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What are the benefits of being the US President? What is the Salary, what are the benefits of US President, What are retirement benefits of US President are covered in the article. The US president is paid $400,000 a year, on a monthly basis. Plus, he receives an extra expense allowance of $50,000 a year. The president receives benefits in addition to a salary such as  free transportation in the presidential limousine, Marine One, and Air Force One – and free housing in the White House. At the end of their term, the President is still on government payroll, which includes an annual pension of about $200,000, health care, paid official travel, and an office.

Salary and Benefits of US President

The President of the United States (POTUS) is the elected head of state and head of government of the United States. The president directs the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces. Being the most powerful elected official, chief executive, head of state, and commander in chief in the USA, the President of the United States of America receives some of the best job benefits and perks in the world. Our article Understanding US President Election 2016 covers US President Election, Important Dates of US President Elections 2016, US President Candiates , Money and US President Elections and How is US President Elected?

Official Information of US President Salary and Benefits are available at

Salary of US President

The current Presidential salary is capped at $400000 per year, with George W. Bush being the first to receive this amount. In addition to his salary, the President gets numerous expense accounts given below. The First Lady doesn’t get paid a dime.

  • General account ($50000)
  • Official expenses of the White House office
  • Entertainment expenses
  • Separate entertainment expenses for official presidential functions
  • Traveling expenses for the president and anyone traveling with him (above and beyond the free limo, helicopter, and airplane rides)
  • In addition there is an account designated for “unanticipated needs” which is not to exceed $1 million per year. These unanticipated needs include anything for the furtherance of the national interest, security, or defense, including personnel needs and needs for services. Basically if the President is over-quota for anything listed above, he can dip into this money.

Don’t confuse salary with income. President Obama ,while his salary is $400,000, his income in 2011 was about $790,000, thanks to investments and publishing royalties from his books. Our article Salaries of leaders of the world : Modi,Barack Obama,Angela Merkel,Vladmin Putin,Bill Clinton in detail.

How Salary of US President has changed over time

Table  below shows how US President’s salary over time. Only two presidents have declined the executive salary: George Washington and John F. Kennedy. Herbert Hoover did accept his salary, but donated it all to charity. Between 1789 and today, there have been five pay raises, the most recent one coming in 2001, when Congress doubled the presidential salary from $200,000 to $400,000. That salary alone is nearly enough to put the president in the top 1% of earners in major US cities. Adjusting for inflation, Thomas Jefferson and George Washington were the richest people to become president.

  • The first president, George Washington, earned $25,000 a year when he came into office in 1789. That may not sound like much, but to put Washington’s compensation into perspective, $25,000 in 1913 (the oldest year the inflation calculator accounts for) is equivalent to about $600,000 today. Imagine the value in 1789!
  • President Harry Truman left office in 1949 making $100,000.
  • When Richard Nixon entered the White House in 1969 the salary went up to $200,000. It remained there for 30 years, until Congress doubled the presidential salary effective in 2001, when President George W. Bush took office.
Presidential pay history
Date established Salary Salary in 2012
Expense Account
September 24, 1789 $25,000 $673,451 0
March 3, 1873 $50,000 $992,777 0
March 4, 1909 $75,000 $1,954,850 0
January 19, 1949 $100,000 $967,315 $50000
January 20, 1969 $200,000 $1,254,610 $50000
January 20, 2001 $400,000 $519,979 $50000

Help hired by US President

The President may hire a total of 34 staff for domestic service and administration. This is above and beyond the positions already officially part of the Executive Branch of the federal government. In addition, the President may hire the temporary services (one year or less) of an unlimited number of professionals, experts, or consultants as required.

The President may hire up to 100 assistants for the White House Office. He may hire up to 3 people to work specifically at the Executive Residence. As with above, the President may hire any number of professionals, experts, or consultants as needed. It should be noted that normal or expected maintenance of the White House and its grounds are already covered by the budget.

Expenses borne by US President at White House

While first families don’t have to pay rent at the White House, they are responsible for personal costs that can multiply, especially if they spend the full eight years in that spotlight. President  may have his own executive chef , but when his family and personal guests eat what’s coming out of the kitchen, he’ll have to foot the bill himself.

The president and his family get to pick what snacks they want, what brand of toothpaste they use, and what menu they want the chef to prepare for them, but it can still get a bit pricier than new commanders in chief expect. In a fascinating article in this month’s National Geographic, former White House chief usher Gary Walters said that he couldn’t remember any first families not complaining about the high prices of the food.

