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How J.D. Vance Achieved a Net Worth of $7 Million

J.D. Vance

James David Vance is an American conservative. According to NBC, and other news sources, he has become the Republican nominee for Ohio's 2022 U.S. Senate election, meaning that he will be facing the Democratic nominee U.S. Representative Tim Ryan in it. Those who are curious about Vance's net worth should know that Alpha News Call estimates it to be $7 million, most of which have presumably come from his book and his career.

How Did J.D. Vance Reach His Net Worth?

Wikipedia says that Vance was born in Middletown, OH. Supposedly, the city was named thus by its founder Stephen Vail, though why he chose that name is unclear. Some have speculated that it was because Vail came from Middletown, NJ. Others have speculated that it was because the city is situated midway either on the Great Miami River or between the cities of Dayton and Cincinnati, OH. Regardless, Middletown is one of the bigger cities that make up Greater Cincinnati because it was home to more than 50,000 people in 2020.

During his childhood, Vance wasn't called Vance. This is because he was born James Donald Bowman to Donald Bowman and Bev Vance. His parents divorced when he was still at a young age. Subsequently, his mother married her third husband who chose to adopt him. Thanks to that, Vance was called James Hamel for a time because Hamel would be his stepfather's surname. In the end, he settled on his mother's surname, not because he wanted to honor his mother but because he wanted to honor his mother's parents. This makes sense because both he and his sister were raised by their maternal grandparents for the most part.

Military Experience

Education-wise, Vance went to Middletown High School. Given the name, interested individuals might be able to guess that the high school is the sole high school in the Middletown City School District. Upon graduation, Vance enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps. His timing means that he served during the Iraq War as a member of the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing, which would be the aviation component of the II Marine Expeditionary Force. For the most part, Vance performed public affairs work, so his service was uneventful.

Still, he has revealed not one but two transformative experiences to One, Vance said that he reevaluated his life when he met an Iraqi child who was excited to receive a cheap eraser. Something very important because he had been so resentful of his impoverished childhood circumstances up until that point. Two, Vance said that he learned how to function as an adult during that time. Partly, that was because of what the U.S. military taught him, and partly, that was because of what he picked up from his new experiences. Combined, it is no wonder that Vance credits his military service with instilling in him the mindset that has contributed so much to his subsequent successes.


After the U.S. Marine Corps, Vance went to university. Specifically, he went to Ohio State University. Surprisingly, the school's political science department is quite noteworthy, seeing as how it has contributed much to the development of not one but two schools of international relations. The first is constructivism, which is the position that international relations are influenced by not just material factors but also ideational factors.

Meanwhile, the second is realism, which is the very cynical though very realistic position that international relations are influenced by states engaged in the constant pursuit of state interests. This is relevant because Vance earned a Bachelor of Arts in political science and philosophy. Of course, those two would be related fields. Political science emerged from political philosophy. Moreover, it continues to draw upon political philosophy, not least because the latter remains very relevant for politics at every single level.

Law School

Following Ohio State University, Vance went to Yale Law School. Unsurprisingly, he earned a Juris Doctor, which is the usual degree that interested individuals get to practice law in the United States. During this time, Vance was mentored by Amy Chua. Interested individuals might recognize her as a law professor because of several things. For example, some will recognize her because she is the so-called "Tiger Mom" who wrote a book on the subject. Similarly, others will recognize her because of the report that she told her female students that their physical attractiveness could play an important role in their chances of securing a clerkship with Brett Kavanaugh. Chua had a huge effect on Vance. In particular, she is the one who convinced him to write the memoir that would propel him into the political spotlight.


Having said that, Vance didn't manage to publish his memoir until 2016. Chances are good that people can guess that he spent some time working at a law firm, seeing as how he went to the trouble of earning a Juris Doctor. To be exact, it was a corporate law firm, which is presumably the field of law that he specialized in. Later, Vance made a career change by heading over to Mithril Capital, which is a venture capital firm that belongs to Peter Thiel. Once again, that is a famous name that interested individuals might recognize.

Generally speaking, Thiel is known for being a conservative billionaire who has made sizable contributions to conservative causes. However, there are bound to be those who recognize him because of more eye-catching things. One would be how Thiel funded Hulk Hogan's Gawker-bankrupting lawsuit because the blog had outed him as being gay. Another would be how Thiel has a fondness for The Lord of the Rings, so much so that he has six firms bearing names originating from those books. Mithril Capital would be one of those.

Political Interest

When Vance released his memoir Hillbilly Elegy in 2016, he received a huge surge of interest from both liberal circles and conservative circles. After all, that was the year in which Donald Trump became the Republican nominee for the President of the United States before proceeding to win that election. Yes, there were a lot of people who had noted the Republicans' gradual movement towards that direction for quite some time. Even so, Trump came as a surprise because it turned out that the prospect wasn't as unthinkable as it seemed. As such, there was a search for something that could explain why things turned out the way that they did.

