The 10 richest presidents in U.S. history
United States presidents are notorious for not only leading the country in several political endeavors but also for their financial successes. Presidents have always been wealthy, and many obtained their wealth prior to serving their term. But who was the richest president in history? We compiled a list of the top ten wealthiest U.S. presidents and how they acquired their riches.
10. Herbert Hoover
You might think it’s ironic that the president several people blame for starting the Great Depression was also one of the wealthiest presidents in U.S. history. The 31st president, serving from 1929 to 1933, Hoover had a net worth of $75 million as a mining executive. A graduate of Stanford University with a degree in geology, Hoover climbed the ranks of various mining corporations across the globe. He eventually controlled mining operations in six continents, giving him a substantial fortune prior to World War I.
9. Bill Clinton
America’s 42nd president, Bill Clinton, serving from 1993 to 2001, earned the bulk of his personal and family fortune of $80 million after his term ended. Since leaving office, Clinton has made millions from his 2005 memoir, My Life. He earned a large amount of money from book deals and public speaking engagements, but much of his wealth actually comes from his famous wife, Hillary Clinton. The former secretary of state received a $14 million advance for her 2014 memoir, Hard Choices. She earned even more money from her 2017 memoir, What Happened. It looks like the Clinton family is set for life.
8. Lyndon B. Johnson
Lyndon B. Johnson obtained the majority of his wealth, $98 million, in his home state: Texas. The 36th president, serving from 1963 to 1969, owned a variety of assets, including livestock and 1,500 acres. But the main source of his fortune came from his Texas TV and radio station business. While the radio station was owned by his wife, Claudia, also known as Lady Bird, Johnson used his influence as a member of Congress to make the station a success. The Johnson family eventually expanded its platform to own other TV and radio stations in Texas. If you lived in Texas during the 1940s, ‘50s, and ‘60s, chances are your local TV and radio station was owned by the Johnsons.
7. James Madison
James Madison didn’t really have to work for his earnings ($113 million). Like many early presidents, he inherited his substantial fortune. America’s fourth president, serving from 1809 to 1817, was lucky to be born to wealthy parents in Orange County, Virginia. His family owned extensive land and ran a successful plantation, eventually building the famous Montpelier estate. His family was believed to be the largest landowner in Virginia’s Orange County. Unfortunately, Madison’s wealth didn’t sustain after his term. Later in his life, declining tobacco prices and mismanagement of his plantation dwindled his money.
6. Andrew Jackson
Like James Madison, Andrew Jackson earned his $119 million fortune from his Hermitage plantation in Tennessee. America’s seventh president, serving from 1829 to 1837, Madison first inherited a fortune from his wife, Rachel. By 1804, he owned nine slaves at the plantation and the majority of his wealth came from the cotton produced at Hermitage. When the plantation became more successful, Madison bought more land and purchased additional slaves, eventually owning several hundred slaves.
5. Theodore Roosevelt
Theodore Roosevelt also inherited his $125 million wealth from his prominent New York family. But unlike his businessman father, Roosevelt, who served from 1901 to 1909, wasn’t interested in finance and business. He had a passion for politics and public service, eventually being elected to the New York State Assembly when he was 23 years old. He lived off his inheritance after his father’s death until he eventually sunk most of his fortune in a Dakota Territory ranch.
4. Thomas Jefferson
America’s third president, Thomas Jefferson, inherited his $212 million fortune. As a teenager, he inherited 3,000 acres of land near present-day Charlottesville, Virginia. Jefferson expanded the property to 5,000 acres and built his famous Monticello home. Serving from 1801 to 1809, Jefferson remained wealthy for the majority of his life, but he eventually dealt with heavy debts and he had to sell the Monticello estate prior to his 1826 death.
3. George Washington
It might be surprising that America’s first president is so high on our list, but George Washington, who served from 1789 to 1797, had a fortune of $525 million. Like many others, he inherited his wealth. His successful plantation, Mount Vernon, provided a substantial amount of money from the land’s 300 slaves. Washington continued to own land in the Ohio Valley, New York, and the District of Columbia. But Washington isn’t known for his wealth today. Instead, he’s known for his contribution as a Founding Father of the United States.
2. John F. Kennedy
It shouldn’t be surprising John F. Kennedy was one of the wealthiest presidents in U.S. history. After all, he was a member of the prestigious Kennedy family, one of the most powerful and influential families in American politics. Serving from 1961 until his assassination in 1963, Kennedy inherited his $1 billion fortune. His father, Joe Kennedy, earned his money through banking and investing. Because of his hard work, the Kennedy family continues to endure today. On top of that, First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy was an heiress to a successful oil tycoon.
1. Donald Trump
Donald Trump will probably be the richest president ever with a net worth of $3 billion. Before he entered politics, Trump was a prominent figure in New York City real estate. He inherited his father’s business and grew it into an expansive empire. In addition to owning several New York City buildings, Trump also owns over a dozen golf clubs and resorts. We can safely assume Trump’s net worth will continue to grow during and after his presidency.