Barack Obama Net Worth

As of 12/13/16, the Barack Obama net worth sum of $3.4 million comes from his required personal financial disclosures, plus his $400,000 salary as U.S. President.

The U.S. government doesn’t require politicians to disclose their exact net worth to the public. It does force Presidents, Vice Presidents and Senators to reveal the value of each asset and debt within a range. That means the closest anyone can get to knowing the true Obama net worth number is by adding up those max/min values and then taking the average. To complicate things, the federal disclosure documents are filed in June. That means to get as close as possible to Obama’s true net worth, we need to factor in his income from the past 11 months.

Obama has assets worth at least $1.6 million and at most $6.4 million. That’s an average asset value for Obama of $4 million. He has debts of at least $500,000 and at most $1 million. That gives him average debt of $750,000. Adding up his lowest possible asset value with his highest possible debt gives a minimum Barack Obama net worth number of $603,013. Adding up his highest possible assets with his lowest possible debt gives a maximum Obama net worth of $5.9 million. Averaging the two gives a probable Obama net worth total of $3.2 million. Since those numbers come from June of 2015, we need to add in his probable income since then to get a current net worth of $3.4 million.

Obama Net Worth Facts

As of 12/13/16, Obama has told the media that a president without a daily intelligence briefing is flying blind. The comment came as an apparent jab at Donald Trump, who has said the briefings are a waste of time.

Obama Net Worth Facts

Obama Net Worth Facts
Obama net worth 2016$3,419,468
Minimum possible Obama net worth$603,013
Maximum possible Obama net worth$5,895,200
Obama net worth vs Bernie Sanders net worth6 times larger
Obama net worth vs Hillary Clinton net worth1/10th as big
Obama net worth vs Bill and Hillary Clinton combined1/34th as big
Obama net worth vs Jeb Bush net worth1/7th as big
Obama net worth vs Donald Trump net worth1/2059th as big
Obama net worth vs median U.S. household net worth48 times larger
Obama net worth vs Bill Gates net worth1/24,622 as big

The Barack Obama net worth sum is 48 times larger than the median U.S. household net worth of $68,000. Compared to Bernie Sanders’ net worth of $528,014, Obama’s net worth is 6 times larger. Obama’s net worth is 1/10th as big as Hillary Clinton’s net worth of $31.2 million. Donald Trump’s net worth of $5.2 billion is 1,529 times larger than the Obama net worth total.

Barack Obama Net Worth Range

Barack Obama Net Worth Over Time

Looking at averages, the Barack Obama net worth story has taken a roller coaster ride since 2004. In that year Obama’s net worth was just $300,002. At the time, he was a member of the Illinois State Senate. Obama was elected to that post in 2005, giving his net worth a boost of $162,100 per year from salary. He remained in that position until November of 2008, when he was elected President of the United States.

From 2004 to 2005, Obama’s net worth multiplied six times, possibly from sales of his newly republished book, Dreams From My Father. Obama’s net worth dropped by about half over the next year, then in 2007 it took a massive jump, multiplying six times again to nearly $4.7 million. This hike can probably be attributed to the publication of his bestseller, The Audacity of Hope. That book was published around the same time Obama announced his candidacy for president.

Barack Obama Net Worth Through Time
Barack Obama net worth 2004$300,002
Barack Obama net worth 2005$1,800,004
Barack Obama net worth 2006$799,006
Barack Obama net worth 2007$4,689,008
Barack Obama net worth 2008$3,665,505
Barack Obama net worth 2009$4,958,005
Barack Obama net worth 2010$7,316,006
Barack Obama net worth 2011$5,415,507
Barack Obama net worth 2012$4,366,006
Barack Obama net worth 2013$4,549,007
Barack Obama net worth 2014$3,249,107
Barack Obama net worth 2015$3,419,468
Barack Obama net worth 2016$3,539,468

Obama Net Worth Over Time

The average Obama net worth number peaked in 2010 at $7,316,006. At that time, sales of his books may have waned. At the same time Obama postponed a promised book deal with his publisher in order to devote his time to running the country. This decision no doubt caused Obama’s net worth to stop its upward track.

Curiously, over the next five years Obama’s net worth dropped steadily to less than half its peak value, finishing up at $3,249,107 at the end of 2014. Since there are no transactions that would account for such a drop during that time period, it’s difficult to account for the disappearance of over $3.5 million dollars from the President’s net worth.

Also see: Bernie Sanders Net Worth

Why Did Barack Obama’s Net Worth Drop?

obama net worth dropIt’s not hard to understand why Obama’s net worth rose sharply into the millions in the years between 2004 and 2010. With high-paying jobs in the U.S. Senate and as President of the United States, plus two best selling book deals, the Obama net worth number was bound to skyrocket. It’s not even hard to figure out why Obama’s net worth stopped rising sharply in 2010, since sales of his books most likely waned around then.

