U.S. Presidents' Net Worth, Before and After Taking Office


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George Washingtons

Some presidents, such as George W. Bush, Franklin Roosevelt, and JFK, were born into dynasty families that afforded them wealth and privilege before and after their presidencies. Others, including Andrew Jackson, were born poor and died among the richest people in the country. Nine American presidents never left six-figure net worth territory in their entire lives, including Calvin Coolidge, Chester Arthur, and the poorest president of them all, whom readers will meet shortly. Some became philanthropists after leaving office, others joined corporate boards, took honorary positions, got pensions, and — in the modern era — got rich from incredibly lucrative speaking engagements and book deals. Here’s a look at the net worths of presidents from the past 50 years, before they served and after, as well as some particularly interesting presidents from before reliable before-and-after data were available.

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Donald Trump
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Donald Trump

Before: $3 billion

After: $2.3 billion

According to an in-depth report from Bloomberg on“Trump’s Ailing Empire,” the presidency cost Donald Trump a cool $700 million. After stumbling out of office through an insurrectionist riot, a second impeachment, and a half-million dead Americans, his brand has been tarnished, to say the least. He’s facing serious legal challenges on several fronts, his political capital is dwindling, he’s lost his social media megaphone (though that was recently returned), his properties are aging, and his portfolio is lopsided in favor of commercial real estate that cratered when COVID-19 killed the traditional office. That all could change depending on his announced run for the presidency in 2024.

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Malia Obama
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Barack Obama

Before: $1.3 million

After: $70 million

The Obamas entered the White House as millionaires, but only barely, according to a report from American University in Washington, D.C. Upon leaving, they leveraged their remarkable life stories, their impressive writing and oratory skills, and most importantly, their enormous celebrity to land massive book deals and speaking tours. Along the way, they built a brand that is now worth $70 million, according to Celebrity Net Worth. The American University report predicts that the Obamas are just getting started and will be worth $242.5 million when all is said and done, if they play their cards rights.

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George W. Bush and Brother Jeb
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George W. Bush

Before: $20 million

After: $40 million

The son of one of the most significant political figures of the 20th century, George W. Bush had already owned a baseball team and served as governor of Texas before taking office, which he did with a higher net worth than any other modern president except for Trump. According to the American University report, Bush entered office with $20 million; Celebrity Net Worth puts his current fortune at double that. Like the rest, much of that income came from the lucrative post-presidency speaking circuit. Bush gave at least 200 speeches for six-figure fees between 2009-2015 alone, according to Politico.

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Bill Clinton

Bill Clinton

Before: $1.3 million

After: $241.5 million

Bill and Hillary Clinton were worth $1.3 million before they came to the White House, according to the American University study. Upon leaving, they embarked on a journey to the tippy, tippy top of the book deal and speaking tour universe that would see their combined net worths grow by more than 6,000%. They are the highest-earning post-presidency power couple by a mile, and Celebrity Net Worth estimates their combined fortune to be more than $240 million and counting today. 

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George H.W. Bush
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George H.W. Bush

Before: $4 million

After: $23 million

The elder Bush had grown his net worth by 475% between the time he took office in 1989 and 2017, when The American University study was conducted. The 41st president of the United States, former director of the CIA, and vice president for eight years under Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush died in 2018 at the age of 94. 

Related: 21 Crazy Facts About the White House

Ronald Reagan
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Ronald Reagan

Before: $10.6 million

After: $15.4 million

Ronald Reagan came into office with $10.6 million, thanks largely to a successful acting career. He grew his income by 45% by the time he died in 2004. That, however, is not a fair representation of his post-presidency success, considering Reagan announced he had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s just five years after leaving office in 1994.

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jimmy carter

Jimmy Carter

Before: $2.3 million

After: $10 million

Former peanut farmer and 39th president of the United States Jimmy Carter is 96 years old, a record in longevity among all American presidents. He’s been out of office for 40 years, and according to the American University study, it was Carter who pioneered the modern post-presidency money model. He was broke when he left the White House and rebuilt his lost fortune by writing books and taking paid speaking gigs, a path that has since been walked by every single president to follow except, so far, Donald Trump.

