America’s Riches...Three years ago, 24/7 Wall St. published the net worth of every American president, from Washington to Obama. We have updated our numbers to reflect the earnings of the still-living presidents. One thing remains clear: it pays to be president, especially after leaving office. 24/7 Wall St. examined the finances of all 43 presidents to identify the richest.
The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.
10. John Fitzger...Net worth: $1 billion (never inherited his father’s fortune) In office: 1961 to 1963 35th president
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.
Unlike many 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.
Roosevelt’s wealth 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.
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.
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.
(Photo by Francis Miller/Time Life Pictures/Getty Images)
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.
(Photo by Stock Montage/Stock Montage/Getty Images)
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.
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.
His Virginia 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.