Are Presidents Paid For Life?

Acting as president of the United States is a wild and crazy ride that could leave anyone reeling upon completion of their term. So it's a good thing that no matter how heavy the burden of life and death decision making becomes, every president is afforded a six-figure income for life. 

It wasn't always this way. According to the New York Times, the end of Harry Truman's presidency in 1953 saw him returning to his Missouri home with only a $112.56 military pension. Pretty light for someone having just held one of the most prestigious, powerful roles on the planet. Five years later the Former Presidents Act would become law, allowing a lifetime pension, medical care, staff and many other perks and budgetary allowances for retired presidents regardless of how bad they might've been or whether or not they managed to successfully fight off an alien invasion while in office.

In 2017, listed the president's annual pension amount at $205,700, which was the rate all living former presidents — Barack Obama, George W Bush, Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter — all received. While those rates remain the same, former presidents can request additional funding from Congress, which may take the form of office space rental costs, mail privileges, or staff budgets or travel, according to this Congressional Research Service report. Sometimes, these requests can reach more than a million dollars a year. 

Other perks for former presidents and spouses include lifetime Secret Service protection, along with protection for children until they're 16. This also includes the "protection" from having to drive yourself anywhere, as the Secret Service prefers to be behind the wheel in case of emergency. 

If those numbers weren't good enough, consider also that presidents don't have to pay for housing while in office, since they're in the White House, and as soon as they're out they've got a boatload of crazy stories that people will pay to read and hear. The Obamas signed a book deal worth $65 million upon leaving office, while George W. Bush and Bill Clinton received $10 and $15 million for their respective book deals.