Richest Person to hold the office of President?

Which U.S President had the greatest personal net worth at the time he took office?

Forbs put out THIS list. One must take several factors into consideration when comparing wealth of different areas, of course.

Forbes says it is hard to compare across generations, but their top ten richest presidents in chronological order are: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson, Zachary Taylor, Theodore Roosevelt, Herbert Hoover, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, and George W. Bush.

There’s a reasonably good trick for doing those cross-time comparisons: convert their net worth at a given point (say time of death) to the equivalent amount of gold at the same time, then take all such figures and convert them back to a dollar amount using the price of gold at one standard reference year (1950, 2000, 2007, whatever).

If (figures being purely hypothetical as illustration) Washington’s wealth, liquidated, would have fetched 7,000 oz. gold in 1799, and FDR’s, similarly liquidated, would have fetched 5,000 oz. gold in 1945, then Washington was clearly the wealthier. This compensates for inflation, differing values for land, chattels, etc., by arbitrarily assuming that the value of gold in “real” value remains the same, i.e., one ounce of gold will buy about 300 loaves of bread whatever the cost in dollars might be.

And I don’t think that assumption is true. In my lifetime, I know that the value of gold has varied tremendously in a manner that has not tracked inflation and it certainly doesn’t always have the same purchasing power in different eras.

Better to use an economic estimate based upon a variety of commodities or goods, but again, they didn’t have Kellog’s Corn Flakes back in Washington’s day so an exact comparison is probably impossible.

I know Hubert Hoover was independently wealthy and donated all of his government pay to charity.

Herbert. Herbert Hoover.

Related question: who was the poorest US president at the time he took office?

George Washington is, I think, the only President listed in the Wealthy 100 in U.S. History. This list used a formula comparing the person’s worth to the gross national product of the day. I would suspect that relatively speaking, Washington has to have been the wealthiest President.

I missed the edit deadline. . .

Washington’s number 59.

I know about this list because #22 Henry H. Rogers is from my hometown.