US Presidents and Money: Fun Financial Facts

Posted on 02/16/2011

Did you know that Ulysses S. Grant got a $20 speeding ticket for riding his horse too fast down a Washington street? There are lots of fun financial facts when it comes to our US Presidents. And in honor of February 21, 2011, Presidents Day, here are some other interesting connections between money and the leaders of America.

Our First President - George Washington, the first President of the United States, is said to have earned an annual salary of $25,000.

President Obama’s Finances - According to, President Barack Obama and his wife bought a house in Chicago in 2005 for $1.65 million, complete with four fireplaces. Obama earns an annual salary of $400,000 plus a $50,000 expense allowance thanks to a raise that went into effect for presidents on January 1, 2001. Vice President Joe Biden earns $230,700.

Presidents and Currency - Did you know that Abraham Lincoln’s portrait appears not only on the penny but also on the five dollar bill? Between 1869 and 1880 he was also on the hundred dollar bill. Not everyone featured on US currency was a president. Alexander Hamilton, the first Secretary of the Treasury; Salmon P. Chase, Secretary of the Treasury during the Civil War; and Benjamin Franklin, inventor, diplomat, and second-oldest signer of the Declaration of Independence are all pictured on our money.

Benefits for Former Presidents - Once a president leaves the White House, their perks don’t end. Under the Former Presidents Act, each president receives a taxable pension equal to just under $200,000 a year.

Presidential Wealth - Although historians admit it’s difficult to compare wealth throughout history, they say plenty of presidents came from wealthy families. According to, at least half of the presidents were in the top 3% of society in terms of family wealth and class standing. About a dozen presidents were considered to be in the top 1%. The ten richest presidents according to are George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson, Zachary Taylor, Theodore Roosevelt, Herbert Hoover, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson and George W. Bush.

By Alison Storm

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