Although the current presidential salary is not too shabby at $400,000 a year, many former presidents make the bulk of their money after leaving the White House through speaking engagements, book deals and other business deals. Of course, this is not always the case — Donald Trump was already a very rich man when he entered the Oval Office and was the first billionaire to become president, Forbes reported.
But, is he the richest president still alive? See how Trump’s wealth stacks up to all of the other living U.S. presidents.
Last updated: April 6, 2021
President Joe Biden has had a decades-long career in politics — but it didn’t make him super-rich until he landed in the White House as vice president. His net worth skyrocketed after he finished his term thanks to lucrative book deals and speaking engagements, Forbes reported. That includes a 2017 book deal worth a reported $8 million, according to Publisher’s Weekly.
Before he became president, Donald Trump had made a name for himself as a businessman. The majority of Trump’s current fortune comes from his real estate holdings across New York City, Forbes reported.
Post-presidential life has been lucrative for Barack Obama. He’s commanded $400,000 speaking fees and signed book deals worth $65 million, Newsweek reported. Obama, along with his wife Michelle, also signed a production deal with Netflix in 2018 for an undisclosed amount, Variety reported — though based on previous deals the streaming giant had made, it’s likely worth north of $100 million.
George W. Bush
Like Trump, George W. Bush was already wealthy when he took office. He earned millions as the founder and CEO of an oil and gas exploration firm and as part-owner of Major League Baseball’s Texas Rangers, Fox Business reported. He continued to add to his wealth after his presidency was over through book deals and speaking fees.
Bill Clinton left the White House poorer than when he went into it. Because of defense attorneys’ fees for scandal investigations, impeachment proceedings and an action to suspend his Arkansas law license, Clinton ended his term as president with $16 million in debt, CNBC reported. However, he was able to turn things around with income from speeches and book deals. In his first year out of the Oval Office, Clinton earned $13.7 million from his speaking and writing business, according to his tax return. And by 2016, Clinton and his wife, Hillary, had racked up $153 million in speaking fees, CNN reported.
Unlike many other former presidents, Jimmy Carter eschewed the big-money speeches and corporate board invitations after leaving the White House, choosing instead to return to his simple life in Plains, Georgia, The Washington Post reported. According to The Post, “Carter is the only president in the modern era to return full-time to the house he lived in before he entered politics — a two-bedroom rancher assessed at $167,000, less than the value of the armored Secret Service vehicles parked outside.” Still, he has added to his post-presidency wealth with book deals, plus the over-$200,000 annual pension all ex-presidents receive.
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This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: How Rich Are Joe Biden, Donald Trump and All the Other Living US Presidents?