At the end of each month, the president receives a bill for his food and incidental expenses. Nancy Reagan was famously taken aback by this practice when an usher presented her first bill in 1981, saying, “Nobody ever told us the president and his wife are charged for every meal, as well as incidentals like dry cleaning, toothpaste, and other toiletries”

Former first lady Laura Bush wrote in her post-White House memoir that she was expected to pick up the tab for every meal she ate at the White House or the presidential Camp David retreat — for her husband’s two terms. Bush wrote that a bill came monthly, itemizing everything she and her family owed, including food, dry cleaning and hourly wages for waiters and cleanup crews at private parties. “There were some costs that I was not prepared for,” Bush wrote. “I was amazed by the sheer number of designer clothes that I was expected to buy, like the women before me, to meet the expectations for a first lady.”

  • The Clintons  emerged from the White House in debt. It wasn’t just dinner parties and designer dresses weighing down the Clintons financially. Enormous legal fees followed them after their departure in January 2001. By the end of the previous year, the Clintons carried debt totaling somewhere between $2.28 million to $10.6 million.
  • When he left office in 1825, James Monroe was deeply in debt.

Salary of US President on Retirement

Ex-presidents did not earn pensions until 1958 when Congress put in place the Former Presidents Act, providing the benefits today’s leaders now receive. Before this Act was passed, ex-presidents were given nothing after leaving office, and the results were evident. For example, Thomas Jefferson sold his personal library to create the basis for the Library of Congress and James Monroe was destitute when he died.

Beginning in 1959, all living former presidents were granted a pension, an office, and a staff.  The pension has increased numerous times with Congressional approval. Retired presidents now receive a pension based on the salary of the current administration’s cabinet secretaries, which was $199,700 each year in 2012. The US President’s pension is $191,300 per year, equal to the yearly salary of a cabinet member. Interestingly enough, George Bush has declined his pension. In total the amount spent on a former president can reach into the millions of dollars per year. For example, in 2012 former President George W. Bush cost taxpayers $1.2 million, while former President Bill Clinton received nearly $1 million in benefits and pay. During his lifetime Bill Clinton  is expected to receive over $6 million and Ronald Reagan who received more than $2 million .

In addition to the pension, the ex-president receives free postal service for non-political correspondence, free office space, and $96000 a year to pay for office help. During the first 30 months after his term has expired, the president is also eligible for up to $150000 per year to hire a staff to help with the transition.

Should the former president be survived by a spouse, she is granted a pension of $20,000 for life, as well as a free postage benefit.

On top of all these pension payments and benefits come the expenses involved with the personal protection of each former president and his family.

Interested readers can read US Senate report Former Presidents: Federal Pension and Retirement Benefits

Ex US Presidents and their Earnings by writing books, giving speeches

But these taxpayer-funded benefits are nothing compared to the big bucks presidents rake in writing books.

  • “My Life” netted Bill Clinton a $15 million advance.
  • George W. Bush earned $7 million for the first 1.5 million copies of “Decision Points.”
  • Jimmy Carter has written 14 books. “He was broke when he came out of the White House,” presidential historian James Thurber said. “If you can write or you can write with someone else, you can write a book and make a great deal of money. Jimmy Carter did that.”
  • President Obama wrote “Dreams From My Father” in his 30s. Initially, it was only a modest success, selling better as his political star rose, flying off shelves when he ran for president.
    “I have been blessed,” he said on the campaign trail in 2008. “Before this book started selling we were living in a condo and we had two cars, but one of them was beat up.” Book sales are still the Obamas’ main source of income.

Speeches by Ex US President

For the biggest payoff without too much work, speeches are the way to go.

  • And Bill Clinton is the reigning king of the podium. Right after Clinton left the White House in 2001, the Greater Washington Association of Executives paid him $125,000 for a speech, a very standard price for a former president. “I’ve never had any money until I got out of the White House,” Clinton told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer in 2010. “But I’ve done reasonably well since then.” That’s quite the understatement. Since 2001, he’s earned $75.6 million giving speeches to corporations and organizations around the world, according to the latest financial disclosure required of his wife, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
  • The Center for Public Integrity estimates George W. Bush has made $15 million from speeches since leaving office.

