Barack Obama’s Net Worth: A Journey from $1.3 Million to $70 Million

Since leaving the White House, Barack Obama has done extremely well financially. The former president issued the first book of his memoir, “A Promised Land,” in November 2020; by December 2020, it had sold 3.3 million copies, making it one of the best-selling political memoirs of all time. Obama and former First Lady Michelle Obama have also inked many book and podcast deals, as well as a lucrative contract with Netflix.

Barack Obama’s Net Worth: $70 million.

Celebrity Net Worth and Business Insider both estimated the former president’s net worth at $70 million. However, Analytics@American, American University’s business analytics school, estimates that Barack and Michelle Obama might earn up to $242.5 million post-presidency.

Read more: US wealth and income concentration rise post-pandemic.

Barack Obama's Net Worth: A Journey from $1.3 Million to $70 Million

Net worth: $70 million.
Date of Birth: August 4, 1961
Primary sources of wealth include presidential salary and pension, book, podcast, and Netflix deals.
Career Highlights: Former President, Nobel Peace Prize

Obama’s net worth is attributed in part to his $400,000 annual salary during his eight-year tenure as President of the United States. On April 15, 2016, Obama published his 2015 tax returns, revealing that the former president and Michelle Obama filed jointly and recorded an adjusted gross income of $436,065. They paid $81,472 in taxes, based on their 18.7% tax rate. They also gave a total of $64,066 to over 30 charities.

A Timeline of Barack Obama’s Wealth

How did Obama build his fortune? Here’s a timeline of his accomplishments that have increased his earnings throughout the years, as documented by Business Insider and other sources:


He earned $80,287 from the Illinois Senate and $32,144 from the University of Chicago Law School, where he taught. Obama also owned interests in three different assets, including the Vanguard Wellington Fund, valued between $100,000 and $200,000.


In January 2005, after his performance at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, Obama was offered a multi-book deal with Random House and a $1.9 million advance with royalties for “The Audacity of Hope.” Together with $378,237 in extra book royalties, he also received an advance of little over $847,000 for his book “Dreams From My Father” that year.

Barack Obama's Net Worth: A Journey from $1.3 Million to $70 Million


Obama declared book royalties of little less than $150,000 for “Dreams From My Father” and $425,000 for “The Audacity of Hope.”


Obama received over $3.3 million from Random House book royalties and nearly $816,000 from Dystel & Goderich for “Dreams From My Father.” He purchased US Treasury notes for $500,000 to $1 million and began investing in two 529 college savings accounts for his children, each worth $50,000 to $100,000.


When Obama was elected president, he held between $1.1 million and $5.1 million in US Treasury bills.


Obama received the Nobel Peace Prize, which included a $1.4 million reward. He donated it to a variety of charities.


Obama made $400,000 per year as president and continued to get book royalties and interest on his assets.

Barack Obama's Net Worth: A Journey from $1.3 Million to $70 Million


Obama’s annual pension after leaving the White House is reportedly more than $200,000, according to Newsweek. Additionally, he has been paid up to $400,000 for public speaking engagements. Penguin Random House reportedly offered the Obamas a book deal of over $65 million for two volumes, one authored by each member of the power couple.


The Obamas partnered with Netflix on a production and established Higher Ground Productions.


Barack Obama’s latest book, “A Promised Land,” has been released. The book is part of a historic $65 million agreement that includes Michelle Obama’s memoir.


According to a news statement from 2022, the Obamas’ Higher Ground Productions has struck an exclusive global, multi-project, multi-year first-look agreement with Audible.

Barack Obama’s life beyond the presidency

Obama is now one of just five living former presidents, and he has returned to his community activism roots, focusing on topics that were important to him throughout his presidency, including gun control, immigration, nuclear nonproliferation, race relations, and criminal justice reform. Obama continues to promote awareness and advocate for social change through numerous organizations, social media, speaking engagements, and his production firm.

According to the 1958 Former Presidents Act, Obama will be paid the salary of a cabinet secretary for the rest of his life. That is his $205,700 annual pension. Among the other benefits are health insurance and 24-hour Secret Service protection until his death.

