Colonel Sanders Net Worth At Death – How Did He Get Rich? Exposed!

Colonel Sanders Net Worth At Death

Colonel Sanders had an estimated net worth of $10 Million at death. He is best known for creating a fried chicken recipe that would launch the world’s largest fast-food chicken chain, Kentucky Fried Chicken. He earned the majority of his income from KFC.

At the age of 40, Harland Sanders was running a popular Kentucky service station that also served food—so popular, in fact, that the governor of Kentucky designated him a Kentucky colonel. Sanders eventually focused on franchising his fried chicken business across the country, collecting a fee for each chicken sold. Kentucky Fried Chicken grew to become the world’s largest fast-food chicken chain. Sanders died on December 16, 1980, in Louisville, Kentucky.

To calculate the net worth of Colonel Sanders, subtract all his liabilities from his total assets. Investments, savings, cash deposits, and any equity he has in a house, car, or other similar asset are included in the total assets. All debts, such as loans and personal debt, are included in total liabilities.

Here’s the breakdown of his net worth:

Name: Colonel Sanders
Net Worth: $10 Million
Monthly Salary: $100 Thousand+
Annual Income: $1 Million+
Source of Wealth: Entrepreneur

Early Life and Career

Harland David Sanders was born in Henryville, Indiana, on September 9, 1890. Sanders became responsible for feeding and caring for his younger brother and sister after his father died when he was six years old. Beginning at a young age, he worked as a farmer, streetcar conductor, railroad fireman, and insurance salesman.

Sanders, 40, was running a service station in Kentucky, where he also fed hungry travelers. Sanders eventually relocated his business to a restaurant across the street, where he served fried chicken so famous that Governor Ruby Laffoon appointed him a Kentucky colonel in 1935.

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Kentucky Fried Chicken is Born

Sanders began franchising his chicken business in 1952. Pete Harman, who ran a restaurant in Salt Lake City where “Kentucky Fried Chicken” had the allure of a Southern regional specialty, was his first franchise sale. When a new interstate reduced traffic at Sanders’ North Carolina restaurant, he sold it in 1955. He then began traveling across the country, cooking batches of chicken at each restaurant and striking deals that paid him a nickel for each chicken sold. With over 600 franchised locations, he sold his interest in the company to a group of investors in 1964 for $2 million.

In 1966, Kentucky Fried Chicken went public, and in 1969, it was listed on the New York Stock Exchange. When Heublein Inc. paid $285 million for KFC Corporation, it had over 3,500 franchised and company-owned restaurants around the world. When Reynolds purchased Heublein Inc. in 1982, KFC became a subsidiary of R.J. Reynolds Industries, Inc. (now RJR Nabisco, Inc.). PepsiCo, Inc. purchased KFC from RJR Nabisco, Inc. in October 1986 for approximately $840 million.

Later Years

In his later years, Sanders continued to visit KFC restaurants around the world as an ambassador spokesman. He died on December 16, 1980, in Louisville, Kentucky, at the age of 90.

Lessons From Colonel Sanders

1. Every Trying Period is a Learning Period

When trials and difficulties come into our lives we usually fall into despair. We become depressed, blaming everyone and everything around us. We think some spiritual force is behind our problems and that we are probably jinxed. 

But if only we could look very closely at the lives of those exceptionally successful entrepreneurs that we very much admire, we will definitely discover that at one point or another in their lives, they have had to endure severe hardship and setback. If only we can wait patiently, during our period of trials, and ask ourselves; what exactly am I supposed to learn from this difficult situation? 

Because the truth is; every trying period is a learning period. At the end, we may have learnt (gained) something abstract; patience, endurance, persistence, courage, trust… or we may have acquired a skill. Either way, we would not be the same as before. Sanders lost his father at a very early age. 

I can imagine that things became very difficult for the family, but that difficult situation was what made him learn how to cook from his mother, and that skill and the special recipe that he learnt, was what he would apply about 40 years after to make himself a millionaire.

2. It can never be too late to make an impact

There are a couple of similarities between the business story of Ray Kroc and Harland Sanders. One of such similarities is that the two men ventured very late into the business that would eventually earn them millions. 

They had both tried their hands at other businesses, some ended up outright failures while others had little success. Ray Kroc was 53 when he opened his first MacDonalds restaurant while Sanders was 40 when he started cooking meals and serving them to travelers from his dining table. It would take him another 15 years before he would franchise his special recipe and create the KFC brand.

Are you 40 or 45, or maybe even 50, and you think it is all over and you can no longer achieve your wonderful dream and youthful ambition, you are wrong. Several people have done it in the past. What you need to do right now is to pick yourself up, dust off that latent ambition and chase crazily after that dream, it is never over until the very last whistle.

3. Know when it’s time to quit

This third point will come as a surprise to many since most of our business lessons always points at encouraging greater entrepreneurship. But knowing when to quit is equally as important as knowing when to invest. 

There are several instances where successful business people lose themselves in the ovation and the glory of success that they neglect to pay heed to the tale tell signs for them to bow out. Harland was old, and the strain of expansion was taking its toll on him. 

He had two options; to stubbornly remain at the helm of affairs and so do irreparable damage to his health and to the health of his business or, to bow out. 

He chose the latter and cashed out wisely. It doesn’t necessarily have to do with outright quitting, in some cases it is about letting go of certain responsibilities or task; be ready to delegate responsibilities to subordinates or staff, it is all for the greater good.

Favorite Colonel Sanders Quotes

I don’t fear that a man will wear out as quickly as he will rust out.


My life is devoted to business and supporting my family.


I’m against retiring. The thing that keeps a man alive is having something to do.


I’ve read hundreds of cookbooks. For my money, they are the bird.


No hours, nor amount of labor, nor amount of money would deter me from giving the best that there was in me.


Sitting in a rocker never appealed to me. Golf or fishing isn’t as much fun as working.


A lot of learned men think people really are the food they’ve eaten.


I always hired widows with children, because they had to work and didn’t have any foolishness about them.

View our larger collection of the best Colonel Sanders quotes.

Further Reading

Related Lists of Celebrities’ Net Worth

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How To Become Rich Like Colonel Sanders?

Colonel Sanders did not become rich by luck. To become as rich as Colonel Sanders, you have to work smart.

Successful people become rich because they take advantage of the opportunities that come their way. They are in the right place at the right time and take the right action.

Thanks to the Internet, the world has changed massively in recent years. Nowadays it has become much easier to make money online.

Instead of looking for a 9-5 job and staying in your comfort zone, it’s better if you become your own boss as soon as possible.

You can learn how to build a digital asset that generates cash flow for you while you sleep to grow your wealth quickly.

If you seize this golden opportunity in time, you can become as successful as Colonel Sanders one day.

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