We all know that Donald Trump won the presidency after Obama. During this time, Donald Trump's net worth has tanked given the contentiousness of his presidency so far. This was a guest post that highlights the net worth of American presidential candidates. Today, Joe Biden is President and plans to raise taxes and push a lot of stimulus spending to save America.
The following is a guest post from FS reader, Kameron Snow. He is a professional copywriter specializing in the art of the political. Businesses with a taste for victory come to him to hone their messaging, strategy, and copy. He can be found at kameronsnow.com, blogging about the nexus of marketing, politics, and copywriting. If he's not there, he's at a brewery. Just leave a note.
This election cycle is particularly interesting because we have a diverse crop of candidates with even more diverse financial backgrounds. It’s not just Trump that makes a dive into each candidate's income streams attractive, although he’s the obvious starting point. Some of the other candidates, both Republican and Democrat, challenge our notions of what a president’s personal finances should look like.
The Net Worths Of American Presidential Candidates
Let's look at five leading candidates and analyze their net worth, where their income originates, how much passive income they have and any other business or financial ventures they’re involved in. We will use the Real Clear Politics’ (RCP) average of current poll numbers to come up with our list of candidates in order of popularity. Starting with Republicans, first up is…
Donald Trump (R)
Ah yes, The Donald. His RCP average has held steady at around 35%, so he’s the clear frontrunner on the Republican side after the New Hampshire primary win. Ah, the classic American tale of the millionaire-turned-billionaire-turned-Presidential frontrunner! Regardless of how you feel about the Trumpinator, the fact is that he is probably the richest person to ever run for our nation’s highest office.
Some have speculated that his support has come in part from tapping into voter resentment about candidates catering to special interests. As Trump himself proudly proclaims, he can’t be bought because he’s a billionaire. So how much is the Trump Card actually worth? According to Forbes magazine, he’s worth around $4.5 billion. Bloomberg reports a figure of roughly $2.9 billion and Trump himself has gone on the record saying he’s worth more like $10 billion.
Of course, The Donald does have a powerful brand, which he has parlayed into incredible riches. He built his wealth by some very smart real estate investments early in his career (using his $40- $200 million inheritance from his father, Fred Trump, who died in 1999 with an estimated net wealth between $250 million and $450 million), and then used leverage to buy up a lot of different businesses that were all branded Trump.
It’s safe to say that Trump has a lot of passive income streams, ranging from his real estate holdings to his pageants to his entertainment holdings. As for equities, Trump is heavily invested in Baron mutual funds, and a smattering of other security packages.
Whether or not he’s a good candidate or good for the country, it’s pretty undeniable that Trump has exceptional marketing acumen. His company has dealt with bankruptcy four times, and yet is still a billionaire. Now that's a great example of taking advantage of unfair situations. He may have been born with a silver spoon in his mouth, but he turned that silver spoon into a golden spatula.
Donald Trump has the highest net worth of all presidential candidates.
Ted Cruz (R)
If we are ranking candidates in order of estimated net worth, Cruz would be far behind other GOP candidates such as Bush or Kasich. However, Cruz’s RCP average has risen to the 20% range.
Forbes reports that Mr. Cruz is worth approximately $3.5 million. Cruz cobbled together this small fortune through his work as a lawyer in conjunction with various jobs in politics. He actually worked on George Bush’s 2000 presidential campaign as a policy advisor. He won election as Texas Solicitor General in 2003 before returning to private practice.
According to public filings from last July, much of Ted’s money is tied up in oil and gas stocks, such as Chevron and Exxon Mobile. Of course, Chevron was at a high of $135 last July and it currently trades at around $80, so Ted’s financial situation may be a little lower now. He also has a significant chunk of his money in mutual funds.
Forbes nicely summarizes their net worth blurb on Cruz: “Tea Partier practiced law; wife works at Goldman Sachs.” Sam note: If the wife is a partner at Goldman, I seriously doubt their net worth is only $3.5 million.
Cruz obviously has a much higher net worth than $3.5 millionaire.
Marco Rubio (R)
There are only three candidates running for president, Democrat or Republican, that have a net worth of under $1 million. Marco Rubio is one of them and is actually 2nd to last in the grand rankings of income profiles for the candidates (surpassing only Martin O’Malley (D) with a net worth of $0 because of student debt for his kids).
Rubio’s personal finances have come under scrutiny for a variety of reasons, including mismanagement of campaign and personal cash as well as dealing with a foreclosure on a second home. The validity of that criticism is beyond the scope of this article, but it’s worth noting.
His net worth is estimated by Forbes to be around $100,000. He has some personal and student debt as well that weighs down his net worth calculation. When he decided to run for president, he liquidated a retirement account and cashed out $68,000. (Related: Only A Petulant Fool Would Borrow From His 401k)
In both financial and political terms, Rubio’s run is a little more committed than some of the other candidates because he is not running for Senate again if he doesn’t win the presidency. Meaning, he’s out of a job in November if he’s not president. And while he’ll have no problem finding a good paying job after running for president, the potential financial insecurity is probably a bit of a motivator.
