Barack Obama’s net worth is $12.2 million.
The figure could have been bigger had his pre-presidency books continued to be bestsellers; had he embarked on refinancing his Chicago home at a lower interest rate; or had he perhaps adopted a different investment philosophy.
1. Barack Obama’s Net Worth Is $12.2 million
Barack Obama, the 44th President of the United States and the former senator from Illinois, has a net worth of $12.2 million. (Source: “Barack Obama Net Worth,” Celebrity Net Worth, last accessed March 3, 2016.)
Obama, who will turn 55 years old on August 4, has a base salary of $400,000 a year in his capacity as U.S. President. He also has access to a $150,000 expense account as well as a $100,000 tax-free travel account and $20,000 entertainment budget. (Source: “Barrack Obama Net Worth,” The Richest, accessed March 3, 2016.)
2. His Books Are the Chief Source of His Net Worth
Barack Obama’s historic run for the 2008–2012 presidency helped him sell millions of copies of his two books.
Sales of his 1995 book, Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance, soared at that time, sending the Obama family’s income growing from around $200,000 to a combined $1.7 million in 2005.
His second book, Audacity of Hope, was released in 2006 and was a massive hit, selling millions of copies.
Barrack’s net worth actually began to expand after his much-praised keynote speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention that marked his explosion into the national conscience. (Source: “Barack Obama Net Worth,” Celebrity Net Worth, last accessed March 3, 2016.)
However, his annual income dropped steadily since he entered office, primarily due to a drop-off in revenue from his prior book deals. (Source: “The 10 Richest U.S. Presidents,” 24/7 Wall St, February 13, 2014.)
In 2013, far fewer books were sold. Royalties from those sales came in at no more than $165,000, a far cry from the $1.1 million made in 2010, according to Obama’s 2014 financial disclosure. (Source: “4 things in the Obamas’ financial disclosure,” CNN Money, May 15, 2014.)
3. He’s Not Among the Richest Presidents
The net worth of the presidents of the United States varies widely. George Washington was worth more than half a billion in today’s dollars, while several presidents went bankrupt. The 16th president of the United States and perhaps one of the most famous, Abraham Lincoln was not one of America’s wealthiest. He was worth less than $1.0 million in 2016 dollars. (Source: “The Net Worth Of The American Presidents: Washington To Obama,” 24/7 Wall St, May 17, 2010.)
Bill Clinton (1992–2000) is among the top 10 richest presidents, according to 24/7 Wall St. (Source: “The 10 Richest U.S. Presidents,” 24/7 Wall St, February 13, 2014.) George Bush Senior has a net worth of $23.0 million, while his son, George W. Bush, has a net worth of $20.0 million. Jimmy Carter’s wealth is estimated at $7.0 million, while Ronald Reagan had a net worth of $13.0 million. (Source: “Presidential Purses,” Time, last accessed March 3, 2016.)
4. He Has a Mortgage on His Chicago Home
The couple owns a 6,200-square-foot home in Hyde Park, Chicago. The home includes six bathrooms and three fireplaces. They purchased it in 2005 for $1.7 million. Their mortgage against the house is estimated to be between $0.5 million and $1.0 million. (Source: “Obama’s Worth Nearly $6 Million — See Why He’s Down Since Last Year,” Forbes, May 16, 2012.)
Obama’s annual financial disclosure report, released in May 2015, shows the president and his wife were still paying 5.6% on a mortgage they took out on that property. They had not embarked on refinancing that mortgage, even as the average rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage was four percent. (Source: “Obama tells homeowners to refinance. So why is he paying 5.6%?” USA Today, May 19, 2015.)
5. He Mostly Invests in Treasuries
Much of the wealth of the Obamas is invested in U.S. Treasury securities.
The Associated Press calculates that Barrack and Michelle Obama’s assets in 2014 ranged from between $1.9 million and $6.9 million and that their biggest investment was in Treasury notes. (Source: “Inside The Obama And Biden Financial Disclosures,” NPR, May 15, 2015.)
Had they chosen another investment option, their net worth might have grown faster.
Barack Obama’s Earnings Highlights
Data sources: “Barrack Obama Net Worth,” The Richest, last accessed March 3, 2016;
“2016 Net Worth for President Barack Obama,” DaveManual.com, last accessed March 3, 2016.