How The Clinton Family Really Got So Rich

Money and politics have long been intertwined, for better or worse. In the United States, the field political landscape is a distinctive mix of celebrity and public service, and it's not unusual to see politicians raking in both money and fame during and after their time in government.

One of the more prominent examples of wealth in the political world is seen in the relationship of Bill and Hillary Clinton, the political power couple who continue to be outspoken figures in the field. According to Celebrity Net Worth, the Clintons have a combined net worth of $120 million.

Tracing the source of their wealth is a bit more complicated. The circulation of money in politics can be tough to track given the field's overlap with philanthropy, business, and fundraising. For the Clintons, though, their long careers in politics mean that they have gained vast amounts of money from many avenues — from book deals to speaking engagements — over the years.

The Clintons rose from a middle-class background

Before they gained fame and fortune, the Clintons were a middle-class couple. According to NPR — who estimated their net worth at $50 million in 2016 — they began to gain their wealth in Arkansas. After Bill Clinton became president, the outlet said the couple began to earn their money on the east coast.

In Arkansas, Bill Clinton's political career earned him just $35,000 a year. Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton earned her money from her career as a lawyer and positions on the corporate boards of various companies, including Walmart. In 1992, she earned a hefty $170,700 from her corporate endeavors.

The couple's fortune would only grow from here. When they moved east, they were considerably better off financially. At the tail end of Bill Clinton's second presidential term, they used their upward mobility to purchase a vintage $1.7 million home in Chappaqua, N.Y. But the Clintons didn't pay the price up front — they received help from Democratic fundraiser Terry McAuliffe, who put $1.35 million of his own money into a mortgage backstop.

Although the Clintons have had their ups and downs — they were millions in debt at one point — lucrative speaking gigs and writing opportunities have helped them continue earning steady money even as they wind down in their later years. And their wealth isn't restricted to them: their daughter, Chelsea Clinton, has a net worth of $30 million, according to Celebrity Net Worth.