This infographic shows 5 U.S. senators worth less than Bernie Sanders. Bernie Sanders ranks 86th in the Senate for net worth. There are 13 senators worth less than Bernie Sanders.
Bernie Sanders has an estimated net worth of $528,014. Since U.S. senators are only required to disclose their net worth within a range, it’s impossible to know exactly how much any particular senator is worth. Further, it’s not necessary to disclose certain assets, like for example the value of a personal, private residence.
As recently as August 9th, 2015, Bernie Sanders reported owning assets of at least $187,026 and as much as $759,004. Most of those assets are in the form of investments. Sanders also owns a condo in Vermont worth about $100,000 which he is not required to report. That gives the presidential candidate an average asset value of $573,015. Subtract average debts of $45,001 and you get Sanders’ estimated net worth of $528,014.
Also see: What is Bernie Sanders’ Net Worth?
Sanders’ net worth is most likely a plus for him politically. His net worth of over half a million dollars shows he didn’t exactly squander his salary as a U.S. senator, but he also isn’t so rich as to be convincingly called “out of touch” with the average American. Further, most of his assets are in his wife’s name, and some of his investments are in socially responsible funds with moral imperatives attached.
Below is a list of five senators worth even less than Sanders, starting with Mike Lee of Utah, who has a net worth of $210,000 and finishing with Martin Heinrich of New Mexico, with an estimated net worth of a negative $750,992.
Mike Lee (R-Utah) $210,500
Mike Lee of Utah has an estimated net worth of $210,000. That makes him worth less than half of Bernie Sanders’ holdings. Among Lee’s assets, he lists two bank accounts at Utah credit unions containing about $45,000. The rest of the senator’s $223,000 in assets is in investments. Lee’s only listed debt is a college loan worth between $10,001 and $15,000.
Senator Lee would probably have a much higher net worth if he hadn’t decided to go into politics. The senator left behind a lucrative career as a corporate lawyer to become a lawmaker. Though U.S. senators make $174,000 a year, this was a significant drop for Lee, who was forced to sell his dream home for a $300,000 loss as a result. Lee paid over $1 million dollars for the house some years earlier but was unable to make the payments on the salary of a U.S. senator and was forced to sell for around $700,000. By contrast, Bernie Sanders’ Vermont condo is worth about $100,000. Sanders most likely has no trouble making payments on the property, if he hasn’t already paid it off in full.
Also see: What is Donald Trump’s Net Worth?
Jeff Flake (R-Arizona) -$92,000
Flake’s assets are split between a bank account with anywhere from $1,001 to $15,000 in it, Apple stock worth $50,001 to $100,000, and a rental unit in Utah worth a quarter million to a half a million dollars. Flake’s net worth is dragged into negative territory by mortgages. The senator owes between $100,001 and $250,000 on a mortgage for a rental property in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. He also owes $250,001 to $500,000 on a home mortgage. That’s a healthy chunk of mortgage debt for a fiscal conservative who has crusaded to cut government spending.
Keep in mind that these are averages. While Flake’s net worth could be as low as -$92,000, it could be as high as $48,999, which would put him a lot closer to Bernie Sanders’ net worth. Flake is probably also earning money from his rental property, so his position could be a lot better than it seems.
Roger Wicker (R-Mississippi) -$114,000
Senator Roger Wicker has a net worth of -$114,000. That puts him worth about $642,000 less than Bernie Sanders. Wicker’s disclosure forms show he has stock and other investments totaling about $261,000. He also declared ownership of real estate worth around $650,000. That gives him assets of about $900,000. Anyone with nearly a million dollars in assets would probably consider themselves wealthy, but the assets are only half of the story. Senator Wicker also has estimated debt of over a million dollars, giving him an estimated net worth of about -$114,000.
Since all of Wicker’s debt is in mortgages and some of that in rental property, his debt probably looks worse than it is. Someone with a million dollars in debt in property that’s earning income is a lot better off than someone with the same amount of debt with nothing to show for it. Were Wicker to sell all of his properties tomorrow, he would likely have a positive net worth and might even come off better than Bernie Sanders.
Also see: What is Jeb Bush’s Net Worth?
Cory Gardner (R-Colorado) -$223,000
U.S. Senator Cory Gardner is worth nearly a quarter million dollars less than Bernie Sanders. His net worth of negative $223,000 comes from a large mix of debts and assets. Among his assets, Gardner reports a wide range of stocks, bonds, CDs, checking accounts and other investments. His debts are split between three mortgages and a college loan worth $15,001 to $50,000.
One of Gardner’s mortgages is for a rental condo that presumably generates some income for him. However, another of them is a second mortgage on his home at 8.49%. That doesn’t show the best financial sense from a senator who later introduced legislation on the senate floor to cut waste from government spending.
Martin Heinrich (D-New Mexico) -$750,992
Martin Heinrich, quite possibly the poorest U.S. senator, is worth over a million and a quarter less than Bernie Sanders. He lists assets between $32,018 and $306,001. Among them are a college savings account, three bank accounts and several investments. Heinrich also lists two mortgages, one for $100,001 to $240,000, and the other from $500,000 to $1,000,000. Judging by his senate financial disclosure forms alone, Heinrich owns at least six times as much in terms of real estate than Bernie Sanders.
Both of Heinrich’s properties seem to be at least partially personal residences. If Heinrich is a big spender and not exactly a solid manager of his own finances, at least he’s not a hypocrite. Senator Heinrich once sponsored a bill to cease all automatic pay raises for U.S. Congress, himself included. The bill is probably at least partially responsible for Heinrich being worth less than Bernie Sanders.
Also see: What is Hillary Clinton’s Net Worth?
Why Are These Senators Worth Less Than Bernie Sanders?
Some of these senators have been drawing what most Americans would consider a large salary for a long time. While Heinrich has only been in office since 2013, Roger Wicker has been a senator since 2007. If he’d saved every penny since then, he’d be worth $1.2 million. If he’d invested that at 6%, he’d have more than $15 million.
One answer might be that U.S. senators, like everyone, have debts and obligations to pay off. College loan debt, credit cards, home mortgages and bills aren’t limited to people working in the private sector. Still another reason might be that some of these senators are buying land, which is a different kind of investment. They’re likely drawing rental income, and since most of them put their property in their spouses’ names, they don’t have to disclose that income to the public.
Still, Bernie Sanders has the option to make use of the same tactics as the others. Either he’s doing that and still has a much higher net worth than they do, or he’s not doing it and wins the honesty game. But there’s another possibility. Maybe these senators who are worth less than Bernie Sanders are actually as poor as they look on paper. In that case, they might just be more in touch with the average American than the other 80 or so members of the U.S. Senate who are worth a lot more, like for example Michael McCaul of Texas who’s worth almost $300 million or John Kerry at almost $200 million. After all, what better way to be in touch with those you represent than by overspending and amassing piles of debt?
United States Senate Financial Disclosure Forms
Senator Lee Loses Home to Short Sale – Good4Utah.com