How Much Money Does ‘Middle-Class Joe’ Biden Actually Make?

Mohit Oberoi, CFA - Author

Dec. 27 2021, Published 8:26 a.m. ET

In about a month from now, Joe Biden will complete his first year as the 46th U.S. president. He took over the presidency from Donald Trump, who's the richest U.S. president ever. Trump looks set to increase his wealth multi-fold with the launch of his TMTG (Trump Media & Technology Group). While people are evaluating Biden’s accomplishments in his first year in office, many others are curious about his net worth and how Biden made his money.

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Joe Biden

U.S. President

Net worth: $8 million

Joe Biden took over the presidency from Donald Trump who is the richest U.S. president ever. While Biden isn't a billionaire like Trump, he's a millionaire and has a net worth of $8 million.

Biden is nicknamed “middle-class Joe.” The Biden administration has been trying to woo the lower and middle-income population with its policies.

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Joe Biden isn't among the poorest U.S. presidents.

Biden isn't the poorest president—that title rests with Harry S. Truman whose net worth was below $1 million. Several other former U.S. presidents had a wealth below $1 million in the current inflation-adjusted terms.

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Joe Biden makes money through his salary, speeches, and books.

Biden earns a base salary of $400,000 every year. Apart from the salary, Biden has also earned money through his speeches and books. His wife Jill Biden earns around $100,000 every year from her job as a teacher at the Northern Virginia Community College.

The tax returns disclosed by Biden show that the couple earned $400,000 in 2016, $11 million in 2017, $4.6 million in 2018, around $950,000 in 2019, and $630,000 in 2020.

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Joe Biden is a millionaire.

Biden has an estimated net worth of $8 million, according to Forbes. His net worth hasn’t increased much over the last few years despite the booming stock market. The anomaly could be attributed to how Biden has managed his money. Almost half of his wealth is tied to real estate.

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While property prices have gone up in the last few years, the returns pale compared to what the markets have delivered. The U.S. stock markets have been incredibly strong over the last few years and the S&P 500 looks set for a third consecutive year of double-digit returns.

Joe Biden doesn't invest in stocks.

While many politicians, especially Nancy Pelosi, are facing flak for their investments in stocks, Biden hasn’t invested in stocks directly. He hasn’t even invested much in pooled investment vehicles like ETFs and mutual funds. A 2019 disclosure showed that Biden and his wife had less than $200,000 invested in diversified mutual funds.

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Apart from real estate, Biden has parked his money into cash accounts, insurance policies, and retirement accounts.

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Joe Biden’s net worth and salary might sound intriguing.

We might see a disconnect between the Bidens’ net worth and the income he reported over the last few years. One reason has of course been that most of his wealth is parked in real estate, which hasn’t grown as fast as the stock markets.

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Secondly, the Bidens paid around $7 million in taxes in the four years when Biden was out of office. The couple have also been donating to charities. Forbes speculates that the Bidens might have also gifted some of their wealth to family members or perhaps spent that.

Coming back to Biden’s nickname of being “middle-class Joe,” his net worth is almost in the middle among all of the U.S. presidents. However, U.S. middle and low-income families have been among the worst affected by the multi-decade high inflation that we’ve seen in Biden’s first year even though the price rise isn't entirely due to the administration’s policies.


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