The Presidents and their Net Worth

I was scrolling through my RSS feed this morning and stumbled across an interesting post over on Budgets are Sexy. Have you ever wondered exactly how much net worth our Presidents have? I must admit, I never really thought about it. But, it is interesting to see all 44 Presidents compared to each other based on their peak net worth. To make the comparison they used current 2010 dollars. 

The Atlantic (who calculated the net worth)  took:

into account hard assets like land, estimated lifetime savings based on work history, inheritance, homes, and money paid for services, which include things as diverse as their salary as collector of customs at the Port of New York to membership on Fortune 500 boards. Royalties on books have also been taken into account, along with ownership of companies and yields from family estates.

The net worth of the presidents varies widely. George Washington was worth more than half a billion in today's dollars. Several presidents went bankrupt.

Let's look at our very first President, George Washington, and see how he earned his new worth of $525 Million:

His Virginia plantation, "Mount Vernon," consisted of five separate farms on 8,000 acres of prime farmland, run by over 300 slaves. His wife, Martha Washington, inherited significant property from her father. Washington made significantly more than subsequent presidents: his salary was two percent of the total U.S. budget in 1789.

In contrast, President Obama is:

the grandson of a goat herder. He is a former constitutional law professor and civil rights attorney. Book royalties constitute most of Obama's net worth.

But, I think it is safe to assume that President Obama hasn't maxed out his earning potential. It would be interesting to see where he is several years after he has left office.

Budgets are Sexy put together this table for easy comparison:

President (#) Net Worth How they built it
George Washington (1st)
John Adams (2nd)
Thomas Jefferson (3rd)
Abraham Lincoln (16th)
Ulysses Simpson Grant (18th)
Theodore Roosevelt (26th)
John Fitzgerald Kennedy (35th)
Lyndon Baines Johnson (36th)
Richard Milhous Nixon (37th)
William Jefferson Clinton (42nd)
George W. Bush (43rd)
Barack Hussein Obama (44th)
$525 million
$19 million
$212 million
< $1 Million
< $1 Million
$125 million
$1 billion-ish*
$98 Million
$15 million
$38 million
$20 million
$5 million
Real estate, Presidential Salary
Real estate, Law practice, Farm
Real estate, Political positions
Family Trust, real estate, books
Family Trust *Had he inherited it
Real estate, Business (radio & TV)
Interviews (think David Frost), Books
Autobiography, Public Speaking
Oil, Sale of Texas Rangers
Mainly Book Royalties