Houses of US President

White House : Official residence of US President

President of US lives in the White House. White House fully furnished, has 132 rooms, 35 bathrooms. White House has 18 acres of ground, includes a bowling alley, putting green, jogging track, billiard room, tennis courts, swimming pool, and movie theater. If the President or First Lady dislike the artwork, they have the complete collections in the National Gallery of Art at their disposal.

Basic staff includes Ground keepers, florists,valets,butlers,a pastry chef and a 24 hour cooking staff.

Annual expense of White house : $4 million. Grounds $252,000.

Blair House: Official State Guest House

Blair House,President’s state guest house. It is larger than White House, has 119 rooms. Blair House is located next to the Eisenhower Executive Office Building at the White House Complex and Lafayette Park, is a complex of four connected townhouses exceeding 70,000 square feet (6,500 m2) of floor space. When foreign leaders stay at Blair House, it flies their flag, which means that house becomes foreign soil.

Camp David: Country retreat of the President of the United States

Naval Support Facility Thurmont, popularly known as Camp David, is a mountain-based military camp in Frederick County, Maryland, is used as a country retreat and for high alert protection of the president and guests.  Camp David is located in wooded hills about 62 miles (100 km) north-northwest of Washington, D.C. One won’t find location of Camp David on  maps due to privacy and security concerns

First known as Hi-Catoctin, Camp David was built as a camp for federal government agents and their families by the WPA. Construction started in 1935 and was completed in 1938. In 1942, Franklin D. Roosevelt converted it to a presidential retreat and renamed it “Shangri-La” (for the fictional Himalayan paradise in the 1933 novel Lost Horizon by British author James Hilton). Camp David received its present name from Dwight D. Eisenhower, in honor of his father and grandson, both named David.

Houses of US President: White House, Blair House, Camp David

Houses of US President: White House, Blair House, Camp David

Following YouTube Video takes you to virtual tour of White House

How US President Travels

US President travels in Presidential Limousine, Marine One and Air Force One.

For ground travel, the president uses the Presidential state car, nicknamed The Beast, Cadillac One, First Car,code named Stagecoach.  Presidential state car is an armored limousine built on a heavily modified Cadillac-based chassis.  With a new model built for each Chief Executive, this highly customized stretched Lincoln Continental is full of luxury and technology.  It is worth $300,000. Its armor plating is 12.7 cm thick,doors weigh as much as Boeing 757 door, tyres work even when they are punctured. It has its own oxygne supply, fire fighting system and a blood bank. It can shoot tear-gas and smoke grenades.

If traveling by air, short trips are typically made in Marine One, the presidential helicopter. The president  has access to a fleet of thirty-five U.S. Marine Corps helicopters of varying models, designated Marine One when the president is aboard any particular one in the fleet. Flights are typically handled with as many as five helicopters all flying together and frequently swapping positions as to disguise which helicopter the President is actually aboard to any would-be threats.

Longer trips are made in Air Force One, a modified Boeing 747 equipped with conference rooms, dining room, quarters for the President and First Lady, offices for staff, areas for the press, medical facilities, and two galleys for a total of about 4000 square feet. It carries upto 70 passengers and a 26-person crew. Presidential suite under the cockpit, with an office,bathroom,bedroom, workout room. Upper level telecom center, bottom for cargo. One of two identical Boeing VC-25 aircraft, which are extensively modified versions of Boeing 747-200B airliners, serve as long distance travel for the president and are referred to as Air Force One while the president is on board (although any U.S. Air Force aircraft the President is aboard is designated as “Air Force One” for the duration of the flight). In-country trips are typically handled with just one of the two planes while overseas trips are handled with both, one primary and one backup. Any civilian aircraft the President is aboard is designated Executive One for the flight.

How US President Travels Presidential Car, Air Force One, Marine One

How US President Travels

Protection Of US President : The U.S. Secret Service

The Secret Service has two primary missions: investigation of financial crimes and physical protection of designated protectees. The U.S. Secret Service is charged with protecting the sitting president and the first family. As part of their protection, presidents, first ladies, their children and other immediate family members, and other prominent persons and locations are assigned Secret Service codenames. The use of such names was originally for security purposes and dates to a time when sensitive electronic communications were not routinely encrypted; today, the names simply serve for purposes of brevity, clarity, and tradition. The Secret Service investigates thousands of incidents a year of individuals threatening the President of the United States.

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