George Washington,the nation’s first President, was also one of the wealthiest men to hold the office. His Virginia plantation, “Mount Vernon,” consisted of five separate farms on 8,000 acres of prime farmland. Washington made significantly more than subsequent presidents: his salary was two percent of the total U.S. budget in 1789.
Our 16th President, Abraham Lincoln, was not one of America’s wealthiest - any opportunity to make money after his term of office was cut short. He was born in a log cabin and served as an attorney for 17 years before his presidency. He owned a single-family home in Springfield, Illinois.
Editor’s Note: This article was first published on May 17, 2010. The net worth of any of the Presidents on this list who are no longer living cannot change, except as measured by inflation. The fortune of the presidents who remain living have changed somewhat, but it would be nearly impossible to measure the full effect of that over the last nine months. The value of Bill Clinton’s real estate may have risen. Jimmy Carter’s publishing royalties may have improved. None of these events is likely to have a substantial effect on the rankings.
The Net Worth of America’s Presidents is a study that can be updated from time-time-time, but the figures relative to the passage of a few years will almost certainly never be more than modest.
The Editors (2/17/2011)
24/7 Wall St. has examined the finances of all forty-three presidents. This article provides net worth figures for each in 2010 dollars. Because a number of presidents, particularly in the early 19th Century, made and lost huge fortunes in a matter of a few years, the number for each man is based on his net worth at its peak.
In the case of each president we have taken 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 over half a billion in today’s dollars. Several presidents went bankrupt.