The Clintons are rich, but they've missed out on all the fun. As reported previously on Wonkblog, the former president and former secretary of state kept nearly all their wealth in a boring old savings account at JPMorgan for a few years.
They've now bought stocks, according to a required financial disclosure released last week by Hillary Rodham Clinton, who is now running for her husband's old office. The couple still has at least $5 million in cash at JPMorgan, and their stock purchase would be unremarkable if they were anyone else.
The Clintons bought shares of the Vanguard 500 Index Fund, which is invested in 500 large, publicly traded U.S. companies and which rises and falls in price with the stock market as a whole. (Employees of The Washington Post maintain retirement accounts at Vanguard, which is cooperatively owned by its clients.)
As Timothy B. Lee noted at Vox, the index fund is an inexpensive, reliable choice over the long term, since the stock market generates good returns on average.
For the Clintons, the fund also has the advantage of being uninteresting. Other political families of their stature, including President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama, have also placed their money in index funds to avoid any appearance of a conflict of interest. A president invested in a particular company's stock might be tempted to use his or her power to help that firm beat its competition.
Yet the disclosure has only renewed questions about whether Hillary Clinton's interests would be conflicted if she were elected. Although she isn't invested in particular stocks, she has accepted millions in speaking fees from companies and investors that might have want to influence the country's next president.
Since the amounts on such federally mandated financial disclosures are reported in ranges and do not include residences, it's difficult to estimate the Clintons' net worth from the document. They have between $5 million and $25 million in cash at JPMorgan and between $5 million and $25 million in the Vanguard fund.
Most of their income comes from public speaking, but Hillary Clinton also earned more than $5 million in royalties on her recently published memoir, Hard Choices.