What Bloomberg’s half-billion dollars in campaign spending would cost you on your budget

Very few of us can comprehend what it’s like to be uber-wealthy like Mike Bloomberg, one of the richest people in the world and a Democratic presidential candidate.

For example, the former New York mayor has spent more than $510 million dollars on his own campaign, including $11 million on a 60-second Super Bowl ad. How much money would that mean to you? Let’s put the finances of the ultra-rich into the context of everyday life.

First, what’s your net worth?

You can calculate this by adding up all of your family’s assets (e.g., your house, stocks and bonds, savings, retirement accounts) and subtracting your debts (e.g., mortgage, car loans, credit card debt, student loans). The median net worth of a U.S. household is $97,300.

Your net worth is $97,300.
Now, let’s compare.

Mike Bloomberg
Mike Bloomberg spent $11 million of his own money on a 60-second Super Bowl ad. That was 0.018 percent of his net worth. For you, that's equivalent to $18, a Domino’s 14’ pizza.
So far, Bloomberg has spent $510 million of his own money on his campaign ads. That was 0.84 percent of his net worth. For you, that's equivalent to $817, one ticket of the Game 1 of the World Series in 2019.

Bloomberg is running an ad-driven presidential campaign. He has already spent a record-breaking $510 million (and counting) of his own money on television and online ads since entering the race in November.

Bloomberg, a business mogul, had an estimated net worth of $60.5 billion as of Jan. 29, according to Forbes.

Jeff Bezos
Bezos bought the biggest house in Washington, D.C., in 2016 for $23 million. That was 0.02 percent of his net worth. For you, that's equivalent to $20, watching a movie with your kid in an AMC theater.
In 2013, Bezos bought The Washington Post for $250 million. That was 0.2 percent of his net worth. For you, that's equivalent to $250, a 32-inch Samsung LED TV at Best Buy.

Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon and owner of The Washington Post, is the richest man in the world. His estimated net worth was $115.2 billion as of Jan. 29.

Sheldon and Miriam Adelson
The Adelsons donated at least $124 million to help Republicans in the 2018 midterm cycle. That was about 0.3 percent of their net worth, which for you would mean $311, buying a robot vacuum.

Casino mogul Sheldon Adelson and his wife, physician Miriam Adelson, are among the biggest donors to the Republican Party. The casino executive’s estimated worth was $38.2 billion. Miriam Adelson was not ranked in the Forbes top billionaires list.

Over the past decade, we’ve seen an intense concentration of spending on U.S. politics by a tiny group of wealthy donors like Bloomberg and the Adelsons. It’s a bipartisan trend.

Tom Steyer
As a presidential candidate, Steyer has loaned his campaign more than $260 million of his own money. That would be about 16 percent of his net worth. For you, it would be equivalent to $TK, the equivalent to TK .

Steyer, a hedge fund executive and one of the biggest Democratic donors, is largely self-funding his 2020 presidential campaign. In 2019, Forbes estimated Steyer’s net worth at $1.6 billion.

Now, feel free to explore. How do your finances compare with those of the richest people in the world?

If Jeff Bezos, whose net worth is $115.2 billion, spends $100, it's percent of his net worth. For you, that's equivalent to .

Michelle Ye Hee Lee

Michelle Ye Hee Lee is a reporter on The Washington Post's national political enterprise and accountability team, covering money and influence in politics.

Youjin Shin

Youjin Shin works as graphics reporter at The Washington Post. Before joining The Post, she worked as multimedia editor at the Wall Street Journal and a research fellow at the MIT SENSEable city lab.

About this story

The net worth calculator uses data from the federal Survey of Consumer Finances, using 2016 dollars. The estimated net worth for individuals listed in this story comes from Forbes, mainly data captured on Jan. 29 on The World’s Billionaires list. Spending data were compiled from Advertising Analytics, the Federal Election Commission and news reports. The costs for each item listed in the net worth comparison are based on their publicly available retail prices.

Images used in photo illustrations by Jonathan Newton (Post), Pablo Martinez Monsivais (AP), Win McNamee (Getty), Andrew Harnik (AP), Nati Harnik (AP), Meg Kinnard (AP), Mary Altaffer (AP), Maria Alejandra Cardona (Reuters), Keith Tsuji (Getty), Paul Morigi (Getty via Bloomberg), Houston Cofield (Bloomberg), Christophe Morin (Bloomberg), Susana Gonzalez (Bloomberg), Eric Risberg (AP), Brendan Smialovski (AFP via Getty), Jeff. Chu (AP), Kelly Sullivan (Getty), Miguel Riopa (AFP via Getty)

Originally published Jan. 30, 2020.