The heiress v. the divorcee: Who is more likely to wind up on Forbes List of Billionaires and the Sunday Times Rich List?

Filed in International Divorce News and Billionaires
 
The UK Telegraph did an article a few days ago  Divorce helps fuel rise in female multi-millionaires. the subtitle was: “The number of women on the Sunday Times Rich List has risen by nearly 50 per cent in 10 years, from 78 to 114, but most have inherited their vast wealth, share it with a partner or have been awarded it through divorce hearings.”
This was a fascinating read for me personally. It appears that all the wealthy women in Britain, with a couple of exceptions such as JK Rowling and Tamara Mellon (is she the lady behind the Jimmy Choo brand?) , either inherited their money or won it in a divorce settlement. That got us to thinking about the situation across the pond. Here in America, I am not privy to the New York Times Rich List. Does this exist? But I do know that the Forbes List of Billionaires does feature quite a few heiresses and divorcesses and I believe there is a Forbes “Rich List” too, no? Not all of these women are billionaires necessarily but assuming they did not inherit the money from their fathers or grandfathers, they have won or will win great wealth after their divorce from their husbands (with a few exceptions like Oprah and a few others).
But who is better situated? The heiress or the divorcess? It could be a draw the way I see it. On the inherited side you have folks like: Christy and Alice Walton (Walmart heiresses by marriage and birth respectively); Liliane Bettancourt (heiress to the L’Oreal fortune in France);  Susanne Quandt Klatten (BMW heiress); Laurent Powell (widow of Steve Jobs and Apple heiress); Yang Haiyan – a Young Asian heiress whose fortune is from sources unknown but she ranks highly on Forbes’ list; and Muccia Prada who inherited her wealth from her grandpa.
On the divorcesses side you have Rosalia Mera of Spain (her ex husband was part owner of Zara stores, apparently as well as some other business investments); Elaine Wynn whose ex husband Steve Wynn is a hotelier and casino mogul and owner of Wynn resorts; Slavica Ecclestone whose ex husband is Formula One owner Bernie Ecclestone; Sue Ann Hamm whose oïl barron husband Harold Hamm could lose several billions in their pending divorce settlement; Melanie Craft, ex wife of Larry Ellison; Elena Rybolovlev ex wife of Dmitry Rybolovlev; and Anna Murdoch ex wife of Rupert Murdoch.
It is a tight race. But our money is on the heiresses. While the divorcesses are clearly catching up and are increasing in numbers at a higher rate, it seems that inheritances by and large are outweighing divorce settlements for the time being just in terms of the sheer weight of the bank accounts. Most heiresses are straight up billionaires while the divorcesses are merely – with few exceptions – multi-millionaires. This could be due to the fact that billionaires who marry tend to have air tight prenups these days. They do no leave their fortunes to the chance of an imploded nuptial. They are sugar daddies but only to a point. Heiresses on the other hand appear to be better protected and have better odds of getting the whole thing given that, presumably, fathers and grandpas don’t seem so afraid of dying intestate as billionaires seem to fear getting divorced without a prenup.
But things could change so the heiresses should not get smug. Steve Jobs apparently left his fortune in a living trust for his wife Laurene. And a lot of prenups have expiration dates depending on how long the marriage lasts.
 
_____________________________________
Author’s note: I would like to propose a new word for a rising group of divorced women who win huge divorce settlements just for the mere accomplishment of “marrying well.” We have the princess, the heiress and the duchess. I think we should also have the DIVORCESS. Do you agree?