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“Middle Class Joe” is about to get a big promotion. President-Elect Joe Biden, who was once referred to as the "poorest man in Congress” will soon make $400,000 annually as the U.S. Commander in Chief, per Cornell Law. He’ll also receive a $50,000 expense allowance related to the "discharge of his official duties."
Unlike some politicans, President-Elect Biden has been open about his finances and how he makes his money, releasing 22 years of tax returns for the public to read.
Though his grandfather had oil money from a role at American Oil, Biden’s childhood in Scranton, Pennsylvania, was marked by his father’s string of failed businesses. President-Elect Biden was “broke” at points of his life, and only really started making millions of dollars during the past four years, when he landed lucrative book deals, teaching jobs, and speaking engagements. These days, Biden’s net worth, when combined with his wife Jill Biden, is $9 million, according to Forbes.
Here’s how he makes his money:
Biden was elected to the Senate when he was just 29.
This made him one of the youngest members of the Senate ever, per his official biography. According to Forbes, he started with an annual salary of $42,500. Just weeks after the election, his wife Neilia and baby daughter Naomi were killed in a car accident. His sons Beau and Hunter were injured but survived.
His Senate salary grew over the years.
Biden stayed in the Senate until 2009. At that point, Forbes says, he was making $169,300 a year.
He earned money from his memoirs.
Promises to Keep: On Life and Politics earned Biden $71,000 in royalties and $9,500 for audiobook rights, according to Forbes.
His second book, Promise Me, Dad earned about $2.7 million through its advance and subsequent speaking engagements, according to the Boston Globe. The rest of his $8 million advance will likely go towards the second book in his two-book deal, which will likely be written after he leaves the White House for the second time.
Biden got a 30 percent raise when he became vice president.
During his time in the White House, Biden earned an average of $225,000 a year, per Forbes. If you do the math, that adds up to $1.8 million as Obama's VP.
He owns two homes.
The combined value of the Bidens' current real estate holdings is $4 million. In the mid-'90s, the couple purchased lakefront property in an upscale suburb of Wilmington, Delaware, and built a 6,850-square-foot home, per Reuters. The expansive home is estimated to be worth $2 million, per Wall Street Journal, and they collect rental income from a cottage house on the grounds, according to Forbes.
Their other property is a 4,800-square-foot house by the water in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, which they purchased in 2017. The vacation property is a dream come true for Biden. "Throughout our careers, Jill and I have dreamed of being able to buy a place at the beach at home where we can bring the whole family. We feel very lucky that we're now able to make that happen and are looking forward to spending time with our family in the place that matters most to us in the world," he said in a statement.
Biden made bank as a professor at the University of Pennsylvania.
After leaving the White House, Biden took a job as the Benjamin Franklin Presidential Practice Professor at the University of Pennsylvania. There, he made $775,000 according to Forbes.
His investments are worth millions.
Biden and his wife took their paychecks straight to the bank and investment accounts. Now, their cash and investments total $4 million, per Forbes. He also receives a federal pension valued at $1 million.
He’s been busy with lucrative projects since leaving the White House.
Biden and his wife Jill have made more than $15 million combined since he ended his role as vice president, according to tax documents. That largely stemmed from book deals they signed after leaving the White House. His multi-book deal with Flatiron Books was valued at $8 million, per Publishers Weekly. Biden's basic speaking fee is $100,000, but it can range from $40,000 up to $190,000, per AP.
Jill’s teaching career adds to the family's net worth.
The soon-to-be First Lady announced her plans in November to continue teaching during her time in the White House. During her eight years as Second Lady, she would change into cocktail dresses in the bathroom at Northern Virginia Community College, where she teaches. She will be the only First Lady to hold a paid job and a doctorate degree.
"It's important," she said, "and I want people to value teachers and know their contributions, and lift up the profession."
His tax returns reveal he and Jill made nearly $1 million in 2019.
Biden paid nearly $300,000 in federal income taxes for last year, per the Wall Street Journal. Biden’s return reveals that he and his wife made $944,737 in taxable income in 2019.
In contrast, Trump paid no federal income taxes for 10 of the previous 15 years, because his businesses lost hundreds of millions of dollars.
When Biden becomes president, he will earn another big raise.
The U.S. Commander in Chief salary is currently $400,000 annually, per Cornell Law. The president also receives a $50,000 expense allowance related to "discharge of his official duties."
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