Jimmy Carter served as the 39th President of the United States. As a result, there are a lot of people out there who will assume that he has a high net worth because that tends to be the case for former U.S. presidents in modern times. Currently, Carter’s net worth is estimated to be around $10 million by Celebrity Net Worth.
How Did Jimmy Carter Reach His Current Net Worth?
For those who are curious, Carter was born at the Wise Sanitarium in Plains, GA where his mother worked as a registered nurse. Meanwhile, his father was a successful businessman who invested in farmland. Carter showed a fair amount of entrepreneurial spirit when he was still a teenager. For example, he had his own acre of farmland where he grew peanuts. Likewise, he rented out a section of tenant housing that he had purchased.
In time, Carter decided to go to the U.S. Naval Academy from which he would graduate as the 60th out of 820 midshipmen in the class of 1946. Soon enough, he started serving on the submarines USS Pomfret and USS Barracuda. By 1952, Carter was involved with the United States’s nuclear submarine program, with the result that he was sent to the Atomic Energy Commission’s Naval Reactors Branch in Washington, D.C. As such, he was the leader of a maintenance crew sent to help both U.S. and Canadian personnel with the shutdown of an experimental reactor at Canada’s Chalk River Laboratories that had caused the reactor building’s basement to be flooded with millions and millions of liters of radioactive water. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the process was very unpleasant, with an excellent example being how the team members had to be lowered into the reactor for no more than a few minutes at a time for the purpose of minimizing their exposure to radioactivity. Something that had a profound impact on Carter’s views on atomic energy.
By 1953, Carter was studying at nuclear power school in preparation for working on one of the first two nuclear submarines to be built. However, his plan fell through when his father died, which convinced him to head home to take over the running of his father’s peanut business. Carter’s father had been well-off, but Carter inherited no more than a modest sum thanks to the forgiveness of debts as well as the splitting of the inheritance. On top of this, he ran into a drought in his first growing year, thus forcing him to open up a number of lines of credit to keep his peanut business running. Still, both Carter and his wife Rosalynn persevered with the result that they managed to turn things around.
When Carter became President of the United States, he was still the owner of the peanut business, which consisted of a farm, a store, and a warehouse. To prevent conflicts of interest, he put the peanut business in a blind trust. By the time that Carter left office, the peanut business was more than $1 million in debt. This put him and his wife in a very bad situation, but the couple was able to recover through a couple of ways. One, Carter sold the peanut business. Two, Carter started writing books.
The source of Carter’s current net worth isn’t very mysterious. For starters, he is a former U.S. president, meaning that he receives an annual pension of $210,700, which is a sizable sum that adds up over time. On top of that, he and other former U.S. presidents get an allowance for travel, office space, and other expenses that in his case, added up to more than $230,000 in 2017. Besides that, Carter has been a prolific writer, so much so that their number is in the low dozens.
Having said that, there is one other factor that has presumably played an important role in Carter building up to his current net worth, which is that he and his wife live a very frugal lifestyle. Something that is particularly notable because of the way that it contrasts with the lifestyles of other former U.S. presidents. For instance, Carter still lives in a two-bedroom ranch house in Plains, GA that he built in 1961 that has been assessed to be around $167,000 in value. This makes his residence less expensive than the Secret Service’s armored vehicles parked just outside of it. Furthermore, $167,000 is lower than Georgia’s median home price, which was $175,300 in 2018.
This frugality extends to the rest of Carter’s lifestyle as well. For example, Carter buys his clothing from a Dollar General, which is a chain of variety stores that operate in the continental United States. Likewise, there are reports of Carter spending weekends dining with neighbors on paper plates while drinking bargain-brand wine. Moreover, he travels in commercial class on a regular basis, which is why he has been spotted there by average travelers on multiple occasions. Under those circumstances, it is no wonder that Carter has managed to build up a net worth of $10 million even though he is famous for not being very interested in getting rich.
No one can predict the future with certainty. However, it seems reasonable to speculate that Carter’s net worth will continue to grow for the foreseeable future because of his books as well as his pension while he spends very little. It seems likely that this growth will be slow and steady without any sudden spikes for the foreseeable future, seeing as how Carter is much more interested in philanthropy than profit-making. In fact, he is still a volunteer house builder for Habitat for Humanity even though he is now in his 90s. Something that says much about his priorities.
In any case, it is important to note that the $10 million is an estimate and nothing more than an estimate. After all, it is something that people calculated using incomplete information, meaning that imperfect input is bound to make for an imperfect output. With that said, the estimate is still useful for giving interested individuals a general idea of Carter’s finances.