In addition to Secret Service protection, Obama will receive money for an office, personnel, and other costs.

Barack Obama’s Netflix Deal

Obama is preparing to broaden his production zone of influence and possibly boost his wealth. In 2018, he and Michelle Obama inked a partnership to create movies and television shows for Netflix.

“Barack and I have consistently valued the ability of storytelling to motivate us,” Michelle Obama stated during the formal declaration.

Although Netflix withheld the financial information, The New York Times revealed that comparable transactions have been valued at tens of millions of dollars over a number of years.

Barack Obama's Net Worth: A Journey from $1.3 Million to $70 Million


Among other titles, the Obamas’ production firm, Higher Ground Productions, has published the following documentaries: “American Factory,” which won an Oscar; “Becoming,” and “Crip Camp,” which has the unique distinction of holding a 100% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

The documentary series “Our Great National Parks,” narrated by Obama, was published last spring. Last year also saw the release of “Descendant.” A sci-fi film called “Satellite,” a YA series called “Firekeeper’s Daughter,” and a number of other films are on the way.

Barack Obama’s Audible Deal

Barack and Michelle Obama signed a substantial first-look contract with Audible after their podcast deal with Spotify expired in the spring of 2022. The change could help Higher Ground Productions’ podcasts reach a wider audience. While the Spotify contract was exclusive, with the productions available only on Spotify, Audible offers a two-week first peek period. Higher Ground can bring projects to other platforms if they pass.

“At Higher Ground, we have always sought to elevate voices that deserve to be heard, and Audible is committed to helping us realize that vision. “I’m excited to work with them to tell stories that not only entertain but also inspire,” President Obama said in a press statement.

Barack Obama’s fees for speaking

Many presidents establish foundations and pursue rich second careers as sought-after speakers and authors, and the Obamas are as popular as ever. The trading and investment firm Cantor Fitzgerald hosted a healthcare conference in September 2017, according to The New York Times. The former president spoke there. His pay for that event was believed to be $400,000, which is equivalent to his presidential annual salary.

Analytics@American calculated that the Obamas could give approximately 50 talks each year, earning “a conservative $200,000” per speech.

Barack Obama’s Real Estate

Obama is the first former president in over a century to stay in Washington, D.C., after leaving office. He and his family stayed in town so that Sasha, his youngest daughter, could complete high school. She graduated in June 2019.

Their digs are in the area’s upscale Kalorama neighborhood. According to CNBC, the Obamas purchased the home for $8.1 million. They also maintained their Chicago residence in the famous Hyde Park area. The Obamas also own a property on Martha’s Vineyard, according to Homes and Gardens.

Which purchases by Barack and Michelle Obama were the most expensive?

In 2019, Barack and Michelle Obama paid $11.75 million for a mansion on Martha’s Vineyard, making it one of their most expensive acquisitions.

The couple has also made major long-term investments, such as age-based growth plans, to pay for their daughters’ college education.

. While the Obamas have made significant purchases, they are also noted for their humanitarian endeavors, with gifts totaling $1.1 million to charity between 2009 and 2015.

. Michelle Obama has been photographed wearing pricey designer items, such as a Versace gown worth an estimated $12,000 for special occasions, as well as more cheap brands like J. Crew, Target, and Converse.

Barack Obama's Net Worth: A Journey from $1.3 Million to $70 Million

These acquisitions and investments, as well as their diversified income sources, have led to the Obamas’ significant net worth, which is believed to be at least $70 million.

How much did the Obamas spend on their Martha’s Vineyard home?

Barack and Michelle Obama spent $11.75 million on their Martha’s Vineyard home in 2019. The property spans roughly 30 acres in the coastal Edgartown Great Pond area and includes a 6,892-square-foot house with eight bedrooms, a raised sundeck, and a screened porch. John Early, a well-known and dependable Island contractor, finished the house in 2001 after Taylor Lombardo Architects of San Francisco designed it. The Obamas have also made major long-term investments, including age-based growth plans to fund their daughters’ college education.

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