How Obama Made $20 Million Dollars in 8 Years -- Book Deals, Speaking Engagements, and More!

President Obama

Barack Obama served his last day as the 44th President of the United States on January 20, 2017. Although his annual salary was only $400,000 a year, during his presidency, he made $20 million dollars. But how?
Publishing deals pay off big

According to, about 75 percent of Obama's income came from his best-selling books that he authored. These include Audacity of Hope and Of Thee I Sing: A Letter To My Daughters - his book for children. One of his books alone, Dreams From My Father, earned him more than $6 million dollars.

There is also the President's salary, and interest and dividends on investment holdings, which included U.S. treasury bills and diversified funds. Both Barack and Michelle have also served on boards and were paid for speaking engagements.

Giving back

Although they may a lot of money, what many people don't know about the Obamas is that they are also very generous philanthropists. They donated all post-tax profits from the children’s book to establish scholarships for children of wounded and fallen soldiers.

In addition, between 2005 to 2015, they gave away $1.6 million, or 8% of their earnings, to charities. Barack has another, non-fiction book in the works, which he earlier agreed not to publish while he was President. Once published, it is sure to produce even more book royalties.

What's next?

Before becoming President, Obama earned $610K as a Senator, and Michelle earned $317,000 in 2005 and $274,000 in 2006 as vice president for community and external affairs at the University of Chicago Hospitals. But the pair will continue to make millions more.

As with many former Presidents, speaking engagements and book deals often produce millions more for them after they leave office. This was true for the Clintons, who earned $240 million between 2001 and 2015 from consulting, speaking and book deals. It will most certainly be true for the Obamas, too.
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