Bernie Sanders is a popular democratic socialist senator from Vermont. He rose to fame during the 2016 presidential election, which he lost. He is also running again for 2020. Considering how critical he is of the wealthy, he has received plenty of criticism himself because of his skyrocketing net worth. Even so, he is still one of the poorest members of Congress. Sanders earned his wealth from his government salary, real estate, investments, and his best-selling books.

He also leveraged his grumpy chic fame to raise $1.8 million for charity via the sale of mitten-wearing merchandise. Those famous mittens, by the way, came from entrepreneurial Etsy seller, Jen Ellis. Ellis said, "I'm so flattered that Bernie wore them to the inauguration. Sadly, I have no more mittens for sale. There are a lot of great crafters on ETSY who make them."

Sen. Bernie Sanders has raised $1.8 million for charity through the sale of merchandise inspired by the viral photo of him and his mittens on Inauguration Day.

Bernie Sanders Net Worth (Estimated): $3 Million

YouTube video

Where Did Bernie Sanders Get His Wealth From?

Although he is a millionaire, Bernie Sanders' net worth isn’t too shocking, considering he is nearly 80 years old. However, he hadn’t reached millionaire status until after losing the 2016 presidential election. According to tax returns, Bernie and his wife only made around $240,000 yearly before 2016.

In 2017, their adjusted gross income was $1,131,925. In 2018, it declined to $561,293 (but this was still double what they made the year before 2016). The majority of their income comes from Bernie. His wife, Jane, made about $160,000 yearly as the President of Burlington College (she retired in 2011). Bernie also has retirement savings that reportedly total over $1 million.

Bernie Sanders Net Worth

Books By Bernie

His best-selling books are a significant reason that Bernie Sanders’s net worth has jumped so quickly. He has published four books since the presidential election in 2016. He became very well-known after the election, which is a large reason his books have done so well. In 2018, Bernie made $880,000 in royalties from his books. He also received a $795,000 book advance in 2016. Aside from his books, Bernie has also made money from speaking engagements.

Ironically, the books that have made him hundreds of thousands of dollars have been about his democratic socialist stance and call for higher taxes on the wealthiest Americans. He also wrote a couple of books that were published before the election, but these are less popular.

  • Our Revolution – Written soon after the election, this book shared Bernie’s campaign experiences and explained a progressive policy agenda. It became a New York Times best-seller with a 19-stop book tour around the United States.
  • Guide to Political Revolution – This book targets teenage readers and calls on them to “fight for a progressive economic, environmental, racial, and social justice agenda that creates jobs, raises wages, protects the environment, and provides healthcare for all.”
  • Where We Go From Here – Published in 2018, this publication details what Bernie has been doing the two years after the presidential election ended.

Bernie Sanders Our Revolution book

Bernie Sanders Buys Real Estate

Aside from his book royalties and salary, Bernie Sanders’s houses are a significant part of his net worth portfolio. He owns a total of three homes throughout the United States.

In 2007, Bernie Sanders purchased a 1-bedroom townhouse in D.C. for $489,000. Two years later, he and his wife purchased a four-bedroom, 2.5 bathroom home in Vermont for $405,000. Finally, they added a four-bedroom house in Lake Champlain (Vermont) for $575,000 to their portfolio in 2016.

bernie sanders lake house

Sanders in Politics

Finally, Bernie’s political career generates a stable salary. He makes a $174,000 annual salary at his current position as Senator of Vermont.

Bernie Sanders started his political career as mayor for Burlington, Vermont from 1981 to 1989. In 2017, he received $5,137 of this pension. After he served as mayor in Burlington, he took a seat in the House of Representatives in 1991 and stayed until 2007. Finally, he was elected Senator of Vermont in 2007 and has held this role since. He ran for president in 2016, but lost to Trump.

In 2020, Bernie is running for president again. At nearly 80 years old, he says he stands for the poor and middle class by advocating for wealth equality. He faces opponents including Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, and others. Only one of the presidential candidates is not a millionaire or billionaire).

How Much Money Has Sanders Raised?

