What Is Barack Obama’s Net Worth? Everything You Need to Know
Donald Trump brags about his status as a billionaire far and wide. Many Americans know at least some of the details on how Trump earned his money. But fewer are aware of Barack Obama’s net worth. Many don’t know how the former president built his wealth while in office. And plenty of people haven’t read about how Barack and Michelle Obama have been making money after their return to private life.
Below, check out all the details on the net worth of Barack Obama and how he has built his wealth.
As president, Barack Obama earned $400,000 a year
Barack Obama earned $400,000 per year during his eight-year term as president of the United States. As Business Insider reports, that level of compensation is set by Title 3 of the US Code. It specifies that earns a $400,000 salary, a $50,000 annual expense account, a $100,000 nontaxable travel account, and $19,000 for entertainment.
During his two terms as president, Barack Obama also received the benefits associated with the office. That included free housing in the White House and free transportation via Air Force One and the presidential limousine. But the salary alone puts the president in the top 1% of earners. That put Obama well on his way toward achieving an eye-popping net worth.
Barack Obama’s net worth is about $40 million, up from $1.3 million before he became president
GOBankingRates reports that current estimates put the net worth of Barack Obama at about $40 million. As mentioned above, Obama made $400,000 per year as president. But he also continues to earn an annual pension of more than $200,000 after leaving office. And Obama also receives perks such as health insurance and 24/7 Secret Service protection until his death. Plus, he receives funds for an office, staff, and related expenses.
Snopes notes that the experts estimated the Obamas’ net worth at about $1.3 million in 2007, Barack Obama became president. As the publication explains, “The longer one holds high office, the more opportunity one has to establish connections and build experience that might prove financially lucrative later on.” As a private citizen, Obama can write books, give speeches, consult for private companies, hold board seats, and otherwise take advantage of opportunities that a sitting president can’t.
The Obamas have made numerous investments
Various investments over the years have also contributed to the net worth of Barack Obama and Michelle Obama, according to GOBankingRates. And the scale of those investments seems to have grown throughout Obama’s career. Back in 2004, Obama had assets in four financial funds worth between $50,000 and $100,000 each. By 2005, he had deposit accounts valued between $150,000 and $350,000.
In 2006, he acquired publicly-traded assets worth tens of thousands. Then, in 2007, he acquired a Northern Municipal Money Market Fund valued between $1 million and $5 million and U.S. Treasury notes valued between $500,000 and $1 million. When he was elected, he owned between $1 million and $5 million in U.S. Treasury bills. As president, he continued to earn interest on his investments, building his net worth.
Barack Obama earns speaking fees of as much as $400,000
Even people who fear public speaking would probably deliver a speech if they had the chance to earn $400,000 at a single event. GOBankingRates reports that Barack Obama makes speaking fees of as much as $400,000 for public speaking events. Those speaking fees have attracted a lot of controversy, especially given his supporters’ desire for Obama “to take on the specific and persistent racial inequalities generated by American capitalism,” as The Guardian puts it.
But Real Clear Politics reports that there don’t appear to be any moral problems with Obama’s speaking engagements. The wealthy people paying the former president to speak don’t seem to be paying Obama’s high speaking fees because they expect to get some government service or contract in return. “They want to hear him because he is a historic figure and a celebrity, not because he is expected to direct government money their way. The difference is crucial,” the publication explains.
Obama’s books have played a role in his net worth
A successful writing career began adding to Barack Obama’s net worth even years before he became president. Vox reports that his early books sold well. And they also earned him a reputation as one of the rare politicians who can write well. GOBankingRates explains that in 2005, Obama signed a multi-book deal with Random House and received a $1.9 million advance for The Audacity of Hope. In the same year, he earned $847,000 from another book advance.
He earned $378,000 in royalties in 2005 and $150,000 from royalties in 2006. But in 2007, he earned $3.3 million in royalties, plus $816,000 from Dystel & Goderich Literary Management. Obama continued to earn book royalties during his presidency. Then in 2017, the Obamas signed a joint book deal reportedly worth $65 million, according to Vox. That sum “signals the publishing industry’s faith in the enduring value of a book from the Obamas — and the belief that if Barack Obama’s memoir is good enough, it might become a genuine American classic,” according to Vox.
The Obamas’ real estate holdings also build wealth
Real estate holdings also add to Barack Obama’s net worth. Mid-2017, The New York Times reported that Barack and Michelle Obama spent $8.1 million to buy the 8,200-square-foot Tudor-style home they had rented in Washington’s Kalorama neighborhood. They decided to stay in Washington in the short term after the end of the Obama presidency to enable their younger daughter, Sasha, to finish high school in the area.
The Obamas also own a home in the Kenwood neighborhood on Chicago’s South Side, which further bolsters Barack Obama’s net worth. The Chicago Tribune reports that the couple paid $1.65 million for their Chicago home “near the top of the housing bubble in 2005.” They are also rumored to have bought homes in Rancho Mirage in the California desert, and in Hawaii. The Huffington Post characterizes homeownership as a significant driver of wealth in the United States.
Barack Obama’s Netflix deal also increased his net worth
GOBankingRates reports that Barack Obama will also increase his sphere of influence and his net worth by producing TV series and films for Netflix. Netflix didn’t disclose the financial details of the multi-year deal. But The New York Times and Variety have reported that similar deals were valued at tens of millions of dollars over several years.
Variety notes that the couple may work on scripted and unscripted series. The Obamas may also plan to produce docu-series, documentary films, or features for Netflix. “It is unknown how much the Obamas’ Netflix agreement — which will see them produce through their newly formed company Higher Ground Productions — is worth,” the publication adds. But it’s expected to be a lot — with plenty of potential to increase the net worth of Barack Obama.
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