Related: It Doesn't Take A Genius To Run A Country
Hillary Clinton (D)
The Net Worths Of American Presidential Candidates cannot be complete with Hilary Clinton. Finally, we get to the Democrats! Well, for a while there it didn’t look like there would be much of a race on the Democratic side, but recently Uncle Bernie has surged with his win in New Hampshire. Do you “feel the Bern?” RealClearPolitics most recently had Clinton at 49% and Bernie at 36%, whereas Clinton has seen her poll numbers as high as 64%.
Clinton has made waves in the past for announcing that she and Bill were basically broke after leaving the White House, and according to Forbes, that’s not too far from the truth. Faced with approximately $1.8 million in assets and more than $2 million in liabilities, the Clintons had a negative net worth. Shocking, I know.
However, fast forward a decade, and Hillary is sitting on a comfortable $45 million, at least (although USA Today contends it could be as low as $15 million). Of course, there is the small detail of where the rest of her money went, since it’s estimated that she and Bill have earned $153 million in speaking fees alone since 2001!
Hillary's investments are limited to a single Vanguard 500 Index Fund (VFINX), according to Chuck Jaffe at MarketWatch, who went through her 20-page financial disclosure statement (vs 92-pages for Trump. The simplicity in her investment choice is likely influenced by the level of scrutiny she faces as a public figure. That said, an estimated $7.7 million out of Bill and Hillary's $153 million in speaking income came from big banks.
Bernie Sanders (D)
Bernie, winner of the New Hampshire primary, posits himself as the anti-millionaire, the ultra-progressive populist superstar who will take on Wall Street and restore balance to the Force. Considering how much he talks about the 1%, it’s interesting to take a peek into his finances and see what he considers to be an acceptable amount of private wealth. Politico reports:
According to [public financial disclosure forms], Sanders and his wife Jane reported between $194,026-$741,030 in assets, a broad combination of investment funds…
Sanders… has no listed assets on his entire financial disclosure form, save for a municipal pension — all the assets provided in the form are listed in his wife’s name. He reported no trusts or stock of any kind.
This is consistent with the findings by Forbes who reported that his net worth was around $700,000. Bernie has spent almost his entire career in politics, and has clearly managed to save some coin along the way. His wife has held a few government jobs as well, though nothing on the Federal level. Considering his take on business as usual at Wall Street, it’s no wonder that he has no significant investments in equities or other securities.
Everyone Better Off Than Average
Luckily for most of us, we’re never going to have to open up our financial lives to the world for endless scrutiny. Politicians are generally wealthier than the median or average person with the median net worth of Congress members slightly over $1 million.
Congratulations to Donald Trump for winning the most improbably victory ever.
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The Net Worths Of American Presidential Candidates is a Financial Samurai original post.
81 thoughts on “The Net Worths Of American Presidential Candidates Back In 2016”
One of my Houstonian neighbors works for Ted Cruz (since before his senate election). They estimated Ted’s wife earns ~$750k at Goldman.
I wouldn’t doubt it. MD bases are $450,000. I wouldn’t be surprised if she made much, MUCH more than $750K a year, which is why Ted’s family’s net worth is quite disappointing.
It will be interesting. I don’t want to imagine Trump being a president but curious to see how he will convert America even more capitalistic.
Exxon Mobile? Exxon Mobil :)
As an American living overseas (Asia), I can tell you without a doubt Donald Trump is the only one who gets it. Yes, he can shoot his mouth off like anyone’s Uncle, but political correctness and the typical plastic robotic attitudes of career ninnies like Rubio, Romney, Clinton, Gore, and all the others in the past few decades will not fix the USA.
Jobs are gone and keep going (Carrier Indianapolis) to places like Mexico and China, while our own 3rd-world cities like Baltimore and St. Louis burn and turned to rubble. Baltimore doesn’t need Bernie Sanders and his free stuff, Baltimore young black males need J-O-B-S! Real jobs and not flipping burgers at McDonald’s or any other service sector job.
Trump is right, we have been screwed. We spent trillions of dollars and thousands of lives lost in Iraq for what? What did the folks in Pennsylvania, Alabama, Idaho, or Oregon get for it? Who received the benefit of that $4 trillion wasted in Iraq? Where’s the oil? How about all the vets? Are they being properly taken care of?
Only Trump is talking about this stuff. The man is setting the tone, the topic, and the trend. People are mad. There are +90mil Americans out of the work force but the BLS reports 4.9% unemployment? Please, this has to stop. The lies cannot continue.
