Guess how much the Obamas are worth?

You can tell a lot about somebody by the way they manage their money. So the latest financial-disclosure details from Barack and Michelle Obama provide fresh insights into the character of the world’s leading power couple.

The Obamas’ net worth is somewhere between $1.9 million and $6.9 million, according to disclosure rules that allow elected officials to report the value of their assets within a wide range, allowing for large swings in value. Obama has readily acknowledged he’s a member of the one percent, though he’s not nearly as wealthy as other presidents were during their tenures, such as both Bushes, Ronald Reagan and John F. Kennedy.

The Obamas don’t act like fat-cats either: Their investments are mostly plain-vanilla assets that Wall Street money managers might find naively simplistic. Yet the Obamas’ portfolio does reveal a certain worldview and an outlook for the future. Here are five takeaways from the Obamas’ disclosure forms:

In the long run, the Obamas have faith in the U.S. economy. Roughly 15 percent of the Obamas’ money is invested in S&P 500 stock index funds, which in general rise or fall along with the U.S. economy. This money is in retirement funds, so the Obamas aren’t planning to tap it for a couple of decades at least, but by putting a large portion of their overall nest egg in U.S. stocks, the Obamas are betting that the U.S. economy will remain dominant for years to come. These funds appear to be the only direct stock investments the Obamas have.

Related: Obama’s Tax Rate in 2012 Was 18.4%

Ben Bernanke hasn’t gotten through to the Obamas yet. The Federal Reserve chairman has overseen policies designed to push interest rates to record lows and draw more investors into the market for stocks and other risky assets. But by and large, the Obamas haven’t taken the bait. Their largest class of holdings is Treasury notes, which account for more than half of their net worth. At the moment, these relatively short-term securities are paying interest rates lower than inflation, which means the Obamas, like millions of hyperconservative investors, are essentially losing money on these holdings over time.

They’ve got plenty of cash on hand. The Obamas have at least $250,000 in checking accounts, leaving the president a handy fund for covering those occasional posh dinners he hosts for Congressional Republicans. In Washington, however, that’s not a lot of money. Most lobbyists can easily out-posh the president.

They’re ready for college. The Obamas have at least $200,000 set aside in college funds for their two daughters, Malia and Sasha, who are 14 and 11. Assuming neither child qualifies for financial aid, the Obamas will still have to come up with a couple hundred thousand more to fund eight years of room and board at top schools. They could opt for public schools that offer a better bargain, but that may not be an appealing option for two Harvard grads.

Overall, the Obamas seem to be lazy investors. For one thing, they’re still carrying a mortgage with a 5.25 percent interest rate, when they could have refinanced for a couple of points lower (although these days, perhaps even the president can’t qualify for a new loan). And virtually all of the Obamas’ investments are passive assets that require no regular monitoring whatsoever. Of course, there will be plenty of time for the Obamas to bulk up their wealth after 2016.

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29 thoughts on “Guess how much the Obamas are worth?

  1. Not bad for “lazy” investors. Their net worth when he came into the Senate was less than 1 million dollars. Now it’s 6.9mil? (Possibly. Maybe.) though some independent groups put it to over $12mil. How did your 401K do in that same period?

  2. Only 15% in S & P 500? I wouldn’t call that ” betting on the US economy”. Looks like he doesn’t have any more faith in his policies than we do. What happened to the blind trust? The Dems questioned Romney’s blind trust and he wasn’t even holding office.

  3. David – according to the article, the balance is in cash accounts, unless you know something different. By the way, The S & P 500 is not a sector, it’s an index.

  4. The last thing I’d ever do is follow the investment strategy of someone who has submerged the country into staggering debt..

  5. It’s because half of his portfolio is in bonds to counter the volatility of his various stock index funds. For someone his age and income, that’s pretty standard.

  6. You must have not read the part where about 1/2 of their net worth is invested in Treasury Bonds. Only 15% is in the S&P 500.

  7. interest payments on treasury notes have little to do with the economy. The interest is paid regardless of the unemployment, inflation, etc. LOL.

  8. If the Obamas were to be in my country, they did be the poorest in government, even a local govt chairman is richer than the Obamas but them I respect the fact that they are not stealing US money unlike the corrupt govt official we have in my sick country. Long live the Obamas, long live America, long live Africa and long live Nigeria.

  9. Well, what percent of your wealth is in U.S. Equities? Or, are your investments in off shore accounts, which to my way of thinking, you would be unpatriotic.

  10. I don’t have the press touting how much confidence I have in the economy, like our Prez does. This is about our Prez and his policies, not me.

  11. The neocon Obama haters are out in force. The Obama’s are willing to risk their wealth in America, while fools like you wouldn’t take a risk, like serving our country. You sit on your backsides and gripe…that will. make America better? Obama wrote books to make his fortune, but of course, as you don’t read them, you wouldn’t know.

  12. How can you give the Obama’s credit for their investments when their investments are in a blind trust? Or are they?

  13. His investments, primarily in the Government must be the reason he thinks the Government is the solution to every problem. His disdain for Business is also evidence in the fact he won’t invest his money in business, yet he constantly goes after the people who are willing to invest their money in a business, even if it is just owning stock in business, it helps the economy.

  14. Mitt Romney has ran many companies and has made millions of people millions of dollars. OBAMA has yet to run a lemonade stand and is running up more debt than every president prior to him!

  15. I could have sworn Obama has already ran the country once. Besides, who cares if Romney made people millions when the employees of liquidated companies lost their jobs? Forrest through the trees.

  16. “Obama wrote books to make his fortune, but of course, as you don’t read them, you wouldn’t know..”

    No I read his book, It sucked

  17. I thought the same thing. 50% in T-bills is a bet on America going downhill. My portfolio is 40% in S&P index funds, 40% in small cap index funds. Now THAT’s a bet on America.

  18. Edward – as an Obama voter you should have received your free al-Qaida membership kit in the mail by now. The package had a Benghazi postmark

  19. only 15%?
    you are kind of dumb i guess
    there is an ebb and flow to markets as their is to mindsets
    and clearly at one point in time the ebb dictated that particular flow
    why do you think it funny to just have 15 percent in the s&p? are you aware there are other vehicles and they too might represent a mind set of some sort?
    dumb people should not comment outside of their own little area of useless expertise

  20. He has faith in America that’s why in invested in Treasury Bonds. Romney got his overseas, but righturds won’t see that, Fox didn’t tell them that.

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