- President-elect Joe Biden turns 78 years old on Friday, November 20.
- He and his wife, Jill, have a net worth of $9 million.
- The couple built the majority of that wealth recently.
- The Bidens earned a $16.7 million income between 2017 and 2019 from book royalties and paid speaking engagements, according to financial disclosures reported on by Forbes.
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The couple's fortune is mostly tied to public speaking engagements and book royalties, according to tax returns and financial disclosures released by the Biden campaign and published on the campaign's website.
A spokesperson for Biden didn't respond to a request for comment from Business Insider on Biden's net worth or personal life.
Keep reading for a look at Biden's wealth, assets, real estate, and lifestyle.
Biden surpassed the 270 electoral votes necessary to win the White House by flipping the battleground state of Pennsylvania on the morning of November 9, according to Decision Desk HQ.
Biden led Trump in national polling for months. His win came after two full days of ballot counting, largely due to the surge of mail-in voting amid the coronavirus pandemic.The 2020 race marked the third presidential race Biden has entered — but the first as a millionaire.
Biden's political career took off in 1972, when he was elected to the US Senate. He unseated Republican J. Caleb Boggs to become the fifth-youngest senator in history. He then continued to serve as a Delaware senator for over 30 years.
In 2008, he was the running mate for Democratic Presidential Candidate Barack Obama. From 2009 to 2017, he served as Vice President of the United States with Obama as president.
Prior to the 2020 election cycle, Biden had run for president twice: first in 1988, and again in 2008. The first run ended in a plagiarism scandal; the second time around, he withdrew from the race after the Iowa caucus.Forbes estimates that as of July 2019, Biden and his wife, Jill, are collectively worth $9 million. Some of that comes from his senatorial salary.
Since 1998, the first year Biden released his tax returns, the majority of the Bidens' income was attributed to his Senate salary and her community college professor's salary, according to Forbes.
Biden's salary in 2009, his last year in the Senate, was $169,000. The vice presidency came with a 30% raise; he earned an average of $225,000 per year and served as vice president from 2009 to 2017. Forbes also reported that the pair received roughly half a million dollars in pensions and social security benefits over the course of those eight years.
But the majority of the Bidens' wealth was built after he left office.The couple has made more than $15 million from book royalties.
Joe Biden has written two books over the past 11 years:
- "Promises to Keep," released in 2008 right after his presidential run announcement, was Biden's first memoir. It did not sell well initially, but the New York Times reported book sales picked up after Biden was announced as Obama's running mate. In 2013, the United Press International reported the book was ultimately not lucrative — Biden's financial disclosures showed book royalties "close to zero."
- "Promise me, Dad," released in 2017, is an account of Beau Biden's death from cancer. It topped the U.S. bestsellers list briefly after its release and has sold over 300,000 copies.
And then there's the money Biden has made off of promoting his 2017 bestseller, "Promise Me, Dad." According to Biden's recent financial disclosures, he was paid anywhere from $8,000 to $90,000 per single book-tour stop.
The book tour resulted in $1.8 million, according to Forbes. Public speaking engagements also contributed $2.4 million to the couple's net worth — and Jill's speaking fees tacked $700,000 on to that. CNBC reported that Biden took in as much as $190,000 in March 2018 for one lecture at Drew University in New Jersey.
In total, the couple earned more than $15 million, according to tax filings, from book royalties and speaking events and professor of practice fees provided by the University of Pennsylvania starting in 2017.The Bidens have endured a number of personal tragedies.
A month after Biden's election to the US Senate in 1972, his wife Neilia and 1-year-old daughter Naomi were killed in a car accident. The couple's two sons, Beau and Robert, were also in the car, but survived.
Biden went on to marry Jill Jacobs in 1977. The pair had a daughter, Ashley, in 1981.
Biden underwent brain surgery for two potentially deadly aneurysms in 1988 but was back to work within seven months. During his second term as vice president, 27 years later, his 46-year-old son Beau died of brain cancer.The death of his 46-year-old son Beau played a prominent role in Biden's decision to sit out the 2016 presidential election.
Although many believed Biden would have fared better than Hillary Clinton, Biden opted to steer clear of the 2016 presidential race to grieve. His grief was later widely addressed by the aforementioned memoir, "Promise Me, Dad."
In January, Politico's Michael Kruse described empathy stemming from personal tragedy as the quality that makes Biden electable: "There is no person in American politics today whose life has been so shaped by loss and grief," he wrote, noting that Biden's personal history gives him the unique opportunity to immediately connect with those who have experienced loss themselves.The family's primary residence is in Delaware.
The Washington Post reported that the Bidens' primary residence is a home the family built over 20 years ago in Wilmington, Delaware.
The lakeside property is said to be nearly 7,000 square feet. They bought to property for $350,000 in 1997, but today the home is likely worth at least $2 million, Stephen Mottola of Long & Foster Real Estate told The Wall Street Journal.The family also purchased a $2.7 million Delaware beach home in 2017.
They started renting it in 2017 after vacating the vice presidency. The rental price for the sprawling 12,000-square-foot residence with marble finishes, a gym, sauna, and enough parking for 20 cars was referred to as "substantial" by Biden's campaign in June 2019.
The Washington Post determined that the monthly rent for the home hovered around $20,000, according to Zillow.The family's recent real-estate activity can be attributed to lucrative book royalties and speaking engagements.
Biden also holds a position at the University of Pennsylvania that carries an annual salary of roughly $400,000 as a professor and the namesake of The Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement.
All in all, the couple reported earning $11 million immediately after leaving the White House in 2017, $4.5 million in 2018, and roughly $1 million in 2019 before Biden officially declared his candidacy, according to Forbes.Even with his multimillionaire status, Biden was not the richest Democratic presidential candidate at the start of the race.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren has a similar income strategy to Biden. She, along with her husband, is worth an estimated $12 million. In addition to book royalties, Warren's wealth is largely tied to retirement accounts and real estate.
The richest of the former Democrat candidate hopefuls (by a wide margin) were former hedge-fund manager Tom Steyer, who Forbes estimates is worth $1.4 billion, and former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg, who Forbes estimates is worth $54.9 billion.