Political correctness is a mask for all the lies being spun in our name. This has to stop,too. Trump for all his faults, loves the country that made him filthy rich, and is clearly worried about its future.
The reality is, even if Trump wins, and screws everything up, what have we lost that we haven’t lost already? Every 4 years it’s the same thing, so either Trump is for real, or he’s just like all the rest. I’m willing to roll the dice on the guy because it really doesn’t matter at this point.
“what have we lost that we haven’t lost already” – those are very powerful words.
What are your thoughts on unemployment being at record low, the stock market reaching record highs in 2015, and real estate coming back during Obama’s presidency?
Are you better off than you were 4 and 8 years ago? I think most people are, no?
The headline unemployment rate (U3) is bogus. Every president going back 50 years has changed its methodology to make it look better. The U6 is a much better unemployment metric and is not even remotely close to record lows (the U6 is basically how we measured unemployment during the great depression by the way). Also, a lot jobs being added are mcd jobs and wages have been stagnant. The labor force participation rate is at levels not seen since before women joined the labor force.
The top 20% (of which most on this site are apart of) have done well in the last 6-8 years but the real median household income is below what it was in 2006 and in fact is basically at 1996 levels.
Basically shows the bottom 60% are worse off now than at any year in the Bush presidency adjusted for inflation.
Also, comparing the worst year of anything to the top of the current cycle will always look good on paper. If you look at 2005-2007 for example, the Bush years looked amazing! Market at record levels. All-time household wealth (from bubble housing prices), etc. Federal tax receipts up hugely from even pre-tax cuts. Odds are a recession is coming. I prefer to take an average of economic cycles for comparisons.
Sam, do you think the stock market rose so high because interest rates were so low? ie. no where else to put your money, everyone piles into the stock market?
Nobody remembers QE1/QE2/QE3?
My projection, if it comes down to Hilary & Donald. Hilary will win. Voters doesn’t care about candidates personal finance. On average, Americans are pretty bad with personal finances. Just my husband’s side of the family and cousins, every year (been married 12 years) there are a few who need a bail out from fixing a car to paying rents.
My opinion polls after reaching over 300 votes hasn’t been wrong yet.
I’ve got to agree, and that is what I predicted in my 2016 predictions post.
Interesting article – I assumed that all candidates were at least millionaires due to their age and ability to convince other people to invest in them
I honestly have no clue who is going to win this election – part of me feels that Trump is drumming up support to pass his voters off to a late republican addition
I do think it is important that a candidate is financially responsible at a personal level, they are in the public spotlight and should expect their personal life to be held against them. If they can’t think that far ahead it is surprising they would be in the race. We judge 20 year old professional athletes on their spending/bankruptcy – presidential candidate should be at least 1 bar above that………
As long as Bernie Sanders has been in politics, and his net worth is only estimated in the 200k to 700k is kind of weak IMO, either the facts are wrong about his net worth or he has been spending more and saving very little… Congress pay has only increased, benefits increased, expense accounts increased year after year. I think the average pay is roughly about 180k a year, lets not forget they don’t pay for healthcare exempt from ACA, they have full travel, food, and all expenses paid for, I believe they only need to complete two terms for a full pension. Its the best deal in town! I don’t know what I was thinking by serving my country in the Military for peanuts, should of served my country as a politician and got rich :)
And they get to keep on getting paid when the government shuts down. Oh, and they can sit on committees that have inside information and buy and sell stocks that are affected by such committees. AWESOME!
My understanding is they get paid a pension if they have 3+ years served for the federal government in any job (but just 3 for these folk). So a congressman would need 2 terms or a senator 1. (May be slightly off so be sure to check me on this).
Then your pension is calculated by the average of your 3 highest years (174k, 174, 174)/3=174k. Then you multiply it by number of years worked. 174k*.03=5,220 a year for life (hardly any money). Now if you were working for them for say 20 years 174k*.2=34,800 (a decent amount but still not enough to live it up). So you would need to still put your 5% into savings that the government matches up to 5% into your 401k. And that’s what the government will give you for working for them in retirement.
Source – parent has been working for the federal government for 40 years between military service and civilian engineer. He always jokes that if he runs for the senate or congress his 3 highest years average would go up and help his pension out a lot. So yes, they get decent pensions if they’ve been there a while but compared to huge corporate jobs that many of these folks could have for their education level they aren’t paid much at all. So yes – you are sacrificing being rich to serve the country.
That being said it disgusts me how little Sanders has saved for his age. It’s hard for me to respect a man so poor with their finances…
You should do one for the Congressman. 100% of them are millionaires. It’s a surprise to see >$150M is coming from speaking gigs. The Clinton seems to do pretty well for themselves with $500K/speech, not to mention everything is paid for in full. It’s great to be the President of the United State, no wonder it’s like a dog fight at every debate. Mr. and I gain great pleasure watching them throwing punches.
