During the 2016 presidential election cycle, the purported net worth of Donald Trump was a headline grabber in the media. Trump claimed an income of $557 million, and a net worth in excess of $10 billion. People who are not Donald Trump say his net worth is far lower. If you take the average of the three best outside estimates, the figure is closer to $3.5 billion. Here is what we know about the wealth of the richest man to ever hold the office.
- President Trump is wealthiest U.S. president ever, dwarfing the riches of John F. Kennedy and George Washington.
- Trump has claimed a net worth in excess of $10 billion.
- Outside estimates peg his wealth at just one-third that sum.
Trump's 2005 Form 1040
We learned from DCReport, which obtained two pages of Trump's Form 1040 tax return, that he and his new wife Melanija Knavs earned $153 million in gross income in 2005. They paid $38 million in federal taxes, for an effective tax rate of 24.8%. The White House confirmed the document was real.
This glimpse of the Trumps' returns are a snapshot of one year. They do not reveal his entire net worth. Any concrete estimates of his wealth would require a detailed look at his tax returns, which he continues to withhold. Two pages of his 2005 Form 1040 are just a quick look at one year.
In May 2016, Trump released his Personal Financial Disclosure (PFD) form with the Federal Election Commission. In true Trump fashion, he was quick to let everyone know. “I filed my PFD, which I am proud to say is the largest in the history of the FEC," Trump said.
The PFD revealed Trump had:
- At least $1.4 billion in assets, including several golf courses and real estate properties valued at more than $50 million.
- Over $300 million in income from the golf courses and resorts.
- Over $100 million in rental income and sales from his property.
- Between $25 million and $50 million parked in BlackRock's Obsidian fund.
- At least $250 million in liabilities on Trump Tower, 40 Wall Street, Trump National Doral and Trump Old Post Office.
Forbes has shaved $1 billion from from Donald Trump's net worth as the economic impact of coronavirus takes a toll on his property empire. As of April 2020, Forbes estimated his assets at $2.1 billion, compared with $3.1 billion in October 2019 and $4.5 billion in September 2015. In particular, Forbes said Trump's 125,000 square feet of prime real estate near Fifth Avenue in Manhattan was taking a hit. Also, it marked down the value of his residential properties, noting stocks of publicly listed apartment owners had dropped by a third.
In May 2016, Fortune magazine estimated Trump was worth $3.9 billion, up from $3.7 billion in 2015. Fortune said the revenue listed in his personal financial disclosure did not fit the net worth of someone with $10 billion. However, the magazine believed the 2016 presidential campaign had a positive effect on his finances. "Rather than damaging his brand, Trump’s notoriety appears to be boosting his business, and making him even wealthier. By our best calculations, Trump’s net worth has indeed grown over the 10 months since the last filing," Fortune said.
The Bloomberg Billionaires Index estimated Trump to be worth $2.97 billion as of April 2020, a notch lower from the $3.02 billion it estimated at the start of his presidency. While Trump has estimated his brand to be worth $3.3 billion, Bloomberg did not put much stock in the figure. It valued his brand at just $35 million.
The Bottom Line
Whether it's less than $3 billion or more than $10 billion, as he claims, it's safe to assume he is a billionaire, so the exact amount doesn't really matter. However, Trump campaigned for the presidency on the size of his wealth. When announcing his presidential bid, Trump said: "I'm using my own money. I'm not using the lobbyists. I'm not using donors. I don't care. I'm really rich. And by the way, I'm not even saying that's the kind of mindset, that's the kind of thinking you need for this country. So, because we got to make the country rich."