The President of the United States is one of the most powerful people in the world. They’re responsible for leading the country and making decisions that affect the lives of millions of Americans, as well as the rest of the world.
Since their role is absolutely vital, they must be making a hefty salary, right? Let’s find out!
How Much Does the President Make?
The base salary of the U.S. President is $400,000 per year, which amounts to $33,333.33 per month and $1,095.89 per day.
On top of that, the President receives a $50,000 expense allowance as well as a $100,000 nontaxable travel account for expenses related to business trips and other events. Lastly, there’s a $19,000 entertainment account included in their budget.
However, this wasn’t always the case. Namely, in 1789, the first U.S. President earned an annual salary of only $25,000.
The President‘s wage has increased over the years:
- in 1873, to $50,000 annually
- in 1909, to $75,000
- in 1949, to $100,000
- in 1969, to 200k and
- in 2001, to 400k per year.
8 Facts You May Not Know About the Head of State’s Salary
Here are a few interesting facts about the U.S. Presidents and their annual wages:
1. The U.S. President earns seven times more than an average American annually.
The U.S. President‘s salary hasn’t changed since 2001, when it was raised from $200,000 to $400,000 per year. In addition, the President receives a $50,000 expense allowance, a $100,000 nontaxable travel account, and a $19,000 entertainment account.
In contrast, an average American worker earns an annual salary of $53,490.
2. The total salary for a President serving a four-year term is $1.6 million.
Keep in mind that this only includes a base salary of $400,000.
So, how much money does the President make in an hour? About $45.66. This further translates to about $1,095.89 a day.
How is this possible?
The President’s wage isn’t based on a 40-hour workweek. The President works day and night, every single day of the year, which equals 8,760 hours in a year altogether.
3. The Vice President of the United States makes $261,400 a year.
(Office of Personnel Management)
When it comes to the members of Congress, the Vice President‘s income is higher than that of the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President pro tempore of the Senate, who make $223,500 and 193,400 per year, respectively.
In addition to a higher salary, the Vice President also receives a yearly expense allowance of $20,000, which is subject to taxation.
4. The President of the United States earns a salary of $221,400 per year after leaving office.
(National Taxpayers Union Foundation)
As of 2021, the U.S. president‘s retirement salary amounts to $221,400. In fact, compensation for former presidents equals that of a Cabinet Secretary.
For comparison, the average American household retirement income is $56,632 (median income) or $84,153 (mean income).
Up until 1958, when the Former Presidents Act was passed, ex-presidents didn’t receive pensions after leaving office.
Today, ex-presidents and their spouses get a lifetime pension (the former President’s widow receives a lifetime annual pension of $20,000), plus a few other benefits.
Presidential perks after office include secret service protection for life, an allowance for office space and staff, and health benefits.
5. Three U.S. Presidents refused to be paid for their service.
Herbert Hoover, John F. Kennedy, and Donald Trump donated their salaries to various charitable causes while in office.
In fact, Hoover donated his entire $5,000 salary to charity each year. At the same time, Kennedy’s American President‘s salary went to the Boy Scouts and Girls Scouts of America, the United Negro College Fund, and the Cuban Families Committee, among others.
In a similar manner, Trump donated his wage to numerous U.S. government agencies.
6. In 1789, the President of the U.S. earned an annual salary of $25,000. Since then, their yearly pay has only been raised five times.
If you look at the presidential salary history, you’ll notice big jumps between 1789 and 1873, 1909 and 1949, and 1969 and 2001.
In 1789, the President earned an annual wage of $25,000; in 1873, they earned $50,000 annually, and by 1909, they were paid $75,000 per year.
In 1949, their salary was increased to $100,000, and in 1969 it reached $200,000. As of 2001, the President’s yearly salary amounts to $400,000.
7. George Washington‘s salary would be the modern-day equivalent of about $729,429.
The first American President’s pay was set at $25,000 per year.
At first, Washington refused to get paid for his services, but he eventually relented and accepted a salary that amounted to 2% of the federal budget in 1789.
8. The President is allotted $100,000 to refurbish sections of the White House.
The President‘s salary in 2022 of $400k is certainly high, but did you know that Congress has been allocating $100,000 annually since 1999 merely for redecorating and general upkeep of the White House?
Although the first family is advised against spending lavishly on renovations, many presidents have found ways to put their own personal touch on the historic building.
For example, Donald Trump spent almost $2 million of his own money to change the appearance of the White House, while the Obamas spent a little under $1.5 million on renovations.
To sum things up, the current salary of the President of the U.S. stands at $400,000 per year or $33,333.33 per month.
However, this is just the base salary, as presidents also receive a $100,000 account for travel expenses (that are not taxed), an entertainment allowance of $19,000, and an expense allowance of $50,000. After leaving office, Presidents are given a pension of $221,400 per year.
Who sets the salary of the President?
The President’s salary is set by the United States Congress. When they first started this system in 1789, the President was given an annual salary of $25,000. However, today, the Commander-in-Chief earns a yearly wage of $400,000.
Do Presidents get paid for life?
The answer is yes. Presidents receive a pension for life after leaving office. In addition to their pension, they also get $150,000 per year (for the first 30 months) for travel expenses, office space, and support staff. After those first 30 months, they receive $96,000 per year.
What Presidents have not taken a salary?
Herbert Hoover, John F. Kennedy, and Donald Trump all refused to take a salary while holding office — instead opting to donate their wages to charity. George Washington also refused to take a salary at first. However, he later relented.