Since Bill and Hillary Clinton left the White House in 2001, they have turned political fame into a personal fortune, raking in more than $240 million, according to a FORBES analysis of 15 years of their tax returns.
Bill made most of the money, earning $189 million by writing books, giving speeches, consulting private companies and advising billionaire Ron Burkle.
Days after his presidency ended, he earned $125,000 for a speech at Morgan Stanley Dean Witter & Co. in New York, according to a financial disclosure form Hillary filed as a senator in 2002. It was the first of hundreds of paid speeches that collectively made him an estimated $106 million over 15 years.
In 2004 he published his bestselling memoir My Life, one of the former president’s four titles. Clinton earned an estimated $38 million as an author from 2001 to 2015.
In addition to the high-profile books and speaking gigs, he quietly earned several million dollars offering consulting to private companies. He made $15 million advising billionaire Ron Burkle’s investment firm Yucaipa and another $24 million consulting for-profit education companies Laureate Education and GMS Education.
Although Hillary’s earnings lagged during her years in the Senate (2001-09) and President Obama’s cabinet (2009-13), she quickly made up for lost time after leaving public office. She earned $9 million in speaking fees in both 2013 and 2014.
In 2007, the last time Hillary was gearing up for a presidential race, she earned only $123,000 as an author and nothing as a speaker. But in 2015, she made $1 million from speaking and $3 million from writing. Her book Hard Choices was released in June 2014, perfect timing for the election season. Its publisher, Simon & Schuster, paid her $12 million from 2013 to 2015.
Meanwhile, Bill has slowed down. In 2007, the year Hillary fought Barack Obama for the Democratic nomination, Bill was traveling to places like Norway, Korea and Germany, earning $9 million from speaking engagements.
In 2015, he was far more grounded, earning roughly half as much as a speaker. His book payments have sputtered out as well, declining from $4 million in 2007 to just $29,000 in 2015.
Bill Clinton wound down two of his most valuable consulting gigs as his wife fought for the presidency a second time. His earnings from Laureate Education dropped from $4.3 million in 2014 to $1.1 million in 2015 as he stepped down from his role as honorary chancellor of the for-profit university. His earnings from GEMS Education fell from $2.1 million in 2014 to $562,500 in 2015.
With both Clintons on the campaign trail, the power couple earned $11 million in 2015, their lowest total since 2009. Even still, their combined earnings were higher the total compensation packages of some of America’s highest-profile business executives, including Apple CEO Tim Cook.
By Dan Alexander, Forbes.com