Having blogged previously about who is the richest royal
(and it’s not our good old Queenie), I noted that French President Nicolas
Sarkozy was blowing over $150 million a year on his lavish lifestyle at the
Tony Blair makes Sarkozy look positively poor if this is the
case, as he’s up there with over $45 million in riches (and that’s just what he declares, as
there’s more than that in his wealth portfolio which is actually estimated to
be more like $150 million).
So politics is pretty good business really, but it’s far
bigger business in the USA than here.
This is something that prompted me to consider when I got an
email from 24/7 Wall Street, relating who are
the top 10 wealthiest US Presidents of all time.
Barack Obama is worth $11.8 million which is not bad, but
it’s a shadow of his ten predecessors.
Here are 24/7 Wall Street’s top 10 wealthiest presidents of
#10 Bill Clinton
Net worth: $55 million
In office: 1993 to 2001
presidents, Bill Clinton did not come from a wealthy family, nor did he have
lucrative employment before his presidency. But since leaving office we
estimate that Clinton has earned more than $125 million before taxes, with the
vast majority of that coming from speaking fees. Clinton’s net worth was
reduced in 2008 when his wife, Hillary Clinton, wrote off more than $13 million
she loaned her campaign for her own presidential bid. Her campaign debt, once
over $25 million, was just retired in January.
#9 Franklin Delano Roosevelt
Net worth: $60 million
In office: 1933 to 1945
came through inheritance and marriage. He owned the 800-acre Springwood estate,
as well as properties in Georgia, Maine and New York. In 1919, his mother had
to bail him out of financial difficulty. He spent most of his adult life in
public service. Before he was president, Roosevelt was appointed assistant
secretary of the Navy by President Wilson.
#8 Herbert Clark Hoover
Net worth: $75 million
In office: 1929 to 1933
An orphan, Hoover was
raised by his uncle, a doctor. He made a fortune as a mining company executive.
He had a very large salary for 17 years and had extensive holdings in mining
companies. Hoover donated his presidential salary to charity. He also owned
“Hoover House” in Monterrey, Calif.
#7 Lyndon Baines Johnson
Net worth: $98 million
In office: 1963 to 1969
Johnson’s father lost
all the family’s money when LBJ was a boy. Over time, the 36th president
accumulated 1,500 acres in Blanco County, Texas, which included his home,
called the “Texas White House.” He and his wife owned a radio and television
station in Austin, Texas, and had a variety of other moderate holdings,
including livestock and private aircraft.
#6 James Madison
Net worth: $101 million
In office: 1809 to 1817
Madison was the
largest landowner in Orange County, Va. His land holding consisted of 5,000
acres and the Montpelier estate. He made significant wealth as Secretary of
State and president. Madison lost money at the end of his life due to the
steady financial collapse of his plantation.
#5 Andrew Jackson
Net worth: $119 million
In office: 1829 to 1837
While he was
considered to be in touch with the average middle-class American, Jackson
quietly became one of the wealthiest presidents of the 1800s. “Old Hickory”
married into wealth and made money in the military. His homestead, The
Hermitage, included 1,050 acres of prime real estate. Over the course of his
life, he owned as many as 300 slaves. Jackson entered considerable debt later
#4 Theodore Roosevelt
Net worth: $125 million
In office: 1901 to 1909
Born to a prominent
and wealthy family, Roosevelt received a sizable trust fund. He lost most of
his money on a ranching venture in the Dakotas and had to work as an author to
pay bills. Roosevelt spent most of his adult years in public service. His
235-acre estate, Sagamore Hill, now sits on some of the most valuable real
estate on Long Island.
#3 Thomas Jefferson
Net worth: $212 million
In office: 1801 to 1809
Jefferson was left
3,000 acres and several dozen slaves by his father. Monticello, his home on a
5,000-acre plantation in Virginia, was one of the architectural wonders of its
time. He made considerable money in various political positions before becoming
president, but was mired in debt towards the end of his life.
#2 George Washington
Net worth: $525 million
In office: 1789 to 1797
plantation, Mount Vernon, consisted of five separate farms on 8,000 acres of
prime farmland, run by more than 300 slaves. His wife, Martha Washington,
inherited significant property from her father. Washington made well more than
subsequent presidents: his salary was 2% of the total U.S. budget in 1789.
#1. John Fitzgerald
Net worth: $1 billion (never inherited his father’s fortune)
In office: 1961 to 1963
Born into great
wealth, Kennedy’s wife was an oil heiress. His father was one of the wealthiest
men in America and was the first chairman of the Securities and Exchange
Commission. Almost all of JFK’s income and property came from a trust shared
with other family members.
Impressive isn’t it?
Or is it?
Tony Blair has net wealth that is more than Bill Clinton’s? I find it hard to believe.
And so we come to our #1 richest politician in the world today,
Wealth worth $5.9 billion.
That’s definitely worth a bunga-bunga.
Note: the net worth figures for the 10 wealthiest
presidents are in 2010 dollars. Because several of the presidents, particularly
in the early 19th century, made and lost huge fortunes in a matter of a few
years, the net worth of each president is for the peak time. The exception to
the 2010 rule are the presidents who are still living, who have more recent
earnings. In the case of each president, we have taken into account hard assets
such as land, estimated lifetime savings based on work history, inheritance and
homes. Wages considered were earned for services as varied as collector of
customs at the Port of New York to royalties on books, as well as ownership of
companies and yields from family estates.