Last night I read an article on Forbes about how former vice president Joe Biden released his financial holdings to the public. And it is plain to see that Joe Biden’s Net Worth is embarrassing. It’s embarrassing because relatively speaking, as a public servant, he should have more money and assets to show for a life in politics.
No wonder his former and current administration couldn’t balance a freaking budget! (But then again, which presidential administration was perfect at that?)
Joe Biden earned $17.3 million on the public speaking and book writing circuit between 2017 and 2021. And apparently as of 2021, his net worth is $8 million. And while that sounds impressive, Biden only has about $950,000 in liquid assets.
After a lifetime in politics as “Middle-Class Joe,” this hard math betrays an inability to save or invest prudently. And after the last administration, that is not a great quality to have in a leader or presidential administration.
Before we go in a deeper dive, let’s take a bullet point examination of Biden’s net worth.
Joe Biden’s Net Worth is Embarrassing
- Age: 78
- Employment: U.S. Senator from 1973-2008, Vice President 2009-2017, President 2020 – Present
- Average Annual Salary throughout Senate and VP Political Career: $109,988
- Average Annual Salary as President: $400,000
- Total Salary Earned between 2017 – 2021: $17.3 million
- Net Worth as of 2021: approximately $8 million
- Liquid assets: $950,000
I thought it had to be a mistake. There’s no way someone with his income history should have so little money saved.
And even though Biden is known as “Middle-Class,” the nickname is a misnomer. When Biden started in the senate in 1972, his salary was about $42,500. Sounds modest, but when adjusting for inflation, $42,500 in 1972 has the buying equivalent of $277,500 in 2021.
Biden’s last year in the senate, 2008, saw him making $169,000. And adjusted for inflation, that is the equivalent of $214,0000.
I went straight to the White House website and looked at his financial disclosure report and by golly, this guy is a personal finance idiot.
And that is not a partisan attack, that is strictly an opinion based on his financial history. And anyone making the equivalent of $200,000 annually for 40 years should have more to show for it.
Furthermore, they should not be allowed to get away with calling themselves “Middle-Class,” as a public nickname.
Joe Biden has been banking an upper-middle-class salary for almost 40 years and he has well under a million dollars to show for it. The math doesn’t add up and he must be called on it, especially as the leader of the free world.
I am not saying he’s a crook, I am saying that he couldn’t balance a checkbook or federal budget if he swapped brains with a mathematician.
The fact that this guy’s opinion might even be considered in any fiscal matter concerning the United States of America is absolutely terrifying.
Let’s further break down these numbers to learn why Joe Biden’s net worth is embarrassing.
Where Did The Money Go?
In Joe Biden’s memoir, he admitted that he was always falling behind in payments and always in debt.
Joe Biden’s net worth is embarrassing because, after four decades of public service, he never invested wisely or saved money. Biden was always stretching himself to the breaking point to make ends meet.
As Biden left office in 2017, he had a federal pension of $160,000, some retirement and life insurance accounts, and some properties. Biden was barely worth $2.5 million.
Between 2017 and now, Biden made over $17 million. But his net worth is $8 million. And his current liquidity is barely less than $1 million.
Something is financially rotten in the state of Pennsylvania.
The Bidens paid over $7 million in taxes after earning the $17 million after leaving office in 2017. They also reportedly gave over $1.3 million to various charities. The Biden’s house staff were paid $180,000. And they paid over $80,000 on mortgage interest payments.
Additionally, Biden has pledged not to invest in stocks to prevent the appearance of ethical conflicts. But Biden has barely invested in diversified mutual funds, an investment that can accomplish that purpose.
Biden barely has $200,000 in such funds, and by neglecting to ethically invest in the stock market more often, he has undoubtedly missed out on earning millions of dollars in the past decades.
The problem is that Joe Biden, while well-meaning, was probably financially illiterate or irresponsible. And he also spent a lifetime in debt and financially stretching himself thin.
It Gets Worse Mr. President
To put it very nicely, the information above tells us that Joe Biden is about as good with his money as John Daly. Based on the following information, it gets worse. Much worse.
