In 2016, there were reports that Donald Trump was set to become the richest U.S. president in history. And in 2017, he was finally able to top that list thanks to his various real estate businesses, property holdings, his production company “Trump Productions LLC,” and a myriad of other businesses. He even maintains an ownership stake at Wollman Rink Operations, the uber-popular Central Park ice skating rink which certainly helped increase his net worth. At $3.7 billion, President Trump is one wealthy president. The annual salary of a US president is $400,000, which is a little less than what most corporate CEOs make. But who are the most prominent presidents topping this list? And most importantly, how do you calculate the wealth of every living former president? Well, in 24/7 Wall St. made some calculations and analyzed the wealth of former U.S. presidents based on historical sources. They came up with these figures which are adjusted for inflation to December 2017 levels.Not every president on this list started out wealthy, but current president, Donald Trump was born in an affluent family. His father, the late Fred Trump, made a fortune thanks to his real estate endeavors, building middle-class housing for union workers in New York. In 1971, his son, Donald Trump, followed in his footsteps and took over his father’s company. In 2017, he became the richest president in US history thanks to his numerous real estate, branded businesses, and golf courses all over the world.
The Kennedy family was truly powerful and as wealthy as they come. The former U.S. president lived a cushy life thanks to a family trust he shared with his eight siblings. His father was one of the wealthiest men in the entire country, and he was the first chairman of the SEC. Having stiffly invested in Manhattan real estate, Joseph P. Kennedy accumulated an impressive fortune over the course of his career. His son, John F. Kennedy inherited a massive fortune from his father, which is estimated at a whopping $1 billion.
Asides from getting hitched to a healthy widow, Martha Dandridge Custis, the “Father of his Country,” George Washington was the proud owner of 280-acres of productive farmland that he inherited from his father, Augustine Washington. He farmed tobacco and hemp but later realized that wheat was more profitable. During the 18th century, the gardens, farm, and estate of Washington’s Mount Vernon totaled a little over 8,000 acres and was run by 300 slaves. Washington also ran a prosperous distillery, which was the most popular in America back in the day. His presidential salary was a whopping 2% of the total US budget in 1789, which was much higher than other presidents that came after him.
Thomas Jefferson was faced with many financial dilemmas, and before he passed away, his economic situation went from bad to worse. In his early life, Jefferson inherited 3,000 acres and dozens of slaves that were formerly owned by his father. The tobacco plantation heavily provided a vast fortune for the former U.S. president. In 1793, Jefferson switched from growing tobacco to wheat. His stunning Monticello home, which was located on a 5,000-acre plantation in Virginia, is still considered an architectural marvel.
Roosevelt hailed from an affluent and prominent family from New York. Despite worshipping the ground he walked on, Roosevelt was never interested in making money as much as his businessman father did. But he ended up inheriting $60,000 from his father that would be roughly worth $1.3 million today. Roosevelt entered politics when he was young. His 235-acre estate Sagamore Hil is one of Long Island’s most valuable real estate properties.
American soldier, statesman, and former U.S. president, Andrew Jackson became one of the richest presidents in the 1800s. Jackson had humble beginnings. His father died shortly after his birth and his mother passed when he was just 14. The seventh president acquired his wealth thanks to his Hermitage plantation in Nashville, Tennessee. Jackson engaged in several other business ventures, but the majority of his fortune stems from the cotton that was farmed and produced at the Hermitage. It is said that Jackson owner at least 300 slaves throughout his life.
The former U.S. president owned 5,000 acres in land and the stunning Montpelier estate. This made him the largest landowner in Orange County, Virginia. His extensive net worth derives from land holdings, but Madison was also able to amass a fortune as secretary of state and president. Rumor has it that thanks to poor management and bad business decisions, Madison left the presidency with a lot less money than when he entered it. The Founding Father and his wife, Dolley, were forced to sell their slave and land holdings from the Montpellier plantation.
The 36th U.S. president grew up in not-so-nice poor rural Texas. His father lost most of the family’s fortune when he was just a little boy. Over time, Johnson was able to accrue 1,500 acres in Blanco County, Texas, and had numerous holdings which included private aircraft and livestock. But most of his wealth came from his wife, Claudia, who was also known as “Lady Bird.” She invested a portion of her inheritance into radio and TV stations across Texas, which proved to be a wise move. Her initial $41,000 investment ended up rising to $150 million.
Unlike other U.S. presidents, Clinton amassed an impressive fortune after his two decades of public service. He earned an impressive fortune as an author and public speaker. His book, “My Life,” earned Clinton a $15 million advance. In March 2014, the former president got paid half a million dollars to speak in London to Bank of America. Bill and Hillary Clinton managed to turn their political fame into a personal fortune, thanks to their many writing, consulting, and speaking engagements. From 2001 to 2015, the power couple was able to accrue $240 million.
Long before Herbert Hoover became the 31st president, he made millions as a mining executive. After graduating with a geology degree from Stanford University, Hoover worked for mining corporations in California, Australia, and China. Eventually, he founded a company that became part of Rio Tinto Group. Hoover is said to have been in charge of mining operations across six continents. This undoubtedly made him rich all before World War I, and his entry into politics.