With Hillary Clinton repeatedly injecting her family's net worth into the 2016 conversation (not necessarily to her benefit), Vice President Biden decided to share his own status at a White House event Monday. "Don't hold against me that I don't own — that I don't own a single stock or bond," Biden said. "Don't hold it — I have no savings accounts. But I got a great pension and I got a good salary."
We thought Biden's claims warranted a closer look. And in the big picture, he's right: The wealth shared by he and his wife, Jill Biden, almost certainly pales next to that of the Clintons. But this isn't a guy who'd be just scraping by if he wasn't vice president either.
Earlier this year, the White House released the president and vice president's financial documents — both the federal disclosure form required by law and their tax filings for 2013. The overview for the Bidens looks like this.
Biden's right: He doesn't have a savings account. But his wife does — or, at least, she did last year. Biden reported a savings account with the New Castle County Schools Employee Federal Credit Union in his wife's name worth a grand total of between zero and $1,000. She also had a checking account with the same institution, and with a valuation in the same range. (All values on the disclosure document are given in ranges.) The couple has a lot of checking accounts between them, both joint accounts and accounts specific to either of them. None was reported to have more than $15,000 in assets.
Biden's claim that he doesn't own a stock appears to be accurate, although Jill Biden has a tax-sheltered annuity that's comprised of investments in a number of funds. Jill Biden also has two certificates of deposit with the Wilmington Savings Fund Society that range in value from $50,001 to $100,000.
Jill Biden is also the more successful author of the couple. In 2013, her book "Don't Forget, God Bless Our Troops" earned between $15,001 and $50,000. (Proceeds were donated to the USO.) The vice president's 2007 "Promises to Keep" brought in a negligible amount.
The Bidens' debt is centered mostly on real estate. They refinanced their mortgages in 2013, taking advantage of lower interest rates. But they still owe between $500,001 and $1,000,000 on two mortgages, plus between $250,001 and $500,000 on a home equity line of credit. That debt puts them squarely into a negative net worth for the year.
Biden's right, though, that his good salary helps. On their income tax forms, the couple reported $407,009 in taxable income for the year. Included in that is rental income of $26,400 for a property in Delaware (meaning that someone is paying Joe and Jill Biden $2,200 a month in rent). They paid $96,378 in taxes — 23.7 percent of their income. And, if you're curious, about 41.8 percent of the $230,700 salary Biden earns.