Bernie Sanders, the Democratic Socialist senator from Vermont, is a multi-millionaire with a net worth of at least $2.5 million according to public records.
The reality is that his net worth is likely more than $5 million given public records don’t include his Thrift Savings Plan and the capitalized values of his pensions and book income streams.
As a fierce critic of the wealthiest people in America, Bernie Sanders’ net worth stands at odds with the very people he is trying to take down. But that’s politics in a nutshell. “Do what I say, not as I do.“
But as someone born in 1941, it should come as no surprise Bernie Sanders is a multi-millionaire because he’s had over 50 years after graduating from the University of Chicago to save and invest. We are all living in the greatest bull market in history.
By simply saving $6,000 a year for 50 years at a 7% compound annual growth rate, Sanders could have amassed $2,600,000. If Sanders saved $10,000 a year for 50 years at an 8% compound annual growth rate, he would currently have over $6,200,000. Therefore, it’s not far fetched to believe Senator Sanders is secretly worth over $5 million.
If I was a Democratic Socialist, I would practice an intense version of Stealth Wealth as well to keep the angry masses at bay. After all, it’s logical to protect your assets from the taxes you are proposing.
Bernie Sander’s Net Worth Composition
Senator Salary: $174,000
Most of Bernie Sander’s net worth comes from good old fashion savings. He’s been in office for 28 years and currently has a salary of $174,000 as a Senior Senator of Vermont. He can easily save $20,000 – $40,000 of his salary after taxes towards his net worth.
What’s really great about Bernie Sanders working for the government for so long is that he is entitled to around $73,000 a year from the federal government for the rest of his life in the form of a pension. To generate $73,000 a year in risk-free income at 2.5% would require $2,920,000 in capital. Of course, Bernie Sanders isn’t going to live forever.
Never look down on government worker’s salaries. Although they are not as high as private sector salaries, the value of a government worker’s pension can be worth multiple millions. If you have a pension, here’s a quick way to value it.
Book Income / Side Hustle: $1.7+ million
The largest source of income from Senator Sanders’ comes from his book deals. Since 2016, he has released three books that have earned him at least $1.7 million according to Forbes.
Our Revolution (220,000 copies sold, according to industry tracker NPD BookScan), Bernie Sanders Guide to Political Revolution (27,000) and finally Where We Go From Here: Two Years in the Resistance (26,000).
Not a bad haul for writing books about your political philosophies to help you try to become president. Such hustle is what many more Americans should aspire to. Don’t settle for just your day job income. Do something more before or after work to make more money.
Over a three year time frame, Bernie Sanders made $522,000 from his Senator salary but $1.7+ million from his book deals during the say time frame. In other words, 76% of his income over three years came from side hustling!
Yours truly, also wrote a book in 2012 called, How To Engineer Your Layoff: Make A Small Fortune By Saying Goodbye. The book shares strategies on how to negotiate a severance so that you can leave a job you don’t like with a financial runway to do whatever you want. I’ve since updated the book three times and it regularly generates about $3,500 – $4,500 a month in passive income.
If you haven’t started your side hustle yet, I highly encourage you to do so now. Don’t rely on just your salary for financial freedom. The internet has made making more money more possible.
City Pension From Old Job: $50,000
As the ex-Mayor of Vurlington, VT, he gets $428 a month from a city pension. Depending on how long Sanders lives, the pension could be worth between $50,000 – $150,000.
Real Estate: $1.7 – $2 million
Unlike most Americans, Bernie Sanders own three homes. In Burlington, he keeps a four-bedroom, two-and-a-half-bath colonial that he purchased in 2009 for $405,000. In 2018, he paid off his 30-year mortgage thanks to his book proceeds. Today, the home is worth more than $600,000.
In D.C., Sanders owns a row house he bought in 2007 for $489,000. Given property prices in D.C. are up 80% – 100% since the time of his purchase, the D.C. house is worth anywhere from $850,000 – $1,000,000. Public records show Sanders still has a $350,000 mortgage left on his D.C. house. His equity in his home is, therefore, worth about $500,000 – $650,000.
Finally, Sanders paid $575,000 cash for his Vermont summer home in 2016. The home has four bedrooms, three bathrooms with 5005 feet of shorefront access on Lake Champlain, 50 minutes north of his hometown of Burlington.
$600,000 + $600,000 + $575,000 = $1,775,000 of real estate equity.
Cash And Other Investments: $1.5+ million
Finally, Bernie and Jane Sanders have at least $500,000 in cash and investments (stocks and bonds) in three retirement accounts according to public records.
If Sanders has been regularly contributing to his Thrift Savings Plan (similar to a 401(k) for government workers), he could easily have another $1,000,000 at 78 years old.
Below is the median 401(k) balance and average 401(k) balance in America by age compared to my recommended 401(k) balance by age for a comfortable retirement.
Given Sanders is a highly educated man who seems quite financially savvy with his diversity of investments, he should have at least another $1,000,000 in his 401(k).
The Guide For Older Age Savers tops out at $1,000,000 at age 60. With 18 more years of compounding for Sanders at age 78, Sanders should have much more than $1,000,000. Too bad the government doesn’t require politicians to disclose such holdings.
Recommendation To Boost Your Net Worth Like Bernie
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There’s no rewind button in life. Track your finances so you can optimize your finances. I’ve been using Personal Capital since 2012 and have seen my net worth skyrocket with the markets as a result.