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WASHINGTON — A look at the personal wealth portfolios of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and Republican candidate Donald Trump, how they earned their money over the years and the lifestyles they spend it on.
Clinton and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, left the White House in 2000, a year that she later described as so financially perilous they were “dead broke.” The Clintons cited legal bills and other liabilities between $2 million and nearly $11 million. But within just one year, according to tax and disclosure records, they had wiped out all that debt, earning nearly $12 million. It was the start of an infusion of wealth that enriched the couple by more than $200 million over 15 years – and nearly $140 million since 2007.
The Clintons leveraged public service, celebrity status, book-writing, consulting and a whirlwind of lucrative speeches that took them across the country and around the world on behalf of corporations, foundations, trade groups and even some foreign governments.
Bill Clinton blended private appearances and consulting with his work promoting the family’s global charity, the Clinton Foundation. Hillary Clinton ran for the presidency in 2008, lost to Barack Obama, became his secretary of state for four years then joined her husband at the foundation and on the lecture circuit, earning $22 million by herself in three years.
Their largesse has provided the trappings of a glamorous life.
The Clintons own well-appointed houses in the suburbs of New York and in the nation’s capital. They hold a sole mutual fund worth between $5 million and $25 million. They are regulars at Caribbean resorts and New York’s exclusive Hamptons beachfront.
Hillary Clinton’s three-year speaking tours often came with premium travel – flights on private jets, luxury “presidential” hotel suites and transportation and accommodations for the retinue of loyal aides who traveled with her, according to her contract demands.
Though Trump’s $10 billion estimate of his own fortune is viewed skeptically by outside appraisers, he’s a safe bet to be the wealthiest American ever to be the presumptive nominee from a major political party, richer even than Republican Mitt Romney. Just as surely: He won’t let anyone forget it.
“I’m really rich,” Trump said last June in announcing his presidency. Trump has also made the entirely plausible claim last year that, “I have a Gucci store that’s worth more than Romney.”
Trump has described himself as a largely self-made man who parlayed a $1 million loan from his father into an empire worth billions. Trump’s eventual inheritance was far larger than that, however, and Trump relied on his father’s loan guarantees for his formative real estate and casino deals.
He came close to losing it all in the early 1990s, when personal guarantees of a floundering casino and real estate empire put his fate in the hands of bankers who had loaned him money. Even then, however, Trump maintained a remarkable standard of living: The bankers gave him a $450,000-a-month allowance.
There’s no such limit on Trump’s spending these days. Living out of a three-story penthouse atop the Trump Tower, he also owns residences in California, Florida, Virginia and the Caribbean. Caviar, yachts, gold-plated faucets, private jets and mansions with 126 rooms: If there’s a public signifier of wealth, it’s a safe bet that Trump has associated himself with it.
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