Since no one else has said it I will….Hillary is burning through her cash at a ridiculous rate! Why would you ever vote someone in who spends more than they make? Personal values reflect how they will run the country! Cruz seems slimey, the Donald and Hillary are blowhards and liars, Rubio doesn’t seem intelligent enough…in my mind the guy with the least flaws would be Carson. Plus he is the only true outsider…although I would be curious to see his net worth.
Obama added trillions to the debt in his first term, yet he was elected for a second term where he added trillions more to the debt.
While I agree that it’s no good voting for somebody who repeatedly drives the country into more debt, the average voter does not have that on their mind. They want to know how that person will benefit them. People are very selfish.
We will eventually get to the point where presidents will be decided based on whoever will promise the most free stuff. Unfortunately this is not sustainable and will eventually collapse under its own weight.
Agreed. There is a difference between a country’s debt and YOUR debt.
It’s a sad day but I have to admit that I think Donald Trump will win this one and that just makes me sad. I have braced myself for being kicked out of the country by the Donald. *shrugs*
I think it’s important to know how much of the money that each candidate has earned did they keep. What Donald has in money management skill, he lacks in tact and diplomacy. I just don’t think it’s wise for the United States to make any more global enemies.
Let’s see how it goes!
@busybee – Why are you worried about begin kicked out of the country? Are you here legally? If not you’re breaking the law, and it shouldn’t matter who the president is. Obama just decides not to enforce the law, so for now you’re good to go. And even if Trump is elected, and I hope he’s not, it doesn’t matter if he wants to build a wall 100 feet high with lasers and attack dogs. We could have built a wall 30 years ago when this problem started and it still hasn’t happened, and I doubt it ever will.
As for America creating enemies, that’s a pointless statement. Look how many countries in Europe are nice to everybody and still terrorists murder people left and right.
@ Ken, I’m legal! :) It’s just a running joke in the Nigerian community that we need to pack our things because the Donald might kick us out if he wins (he was rumored to have said this)…
Re: enemies, I just feel like they have it in for the United States the way they don’t for a lot of other countries and while I don’t support negotiating with terrorists, I think diplomacy is important. It’s a very touchy subject and i’m not an expert but I won’t want Donald Trump handling it.
Donald won’t be kicking you out anytime soon, or at least I’d hope not. I wouldn’t doubt that Trump said that, he isn’t the classiest guy ever.
So I’m curious, do people ever give you a hard time about Nigerian scammers? People always seem so negative, but I’m curious if they’re that way in person. I’d like to think not, but I don’t know anybody from Nigeria.
Half the world has hated America for a while now, and I don’t see that changing any time soon. People will attack us for being us no matter how nice and/or diplomatic we are. It’s just the way things are unfortunately.
I’ve never had someone walk up to me and ask about Nigerian scammers. You’d be surprised at how little people say in person, especially when you don’t fit their stereotypes.
That’s good to hear.
I’m Nigerian too and while I don’t fit the stereotype (I’m a professional), I’ve had countless experiences where people ask me about the Nigerian scammers once they discover I’m from Nigeria. I always tell them stereotypes are dangerous. One day, I was so annoyed by this lady who kept harping about it that I told her, for all the so-called Nigerian scammers out there, there was one man in the US that has eclipsed all the scams ever committed by these fraudulent Nigerian: Bernie Madoff! His was a $65 billion scam! At least that got the lady to shut up…lol
I doubt he’ll win. So you can stay.
My opinion polls have not failed us yet! Whoever is the top vote getter in this post’s opinion poll will win the 2016 presidential election. I’m sure of it. This community is too smart, and the sample set is wide given the traffic this site gets.
How’s that for confidence?
@ Sam, I voted for Donald winning. Something tells me he will win.
I just went back and looked at who’s leading and if your theory is true, I’m more than happy with that candidate! It’s not like we’re spoiled for choice this go round.
I’m not 100% set on Trump either, I think he’s a good business man but I am skeptical about his political abilities. However I will admit, he seems to have his head on straight much more than any of these other candidates when it comes to finance. If there is one thing I think he would do a good job at, it’s bettering the country financially.
Trump vs Hillary – Trump will win, he even had more votes # wise in NH than Hillary did and the dem side only had 2 candidates!
Trump vs Sanders – I hope Trump will win.
Honestly, Trump will make a great president. Sure he’s an asshole, but so was Steve Jobs and Bill Gates. Both built great companies (like Trump), expected a lot from their workers but rewarded them as I believe he will reward our country. He knows his finances and will likely get that in order. He also has defended many social programs thus appealing to left leaning people and many centrists and independents.
