Donald Trump, as you may have heard, is quite wealthy. And he’s made his vast fortune a selling point for his candidacy. When he announced he would run for president earlier this year, he did so by saying, “I’m really rich.”
That’s how he introduced himself to voters during the first Republican debate, too: “I’m Donald Trump, I wrote The Art of the Deal; I say not in a braggadocious way: I’ve made billions of billions of dollars making deals all over the world.”
But Donald Trump would like voters to know something else about Donald Trump: Things have not always been easy for him. At a town hall in New Hampshire Monday, he told audience members:
“My whole life, really, has been a no, and I fought through it. And, you know, I talk about it. It’s not been easy for me, it has not been easy for me. You know, I started off in Brooklyn. My father gave me a small loan of a million dollars. I came into Manhattan, and I had to pay him back, and I had to pay him back with interest. But I came into Manhattan and I started buying properties, and I did great.”
Of course, for most of us, $1 million could never be considered a “small” amount of money.
But even for Trump, that “small loan” was the least of the help he received from his father; it represents only about 2.5 percent of the estimated $40 million Trump inherited.
As proud as Trump is of his success — “I’m proud of my net worth. I’ve done an amazing job,” he said in June — it’s possible he would be even richer if he had done (almost) nothing at all.
As the National Journal pointed out in a detailed piece earlier this year, Trump might be even richer than he is today if he’d invested his money in the stock market and walked away.
According to the publication’s calculations, Trump would be worth $3 billion if he’d invested his share of his father’s real estate company in an S&P 500 mutual fund in 1974. If he waited a few years and invested the $200 million Forbes said he was worth in 1982, he would be worth more than $8 billion.
Forbes (which Trump aggressively lobbies each year to inflate his net worth, according to a writer at the magazine), presently pegs Trump’s fortune at $4.1 billion. A more conservative Bloomberg estimate puts his wealth at $2.9 billion.