However, it’s harder to understand why Obama’s net worth apparently went off a cliff in 2010. It’s true that the stock market crashed in 2008/2009, dragging down the value of portfolios across the country and around the world. However, with the general upward track of investments since then, the expectation would be for Obama’s net worth to rise in kind.

Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics: Obama’s Net Worth May Not Have Dropped

obama net worth statsDespite appearances, it’s entirely possible Obama’s net worth didn’t take the big drop pictured in the graph above. That’s because U.S. presidents only have to report their net worth within a range. The figures in the graph above are only averages.

To show how the government’s reporting method may be hiding the true story, it’s possible the Obama net worth figure was at the minimum of the reported range in 2010. Instead of a 2010 Obama net worth of $7,316,006, Obama could have had a net worth of $2,802,012 that year. Likewise, in 2015, Obama’s net worth might actually be at the top of the range, placing it at $5,395,201. The graph above shows only average Barack Obama net worth, not actual. To get the actual figures for Obama net worth, you’d have to ask the President himself.

The graph below shows the rise and fall of Obama’s net worth range over time, which gives a more accurate picture of the data. The top of the blue area on the graph may be Obama’s real net worth path. That would have the President losing about 40% of his invested wealth in the 2008-09 financial crisis, then gradually making gains since then.

Obama Net Worth Range

Is Obama Lying About his Net Worth? Are We?

No matter which politician we analyze, we seem to run into a similar complaint. Depending on political orientation, readers either think we’re covering up for politicians or unfairly attacking them. Could Obama be lying about his net worth? Could he be hiding millions somewhere? Might he actually be a lot richer than this article lets on? Or from the other point of view, could he be much poorer? Might he have given more to charity than we know? Of course. The point is, the government only requires that a president disclose his or her net worth within a certain range. The chart above simply shows that range. While it’s possible that there could be criminal activity going on somewhere in the Obama net worth data, the part of that data that’s revealed publicly doesn’t show it.

Barack Obama Net Worth Sources

President Obama’s net worth comes largely from two main sources: Income from his political career and proceeds from the sales of his three books. A three year career as a civil rights attorney also contributed a small percentage of Obama’s net worth. Investment income has added to Obama’s net worth in recent years as well.

Political Career and Obama Net Worth

obama net worth careerBarack Obama earned approximately $68,000 a year as an Illinois State Senator between 1997 and 2004. With seven years of that salary, Barack Obama earned approximately $476,000 during those years. After taxes, from that salary and the sale of his first book, Obama was able to amass a net worth of about $300,000.

When Obama entered the U.S. Senate in January of 2005, his income took a jump to $162,100. By the time he left office in 2008, his salary had grown to $169,300. Adding up his senator salary for those four years shows Obama earned $661,800. While this figure probably contributed to Obama’s net worth, the largest contribution by far came from sales of his two books.

In 2009, Obama’s salary rose again when he assumed the office of U.S. President. Since that time, an income of $400,000 per year has provided a significant addition to Obama’s net worth. Since he entered office, President Obama has earned $2.4 million in salary.

All together, his political career has added $3.5 million to president Obama’s net worth.

Also see: Hillary Clinton Net Worth

Book Sales and Obama Net Worth

obama net worth booksObama’s first book, Dreams From My Father no doubt contributed a healthy chunk to Obama’s net worth. First published in 1995 and then reprinted in August of 2004, the book tells the story of Obama’s life up to his acceptance to Harvard Law School.

While it’s unclear how many copies the book sold, Obama was paid a $500,000 advance for an abridged version of the book for children in 2009. That fact points to the book adding a big boost to Obama’s net worth.

The President’s second book, The Audacity of Hope, was published in 2006 and has sold over 4.6 million copies. The book contains Obama’s thoughts on “reclaiming the American dream.” It likely added millions to Obama’s net worth. The publisher, Crown/Three Rivers Press, advanced Obama $1.9 million for a three book deal.

Obama’s third book, Of Thee I Sing, is a children’s book written in the form of a letter to his daughters. Since money from sales of the book are donated to disabled veterans and the children of fallen soldiers, it isn’t likely to contribute to Obama’s net worth.

Barack Obama Net Worth Breakdown

Barack Obama reported assets of between $1.6 million and $6.9 million in 2015. He reported only one debt: a mortgage on his Illinois home amounting to $500,000 to $1,000,000 dollars. This gives a minimum Obama net worth value of $1.1 million and a max value of $5.4 million. Finally, the data shows an average Obama net worth figure of $3.2 million. Adding probable income after tax boosts that to $3.4 million.

Below is a breakdown of Obama’s assets and debt as of his most recent filing.