He says stuff about walls and hispanics and muslims but the guy isn’t as all powerful as you guys think. He’ll have to work with congress and the senate to not get impeached as he’s practically an independent himself so not really of either party. Muslims, he may try and prevent some from other countries coming to our country until all of the US intelligence agencies can create a system to vet people as they (the organizations) requested but beyond that doubt much else happens. As for the wall, maybe he’ll build it if he can raise enough from a tariff on Mexican goods to pay for it. And he’ll only target ILLEGAL citizens. I’m a legal hispanic citizen, so guess what my family and I aren’t worried! We live down in border states and welcome him deporting many illegals, there is a lot of crime down here after all! Stolen cars, break ins, drugs etc. and if he can find a way to help reduce the crime I’m all in! People don’t respect others hard work in this country and a man like Trump will help straighten that out I help. Also being a huge saver I don’t like that we’re coming up on 20 trillion in debt… I would much rather have a man who can meneuver us through debt reduction than keep spending us into oblivion.
For his crossover appeal I would say he has a lot, he’s really toned down his aggressive rhetoric and people have short memories and will as such forgive his previous sayings and let him take the white house to get our affairs in order.
They say the majority of Trump’s supporters are white and uneducated. Well I’m Hispanic, have a Master’s in Electrical Engineering and MBA in Finance and I know many other educated folk who are of all religions that support the man. Who cares if he’s an asshole (I don’t), I’m voting on his ability to do the job and asshole or not I think he cares about the country the same way those type of individuals care about the companies they created. Just my 2 cents.
Only 1 candidate from the republican and democratic party is needed.
I’m happy to bet you a friendly $100 that Trump will not win.
The thing I worry about Trump as president is his ego. I worry he will run around and f**k with world leaders and ruin lots of relationships. If he does get to be president he really desperately needs to fix his ego.
I also don’t really care about people being an asshole personally, as long as they do a good job. However I do hate those entitled little twit types-of-people that are both assholes and incompetent. But being in a highly visible role like that, around lots of world leaders, he would really need to try a little harder to play nice and avoid saying some stupid stuff to everyone in his vicinity.
So you mean he’ll ruin a lot of relationships because he stops giving foreign aide to countries that hate us? Sure, I’m okay with that, if they hate us they don’t deserve our tax dollars. He’s done international business in numerous countries, that requires him to play politics and he will do it, as well as the other countries he hasn’t dealt with yet… because the US has 1/3 of the world wealth and other countries want a piece of the pie, and piece of our industries and that is why they’ll do what we say because otherwise their economies will hurt too due to globalism.
Now, he definitely does have an ego but I see it as a good thing. He strikes me as the kind of man who becomes president so he can do a great job at it. Then he can BRAG about how great of a job he did. So if he does a good job and helps my country get better and improve do I care if he strokes his ego and brags about it so long as he did a good job? Doesn’t bother me at all. He doesn’t strike me as someone who would become president and NOT do a good job because that would hurt his ego too much and he won’t allow that IMO because then he couldn’t brag. So I say let him brag as long as he does a good job.
I’ll readdress that $100 bet once we see who the nominations are Sam, and if Bloomberg decides to run. Right now though my analysis on what I’ve seen is Trump beats Hillary and I’m not sure if Trump will beat Sanders. I want Trump but just calling it based on the sentiment I’ve seen online, polls, voter numbers, and talking to people in real life. So happy to touch point on this at a later date!
I read the article in Forbes, it was a little short but fascinating nonetheless. I remember Carly Fiorina having 50+ million despite the fact that she is known as ‘the worst CEO in history’.
I followed the previous elections more closely and remember using websites like open secrets and roll-call to read about your politicians wealth.
At the time I really liked your system of open financial disclosures but recently saw an interview with a CEO of a large multinational who said he would never go into politics because of the constant scrutiny on politicians’ personal lives.
It made me wonder how many potentially great politicians/leaders ‘we’ have scared off with our constant need for hot news.
I’m dutch so it really doesn’t matter what I think, but would love to see Bloomberg run. He was a democrat before turning republican.He seems to be left-leaning who has been equally or even more financially successful as Trump with actual political experience.
“More organizations die of indigestion than of starvation,” said David Packard who opposed HP’s stupid acquisition of Compaq in 2002.
That lesson has not yet been received by everyone though. With low interest rates and equally low organic growth the M&A-market here, but I believe in the US as well is booming. Not just in (bio)tech but across pretty much every sector. It is just a matter of time before some of these CEO’s will realize that David Packard was onto something. One deal I’m especially curious about is Royal Dutch Shell’s take-over($50+ billion) of BG-group. I guess we just have to wait and see.