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Gerald Ford
Library of Congress

Gerald Ford

Before: $1.4 million

After: $7 million

In the Oval Office for just three years, Gerald Ford grew his net worth by 400% from the time he entered the White House in 1974 until his death in 2006, according to the American University study. He, too, wrote books and spoke for big profits, much of which came in the post-Carter era. 

Related: A Look Back at Presidential Pets

Richard Nixon
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Richard Nixon

Before: $2 million

After: $15 million

Richard Nixon took office in 1969, more than a half-century ago. The 37th president of the United States, Nixon went on to resign in disgrace but still managed to profit handsomely from his time in office, according to the American University study. In fact, Nixon grew his pre-presidency net worth by 650% by the time he died in 1994.

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Lyndon Johnson
Harry Truman

Harry Truman

Before: Six figures (adjusted for inflation)

After: Six figures (adjusted for inflation)

The 33rd president of the United States, Harry Truman holds several big distinctions. He remains the first and only world leader ever to use nuclear weapons in war, he was the first Medicare recipient, and the poorest president in history. Truman worked a bunch of odd jobs and served in the National Guard during World War I, but a failed hat shop venture left him so deep in debt that the presidential salary was doubled during his time in office to lift him up. His net worth never broke $1 million in modern-day dollars throughout his life.

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Theodore Roosevelt
Library of Congress

Theodore Roosevelt

Before: $1.3 million (adjusted for inflation)

After: $100 million-plus (adjusted for inflation)

In 1878, the New York Times reported that young Teddy Roosevelt, a student at Harvard, inherited $60,000 — more than $1.3 million in today’s money — when his prominent reformer father died. The future president would go on to become one of America’s most consequential and dynamic leaders. He lost much of his fortune through bad land deals, but became a prolific writer after his career in public service. That allowed him to earn some of that money back, and he inherited a lot more. His exact fortune is hard to nail down, but he’s commonly listed among the five richest presidents in history, with a net worth in the nine figures today.

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Andrew Jackson

Andrew Jackson

Before: Unknown

After: $132.6 million (adjusted for inflation)

One of the most consequential and controversial presidents in history, Andrew Jackson was born into poverty — but he wasn’t exactly a self-made man. He began building his wealth as an attorney but married into money and inherited a fortune when his wife died just before he became president. His most controversial act was massacring and marching Native Americans off their land, but what’s less discussed is what happened to that land: It would become the Southern cotton kingdom and the heart of the new slave economy. Jackson profited by parceling that land out to the cotton barons of the next generation, profiting handsomely along the way, all while working as a public servant on a public salary. Jackson himself owned 161 slaves. 

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Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson

Before: $240 million (adjusted for inflation)

After: Broke

In the time of Thomas Jefferson, the most powerful land barons of the day were asset rich and cash poor, with wealth that was measured not in money, but in land and slaves. It was not unusual for the aristocrats of Virginia’s planter class to assume huge debts, but Thomas Jefferson was running a shell game, the consequences of which would be his family’s inheritance. Jefferson inherited his vast holdings, which included more than one plantation, hundreds of slaves, and his sprawling Monticello estate. His massive land acquisitions, investments, and extravagant lifestyle, however, soon cost more than his slave plantations could cover. Buried in debt and outstanding obligations, it all came crashing down after he died and his family was forced to auction off his home, land, slaves, animals, furniture — everything — and survive off of charity.  

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George Washington Digitally Generated Portrait

George Washington

Before: Unknown

After: $525 million (adjusted for inflation)

Even if you go by his actual net worth and not his exaggerations, there is a universe of money between Trump and the next-richest president: Mr. Dollar Bill himself, George Washington. The father of the republic, Washington earned income from his surveying fees, officer salary, financial investments, and later, his presidential salary, which was 2% of the federal budget — about $60 billion today, according to The Georgetowner. Washington’s real money, however, came from his 8,000 acres of prime Virginia farmland and the more than 300 slaves who worked it at Mount Vernon. When he died, his estate was worth $525,000, or $525 million in today’s money. 

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