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Joe Biden's Net Worth: Is He Really The Poorest Man in Congress?

Capitalism.com
|
January 3, 2020
Joe Biden wealth after the white house

Joe Biden's Net Worth (Estimated): $9 Million

Curious about Joe Biden's net worth and how he made his money? Joe is a lawyer, professor, a former U.S. Senator, Vice-President, and a 2020 Democratic Presidential Candidate. When he won his first Senate election in 1972 at the age of 29, he was one of the youngest men ever elected to the U.S. Senate. After being re-elected six consecutive times, Biden became the longest-serving Senator from the State of Delaware. 

From modest beginnings, he and his wife Jill (nèe Jacobs) have grown a current net worth of more than $9 million, almost entirely obtained since leaving the office of Vice President in 2016. 

Joe Biden’s Early Life

Joseph Robinette Biden, Jr. was born in the blue-collar city of Scranton, PA on November 20, 1942. He was the first son of Catherine “Jean” (Finnegan) and Joseph Biden, Sr.  

As a child, Joe suffered from a stutter and sometimes felt bullied at school. He credits his parents with teaching him to be tough, to persevere, and to work hard.

A series of financial setbacks led to hard times for the young family. They spent some time living with Joe’s maternal grandparents, the Finnegans. Eventually, in 1953, the Bidens moved to New Castle County, Delaware, where Joseph, Sr. found success as a used car salesman.  

Biden’s Education 

Young Joe attended St. Paul’s Catholic Elementary School in Scranton. Later, when the family moved to Delaware, his hard work and perseverance gained him admission to the prestigious Archmere Academy, a Roman Catholic College Preparatory School. There he played football and graduated in 1961.

That same year, inspired by the election of John F. Kennedy, Joe entered the University of Delaware with plans to study political science and history. He struggled a bit during his first two years – he seemed to place more emphasis on football and parties than on academics. But by his junior year, Joe had settled into college life. So much so, that during a spring break trip to the Bahamas, he reportedly told Miss Neilia Hunter, whom he met and began dating, that he intended to be a Senator by age 30 and then President of the United States 

In 1965, Joe Biden entered the University of Syracuse Law School, which he supposedly found exceedingly boring. During his first year, an incorrect citation led to an accusation of plagiarism and a subsequent failing grade. Although he retook the course and received a passing grade, that incident would plague him throughout his political career. 

Who Is Joe Biden’s Wife?

Joe Biden's Net Worth

Joe and Neilia married in 1966 during his first year at Syracuse Law School. Upon graduation in 1968, he passed the Bar Exam in Delaware and began practicing law with a firm in Wilmington. It was also during this period that he pursued his interest in politics. He joined the Democratic Party and ran for a County Council seat. Joe won handily and began to think about the U.S. Senate. 

Neilia and Joe had three children in quick succession: Joseph R. (Beau) Biden III was born in 1969, Robert Hunter Biden in 1970, and Naomi Christina Biden in 1971. Things were moving quickly. While still serving as Councilman in 1971, Biden started his own law firm.

In 1972, at age 29, the Delaware Democratic Party encouraged Biden to run for a U.S. Senate seat. Unexpectedly, he won in an upset and became the fifth-youngest elected Senator in U.S. history. 

One month later, while out Christmas shopping for a tree, Neilia and one-year-old Naomi perished when a tractor-trailer crashed into their station wagon. Beau and Hunter were severely injured, but both survived.

At that point, Joe Biden nearly suspended his political career. Grief and anger pre-empted everything. He felt the need to be at home to care for his two boys. However, encouraged by friends and family, he pressed on. Joe took the oath of office in the hospital chapel, and served six consecutive terms, making him the longest-serving elected official from the State of Delaware.  

What Does Joe Biden Do for a Living?

Despite Joe Biden's net worth, he has referred to himself as being “the poorest man in Congress.” He worked to put himself through high school and college. For his entire tenure in the Senate, he commuted 90 minutes each way daily via Amtrak from his home outside Wilmington to Washington, D.C. His sources of income were his Senate salary (that started at $42,500 per year) and that of his second wife, Jill, whom he married in 1977. She was an English professor at a local community college. 

The Bidens built a home in Wilmington in 1998, but refinanced it multiple times and used the equity over the years as needs arose. When their eldest son Beau fell ill with brain cancer in 2015, they nearly sold the home to use the money to help pay Beau’s expenses.  

Has Joe Biden Ever Worked in the Private Sector?

No. He has always worked in government. While their Financial Disclosure Statements indicate that the Bidens are by no means poor, they have carried considerable debt. When Joe Biden resigned from the Senate in 2009 to become Barack Obama’s Vice-President, he earned nearly $170,000 per year. His salary increased to approximately $230,000 annually for his eight years as Vice-President. 

As the front running Democratic candidate for President in 2020, Joe Biden has recently released his financial documents for the years since leaving the Vice-Presidency. They indicate that between 2016 and 2019, Joe and Jill have garnered a whopping $15 million from lucrative book deals, speaking engagements, and publicity tours.

They have earned more than $1 million in salaries from businesses they established for their work since leaving the White House. Joe received $540,000 for teaching at the University of Pennsylvania Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement. For speaking engagements, he charges between $40,000 and $200,000.

“Middle-Class Joe” No More

Throughout his long political career, Joe Biden has characterized himself as “Middle-Class Joe.” He has capitalized on his modest beginnings in working-class Scranton, his father’s work as a car salesman, and the fact that he worked to help pay for most of his education. 

But it may be time to give up that moniker. 

After leaving the White House, the Bidens fulfilled a dream of buying a house in Rehoboth Beach, DE. That luxury home, with six bedrooms and 5 1/2 bathrooms, three fireplaces, and a gourmet kitchen overlooks the water and was listed at $3 million. 

Biden-House-Rehoboth Beach, DE

Is Joe Biden's Wife Wealthy? 

Today, Joe and Jill Biden live in McLean, VA. This wealthy suburb of Washington, D.C., is home to a who’s who in national politics. The Biden’s financial situation has clearly improved in recent years. Jill’s individual net worth is reported as anywhere from $100,000 - $1 million. So, the bulk of their wealth stems from Joe’s political career.

The mansion, once owned by Secretary of State Alexander Haig, overlooks the Potomac River. The $6 million home, set on a private road with a gated entry, features ten bedrooms, a home theatre, and a complete gym. The owner, an investment banker, lives next door and leases the home to Joe and Jill Biden for an estimated $20,000 per month. 

A promotional video states that the property has parking “for over 20 cars,” more than enough room for Joe’s favorite, a 1967 metallic green Chevy Corvette. It was a wedding gift from Joseph Biden, Sr. 

Eyes Always On the Prize

Throughout his nearly 50 years of public service, Joe Biden has never lost sight of the dreams he talked about during his junior year of college: to be a U.S. Senator and President.

Even if he doesn’t become President of the United States, his upcoming book deals, speaking engagements, and teaching opportunities assure that he will remain permanently in the upper echelon of American Society.  

The Takeaway about Joe Biden's Net Worth

You don’t have to spend your life in politics to wind up with a vast fortune. Most in the public sector never become wealthy. But the private sector is another story. There, the potential for wealth-building is virtually unlimited. But you don’t have to have millions to make millions. Many of the most successful entrepreneurs we know started with less than $1,000. If you’d like to see how they did it, check out this free training

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