For the 2020 political campaign, Sanders has raised more than any other candidate so far. He leads with $34.5 million raised during the fourth quarter. In the first week of his campaign, he had already raised $10 million. In total, he has raised over $96 million since February of 2019 when he announced he was running for president. Despite a recent heart attack in October, he still remains a popular candidate among socialist-leaning voters.

bernie sander raising money for campaign

Bernie Sanders Quotes

The senator is a democratic socialist who is well known for his opinions on the middle class and the wealthy top 1%. Here are a few quotes that showcase his viewpoints and strongest beliefs.

"I think democratic socialism means the government has got to play a very important role in making sure that as a right of citizenship, all of our people have health care; that as a right, all of our kids -- regardless of income -- have quality childcare; are able to go to college without going deeply into debt; that it means we do not allow large corporations and moneyed interests to destroy our environment; that we create a government in which it is not dominated by big-money interest," Sanders has said. "I mean, to me, it means democracy, frankly. That's all it means."

“Democratic socialism means that we must create an economy that works for all, not just the very wealthy.”

“What being a socialist means is that you hold out a vision of a society where poverty is absolutely unnecessary, where international relations are not based on greed... but on cooperation... where human beings can own the means of production and work together rather than having to work as semi-slaves to other people who can hire and fire.”

“The next time you hear me attacked as a socialist - like tomorrow - remember this: I don't believe that government should take over the grocery store down the street or control the means of production. But I believe that the middle class and the working families who produce the wealth of America deserve a fair deal.”

“To be honest with you, I worry about the concentration of ownership in media, where you have a handful of media conglomerates largely controlling what we see, hear and read.”

How Does Bernie Spend His Money?

When searching for Bernie Sander’s homes and cars, we were only able to find the information about his three homes (listed above). Considering his strict political stance on wealth inequality, it’s not a surprise that he doesn’t own fancy cars or other lavish indulgences. There have been news reports that arise when journalists think Bernie is wearing expensive clothes or accessories, but this is hard to confirm. Even so, his spending habits are minuscule when compared with millionaires and billionaires like Jeff Bezos or Kim Kardashian.

Charitable Contributions

Bernie and his wife contributed about $36,3000 of their personal money to charity in 2017 when they made a total income of $961,784. In 2018, they donated $19,000 to charity and made a total of $566,000 (they donated 3.35% of their yearly income). Their donations have gone to senior centers, low-income organizations, educational entities, and environmental and housing advocacy groups. 

In addition, 100% of profits from one of his older books (Speech) are donated directly to charity. However, the total amount of this is unknown. Bernie doesn’t take tax deductions for these donations. 

Sanders' Personal Life

Bernie was raised in New York City and attended Brooklyn College. He graduated from the University of Chicago in 1964, living in an Israeli commune in his early 20’s. Obviously, that put Bernie Sanders net worth growth on hold for a while. He has a son named Levi with a previous girlfriend. His current wife, Jane, had three children that became Bernie’s step-children when they were married in 1988.

Bernie Sanders and his wife Jane O'Meara Sanders

What Religion is Bernie?

Sanders was born into a Jewish family (his parents were Polish immigrants) and states that he is proud to be Jewish. However, he hasn’t acknowledged Judaism as his religion, so people are unsure whether he practices.

Bernie's Bottom Line

Overall, Bernie Sanders is one of the most popular choices for the 2020 presidential election. Many criticize the fact that Bernie Sanders net worth has jumped into the millions in the past couple of years. However, this didn’t seem to happen with bad intentions in mind. He simply wrote a couple of best-selling books. Despite being nearly 80 years old, some think Bernie has a good chance to become the next President of the United States.

Bernie Sanders Net Worth: The Takeaway

As capitalists, our ideas on how to create a better world for everyone differ greatly from Sanders’ ideas. Where socialism calls for public, cooperative, or collective ownership of the means of production, we beg to differ. We strive to dispel the theory that the government is the best solution to problems, and it instead strives to empower individuals to take personal responsibility for their actions. We promote the ideals of entrepreneurship, small government, high achievement, and solving global problems through personal responsibility and profit.

Plus, where Bernie might be rooting against you building your net worth, we root FOR you. In fact, we've created the Capitalism Incubator to give you everything you need to build a 7-figure brand you can one day sell. That exit alone could put you into the top one-percent of wealthy people on the planet (Bernie won't like you, though!). You can learn more about the Incubator and submit your application here.