Net Worth: $67M
FDR grew up in a fairly wealthy family, the son of a businessman and landowner. His parents sent him to an exclusive private school when he was a teenager, where the sons of some of the most powerful men in the country attended. Later, he went to Harvard and Columbia and eventually passed the bar. He also married his cousin, and the niece of Theodore Roosevelt – Sara, who obviously came from plenty of wealth of her own.
But FDR decided that he was unhappy pursuing the life of an attorney and instead turned his focus to politics. He was elected as a state senator of New York and was re-elected again in 1912. He then entered a very prestigious position as assistant secretary of the Navy, a job which he loved, and which paid extremely well. He had amassed a large portion of his impressive $67 million net worth before ever becoming president.
Net Worth: $40M
Barack Obama is hands-down one of the most popular presidents in modern history. The majority of his $40 million fortune comes through all of his press and media deals, along with his $600,000 presidential pension. Obama has also authored several books, including 2 that ended up on the New York Times Bestsellers list. The former president has an author page on Amazon where he sells digital forms of those books: Dreams from My Father and The Audacity of Hope.
Perhaps the reasoning behind his amazing book sales would be that he left his second-term in office as a very popular man, considering the fact he established the ACA and more. Aside from the books, he and his wife have also partnered with Netflix to produce a variety of shows and movies and have also recently entered into the podcast business.
Net Worth: $2M
President Franklin Pierce got his start in politics at the young age of 24. Benjamin Pierce, his father, was a leader in politics himself, and helped to get his son’s foot in the door. Franklin was very charismatic and was a natural public speaker, which paved a very bright path for him in politics and helped him to build himself a nice $2 million net worth.
Of course, it didn’t hurt that his wife, Jane Appleton, came from a wealthy family of her own. In fact, she was the daughter of a former president of Bowdoin University, which is where he ended up going to college. Pierce was the youngest person in history to be elected president in 1853 when he was just 47 years old – a feat that earned him the nickname, “Young Hickory,” among supporters.
Net Worth: $6M
The 23rd president of the United States is a shining example of a self-made millionaire who lived the American dream to the fullest. The former president did come from a long line of politicians however, as his father was a congressman and his grandfather served as president, as well. But he still decided to become a lawyer, which he did successfully for 18 years, amassing a large portion of his impressive net worth.
But Benjamin Harrison wasn’t just any lawyer. He worked on some incredibly high-profile cases, with large and powerful clients – like the entire nation of Venezuela, whom he helped to settle a dispute about their border. In 1890, in the middle of Harrison’s presidency, he was suspected of bribery when he was caught paying a cabinet member for an extravagant summer cottage in Cape May Point. He’d reportedly coughed up what would be nearly $300,000 in today’s financial world.
Net Worth: $1M
William McKinley served as an infantryman for several years during the Civil War before becoming President. After his time in the service, he went to law school and became a practicing attorney, which allowed for him to make a comfortable living wage for himself and his wife, Ida. Still, he never exactly flourished financially, hence why he’s still only number 34 on our list. McKinley was sworn in to office in 1897 and had already acquired a large portion of his net worth by that point.
But in 1893, when the great depression struck the nation, he found himself facing some serious financial turbulence. He actually went bankrupt, himself, and was forced to start all over again – which didn’t seem to hold him back much at all, considering that he ran for president less than 5 years later and won. He was elected for a second term, as well, but was assassinated halfway through it.