Biden is married to Dr. Julie Biden who taught English in high school for 13 years, then taught at a community college for 16 years, and has been employed for the last two years as an adjunct professor at a community college in Virginia.
Teachers aren’t paid as well as politicians, but if we make a very modest estimate that she’s earned an average of $30,000 a year over her working career, that’s another $930,000 of income for the Biden family. With a more realistic estimate, her income is probably well over $1 million.
We are also neglecting to include any of the income he made before his political career. Biden was elected to the Senate at 30 years of age. Before working in the Senate he was a practicing lawyer with his own private firm and an elected member of a county council for two years.
Biden failed at several businesses, worked for the DuPont corporation, and even sold cars. Biden started his law firm after borrowing money from his dealership. I have no idea how much he made during this time, but let’s pretend it’s $0 just to make him look better. You’re welcome, Joe!
Maybe he was riddled with student loan debt? Probably not. He went to college decades before the current education bubble, so prices would have been reasonable in the ’60s. His undergrad degree was from the University of Delaware, which has an annual tuition of $8,540 for in-state residents today.
I’ll take a wild guess and say tuition was probably well under $1,000 a year when Biden attended. His law degree is from Syracuse, which is about $44,000 a year today but was obviously much cheaper in the 1960s as well. We can pretend he had a few thousand bucks in student loan debt, but nothing a lawyer/senator can’t pay off in a year or two.
Well, maybe he’s a really nice guy and gives all his money to charity? He gave an average of $369 a year to charity from 1999 to 2008. How generous considering he was making between $136,700 and $169,300 a year, not to mention his wife’s salary on top of that.
Still, he’s made up for that in recent years by giving away at least $1 million to charity. Better late than never.
Unfortunately, Joe Biden’s life has been marred by frequent tragedy and an inability to get ahead of his debt.
In 1972 Biden lost his first wife Nelia and 13-month old daughter Naomi in a car accident. The accident also injured his two young sons Beau and Hunter.
Shortly thereafter, Biden bought a house for himself and his surviving sons for $185,000. Adjusted for inflation, that is the equivalent of $1.2 million today. While admirable in the face of tragedy, Biden could barely afford the home.
Worse, he ended refinancing the home multiple times over the following years. Biden took on mortgages that cost a lot more than what he initially paid for the home.
In 2015, Biden’s son Beau died from brain cancer. It kept him from running for president in 2016 and kept him scrambling to raise money for Beau’s treatment. Biden contemplated selling properties and was even offered a loan by President Barack Obama.
Biden’s life tragedies are only mentioned in context. The point is that your personal finance skills are questionable when you are vice-president and your boss, the president, has to offer you a loan to help you in a jam.
And that was after 40 years of making a politician’s salary.
Joe Biden is a Financial Embarrassment
I usually don’t care what famous people do with their money. They have earned it and they can do with it as they please. Joe Biden got a nice pension in 2017 and even became president.
So, at least he failed upward finally when it came to finances. (Still, less than a million in liquidity after earning $17.3 million in under four years…yikes.)
My issue is that we are slowly recovering from the worst financial crisis of the last 60 years and Joe Biden, the man who turned millions into hundreds of thousands, can’t balance his personal finances after 40 years in public service.
I’m not saying that having millions in net worth means you will do a good job addressing the economy and the federal deficit (see: Bush and Obama), but I do think having a basic understanding of saving and investing money is important when you have the power to sign or veto bills on economic and financial legislation.
I don’t think I’ve ever been so happy that the Secret Service is as awesome at their jobs as I am tonight.
Joe Biden seems like a nice guy. But I wouldn’t trust him with my money if my life depended on it. And now, the United State’s economy has to trust his judgment for the next four years.
For more on the Politicians in office and how they can affect us, and how we can better ourselves check out these articles.
James Hendrickson is an internet entrepreneur, blogging junky, hunter and personal finance geek. When he’s not lurking in coffee shops in Portland, Oregon, you’ll find him in the Pacific Northwest’s great outdoors. James has a masters degree in Sociology from the University of Maryland at College Park and a Bachelors degree on Sociology from Earlham College. He loves individual stocks, bonds and precious metals.