The Obama family, Barack and Michelle in particular, have been public figures since their days as lawyers, becoming international leaders by winning the presidential election of 2008. Ever since then, they’ve been in the public eye–and with all of the publicity that they get, it’s natural to wonder how much the Obamas make.
Barack and Michelle Obama are now rich but have not always been. With Michelle’s work as a lawyer, Barack’s as a politician, and now both of them working as authors and public figures, they’ve become rich, and their net worth is now around 70 million dollars.
Read on to find out more about Barack and Michelle Obama’s situation and how they’ve been making their money.
Jobs Past and Present
To be considered rich, someone must have a net worth between 2.2 and 2.6 million dollars, according to the generation–Baby Boomers and Generation X are on the higher side of that range, both at $2.6 million, while Millennials are at $2.2 million. On average, many agree that having a net worth $2.3 million is the baseline for being rich.
In 2008, when the Obamas were moving into the White House after winning the presidential election, their net worth was about $1.3 million. While they were above the average net worth for American households, they were not considered rich.
Before becoming a politician, Obama was an author and a lecturer at the University of Chicago Law School, teaching constitutional law. Michelle Obama worked in marketing and intellectual property law at the law firm Sidley & Austin in Chicago, which is how she met Barack.
While Michelle Obama was the primary earner when Barack was a senator for Illinois, they switched roles for a time with the presidency, Barack focusing more on his work and Michelle spending more time with their daughters and on the campaign trail.
When Barack Obama was in office, the family made about 20 million over those eight years. Obama made about 8.8 million dollars from his books, The Audacity of Hope and Of Thee I Sing: A Letter To My Daughters.
Dreams From My Father, Obama’s memoir that was originally published in 1995, also sold a great deal with his election in 2008 and made about 6.8 million dollars. His presidential salary may have declined over the years, but he made a total of 3.1 million dollars in his time as president, and like all other presidents, receives a pension of about 200,000 dollars a year since the end of his presidency.
Recent Book Deals and Events
After Obama’s presidency, he and Michelle both signed book deals worth about 60 million dollars, and Michelle Obama’s bestselling memoir Becoming has sold over 10 million copies and has sold more copies than any other book published in the United States.
The couple also took a 50 million dollar deal with Netflix after making the documentary version of Michelle’s Becoming.
Reader and viewer reactions to Becoming were very positive, and fans took to social media to praise them, posting things like this about the documentary, writing that “[h]er humility, dignity, love and intelligence shine through,” or like this about the book, the fan calling it “[o]ne of [her] favorite books that [she] has read in the last year.”
As public figures, both Barack and Michelle Obama are paid to give talks and speeches to various audiences, which is another way that they’ve reached their current combined net worth of 70 million dollars.
The Obamas donate some of their money to different charities, especially from the proceeds they make from their books. They’re also paying for their daughters’ educations–Malia, who is going to Harvard, and Sasha, who is going to the University of Michigan.
Check out the YouTube video below to watch the trailer for the Netflix documentary on Michelle Obama’s life, Becoming.