Bill Clinton Net Worth: Hanging on His Words

The Bill Clinton net worth figure of $100.8 million comes mainly from $189 million in pre-tax dollars from books and speeches plus $25 million in salary. Clinton made $200,000 a year as U.S. President and only $35,000 a year as Governor of Arkansas. All together his salary as a public figure for 25 years comes to just $2.3 million, while he made ten times that in 1/4th the time as Chancellor of for-profit university Laureate Education Inc. and Chairman of the GEMS Foundation. Clinton’s biggest payday by far comes from $140.8 million earned for hundreds of speeches, with payouts for a single speech running as high as $725,000. Clinton has also raked in book royalties estimated at $48 million. That’s a total lifetime earnings of $217 million pretax dollars, with taxes and expenses slicing out over $137 million and investments kicking back $21 million. Combined with the Hillary Clinton net worth sum of $32 million. The Clintons control a fortune of more than $132 million.

Bill Clinton Net Worth Facts

Bill Clinton Net Worth Facts
Bill Clinton net worth$100,801,488
Bill Clinton net worth plus Hillary Clinton net worth4 times bigger
Bill Clinton net worth vs Hillary Clinton net worth$132,000,000
Bill Clinton net worth vs Barack Obama net worth30 times bigger
Bill Clinton net worth vs Donald Trump net worth52 times smaller
Bill Clinton net worth vs Bernie Sanders net worth191 times bigger
Bill Clinton net worth vs Oprah net worth26 times smaller
Bill Clinton net worth vs Bill Gates net worth794 times smaller
Bill Clinton net worth vs LeBron James net worth3 times smaller
Bill Clinton net worth vs typical American family net worth1483 times bigger

The Bill Clinton net worth total of $100.8 million is very high for a former president, but that trend may change looking forward. Clinton is the wealthiest of all American presidents through history in real dollars, though he earned only about half the salary of Barack Obama’s $400,000. Big speaking fees for former presidents could have Obama’s wealth topping Clinton’s within a few years after leaving office. Currently, Bill and Hillary Clinton have a combined net worth of $132 million, though taken separately Bill Clinton’s wealth is four times bigger than wife Hillary’s. Bill Clinton has 30 times more money than Barack Obama’s $3.4 million and 191 times more than former presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders’ net worth of $528,000. Donald Trump does quite a bit better than Clinton with 52 times more or $5.18 billion. Former daytime talk show Oprah has 26 times more with $2.56 billion and world’s richest human Bill Gates has 794 times more with $80 billion. NBA star LeBron James also outdoes Clinton with $223 million. That’s more than twice the wealth of the 42nd President of the United States.

Bill Clinton Net Worth Timeline

Bill Clinton Net Worth Timeline

Bill Clinton Net Worth by Year
Bill Clinton net worth 1977$7,316
Bill Clinton net worth 1985$116,777
Bill Clinton net worth 1997$1,119,652
Bill Clinton net worth 2001$5,342,698
Bill Clinton net worth 2003$12,483,958
Bill Clinton net worth 2004$21,616,736
Bill Clinton net worth 2010$55,622,201
Bill Clinton net worth 2014$85,774,210
Bill Clinton net worth 2015$93,904,313
Bill Clinton net worth 2016$100,801,488

