothschild. Nathan made a lot of money funding infrastructure in Europe, and this was a Europe that was growing at hyper-speed because of the industrial revolution.
He moved to the center of that revolution, England, in 1798.
There he started a textile business and also began trading on the London Stock Exchange. Soon enough he would have his own bank, and that was called N M Rothschild & Sons Ltd. We are told that during the Napoleonic Wars the bank pretty much financed Britain’s entire war effort.
But lending money to governments wasn’t the only way of making huge amounts of money. Insurance was a game that the Rothschilds played. Nathan, along with a partner, founded the Alliance Assurance Company in 1824. The Rothschild Archives tell us this was a direct challenge to Lloyds bank.
The Rothschild family got their hands into everything
The Rothschild family were busy to say the least, buying up expensive tracts of land in London, helping Brazil gain its independence, financing massive projects such as the building of the Suez Canal, while also using its capital to help the founding of some of the world’s biggest companies.
It also lent money to Japan, so it could finance its side of the Russo-Japanese War. Nathan, now Lord Rothschild, had his finger in so many pies that he was sometimes called the most powerful man in Britain.
It was Nathan who started the philanthropic activities of the Rothschilds. He had seven kids of his own, each of whom either went into the business or spent much of their time with the charity side of the business. This included building schools, libraries, hospitals, orphanages, and places where the old could live their dying years in peace.
But peace in the early 20th century was not exactly in the air. Investopedia tells us there was in-fighting in the early 20th century, which was detrimental to the Rothschild family wealth. We are told that during WW2 the family also lost many properties, while the Nazis stole millions of dollars’ worth of assets from the Rothschilds.
Still, the Rothschild family was never exactly broke. We are told that these days the family fortune is still considerable, and it still has its fingers in many, many pies, with finance, real estate, mining and energy being some of the bigger pies.
Some smaller businesses include things like owning wineries, of which the Rothschild owns quite a few on different sides of the world. The Rothschild family is also the proud owner of one of the biggest art collections in the world, and the mind boggles as to how much that collection is worth.
How much they are worth is only a guessing game
There are many descendants in this family, and the wealth stays with them. You can easily find a list of all these descendants, and you’ll see that there are way too many people for us to discuss in detail.
For that reason adding up what the entire Rothschild family is worth is no easy feat, but people have tried doing it. We might look at the Forbes richest people list, which has few Rothschilds on it.
Coming in at No. 84 for 2018 was a man called Benjamin de Rothschild, and it’s said he has a net worth of about $1.7 billion. That’s enough not to stress about the electricity bill and his three kids’ school fees, but in terms of billionaires he is nothing special.
But then Forbes tells us his job is to preside over the Edmond de Rothschild global financial empire, and that is said to manage assets of up to $170 billion, including banks, hotels and restaurants. Benjamin also owns, or part-owns, vineyards in France, South Africa, Argentina and New Zealand. And as we said, this is just one guy in a very big family.
No one Rothschild family member has an obscene amount of wealth, meaning no one Rothschild is about to match the wealth of people such as Bill Gates or Warren Buffet, but when you add all those assets together it does come to a lot of money.
The wealth of Rothschild family changes, depending on what source you read
Searching for the magic number regarding the net worth of all the family you’ll find sources that differ drastically. We found one site that said the entire Rothschild family fortune could be as much as 2 trillion dollars, but the website Bankrate believes it’s nowhere near that amount.
It says the Rothchild family net worth is closer to $400 billion, and again, we must stress there are a lot of mouths to feed in this large family. Bankrate tells us one of the big money spinners is the Rothschild Group investment firm, which pulls in around $500 million a year.
Then you have all the conspiracy theory sites, and they tell a totally different story. One such website tells us that the Rothschilds had a hand in the assassination of American President John F. Kennedy, and that the family is worth an astounding five hundred trillion dollars.
That particular site, one that seems to lack any kind of journalistic integrity, tells us Jacob Rothschild is worth more than Bill Gates. This should be taken with a pinch of salt until someone can offer serious counter evidence. Other resources tell us Jacob, the 82-year old British investment banker, is worth more like five billion dollars, which pales in comparison to the Gates fortune.
Highly exaggerated net worth
Let’s see what those intrepid fact-finders over at Snopes tell us about the 500 trillion figure. Well, the first thing you can read in that story is that the Rothschilds owning such wealth is FALSE. It shows us an amusing meme of Jacob, who quite amusingly is made to look just like Mr. Burns from the Simpsons.
Snopes tells us that the “grossly exaggerated” wealth that some people talk about is another conspiracy tied up with paranoid platitudes along the lines of the Jews running the world and the Illuminati controlling everything.
Snopes tells us when the 500 trillion number was first disseminated through the sometimes dishonest-heart of the internet, the world’s wealth was reported at only $250 trillion. This, said Snopes, is problematic. It certainly is. It sounds like a children’s math question. “In the box, there are 10 apples.
Jane took four, Peter took two and Jacob took twenty. How many apples are there left?” Snopes says that while many Rothschild family members are indeed rich, the Rothschilds don’t have anywhere near the global influence they used to have.
What are all these people worth, all assets, business, etc.?
Investopedia published two stories about this and each in its turn was taken down with the website saying that the journalism was “inadequately sourced.”
One story said the family’s net worth was $350 billion and another said the family controlled more than $2 trillion worth in assets. You can still see these numbers on other sites, with links back to Investopedia. But as Investopedia wants nothing to do with these numbers, we would be better looking elsewhere.
CNBC you would think would do its homework when adding up rich family wealth, but when it did its list it said it couldn’t include families such as the Rothschilds and the Rockefellers because the wealth is just too diversified.
Ok, we are getting nowhere here, and the reason is because no reliable journalistic sources have attempted to give us a number on this diversified wealth. If we look at Forbes rich list again, Jacob Rothschild doesn’t even get on the list with his purported 5 billion. We should add that it seems this number was first let loose by the website The Richest.
But on the Forbes list, we have Benjamin, who we have already talked about, and also Jeff Rothschild, who is said to be worth about $2.2 billion right now. You could call this 63-year old Silicon Valley resident a more modern kind of Rothschild as he made a ton of money in tech, such as Facebook. But then it gets tricky, because his bio states he is not part of the Rothschild family. It seems not everyone agrees with that statement, but we’ll take him for his word.
How much is the Rothschild family worth with all the the mining, the finance, the energy, the arts, the wine, the properties?
We must tell you that we don’t feel after our little investigation that we could give you even a ballpark figure.
The Financial Times doesn’t even dare to state what it thinks the Rothschild family is worth. Back in 2010, the newspaper said, “The ownership structure is opaque, which makes it hard to estimate the family wealth, although it is one of the richest in the world.”
Featured image: Clockwise: Mayer Karl Rothschild, Frankfurt, 1820–1866; Nathan Mayer v. Rothschild, London, 1877–1836; Baron Lion. Nath. Rothschild, London, 1808–1879; James v. Rothschild, Paris, 1792–1868; Baron Alb. v. Rothschild, Wien, 1844; Sal. Mayer v. Rothschild, Wien, 1744–1855; Anselm Sal. Frh. v. Rothschild, Wien, 1830 –1874; Mayer v. Rothschild, Frankfurt, 1773–1855; In the middle: Mayer Amschel Rothschild Frankfurt, 1745–1812, Begründer des Hauses Rothschild, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons