How much is Trump really worth?

The parallels between Trump, Reagan

Presidential historian Craig Shirley compares the presidencies of Ronald Reagan and Donald Trump.

From a background in business and then as a television personality to president of The United States, Donald Trump has gone on to become one of the most talked-about politicians in the world. An outspoken and active Twitter user, he always manages to grab headlines.

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The foundation of Trump's fortune came from working at and an inheritance from his father Fred Trump's company, E. Trump & Son, which made a solid fortune in midmarket rental housing in the outer boroughs of New York City. Trump went on to be named president of the business in the early 1970s, he renamed it The Trump Organization in 1973.

Fred Trump died in June 1999 leaving an estimated (by the family) estate worth $250 million to $300 million. While the exact sum that Donald would inherit is not known, a 2016 New York Times article shows that Fred Trump's would have divided $20 million, after taxes among his then-living children, including Donald.


The Trump Organization started to move into the more high-end, luxury property market. One of the first ventures was the successful renovation of the Commodore Hotel and the facade of Grand Central Terminal in 1976. The company entered a landmark period in 1980 when it joined forces with the Holiday Inn Corp, to develop a $250 million hotel and Casino in Atlantic City, named Harrah's at Trump Plaza.

The Trump brand reached new heights during the 1980s. With an upwardly mobile zeitgeist, Trump was in his element. He had successful real estate developments up and down Manhattan. He was good at courting the media, with appearances on TV shows like "The Jeffersons" and "I'll Take Manhattan as himself", alongside more work-related segments on local and national news.


Donald Trump during “The Apprentice” Season 6 Finale at The Hollywood Bowl at Hollywood Bowl in Hollywood, California, United States. (Photo by Mathew Imaging/FilmMagic) (Getty)


On the back of his burgeoning celebrity status, he published "The Art of the Deal" in 1987. Part memoir and part business-advice, the  No. 1 bestseller cemented Trump as a household name and was the first of nine books attributed to him. Despite being almost 35 years old, his first book continues to earn Trump money. Official documents show that the book has made him as much as $1 million.

Despite odd periods of bankruptcy, Trump always seems to bounce back. And while continuing to build up his brand, he made numerous TV and movie appearances such as a brief cameo on "Home Alone 2" and "Sex & The City." His real TV big break came in 2004's "The Apprentice" on NBC. Trump was the reality show's host for fourteen seasons,  before going on to be an executive producer. Forbes reports that Trump made around $7 million from his work on the hit show.

He also tapped into the retail market with a line of workwear shirts and ties available in Macy's and even had a steaks brand sold exclusively by The Sharper Image and QVC. In 2014, Trump brought in $3.25 million from consumer product licensing along.


Bottom line

In its 2019 billionaires ranking, Forbes estimated Trump's net worth at $3.1 billion (715th in the world, 259th in the U.S.) with a real-time net worth of the same sum.  In the 2019 public financial disclosure Trumps' businesses generated a total income of $435 million, down from the previous year's $452 million.

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