There are some who believe that the job of President of the United States carries a significant living. While presidents certainly aren’t destitute, they are generally not wealthy before coming into and during their tenures in office.
The president makes only (and I say only very lightly) $400,000 per year, which doesn’t seem like much when you take into account the fact that he works just about 24 hours a day 7 days a week – cue president jokes now. Regardless, there have been many a wealthy men in office, but often times their money came after their presidential terms; not from their time in the oval office. Read on to find out which presidents are the wealthiest (accounting for inflation) of all-time.
Let’s start a count down:
15) George H.W. Bush – $23 million
He served in office for four years, from 1989 to 1993 and his personal wealth rounds out the list of richest presidents of this country. He’s worth an estimated $23 million. Much of G.H.W.’s wealth was accumulated from his businesses in Texas. This Republican president is in the oil business, and his wealth was derived from such business. He was wealthy long before he took office and continues to be wealthy as he enters his 90s this year. However, there are plenty of presidents who had (or would have had) more money than he.
14) Grover Cleveland – $25 million
It’s been more than 106 years since he passed away but if he were alive today, his net worth would be more than $25 million. Grover Cleveland was one of the wealthiest presidents of his time. He earned most of his money from being a sheriff, lawyer and governor. He was a businessman who served two terms in office, though not simultaneously. His first term began in 1885 and ended in 1889. He was out of office for four years before he was elected again in 1893 for another four years.
13) Martin Van Buren – $26 million
He was a Democratic president who served in office from 1837 to 1841 and spent many years after he left the White House working as an activist. While his wealth was nowhere near then what it is today, inflation says that he was a very wealthy man even in his own time. He accumulated his significant wealth by working as an attorney before he was voted into office. Like many other presidents, law is a big career choice for those who want to go into politics. Chances are good that if you go to law school, you can get into politics.
12) James Monroe – $27 million
He was a democratic republic who served as president from 1817 to 1825. He died only six years after leaving office. His many millions came from his other business ventures, which include working as a lawyer. Before he passed away after leaving office, he served as a regent at the University of Virginia and spent his time writing. He was one of the wealthiest presidents to ever take office, worth much more than some of the more recent presidents if you take into account inflation and cost of living as factors.
11) John Tyler – $51 million
He was one of the few presidential nominees that was not a democrat or republican. He was a whig. His term lasted four years from 1841 to 1845 before he left office. His considerable wealth was accumulated over a number of years. He was a lawyer, a congressman and he was the vice president beneath William Henry Harrison. He took over as president when Harrison died in office during his first year on the job. He was able to complete a four year term almost entirely without actually being voted into office.
10) Bill Clinton – $55 million
He was one of the most popular and unpopular presidents of all time. As a democrat, people loved him. He served eight years in office, from 1993 to 2001. Clinton is known for his incredible speeches. He’s known as perhaps the best speaking president of all-time. He’s also known for a little intern scandal (Monica Lewinsky) we all still talk about today. Clinton’s wealth comes from his career after being president. He’s one of the highest paid public speakers and writers out there. He’s also an ambassador, a political husband and a very charitable man. Also, little do people know that Clinton actually came into office with relatively little money and a fair amount of debt.
9) Franklin D. Roosevelt – $60 million
Before he took office and died while he was in office, FDR was a lawyer and he was the governor of New York. He’s famous for being the longest reigning president in history after being elected to office four times. He served from 1933 until 1945 when he died in office. His health was poor at that time. He was sitting in his office when he announced he had a terrible pain in his head before he slumped over and eventually died later than day from a cerebral hemorrhage. It was said he was overworked and not healthy enough to deal.
8) Herbert Hoover – $75 million
During his time in the office as president, he was one of the wealthiest. He was worth a lot of money back then, which would have amounted to $75 million in today’s world. Hoover served in office from 1929 to 1933 as a republic president. Before he was in office he was an engineer. He also served on several other national committees. He continued to amass a great deal of wealth after leaving office when he worked as a chair on his own commission.
7) Lyndon Johnson – $98 million
When he was in office from 1963 to 1969, he was a very wealthy man. He was not elected to office immediately. He was forced to take over as president in 1963 when President John F. Kennedy was shot and killed. He was working as vice president at the time. Before heading to office, Johnson began his career as a teacher, eventually becoming a senator and congressman. When he left office, he began working as a writer and a rancher, two things he enjoyed doing immensely. His time in office equaled about six years, including the two he spent as president appointee after JFK’s death.
6) James Madison – $101 million
James Madison was the fourth President of the United States. He began his political career as a lawyer and political theorist. He was also vice president beneath Thomas Jefferson, making the decision to run for office when his vice presidency was over. He accumulated much of his wealth in offices prior to the white house, and he was able to earn a bit more as the rector at the University of Virginia when his term was over. He’s one of the wealthiest presidents in history. He’s far wealthier in his time than many of the more current presidents are today, which says a lot about his ability to run a business.
5) Andrew Jackson – $119 million
When he was in office, he wasn’t worth this much money. However, if you took his money from back then and turned into his net worth in today’s economy, he’s worth more than $119 million. Andrew Jackson was a congressman, senator and the governor of Florida before he was president. He made a great deal of his money prior to entering office, but he made a lot more afterward. When he left office, he decided to live a bit of a quieter life, becoming a gentleman farmer and making money off his land, which was highly profitable for him and his equivalent net worth.
4) Theodore Roosevelt – $125 million
Teddy Roosevelt began his time in the White House as Vice President under William McKinley. McKinley was just beginning his second term, he’d only been in office six months the second time around, when he was shot and killed. Roosevelt took over for the remaining three-and-a-half years and the following four when he ran for president. Much of his fortune comes from being a rancher and the governor of New York. He was also a soldier during his younger days, which is part of the reason he decided to head into politics.
3) Thomas Jefferson – $212 million
The man who was so instrumental in the way our Government and Society works was also the third president of this fine country. He was in office, but that’s not where he accumulated his wealth. He was many things before he took over in office, including an inventor – in case you didn’t already know. He was also a lawyer, an architect and the governor of Virginia before he decided to take his political aspirations a bit further and become the secretary of state beneath George Washington and Vice President under John Adams.
2) George Washington – $525 million
The very first president of the United States served from 1789 to 1797 and he would have been worth a half billion dollars if he’d lived another 200+ years. His wealth was amassed by his many businesses but the fact that he married one of the wealthiest women in the world didn’t hurt either. He was a surveyor and a planter, and he spent time serving as the General of the Army. He was one of the wealthiest men in the country when he was in office, but his wealth was nowhere near as impressive back then as it is today.
1—• John F. Kennedy – $1 billion
His is perhaps one of the most tragic stories from the White House. He was born into most of his money. As an affluent Kennedy, he worked hard as a journalist to become a political figure. He was elected to congress, became a Senator in Massachusetts and set his sights on the presidency. While he was known for his charismatic speeches and incredibly calm demeanor, he was the husband of Jackie O. and he took over office in 1961. However, he was only able to serve about two years before he was assassinated while in office.