Last year, we learned that the outgoing president President Trump paid $750 or less in taxes over the past several years and that he and his companies have outstanding debt that may exceed $1 billion. This stands in stark contrast to the president-elect, who was once referred to as the "poorest man in Congress," Joe Biden. Granted, Biden is wealthy by anyone's standards, but his net worth and how he obtained it is far easier to trace, especially because he has released his tax returns every year for more than a decade. With a family history that spanned both wealth and hardship, Biden spent many years as "Middle Class Joe" before he obtained his current net worth.
How much is Joe Biden worth today?
In all, Joe is reportedly worth $9 million at present, which is significantly more than earlier in his career. This number, from Forbes and calculated in 2019, is based on a total portfolio of $4 million in real estate (Joe and wife Jill Biden own two homes in Delaware), cash/investments worth $4 million, and a federal pension worth more than $1 million. The Bidens released their tax returns from 2016 to 2018, which showed that they paid about a third of their income in taxes in 2017 and 2018 ($3.7 million and $1.5 million, respectively), and that they donated a significant amount to charity in 2017 and 2018 ($1 million and $275,000, respectively).
And if you're wondering: Joe's vice president, Kamala, is thought to be worth $6.3 million.
How did Joe Biden make his money?
Joe Biden Sr., who had a profound impact on his son, came from wealth—his father ran a division of American Oil. But Joe Sr. set out as an entrepreneur and had several business failures, leaving the family impoverished according to his son's memoir (at one point the children even went to stay with their grandmother). Joe Sr. eventually found work selling cars and the family settled in Delaware–where they remain to this day—and Joe Jr. completed a work-study program to attend the prestigious Archmere Academy in Claymont.
Joe started working at a law firm after his marriage to first wife Neilia and then became one of the youngest senators ever to be elected, with a starting salary at about $42,500 a year ($250,000 in today's dollars, adjusted for inflation). He started releasing his tax forms in 1998, which indicated that they two made money from his Senate salary. Jill's work in community colleges also contributed to their overall salary; she's been an educator for more than three decades. In 2009, Joe's senator salary was $169,300, then his salary as President Obama's vice president averaged about $225,000 every year.
How much did Joe Biden make as vice president?
When Joe officially ended his term as VP, he filed a financial disclosure form that listed his net worth between -$897,000 and $489,000. As VP, he earned about $225,000 every year. But then, in the subsequent two years, the couple apparently made more than $15 million in speaking fees, book tours (both he and and Jill released memoirs), and leadership at the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement at the University of Pennsylvania (he's currently on leave of absence). In turn, they were able to make more donations and pay off one of their mortgages—one is still outstanding, as well as a line of credit for one of their sons—and buy a new property in Rehoboth Beach.
What is Joe Biden's salary as president?
U.S. law states that the United States president has to be paid a salary while in office. In 2001, Congress raised the presidential salary from $200,000 to $400,000 and added an extra expense allowance of $50,000 a year. The president also receives a $100,000 nontaxable travel account and $19,000 for entertainment. The presidential salary is taxable, but the other added expenses are not.
We can also expect to see Jill continuing to teach while serving as the first lady. "If we get to the White House, I'm gonna continue to teach," she told CBS Sunday Morning in August. "It's important, and I want people to value teachers and know their contributions, and lift up the profession." This will make her the only first lady to hold a paid job and the first to have a doctorate degree.