The most powerful job in the country comes with a hefty share of responsibilities – but also a generous salary. American presidents earn $400,000 a year along with a $50,000 annual expense account. This might seem like a ton of money, but being the president is expensive.
For example, former First Lady Laura Bush shared in her book, “Spoken From the Heart,” that while first families don’t have to pay rent at the White House, they are charged for expenses such as food, dry cleaning and hourly wages for staff at private parties. Additionally, she said she felt pressured to buy a huge designer wardrobe and pay to have a hairstylist give her a daily blowout.
Expenses like this likely caused the Clintons to rack up serious debt during Bill Clinton’s eight years in office. In a 2014 interview with Diane Sawyer, Hillary Clinton said the couple was “dead broke” when they left the White House — and later clarified to Robin Roberts that their debt was around $12 million.
Thankfully for America’s former first couples, life after the Oval Office typically brings ample earning opportunities in the form of lucrative book deals and speaking obligations. This has allowed presidents who didn’t come into the office flush with cash to become seriously wealthy.
Want to know where Joe Biden ranks on this list? Keep reading to find out how much every living U.S. president is worth and how they earned their money.
Net worth: $2 billion
The only billionaire president in American history, Donald Trump’s net worth is $2 billion. A Republican, he served as the 45th president of the U.S. from 2017 to 2021.
A largely unconventional leader, Trump was known for communicating through Twitter, the social media platform where he was eventually banned from and then allowed to return to after two years. The only president in American history to be impeached twice, his final days in office included being accused of inciting an insurrection at the U.S. Capitol during the certification of the 2020 presidential election.
Prior to taking office, Trump served as CEO of his namesake real estate company the Trump Organization. An international brand, the company’s portfolio includes hotels, golf courses, residential real estate and commercial buildings.
Also a reality TV star, Trump hosted “The Apprentice” on NBC from 2004 to 2016. Also an author, he has more than 15 best-selling titles, including “The Art of the Deal.” Released in December 2021, his most recent title, “Our Journey Together,” grossed $20 million in less than two months, according to CNN.
Recently, Trump has found himself battling legal issues in court related to his taxes and the discovery of classified documents at his Mar-a-Lago estate.
Net worth: $120 million
The 42nd president of the U.S., Bill Clinton held office from 1993 to 2001. He was the first Democratic president since Franklin D. Roosevelt to win a second term. Some of his top accomplishments included creating the most jobs under a single administration, pushing the homeownership rate to the highest in American history and signing the Family and Medical Leave Act.
Despite his popularity, Clinton’s time in office was also marred by scandal. In 1998, he was impeached, after being found guilty of committing perjury before the grand jury and obstructing justice following an affair with former White House intern Monica Lewinsky.
While Clinton and his wife, Hillary, left the White House in debt, they managed to pay it off by 2004, according to The Washington Post. This is due to lucrative post-presidency gigs, including speaking fees that earned him $13 million in 2001. Hillary earned $2.5 million that year, which is thought to have come from an advance for her book, “Living History.”
In total, the couple earned more than $240 million from 2001 to 2015, according to a Forbes analysis of their tax returns. Bill earned $189 million from writing books, giving speeches, consulting and serving as an advisor to billionaire Ron Burkle. Hillary earned $12 million from Simon & Schuster — the publisher of her 2014 book “Hard Choices” — from 2013 to 2015.
Net worth: $70 million
A former Illinois senator, Barack Obama was the 44th president of the U.S., serving from 2009 to 2017. The Democrat is likely best known for signing the Affordable Care Act into law.
During his time in office, Obama also signed the Iran nuclear deal and joined the Paris Agreement on behalf of the U.S. Additionally, the U.S. reopened its embassy in Cuba under his leadership, marking the first time in 54 years the American flag had flown in Havana.
Upon leaving office, Obama and his wife, Michelle, sold their respective memoirs “A Promised Land” and “Becoming” for $65 million. He also quickly hit the paid speaking circuit, scoring two $400,000 gigs within months of moving out of the White House.
In 2018, the Obamas signed a Netflix production deal to produce series and movies for the streaming platform. The couple’s Higher Ground Productions is behind several titles for all ages, including “Fatherhood,” “Ada Twist, Scientist” and “American Factory.”
George W. Bush
Net worth: $50 million
His father left office in 1993, and eight years later George W. Bush moved his own family into the White House. The Republican president was elected to two terms, serving until 2009.
During his first year as the 43rd president, the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks occurred, killing nearly 3,000 Americans. He was subsequently transformed into a wartime president, sending troops to Afghanistan to break up the Taliban.
As president, Bush is known for greatly expanding the Office of Homeland Security. Some of his other high-profile actions included signing the No Child Left Behind Act into law and overhauling Medicare.
Upon leaving the White House, Bush wrote the 2010 memoir, “Decision Points,” which earned him a $10 million payday, according to NBC News. By 2015, he had given at least 200 paid speeches, which typically garnered $100,000 to $175,000 per appearance, according to Politico.
Unlike many other presidents, Bush went into his presidency with a net worth of at least $20 million, according to CNN. Today, his fortune is valued at an estimated $50 million.
Net worth: $10 million
In 1977, Democrat Jimmy Carter became the 39th president of the United States. A former peanut farmer, he served one term in office.
While president, he created the Department of Education, boosted the Social Security System and expanded the national park system. He also faced several challenges, including extreme inflation and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, which ended plans for the ratification of the SALT II pact.
After leaving office, he became an accomplished author, writing more than 30 books. Some of his works include “A Full Life: Reflections at Ninety,” “A Call to Action: Women, Religion, Violence, and Power” and “An Hour Before Daylight: Memoirs of a Rural Boyhood.”
Notably philanthropic, the former president and his wife Rosalynn founded The Carter Center, which is committed to human rights and the alleviation of human suffering. The couple also has been deeply involved with Habitat for Humanity for more than 35 years.
Carter has battled numerous health issues in recent years, including cancer, and the 98-year-old is currently in hospice care at his home in Plains, Georgia.
Net worth: $9 million
A U.S. senator from Delaware for 36 years, Joe Biden became America’s 46th president in 2021. No stranger to the White House, the Democrat had served as Obama’s vice president. Elected into office during the pandemic, Biden signed a historic $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package into law during his first few months as president. That same year, he also signed a $1 trillion infrastructure bill into law.
During a speech as vice president, Biden once referred to himself as the “poorest man in Congress.” Things have changed since then, as his current net worth is $9 million — but he’s still the poorest living president.
In the first two years after his tenure as vice president, Biden and his wife, Jill, earned more than $15 million — mostly in speaking fees and book deals — according to Politico. Specifically, he earned more than $4 million for giving more than four dozen speeches, including one where he earned $235,000 for an appearance.
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Jake Arky contributed to the reporting for this article.
Editor’s note: For this piece, GOBankingRates used CelebrityNetWorth.com for all net worth data for the six presidents.