It costs an average of $358 million to run for president of the United States, according to WalletHub’s analysis of financial disclosures and campaign spending data from candidates in 2016 and 2020. Winning is even more expensive, too. Former president Obama’s campaign and his affiliates invested $1.14 billion in his 2012 reelection, for example. President Trump and his affiliates spent approximately $439 million en route to victory in 2016. And candidates for the Democratic nomination in 2020 shelled out more than $726 million so far.
It’s actually fair to wonder where money isn’t an issue in the 2020 race, or politics in general. Who wants to be president of the United States has turned into a game of who’s not a millionaire, who’s taking money from billionaires, which billionaire can buy love at the ballot box, and how many trillions of dollars in policy promises it takes to spark a movement. Ties to credit cards, investment banking, and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau have even made cameos thus far.
With that in mind, WalletHub analyzed each of the 7 leading candidates’ financial disclosure forms to get a sense for how they’ve managed their finances in the past and perhaps how they’ll manage the country in the future. Enjoy the show, and vote wisely!
For more insights into the personal finances of presidential candidates, we posed the following questions to a panel of experts. You can see who they are and how they responded below. Hopefully, this information will help voters feel even more confident in their decisions come October.
- How much of an impact does a presidential candidate’s past financial success, or lack thereof, have on his or her candidacy? How much of an impact should it have?
- All else being equal, who would make the better president: someone rich or someone poor?
- Should presidential candidates release their tax returns and medial records? What about their credit score?
- Should voters trust a presidential candidate who is in debt?
Ask the Experts
A Closer Look at Each Candidate’s Finances
Money is the country’s top stressor, according to the American Psychological Association, which ultimately indicates that our financial circumstances influence our perceptions and general state of mind. That’s true for everyone, including politicians. So, much like it’s wise to make sure that you and your chosen candidate stand eye to eye on important policy issues, it also makes sense to consider the extent to which his or her financial profile jives with your monetary values.
With that in mind, we compared the following candidates based on a few important metrics, such as total cash savings and total amounts owed, and noted a number of revealing insights into each candidate’s financial background that could influence your opinion and ultimately your vote. Just click on a candidate’s picture to learn more.
Ask the Experts
Michael Bloomberg is missing from our list because he requested and received a second extension for filing a personal financial disclosure report. The extension means Bloomberg won’t have to provide the details about his assets and income until after Super Tuesday on March 3rd. All data pertaining to individual candidates were sent to those candidates for verification. Unfortunately, only Amy Klobuchar's campaign responded.