It’s something of a misnomer that spending time in the White House instantly makes a president rich. For example, Barack Obama only earned $400,00 per year as his presidential salary. Things were even worse for Michelle Obama: as First Lady of the United States, she had many responsibilities but didn’t draw any kind of official salary.
However, you shouldn’t feel too bad for Michelle. Since leaving the White House, her net worth has skyrocketed alongside her famous husband. These days, she is richer than ever, and while her time in the White House didn’t pay, her experience as FLOTUS has helped her land some major paydays in recent years.
Don’t believe us? Keep reading to discover the surprising reasons why Michelle Obama is richer than ever since leaving the White House!
Michelle earned more than Barack Obama back in the day
For most people, it’s surprising to learn just how wealthy Michelle Obama has become since leaving the White House. However, it may be even more surprising to learn that, once upon a time, she was very much the breadwinner when compared to Barack Obama.
According to a Politico analysis of her taxes, Michelle Obama earned $316,000 in 2005. If you were to ignore how much Barack Obama made from sales of his book, you’d discover that Michelle was earning nearly twice as much as he was thanks to various jobs, including serving as both a lawyer and as associate dean for the University of Chicago. However, the earnings pendulum swung in the opposite direction once Barack Obama was elected president.
Her income was relatively stagnant when she was in the White House
Part of what made Michelle Obama’s pre-White House life so lucrative was that she had numerous lucrative job opportunities over the years. However, once Michelle was First Lady of the United States, all of that came to a very sudden stop.
The reason for this is simple: while the president earns a relatively modest fixed salary, FLOTUS earns nothing at all. For Michelle, this was like the worst of both worlds: she had plenty of responsibilities and the eyes of the world watching her every move, but she couldn’t earn a penny for her trouble. After Barack Obama’s second term as president was complete, however, it didn’t take long for Michelle to go from earning nothing to earning millions of dollars.
Michelle Obama’s first book made her a millionaire
By the time the Obamas had left the White House, Barack knew all about how lucrative publishing a bestselling book could be. Both he and Michelle had worked with Penguin Random House before, and they managed to negotiate an absolutely unprecedented deal with the publisher that made each of them wealthier than ever before.
As reported by Publishers Weekly, the Obamas were paid a staggering advance of $65 million in exchange for a pair of books from the power couple. At the time, Michelle Obama getting such an advance was considered a major gamble for the publisher, but it’s a gamble that paid off: her memoir Becoming ended up selling over 17 million copies!
She managed to negotiate another juicy deal for her second book
After the runaway success of Michelle Obama’s memoir, it was clear that the public loved to read what this former FLOTUS had to say. Fortunately, Michelle had even more to say, and that’s how she ended up writing a second book titled The Light We Carry: Overcoming in Certain Times. This book became another runaway hit, and it ended up as a bestselling book that was highly touted by both USA Today and the New York Times.
While the book is really great in and of itself, we are even more fascinated by the mysteries surrounding its publication. For example, it wasn’t released under the previous deal that Michelle and Barack Obama had with Penguin Random House. That means she got another fat check for this book, and while those details aren’t public, we can only assume it was in the same ballpark as her half of the previous deal.
Making major bank as a public speaker and producer
Michelle Obama has become one of the most in-demand public speakers in the entire world. Of course, being in demand means she commands a very high price for her speaking engagements. How high are we talking? As the Daily Mail reports, she made nearly $750,00 for just one speech in 2023!
On top of that, both she and Barack Obama have landed some unexpected media deals. The New York Post reports that the duo signed a production deal with Netflix in 2018. That production deal alone is worth a cool fifty million dollars, and while we’re confident the streaming giant will get its money’s worth, this deal is just one more bit of evidence that Michelle Obama has made the absolute most of her life after the White House.