Betsy DeVos is the current U.S. Secretary of Education. However, she was known in education circles before that, which is why her appointment was met with so much opposition that it came down to a 51-50 vote in the U.S. Senate with Vice President Mike Pence casting the tie-breaking vote. Simply put, DeVos is much better-known for being a Republican political activist with a particular interest in what its supporters call school choice.
What Is Betsy DeVos's Net Worth?
Regardless, DeVos couldn't have become as prominent as she was even before becoming the U.S. Secretary of Education without money. As a result, there are bound to be people curious about her net worth. If so, they should know that DeVos and her husband are estimated by Forbes to have a net worth of about $2 billion, though more exact information is unavailable for obvious reasons.
How Did Betsy DeVos Reach Her Net Worth?
There is nothing particularly mysterious about how DeVos became a billionaire. For those who are unfamiliar, she was born Elizabeth Prince, the first of four children born to Edgar Prince and his wife Elsa. Later, DeVos became DeVos by getting married to Dick DeVos, which is a very important detail as well.
Anyways, Edgar Prince started out his career as someone who worked for a company that made die-cast machines. However, he and a couple of his co-workers went on to found a company of their own, which became so successful that it had surged to the forefront of its field in Michigan by the 1970s. On top of this, success begat more success, as shown by how Prince's company became more and more diversified. In time, this made Prince one of the wealthiest individuals in his state, which in turn, enabled him to fund a wide range of causes. For example, he contributed to the renovation as well as the preservation of his hometown of Holland, MI. Likewise, he was one of the co-founders of the U.S.-based fundamentalist Protestant activist group called the Family Research Council.
Meanwhile, Dick Devos is best-known for being the son of Richard DeVos. In short, the latter co-founded a multi-level marketing business with his friend Jay Van Andel, which was based on a business model that they had observed while involved in a previous venture. Initially, their business focused on the distribution of cleaning products, but as it became more and more successful, it started doing the same for other beauty, health, and home care products. Nowadays, that business continues to operate under the name Amway, which in turn, is but one of the companies that fall under the corporate umbrella of Alticor.
By this point, it should come as no surprise to learn that DeVos's wealth is dynastic in origin. For starters, Forbes's investigation states that there is a reason to believe that Dick DeVos and his three siblings have equal shares of their father's ownership stake in Amway, which means that DeVos, her husband, and their children own about 12 percent of the whole thing. Something that is estimated to be worth about $1.3 billion. Assuming that this holds true for other assets as well, the DeVoses should own about 25 percent of the Orlando Magic basketball team plus a notable portion of a wide range of other investments.
Besides this, it should be mentioned that the DeVoses' ownership stake means that they have collected a considerable sum from Alticor's profits. Some of this sum has been sunk into yachts as well as other expensive toys. However, some of the sums have been sunk into business ventures as well, thus further increasing their earnings. In particular, it is worth mentioning that when DeVos was chosen to become the U.S. Secretary of Education, she and her husband sold off dozens of holdings to prevent legal complications, which should provide interested individuals with some idea of just how widely their wealth has been spread.
Having said that, the DeVoses have spent much as well. For instance, DeVos has stated that it is possible that her family has donated $200 million to Republicans, which is a huge sum by any standard of measurement. Furthermore, the DeVoses have been known for their charitable contributions as well, as shown by a statement from their family spokesperson that the total is more than $1.6 billion.
Summed up, DeVos's net worth comes from her family connections. Some of it came from her father, who was a very well-off individual to say the least. However, more of it comes from her marriage, which makes sense because Richard DeVos was a multi-billionaire. Still, it should be mentioned that the estimate of about $2 billion is an estimate and nothing but an estimate.
In part, this is because interested parties are working off of incomplete information. Yes, DeVos is a very high-ranking public official, meaning that the public has more insight into her finances than those of a random billionaire. However, that insight isn't even close to being complete, meaning that there are still plenty of assumptions being used to fill in the gaps of what is available. Besides that, there is one other issue when it comes to evaluating the net worth of the super-rich.
Simply put, there are some assets that are very, very difficult to get an accurate value of. For example, it tends to be very easy to evaluate the value of a stock. This is because stocks are being bought and sold on a regular basis, meaning that there are constant updates on what people are willing to pay for them. In contrast, it is much more difficult to evaluate the value of something like, say, a real estate property. After all, interested individuals can't just put their real estate properties on the market to see what it will sell for even if that happens to be the fairest method for determining their value. Instead, they can use a number of other methods, which range from looking up the prices of comparable assets to estimating their net present value based on their expected revenues. Suffice to say that these methods can be difficult even for the people who own these assets. Never mind for other people working off of much more limited sources of information.
Written by Allen Lee
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