Barack Obama Net Worth
Obama AssetsMin ValueMax Value
JP Morgan Chase Asset Mgmt Checking Account$50,001$100,000
JP Morgan Chase Asset Mgmt Savings Account$0$201
Northern Trust Checking Account$1,001$15,000
Vanguard Institutional Index Fund (Retirement)$100,001$250,000
State of Illinois General Assembly Defined Benefit Pension Plan$50,001$100,000
Vanguard Institutional Index Fund (Retirement)$100,001$250,000
Vanguard 500 Index Fund (Retirement)$100,001$250,000
U.S. Treasury Notes (Largest Obama asset)$1,000,001$5,000,000
Bright Directions College Savings 529 Plan$50,001$100,000
Bright Directions College Savings 529 Plan$50,001$100,000
Bright Directions College Savings 529 Plan$50,001$100,000
Bright Directions College Savings 529 Plan$50,001$100,000
JP Morgan Chase Checking Account$1,001$15,000
Massachusetts Mutual, universal life$1,001$15,000
Obama Net Worth Asset Totals$1,603,013$6,395,201
Obama Liabilities
Mortgage on residence, Illinois$500,001$1,000,000
Obama Net Worth Totals$1,103,012$5,395,201
Average Obama Net Worth$3,249,107

Also see: Donald Trump Net Worth

Fact Checking the Barack Obama Net Worth Data

obamas net worth over timeOne way of getting at Obama’s net worth is to look at his financial disclosure documents and figure out the range his net worth could exist within. Since the minimum for 2016 is about $600,000 and the max is $5.9 million, the numbers honestly aren’t very useful. Another, maybe more effective way to get at the Obama net worth figure is by looking at his income, then adjusting for taxes, expenses and investments. We’ve done just that in the table below. As it turns out, by our calculations, the final Obama net worth number in 2016 should be more like $7.36 million by now. That’s taking into account all ups and downs in the stock market, all expenses and all earnings sources.

The years from 1997 through 2004 show Obama’s approximate salary as an Illinois State Senator. During that time, Obama made $68,000 a year. We’ve estimated his annual taxes during that time at $68,000, but the actual tax rate doesn’t matter, since it’s unlikely that Obama managed to build much net worth on that amount of income. The bulk of his earnings after taxes in those years most likely went toward cost of living. Obama’s salary as a U.S. Senator and as President are also in the Salary column. All Obama salary figures are correct.

obama net worthThe Book Income column in the table below contains estimates based on sales figures and media reports. Those numbers may not be exact, which could be one reason our suggested Obama net worth number in this table doesn’t match the President’s disclosure documents. The Tax column applies a tax rate of 43.45% to Obama’s annual income once that figure topped $415,000. That includes a 39.6% federal bracket and a 5.75% Washington DC rate. For expenses, we assumed Obama spent at least $100,000 a year as a U.S. Senator, up to 10% of his income. Those costs include literary agent fees and cost of living. The Investment Income column assumes Obama made returns on his net worth to date in direct proportion to the S&P 500. While many cite the Dow Jones (DJIA) as the key indicator of market health, most market analysts agree the S&P contains a better (though smaller) overall cross section of stocks. Doing the math on all the above gives a final Obama net worth sum of $7.36 million. That’s $1.46 million more than Obama’s stated maximum net worth amount.

Obama Net Worth Calculations
YearObama Earnings (Salary + Book Income)Adjustments (Taxes, Expenses, Investments)Obama Net Worth
Obama Net Worth Totals$13,005,800-$5,643,995$7,361,805

What’s going on in the table above? Why does Obama’s net worth seem so much bigger here than in his official reports? One reason might be that he made less from book sales than we’re estimating here. We know for a fact that Obama made at least $2.4 million from book deals. That includes $1.9 million for a three book deal and $500,000 for a children’s version of his book Dreams from My Father. The book The Audacity of Hope sold 4.6 million copies at $9.99 each. If Obama got 10% of that, he’d have been paid $4.6 million. That’s $7 million total, not including the money from the grownup version of Dreams. Another reason for the difference between our calculations and the federal reports might be that Obama’s investments did a lot worse than the S&P 500 as a whole. That’s not outside the realm of possibility. Still another reason could be that he’s hiding money somewhere. That’s certainly a potential cause that many on the political right will point to. The important thing to remember is that this is all just speculation. There’s no way to know for sure. The one fact to hold onto is that Obama’s true net worth is probably somewhere between $3 million and $7 million. Another fact is that it will most likely grow in future years.

Obama Net Worth in the Future

Obama Net Worth FutureWhat will happen to Obama net worth calculations after the White House? If Bill Clinton’s net worth is any predictor, probably a lot. If Obama goes on the lecture circuit, he could easily pull down a half million or more for a single speaking appearance.

Hillary Clinton gave 52 speeches in 2014 and 2015, earning over $12 million. Bill Clinton has reportedly earned over $100 million for more than 500 speeches in ten years. Would Obama’s net worth see a similar jump?

It’s likely Obama’s net worth will get some kind of a boost after the White House, both from speaking engagements and book deals. However, whether he’ll become extremely rich like the Clintons remains to be seen. One possibility is that Obama will set up a charitable foundation, donating much of the proceeds from speeches to charity. One thing is certain: whether our Obama net worth figure after the presidency grows by a lot or a little, we’ll be reporting a larger Obama net worth in the future.

Source: U.S. Personal Financial Disclosure Reports