Tuesday, July 19, 2011

What You can Afford on a $400,000 Salary

Zillow, the real estate people, have made a web page with links to let you oogle at and get real estate data on the houses of ex-presidents.

What I find amazing is how people making a salary of $400,000 can afford mansions that are appraised at multi-millions of dollars.

In 1999 Bill Clinton bought this house for $5.95 million. He was never paid more than $200,000 per year. So that house represents income from 30 years of "working as a president". When I count it up on my fingers and toes, I get 8 years and $1.6 million in earnings during his presidency assuming he saved every penny he was paid and spent nothing that he earned for those hamburgers he so famously chowed down on.

What is even more odd is that he paid $5.95 million in 1999, but that house is now worth only $1.43 million. It has lost more than 75% of its value! Somebody took a shellacking on their "investment". And what is especially odd is that this wasn't a loss because of the 2007 real estate bubble bursting. The fall from $5+ million occurred 10 years ago. Very mysterious.

Click on the Zillow link and you too can stalk an ex-president and get a lurid look into their finances.

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