How Much Money Do You Need to Run for President?

You Don't Have to Be a Millionaire, But It Doesn't Hurt

If you're thinking of running for president, you'd better be saving your pennies. It takes money to be taken seriously in politics. It takes money to raise money.  

How much money do you need to run for president?

About $1 billion

Of course, presidents don't spend their own personal money. Their campaigns raise and spend money. They raise money from small and large contributors and super PACs

So how important is personal wealth in getting elected? Very. Money gets candidates in front of other rich people who fund campaigns. Money affords candidates time to campaign. How many successful presidents have won an election whole holding down a full-time job? Not many.

There are, of course, exceptions to the rule.

Here's a look at presidents past and future, and how much money it took them to get elected.

President Harry S. Truman. National Archives - Truman Library

The poorest commander-in-chief in American history was once described as one of the "saddest cases of presidential hardship" who could barely provide for his family. That he was able to win the presidency despite his meager upbringing is remarkable in an age when almost all of the candidates elected to the White House are millionaires.

So who was this president? More »

George W. Bush
President George W. Bush delivers the 2007 State of the Union address. Pool / Getty Images News

Almost every modern president has been a millionaire at the time he was elected to the White House. That's a fact. So how rich were they? Here's a look at five modern presidents and their net worth at the time of their election.

You might be surprised at who tops the list. More »

Ted Cruz
Republican U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz is worth more than $1 million, according to personal financial disclosures. Alex Wong/Getty Images News

No, none of the announced or likely presidential candidates in the 2016 election is among the 10 wealthiest members of Congress. But they're also not doing to badly. Each of the 2016 presidential candidates or likely presidential candidates is a millionaire.

Here's a look at who's worth what. More »

Romney Obama Debate Picture Closeup
Republican Mitt Romney and Democratic President Barack Obama exchange pleasantries after a 2012 presidential debate. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images News

The wealthiest candidate in the 2012 presidential election was, far and away, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. In fact, he was the wealthiest presidential candidate since billionaire Steve Forbes ran in 2000.

So who else is on the list of wealthiest presidential candidates ever? And where did Romney rank among them? More »

Twenty-dollar bill
Twenty-dollar bill. Mark Wilson / Getty Images

Yes, elected officials at almost every level of county, state and federal government make more than the average American worker. But they're not becoming millionaires by being in politics, despite the many perks of being in office.

Most politicians are, in fact, millionaires before they're actually elected. 

So, in case you're wondering, here's a look at what politicians at every level bring home. 

  More »

Theodore Roosevelt
Theodore Roosevelt. Hulton Archive

The president's salary is set by Congress, and lawmakers have seen fit to raise the pay for the most powerful position in the world precisely five times since George Washington became the nation's first president in 1789.

So how much does the president earn?  More »

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Which Presidents Were Country Club Republicans, and What That Means

George H.W. Bush
Republican George H.W. Bush ran unsuccessfully for his party's presidential nomination in 1980, but later became president. Mark Wilson/Getty Images News

The term country club Republican is used to describe GOP politicians and voters who are wealthier than most Americans and primarily care about fiscal issues such as cutting taxes and focus less on the social issues religious conservatives believe drive many people to the polls: abortion and gay marriage. 

It's not a positive term. In fact, if you're a politician you don't want to be labeled a country club Republican. Here's why.