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A timeline of Barack Obama's millionaire fortune

GOBankingRates logo GOBankingRates 8/8/2018 Andrew Lisa

Barack Obama certainly had a lot to celebrate on his recent birthday. Turning 57 on Aug. 4, the former president has continued to succeed after leaving the White House, with the latest achievement being his and wife Michelle Obama’s Netflix deal.

Celebrity Net Worth reported both Barack and Michelle Obama’s net worths as $40 million, but according to data collected by Analytics@American, the online business analytics program from American University, the Obamas could make as much as $242.5 million post-presidency.

  • Net worth: $40 million
  • Age: 56
  • Date of birth: Aug. 4, 1961
  • Primary source(s) of wealth: former president, books
  • Career highlights: former president, Nobel Peace Prize

Related: How Barack Obama amassed his fortune

Obama already has a net worth of $40 million. He earned $400,000 a year throughout his entire eight-year term as president of the United States. On April 15, 2016, Obama released his 2015 tax returns, which showed that he and his wife filed jointly and reported an adjusted gross income of $436,065. They paid $81,472 in taxes according to their 18.7 percent tax rate. They also donated a total of $64,066 to more than 30 charities.

A Timeline of Barack Obama’s Wealth

How did Obama grow his fortune? Here’s a timeline of his accomplishments that led to these earnings over the years, as chronicled by Business Insider:

  • 2004: He earned a salary of $80,287 from the Illinois State Senate and $32,144 from the University of Chicago Law School where he taught. The former president also had investments in three different assets including the Vanguard Wellington Fund, evaluated between $100,000 and $200,000.
  • 2005: Obama received a multi-book deal with Random House and was given a $1.9 million advance after January 2005 for “The Audacity of Hope,” plus royalties, following his appearance at the 2004 Democratic National Convention. Also that year, he earned just over $847,000 off another book advance for “Dreams From My Father,” plus $378,000 off additional book royalties.
  • 2006: Obama reported book royalties for “Dreams From My Father” of just under $150,000, plus $425,000 for royalties for “The Audacity of Hope.”
  • 2007: Obama earned almost $3.3 million off book royalties from Random House and almost $816,000 from Dystel & Goderich for “Dreams From My Father.” He acquired U.S. Treasury notes valued between $500,000 and $1 million. For his daughters, he invested in two 529 college savings plans valued at between $50,000 and $100,000 each to start.
  • 2008: When Obama was elected president, he owned somewhere between $1.1 million and $5.1 million in U.S. Treasury Bills.
  • 2009: Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize, which came with a $1.4 million award. He donated it to an assortment of charities.
  • 2009-2015: Obama earned $400,000 a year as president and continued to earn book royalties, as well as interest on his investments.
  • 2016-2017: Obama’s projected annual pension after leaving the White House was more than $200,000, according to Newsweek. He also has received fees as large as $400,000 for public speaking events. Barack and Michelle signed a book deal together with Penguin Random House reportedly worth more than $65 million for two books written separately by each.
  • 2018: The Obamas founded Higher Ground Productions and signed a production deal with Netflix, according to CNBC.

Life Beyond the Presidency

Obama is now one of five living former presidents, and he has returned to his community activist roots, working on issues that were important to him during his presidency, such as gun control, immigration, nuclear nonproliferation, race relations and criminal justice reform. Through various organizations, social media, speaking engagements and now his production company, Obama continues to raise awareness for these issues and pursue social change.

According to the 1958 Former Presidents Act, Obama will receive the salary of a Cabinet secretary for the rest of his life. That amount is his $205,700 a year pension. Among the other perks are health insurance and round-the-clock Secret Service protection until his death.

The cost of Secret Service protection is not made public, but Obama will also receive funds for an office, staff and related expenses, which George W. Bush took advantage of to the tune of almost $1.1 million in 2015.

Book and Netflix Deals

Obama is gearing up to increase his sphere of influence — and potentially his net worth — as a producer. He and his wife signed a deal to produce series and films for Netflix, according to a press release from the company on May 21, 2018.

The multiyear deal could include scripted and unscripted series and films that will be made available to the 125 million Netflix subscribers in 190 countries. Netflix did not disclose the financial details; however, The New York Times and Variety reported that similar deals have been valued at tens of millions of dollars over several years.

The Obamas will produce content for the streaming service under the entity Higher Ground Productions. “Barack and I have always believed in the power of storytelling to inspire us,” said Mrs. Obama in the official announcement.

The power couple’s storytelling has already proven lucrative as their most recent book deal with Penguin Random House, for example, is worth up to $65 million, according to NBC News.

Speaking Fees

Many presidents establish foundations and enjoy lucrative second careers as in-demand speakers and authors, and the Obamas are as popular as ever. Barack gave a speech in September 2017 at a healthcare conference run by Cantor Fitzgerald, a trading and investment firm, according to The New York Times. His fee for that event was reported to be $400,000, the same as his presidential annual salary.

American University estimated that the Obamas could make as many as 50 speeches a year, earning “a conservative $200,000 a piece and you’re already close to $200 million before taxes,” the study found.

Real Estate

Obama is the first former president in nearly 100 years to remain in Washington, D.C., after leaving office. He and the family remained in town so his youngest daughter, Sasha, could finish high school.

Their Washington digs are located in the area’s posh Kalorama neighborhood, where first daughter Ivanka Trump also owns a home. The Obamas have leased an 8,200-square-foot, nine-bedroom mansion that was built in 1928. The spacious home last sold for $5.3 million.

With their post-presidential speaking and book deals, real estate holdings and production company, the Obamas are primed to maintain a considerable amount of wealth and influence beyond their time in the White House.

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Stephanie Barbaran and Joel Anderson contributed to the reporting for this article.


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