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Here's How Much 2020 Presidential Candidate Joe Biden Is Worth
By Michela Tindera
- Aug 28, 2019 - When Joe Biden was a student at the University of Delaware in the early 1960s, he spent a lot of time chatting with friends in his dorm. One day he asked a question: “You guys could be guaranteed—upon graduation—a job at the DuPont company, with a nice starting salary and a job for life, but you would never make more than $40,000 a year (some $340,000 today). Or you could take a job at half the salary, no guarantees, but there would be no limit to the money you could make. Which would you take?”
For Biden, the answer was clear. He told his buddies he would rather take the chance. More than 50 years after those dorm lounge conversations, Biden is finally seeing the benefits of limitless earning. Today Forbes estimates Biden, 76, and his wife Jill are worth $9 million. Their fortune includes two Delaware homes valued at $4 million combined, cash and investments worth another $4 million or so, and a federal pension worth more than $1 million.
Biden’s father, Joe Sr., was raised in a life of privilege, complete with polo matches and hunting trips in the Adirondacks, thanks to the lucrative career of his own father, Joseph, who ran a division of American Oil. But Biden’s dad failed in his own early business ventures, which included a Boston real estate deal and a crop-dusting effort, leaving the family “broke,” according to Joe Biden’s 2007 memoir, Promises to Keep: On Life and Politics. The family relocated to an apartment in Wilmington, Delaware, when Joe Biden was 10. His father eventually found work selling cars.
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The future vice president still managed to attend a private high school nearby, completing a work-study program to help cover the $300 per year tuition. Later Biden got a bachelor’s degree from the University of Delaware, followed by a law degree from Syracuse University. After his first year of law school he got married, and after graduation in 1968 he moved back to Wilmington with his wife Neilia. The couple quickly pulled together the funds to buy three rental properties in the area, with some help from both sets of parents. Biden took a job as an attorney at a local firm.
In 1972, when he was 29, he became one of the youngest candidates ever elected to the Senate. The celebration didn’t last long. Just a few weeks after the election, Biden’s wife and baby daughter died in a car accident. Sons Beau and Hunter survived with severe injuries. Biden’s sister moved in to help care for the boys, while Biden started his more than three-decades-long career in the Senate. He started with a salary of $42,500 a year (equal to about $250,000 today).
Biden got married again in 1977 to his current wife, Jill. Since at least 1998, the earliest year Biden has released his tax returns, most of the Bidens’ income has stemmed from his Senate salary and Jill’s salary as an English professor at community colleges. They did earn $71,000 in royalties and another $9,500 for “audio book rights,” shortly after Random House published his first memoir, Promises to Keep. When Biden left his Senate seat in 2009, his salary had been $169,300 a year. His new gig as vice president came with a 30% raise.
In 2014, Biden spoke at a White House event that centered on problems working families face. He noted that he had been listed as the “poorest man in Congress.” Wearing what he referred to as a “mildly expensive suit,” he stated plainly: “Don’t hold it against me that I don’t own a single stock or bond. I have no savings account. But I got a great pension, and I got a good salary.”
That wasn’t entirely true. Biden’s financial disclosure that year showed that he did own a savings account with at least $1,000, and Jill had two certificate of deposit accounts at least $50,000 apiece, as well as some equity and bond funds that were part of her retirement accounts.
Even so, the Biden’s personal finances were not in great shape. That same disclosure also listed liabilities worth at least $780,000. Since 1998, when Biden built his home in Wilmington, he has frequently refinanced the property over the years. Before Biden’s son Beau died of brain cancer in 2015, the vice president said he was worried his son would have to resign from his job as Delaware’s attorney general while he was sick, and he considered selling his Wilmington house to help out his son. President Barack Obama discouraged him from selling the place, stepping in to say he would personally lend him the money if he needed it.
When Biden ended his term as vice president in January 2017, he filed another financial disclosure form, listing assets and liabilities worth somewhere between negative $897,000 and positive $489,000. But over the next 23 months, the Bidens earned more than $15 million, according to tax filings. Joe Biden got $1.8 million from book tour events and $2.4 million in speaking fees, according to his most recent financial disclosure. He also earned $775,000 from the University of Pennsylvania to lead the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement as the Benjamin Franklin presidential professor of practice. Jill added $700,000 in speaking fees.
Those earnings allowed the couple to buy a 4,800-square-foot house by the water in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, in 2017, and pay off at least one mortgage on their Wilmington house. They also contributed over $1 million to charities, including two controlled by their own family. They gave $150,000 to the Beau Biden Foundation for the Protection of Children and $100,000 to the Joseph Biden Foundation.
The Bidens still have some debt. County records show that a $540,000 mortgage on the Wilmington house, recorded in 2013, has yet to be paid off. There are also two other liabilities listed on his disclosure. One of them is a line of credit, for $15,000 to $50,000, which Biden co-signed with one of his sons.
Even if Biden doesn’t make it back to the White House, he may still have a job at Penn. His financial disclosure describes his departure as a “leave of absence.” Jill Biden’s book, Where the Light Enters: Building a Family, Discovering Myself, came out in May. Taking all of that into account, it seems clear that “Middle Class Joe” is set to be a member of the upper class for good.
How has Joe Biden acquired so much wealth working as a "public servant" on a government salary?
According to the online real estate database company Zillow, Joe and Jill Biden own a home (here) in Wilmington, Delaware. The Bidens also have a vacation home in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware (see here). According to Zillow (here), the Bidens’ Wilmington house is 6,850 square feet. As reported here by the Washington Post, the Bidens’ Rehoboth home is 4,800 square feet.
Reuters could not corroborate the claim that the Bidens owns a home in Washington, D.C., but they do rent one in McLean, Virginia, a suburb of the nation’s capital (here). According to the Washington Post, the Bidens have been renting the house, “purchased for $4.25 million in June 2016 by Mark Ein, a wealthy venture capitalist who lives next door,” since 2007.- "Source" -