Full disclosure, I quickly answered the 2 polls without much thought and ended up picking “net worth doesn’t matter as long as their personal finances, bill paying is in order” and then picked Rubio. Surprised myself with contradiction. The first answer I believe is part of being able to trust the future president. The second was because you asked who I “thought would win” not who I want to win. The reason I picked Rubio is all the other “contenders” have tremendous baggage IMHO that will eventually eliminate them from contention. Trump is an angry blowhard that would piss off everyone in congress and every world leader we care about (Putin not withstanding). Hillary is likely to be indicted over email gate (plus highly unlikable), Cruz is a wacko bird that would just as gladly shut down the government as president as he did as a first term congressmen if he doesn’t get his way (and he won’t). Bernie is the grandpa that everyone loves to death no matter what crazy things he says and does, but that doesn’t mean the grandkids are going to want him in he white house. Bush is too boring and low energy (couldn’t resist), Christy is too much of a bully. Kasich is… who the hell is Kasich again?, people don’t vote for people never heard of. Who do I want to win?… Bloomberg, who will join the race as an independent when Bernie and Trump win their respective sides. Finally, an independent will win the white house (disclosure: I am a registered independent a.k.a. recovering republican, every day is a struggle)
Wow, that is quite a contradiction! I created these two polls EXACTLY to try and capture contradictions, so I’m patting myself on the back. :)
May I ask your race, age, and whether you hail from Florida?
wonder bread white, 54 (plan to retire at 55), Huntington Beach (just down the coast from you enjoying a rain free 85 degree dead of winter el nino day)
Remember Scott Walker? He dropped out fast after burning through his campaign funds in record time. It will be interesting to see if Rubio does the same as they both have personal financial problems.
I would like to see a presidential candidate who is at least able to manage their own finances and show some self restraint. I don’t like business bankruptcy, but it is certainly more excusable than foreclosing on a second home.
Presidential candidates are typically older, and have had reasonably paying jobs. If you earn 6 figures your whole life, and are 55 years old, then you almost need to try not to be a millionaire (ie saving 10% of income for 30 years, getting 7% return, a $100k earner is worth $1 million after the 30 years).
I really struggle to trust anyone to help the country, if they can’t help themselves. I am shocked Rubio is so popular. If he doesn’t get the nomination, he could actually be personally bankrupt next year. After earning $2.3 million over 10 years, he was apparently worth $53k.
Nothing wrong with being a blingy dude, but I expect more from a president.
This is what I was thinking. I’d honestly be scared of someone only being worth 1/20th of their lifetime gross income, running our country. Where the hell did all the money go?!?!
Rubio, read this now: https://www.financialsamurai.com/how-much-should-my-net-worth-or-savings-be-based-on-income/
I work in consulting, and have worked with many Marco Rubio types. People with poor impulse control. One colleague was on a 5 year project making $200k a year. 2 months after the project ended, he was bankrupt.
The Rubio types tend to not only have difficulty controlling impulses with their finances, but also in may other facets of their lives (can’t say no to $80k boat, Q7 lease, also can’t say no to the line of coke, or the 21yo in the club, even though there is a wife and kid at home). The Rubio types can be difficult to spot, since there tends to be such a fine line when you earn good money, between saving 30% of your paycheck, or blowing through 110% of your salary.
I think you’ll enjoy my upcoming post! I agree wholeheartedly.
What we must realize is DEMOGRAPHICS. We have biases and vote for who looks like us. But to win the presidency, we must address ALL demographics, not your own.
You’ve got to remember that elections in America are like a High School popularity contest. The vast majority of people don’t care about somebody’s finances, or if they’re actually qualified to be president.
You’d think people would want somebody successful in life instead of somebody who is terribly irresponsible when it comes to money. But nope, it has nothing to do with success or failure.
The parallels between personal and campaign finance are fascinating. Rubio has personal financial problems but his campaign has been doing relatively well.
Thanks for reading and commenting!
I’m not a fan of any current contender, but wouldn’t be terribly upset if Bloomberg threw his hat in the ring — if not only to see The Donald go bonkers. While I get the reactionary feelings about yet another One Percenter and old,white man being president — there is something to be said about a man that can fund his own campaign without really needing backing and therefore may be less inclined to get in bed with unsavory donors. A pipe dream perhaps.
Bloomberg is wealthier than The Donald right? That would be highly interesting! But every day Michael waits, is one more day he loses out on winning.
Bloomberg would do well in the NE but that’s about it. He’s got the same rich issues as Trump & Hillary; is part of the “banks” with his NYC background/bloomberg finance, is a NEer and won’t do well in the south; isn’t as liberal as Bernie to get the west and I don’t think some of his control freak politics (eg: banning cokes over 16 oz) will do well in the Midwest.
The way I see this playing out is Hillary either “steals” the primary through superdelegates. She goes on to win the whole thing as the rich donors (of both parties) support her over Trump OR the rich donors begrundingly support Trump over Sanders and with enough populist appeal wins 40-45 states over Sanders. If Bloomberg enters the race as an independent there is a chance Trump could win 49 states and only a minor chance Bloomberg wins (and I agree the longer he waits the less likely he is to win).