The Bill Clinton net worth story is one of persistent public service turned into what basically amounts to an extremely lucrative career in sharing his thoughts. The transition from public office to consulting and speaking is shown clearly in the chart above. From 1977 through 2001, Clinton’s net worth timeline looks flat, but that’s extremely deceptive. To any typical American, the growth of Bill Clinton’s wealth during that time would of course be a gigantic success story, starting with a stint as Arkansas Attorney General and transitioning to state governor for 14 years. During that time the politician’s earnings were still a relatively low $35,000 a year. That’s actually $116,000 in inflation-adjusted dollars, but still nothing that will make anyone rich in the traditional sense of the word. Clinton’s earnings took a sharp upturn when he was elected U.S. President in 1992, and his financial worth had grown to over $1 million within a year of leaving office. That’s where the graph above takes a sharp turn skyward. In 2001, Clinton discovered the lecture circuit and began charging large speaking fees. How large? The former president would generally make between $125,000 and $425,000 for a single speech, with some payouts reaching as high as $725,000. At that rate, it doesn’t take very long for a speaker to run up a savings well into the millions. In fact, by 2010 Clinton’s net worth had reached $55 million. In that year he added another earnings source: honorary chancellor of a for-profit university and honorary chairman of an educational foundation. By 2016 Bill Clinton had amassed $100.8 million in after-tax and post-expense dollars from all sources.

Bill Clinton Net Worth Breakdown

Related: Hillary Clinton Net Worth

Bill Clinton Net Worth Sources: Speaking Fees, Books, Salary

Though speaking fees make up the bulk of the Bill Clinton net worth sum, book income and salary pay their fair share. As the table below shows, Clinton has earned $217 million total, with $140.8 million from speeches, $47.9 million from book royalties and $25.5 million from consulting fees and salary. Another $2.7 million comes from appearances on talk shows. That gives Clinton an average salary of $5.4 million over the course of his career and $10.9 million in 2016. Taxes cut out $105 million and expenses take $32 million.

Bill Clinton Net Worth Sources
Salary and Consulting Fees$25,555,000
Paid Speeches$140,800,000
Book Royalties$47,902,790
Total Bill Clinton Earnings$217,017,790
Bill Clinton Salary (average)$5,425,445
Bill Clinton Salary 2016$10,910,400
Bill Clinton Net Worth$100,801,488

Bill Clinton Net Worth from Salary: $25.5 Million

Bill Clinton Net WorthSalary as a public figure takes up the biggest part of Clinton’s earning life but represents by far the smallest part of the Bill Clinton net worth total. Clinton was a public servant for 25 years and earned a salary that started out at $20,000 a year in 1977 and reached a peak of $200,000 in 1993. That adds up to a total of $2.33 million over 25 years. While that’s impressive, it’s only slightly more than 1% of Clinton’s total career earnings. The table below shows the former president’s salary for each range of years. When Clinton was elected Attorney General of Arkansas in 1977 he made $20,000 per year. Adjusted for inflation that’s $79,400. When he was elected Governor of Arkansas in 1979 he earned $35,000 a year. Adjusted for inflation that’s $116,000. That salary stayed the same through 1992, which means it effectively shrank to $60,000 inflation adjusted dollars. That’s less than half its original size. Not to worry, since Clinton’s election to President in 1992 gave him a salary boost to $200,000 a year. That annual pay continued until 2001 when Clinton left office.

Clinton earned no documented salary from 2002 through 2009, though he did earn speaking fees in that period, shown in the section below. However, in 2010 the former president was named Honorary Chancellor of a for-profit university called Laureate Education Inc. According to NBC News, Bill Clinton was paid over $2.9 million a year for filling that position. The next year Clinton took on the additional paid role of Honorary Chairman for the GEMS Foundation, the world’s largest independent operator of K-12 schools. For that position he earned a reported $1.1 million per year. From both of those honorary posts, Clinton earned a total of $23.2 million over six years.

Bill Clinton Net Worth from Salary and Consulting Fees
YearOccupationBill Clinton SalaryOther EarningsTotal Bill Clinton Earnings
1977-1978Arkansas Attorney General$20,000$0$20,000
1979-1992Governor of Arkansas$35,000$0$35,000
1993-2001President of the United States$200,000$0$200,000
2010Laureate Education Inc$0$2,933,333$2,933,333
2011-2015GEMS Foundation and Laureate Education Inc$0$4,058,333$4,058,333
Total Bill Clinton Net Worth from Salary and Consulting Fees$25,555,000

Bill Clinton Net Worth from Salary

Related: How Much Money Do MBAs Make?

