Who Was the Richest President?

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Last week, we reported that President Obama’s net worth is between $4.25 million and more than $23 million. Several of our readers reacted strongly to this information, arguing that it was proof that this president and members of his party couldn’t relate to average Americans.

“The Democrats like to speak as though they are ‘one of us,’ yet their bank accounts, and their lifestyles… speak just the opposite!” one person wrote in the comments.

Yet, it turns out that Obama is actually one of the poorest presidents in history, at least as of now. The Atlantic proved this point recently when they analyzed the net worth of all 43 U.S. presidents at their richest.

Apparently, George Washington didn’t just set the precedent for how many terms the leader should serve in office. The first president of the U.S. was loaded, with an estimated net worth of $525 million, once you factor in inflation. Much of this is based on the thousands of acres of land that Washington owned, not to mention the value of his 300 slaves. Washington also earned a better salary while in office than the presidents who followed. His paycheck represented an incredible 2% of the total U.S. budget at the time.

However, Washington is not the wealthiest president on the list. That title falls to John F. Kennedy, although there is a caveat: “Although he never inherited his father's fortune, the Kennedy family estate was worth nearly $1 billion,” The Atlantic reports. Several other presidents broke the $100-million mark, including James Madison, Thomas Jefferson and Theodore Roosevelt, with Lyndon Johnson falling just shy at $98 million.

By comparison, the presidents who served in the 1800s had more meager bank accounts. Abraham Lincoln, Andrew Johnson and Ulysses S. Grant all had less than $1 million, and at one point, Grant actually teetered on the brink of bankruptcy.

Each of the past few presidents have earned a decent income, with most accruing more than $10 million. Of course, President Obama will likely earn comparable money once he leaves office, much in the way that Bill Clinton did, by releasing a memoir and giving lucrative speeches. Still, it is worth noting that Obama started with less money than many presidents before him. In fact, a CNN Money piece from 2007 points out that Obama actually had the least money of any serious candidate running in the 2008 presidential election, with just $1.3 million when he announced his candidacy.  Sounds like a nice chunk of change to us.

—For a comprehensive credit report, visit the BankingMyWay.com Credit Center.

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