Conveniently, Vance's memoir Hillbilly Elegy fit the popular explanation that Republicans were motivated by the very real socioeconomic issues that are running rampant throughout much of the United States. That made him a somewhat well-known name even in liberal circles. Some thought that his book about his personal experiences told them everything that they needed to know about Republicans. Meanwhile, others were less impressed. One reviewer is known to have criticized the idea that his personal experiences could be extrapolated to explain the choices of the white working class as a whole. Another is known to have been irked by his lack of engagement with the existing scholarship on the socioeconomic issues that he brought up.

Best Seller

Despite this, Hillbilly Elegy became a bestseller, thus providing Vance with a huge chunk of credibility in the process. Moreover, its movie rights were bought by Imagine Entertainment, which put in the effort needed to make a movie of the same name. Reportedly, the reception was rather mixed. The people who played Vance and the people surrounding Vance put on fine performances. Otherwise, the movie wasn't particularly well-liked. Yet, it seems safe to say that Vance got a decent amount of money out of that anyway.

Following his rise to fame, Vance revealed that he would be returning to his home state of Ohio. His stated intentions were to help out with some of the socioeconomic issues that he brought up. Despite that, the Washington Post predicted that he was preparing to run for some kind of statewide office. Primarily, this was because Vance was making clear moves that would put him in a solid position to run for office in the future, which was a much more sensible option than just jumping in right away. This was particularly true because he was known to have been a never-Trumper at the time. Something that would have presumably complicated things if he didn't line up everything beforehand.


That said, Vance did quite a lot of things before he became involved in Ohio's 2022 U.S. Senate election, some of which lined up with his stated intentions. To name an example, he spent some time working at an investment firm called Revolution LLC. While he was there, he worked with the Rise of the Rest initiative, which was intended to help out underinvested regions. Essentially, that meant places outside of New York City and Silicon Valley, both of which boast huge concentrations of tech companies.

On a semi-related note, Vance co-founded Narya Capital in this period, which received support from not just Peter Thiel but also both Eric Schmidt and Marc Andreessen. He is raised $93 million for that firm in 2020. A figure that says much about the extent of his support. Besides these things, Vance is a CNN contributor, which says much about how his political opinions.

Now, Vance is running in Ohio's 2022 U.S. Senate election. Originally, he was a Never Trumper. However, New York and other sources have reported that he is now a Trump supporter, thus making it much easier for him to claim Republican votes in the current political environment. Unsurprisingly, that has resulted in accusations of political opportunism. So far, he has been mitigating those accusations by presenting himself as an honest convert to the cause, which is a neat way of acknowledging his past position while tossing it to the side.

Political Interests

Regardless, Vance is now in an election, so his actions are interesting to those watching. For example, he is favorable for the overturning of Roe v. Wade, which has resulted in a fair amount of hostility towards him from pro-choice individuals. This is particularly true because he has voiced the opinion that there should be no exemptions for rape and incest. That kind of thing tends to be popular with diehard opponents of abortion. But, that kind of thing also tends to rile up pro-choice individuals. It makes less diehard opponents of abortion uncomfortable.

Similarly, he has been getting a lot of negative attention for his opinion that parents should stay married. Even when their marriage is violent for the sake of their kids. Vance's opinion on the matter is because of his grandparent's marriage. This is even though his grandmother tried to kill his grandfather at one point. She drenched him in gasoline and then dropped a lit match on him. It seems safe to say that this coverage will continue for the next while as the United States proceeds toward the mid-term elections.

Further Considerations

Summed up, the sources of J.D. Vance's wealth seem to be straightforward. He came from a humble background, so it seems safe to say that he made his money on his own. Some of that has come from his best-selling book, which is now a movie. Meanwhile, the rest has presumably come from his work with investment firms. Simply put, Vance has handled tens of millions of dollars in such roles, so it isn't particularly surprising to see estimates that he is a multi-millionaire in his own right. Of course, those estimates are just estimates. Despite that, they seem decent enough for giving a general sense of things.

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Allen Lee

Written by Allen Lee

Allen Lee is a Toronto-based freelance writer who studied business in school but has since turned to other pursuits. He spends more time than is perhaps wise with his eyes fixed on a screen either reading history books, keeping up with international news, or playing the latest releases on the Steam platform, which serve as the subject matter for much of his writing output. Currently, Lee is practicing the smidgen of Chinese that he picked up while visiting the Chinese mainland in hopes of someday being able to read certain historical texts in their original language.

Read more posts by Allen Lee

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