Bill Clinton Net Worth from Speaking Fees: $140.8 Million

Speaking fees allot $140.8 million to the Bill Clinton net worth figure. Shortly after Bill left office as U.S. President, Hillary famously said the couple were “dead broke.” Their path to tremendous riches involved hundreds of speeches for anywhere from $125,000 to $725,000 each. Bill Clinton earned $1.4 million during just one week of speeches in 2012. Bill himself gave 542 paid speeches from 2001 through 2013 alone. The majority of those paid speeches were given outside the U.S. in countries like China, Canada, the UK and Japan, accounting for $56.3 million in income. Some Clinton speeches are given free of charge, while the proceeds from others are donated directly to the Clinton Foundation, a nonprofit that handles their philanthropic activity. There has been some criticism of Clinton’s speaking clients, with at least $8 million in Bill and Hillary Clinton speaking income coming from big banks, and a hefty part of the rest paid by large corporations. All in all, speaking fees make up nearly 65% of Bill Clinton’s net worth.

Bill Clinton Net Worth from Book Royalties

Book royalties make up the second biggest chunk of the Bill Clinton net worth number at $47.9 million in pre-tax earnings. That’s fully 22% of Clinton’s total earnings. Clinton has written and published only four books, listed below by date:

  • Between Hope and History, 1996 (Earnings estimated at $2.9 million)
  • My Life, 2004 ($15 million advance)
  • Giving, 2007 ($15 million in reported earnings)
  • Back to Work, 2011 ($15 million in reported earnings)

My Life has sold over 2.2 million copies. The reported $15 million advance was confirmed when the Clintons released their tax records in April of 2008. The book covers Bill Clinton’s life from childhood through the U.S. Presidency. Some takeaways from the book include that “no one is perfect but most people are good,” that “harsh judgements can make hypocrites of us all,” and that “a lot of life is just showing up and hanging on.” Other Bill Clinton income estimated at $2.76 million comes from 26 years of appearing on various talk and TV shows. Clinton has 276 appearance credits from 1992 through 2016, with many of those credits representing multiple stints on shows from Arsenio Hall to the 2005 Super Bowl Special to Larry King, Charlie Rose and Rachel Ray.

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How Accurate Are Our Bill Clinton Net Worth Numbers?

The numbers in our Bill Clinton net worth data are accurate. Speaking fees and salaries accounting for 76% of our numbers are published, verified numbers. Another 22% of our figures are book royalties based on media reports, but many of those numbers have been verified by regular release of the Clintons’ tax records. The sketchiest are the 1% of Clinton’s income from appearance fees, but even those numbers are based on known payouts for similar appearances in the television world. Taxes, expenses and investments are estimated based on known tax rates and conservative per-year investment averages shown below.

Bill Clinton Net Worth Calculations

$217 million in earnings gets chopped down to $100.8 million by the Bill Clinton net worth calculations shown below. Earnings from all sources are added up by year in column two. Taxes come to 48.42%. That’s 39.6% for the nation’s highest federal income tax bracket and 8.82% for New York State’s highest state income tax bracket. Investments add back 6% of net worth per year, though that positive figure is overwhelmed by taxes and 15% in estimated expenses for cost of living, staff and other payouts.

Bill Clinton Net Worth Calculations
YearBill Clinton Total EarningsAdjustments (Tax, Expense, Investment)Bill Clinton Net Worth
Bill Clinton Net Worth Totals$194,123,390-$102,180,821$100,801,488

If you liked reading about Bill Clinton’ net worth, try this post about Jay Z’s net worth or this one about Taylor Swift’s net worth. All Bill Clinton net worth data in this article are based on our analysis of income streams, tax, expense and investment calculations, estimates and media reports and are provided here for entertainment purposes only.


Bloomberg on Bill Clinton net worth from speaking fees