Sanders is a bit scary to me – his policies would fundamentally change the economic system in the US (which has a ton of risks, even if you believe he’s right in the long run), his personal finance is horrible (been making amazing money for decades and has no wealth and a lot of debt), and his self admitted socialism could – IMO – end up causing another split within the Union and possibly lead to states leaving the union (or trying to)
What an interesting race it would be if it were two mega billionaires facing off…and if it’s Marco Rubio v. Bernie Sanders, it would be the first time in a long time that neither candidate is a millionaire.
It will be Hilary vs. Donald with Hilary winning in the end.
TIL rich / powerful people can be financial idiots too
What I don’t understand is how some of these guys (Rubio and Sanders)( have been working their entire lives and have hardly any money to their name. But especially Rubio who stupidly cashed in a retirement account to fund campaign costs. And he’s only worth $100k?! What? Is he that terrible with money that he has so little at his stage in life? Not somebody I want running the country.
And Sanders. You failed to mention that he has $35k-$65k in credit card debt. He has had a very high salary forever now and still has sky high credit card debt and probably pays a fortune to service that debt. If he’s making $200k/year and owns his residence there’s absolutely no reason to owe so much revolving debt. Also, why does somebody like him have no assets at all in his name? Curious. Also somebody who is terrible with money and somebody I would not want running the country. Although, since he’s so accustomed to borrowing money and paying tons of interest he’d likely fit in quite nicely as president. He reminds me of the Crypkeeper too.
It’s sad to think that these are the best and brightest we can put forward to run for the presidency.
Well, remember …no sane person would want the job!
Dang, does Bernie really have $35K – $65K in credit card debt? Have a source? If so, he’s financially irresponsible.
My source is the first page of Google results ;) And I was wrong, it was $25k-$65k in CC debt. Staggering for sure, especially for somebody who makes nearly 200k and has the country’s best benefit plan.
Can’t believe I missed that! Thanks for bringing it up!
I’m not terrible with money, I’m terrible at earning. (Never earned $20K in any year.) Considering that I get by on financial fumes, I like to think I manage well what little money I have.
Check out this post for some ideas and inspiration: Income Profiles Of Financially Free People
Minor correction: Martin O’Malley was governor of Maryland, not Rhode Island.
As I write this comment, I appear to be the only person who selected “Other. Please Explain.” on the “Does a presidential candidate’s net worth matter?” So here’s my explanation.
I don’t think there’s any correlation between how someone manages his finances and how he runs a government. Statesmen often have huge weaknesses, but what makes them great is that they know how to overcome them. The job of running a government is so big that no one person can do it, so the president or prime minister delegates the finances to someone better suited. Here are three examples.
Alexander Hamilton was America’s first Treasury Secretary and put the nation’s finances in order. He was also always one step away from bankruptcy and after he left office, he astonished foreign observers with the hours of work he put in to stay solvent.
Abraham Lincoln was forced into bankruptcy as a young man when his business partner ran their store incompetently. As a state legislator, Lincoln’s signature initiative was a bond issue to raise funds for internal improvements in Illinois. The bonds were so badly managed that Illinois built no roads with the money and the sorry mess left the state in debt that wasn’t paid off until 1880 (15 years after Lincoln himself had died). Yet Lincoln was the most important president of the 19th Century and perhaps the most important of all time. He picked Salmon Chase to put the nation’s finances in order, which was something the generally unpleasant Chase was perfectly suited to do.
Winston Churchill spent most of his life deeply in debt, and if his supporters hadn’t bailed him out in 1938, he would have left politics altogether before the war.
There doesn’t seem to be much correlation between how good a man is with his money and how good a statesman he is. We finance nerds would like to think that, whatever else our problems, if we can manage a household budget, then we could handle running a nation. It’s self-flattering and wrong. Running a nation and organizing your life so you can retire early are two different skill sets that do not necessarily overlap.
I would agree with the part regarding personal versus public management of funds.
Through the years I have known several top-notch executives who could manage a company budget to perfection but whose personal finances were a shambles.
Excellent Reply thank you for the background. After reading this I was inclined to change my earlier “votes” on the questions presented here.
Wonderful comment! No one person can make a difference. But what if the President who doesn’t know how to spend less than he makes hires other people who don’t know how to control their impulses?
You mean like the majority of congress who votes to spend more money than the country generates? ;)
I would say there’s an unfounded presumption that a person who “doesn’t know how to spend less than he makes” also “don’t know how to control their impulses”.
I make (net) about $1250 per month and I don’t know how to spend less than that but there is no impulsive spending in my budget.
Fantastically insightful comment. Thanks for your contribution!
You are a brave man, talking about politics. Will Friday’s topic be religion? :)
I think politicians are generally wealthier because they are generally more driven, high-achievers, and those people tend to be wealthier no matter what profession they choose.
But I could be convinced otherwise…
As for wealth mattering for a president, I’m not sure. There is some aspect of knowing how money works which is important. But there’s also the fact that once you have a few hundred million you may lose touch with what the average person deals with on a day in, day out basis.
I agree, Sam is brave for this post. I approached the comments section trembling. I hope it stays nice and light!
I don’t think there’s is anything controversial about this post. I do think it’s interesting to know what our future president’s finances are and survey whether finances matter and who will become president.
As you can see from the comments, there’s nothing to worry about!
Was thinking the same thing. I’d like to talk to you about Jesus… :-)
I think politicians in general are attracted to power. Money and power go together like pigs and blankets, whether it’s coming from behavior that’s illegal or just unethical. Of course, if you already have the money, you have more free time to pursue the power.
As for wealth, I’d prefer a president with an abundance of ethical wealth who I could trust to make the hard choices for the LONG TERM good of our country and the world.
That’s a good point about losing touch w/ reality. Like maybe Hillary has?
Or maybe Mitt Romney has when he bet another candidate $10,000 on live TV? What an idiot.
I think it’s more important to see good management of money. It seems Rubio has terrible personal financial skills. How will that translate to running the presidency?
Trump went through bankruptcy 4 times and made use of loopholes….when you have tons of money, you can hire an arsenal of people to tell you how to get through loopholes. Is the message we want to send to the Average American is who cares, spend as much as you want, go into debt, because you can just declare bankruptcy? There goes the personal responsibility feeling.
I think its interesting that early on in the race, Gov Scott Walker was also scrutinized for having poor personal finance skills. He had a couple maxed out credit cards and ultimately, his campaign ran out of cash early on and he had to drop out. Is there a difference between personal finance management and campaign finance management? It seems there was a correlation in Walker’s case!
Trump hasn’t dealt with bankruptcy, his company has. That’s a huge difference.
It’s interesting none of the other candidates have hit him on that. He keeps saying, I’ve never declared bankruptcy!
An easy response to that is: You got rich off the backs of your employees, most of whom make minimum wage, while running those companies into the ground.
…and I read that he would have more money today if he had just bought a nice S&P 500 mutual fund with the money he got from his dad. So all of his work has built his brand but actually destroyed economic value vs. just buying VOO and going to the beach!
Long VOO, Short Trump ;-P
So out of 500+ companies, 4 have declared bankruptcy. Do you know what the rate of success of new businesses are? And he has over a 99% success rate? Compare that with the stat of 50% of businesses go under in less than 2 years and you’re going to criticize someone with a 99% success rate?
Might I add that he used the bankruptcy laws to his advantage. He leveraged them to reduce the bill he owed to come out of the situation stronger. IE please tell me about all the tax deductions you don’t take in order to have more money for yourself? I’d love to hear how you don’t use the laws on the book to not take a personal income deduction, or child deduction, or marriage deduction, or deduct money you give to charity. I would love to hear about it!
All of the employees well still paid. It was the investors who had to take lower ROI as the rates on junk bonds were renegotiated ie from his taj casino deal for example.
As for the S&P bit Kevin, no one knows what the market will do going forward – just look at this year! But he still built an empire and now has skyscrapers with his name all over the world and resorts for himself etc. He built that himself, this way he’s able to employee thousands of workers directly which has more benefits for the economy than just doing nothing with his life and taking advantage of stocks that no one knew if they would go up or down.
People sure love throwing him under the bus when he’s a billionaire… keep in mind that his older brother was practically written out of the will by the dad because his dad thought he was lazy and not as hard working as donald and as such donald received the majority of the inheritance. So the father was a hard worker and rewards another hard worker and people are upset that he was able to work hard, employ others rather than just party and drink himself to death in his 40s like his brother did. The man doesn’t drink or do drugs and is pretty darn old and wants to keep working and people are never happy with a man with that kind of drive. I’ll take a driven hard worker like myself any day of the week.
Like him or not – Trump has an impressive business record. Many people cannot even run one singular business and not fail / go bankrupt at some point. The rate of business start-ups failing is astonishingly high.
Look at all the successful en-devours he has ran; and is still running! To think he amassed his wealth by screwing over his employees and big banks by purposely going bankrupt or something is simply untrue.
I read a similar article about the candidate’s net worths recently and I find it fascinating. I could write a lot about the importance of this year’s election. And I’ve been following all of the candidates closely for a long time. But, sticking to this blog post’s topic, I find Marco Rubio’s mismanagement of his personal finances incredibly concerning. It’s not so much about his low net worth as it is making irresponsible decisions with his money.
Glad you enjoyed the post, Kate. :) Rubio has certainly made questionable decisions; I think if he makes it to a general election, it will be a bigger campaign issue for his opposition.
Yes I have a hard time thinking about Rubio for President. If he cannot manage his own money how can he be in charge of the Federal budget.