If Trump had put money in an index fund, he’d be twice as rich

Data paints the Donald as a below-average businessman

New York /
Sep.September 03, 2015 02:34 PM

Donald Trump became a bestselling author, TV star and presidential candidate based on the premise that he is an exceptionally good businessman. But a look at the numbers suggests his talent for making money may be more fiction than fact.

The Washington Post calculates Trump made far less money through his career as a developer than he would have if he had simply put all his inherited wealth into an index fund at age 32.

Here’s how the math works: According to Business Week, Trump was worth $100 million in 1978. If he had put all that money into a run-of-the-mill index stock fund tracking the S&P 500 and reinvested his dividends into said fund, he would now be worth about $6 billion. Bloomberg puts his fortune at an estimated $2.9 billion, while Forbes puts it at $4 billion. In other words: Wonkblog claims he has been worse at making money than the average large company listed on the S&P 500.

Even if you use Trump’s own estimates of his wealth, which are widely considered inflated, the numbers aren’t in his favor. Trump told the New York Times in 1976 he was worth $200 million and claims to be worth $10 billion today. If he had invested $200 million in an index fund in 1976, he would now be worth $12 billion, according to the newspaper.

Major caveats are that the calculation doesn’t seem to account for any money Trump lost during his divorce, and it assumes Trump wouldn’t take cash out of the index fund to cover living expenses. In the alternate scenario, he would have to get a day job. But it’s safe to assume Trump could have landed decent paying work as, say, a lawyer or accountant. After all, he went to Wharton and is, in his own words,  “like, a really smart person.” [WashPost] – Konrad Putzier

 

Related Articles

arrow_forward_ios
Make Greenland Great Again? Trump wants to buy Arctic territory
Make Greenland Great Again? Trump wants to buy Arctic territory
Make Greenland Great Again? Trump wants to buy Arctic territory
Hamptons’ priciest summer rental to host MAGA extravaganza next month
Hamptons’ priciest summer rental to host MAGA extravaganza next month
Hamptons’ priciest summer rental to host MAGA extravaganza next month
Allen Weisselberg and Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance (Getty)
Feds subpoena Trump CFO’s personal bank records
Feds subpoena Trump CFO’s personal bank records
From left: Joshua Kushner and Karlie Kloss; Melania and Donald Trump; Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner; and Tiffany Trump (Getty Images)
Here’s where Trumpworld has put down roots in South Florida
Here’s where Trumpworld has put down roots in South Florida
Gil Dezer (Photos by Sonya Revell)
The Closing: Gil Dezer
The Closing: Gil Dezer
Paul Manafort and 174 Jobs Lane (Getty, Google Maps, iStock/Illustration by Alexis Manrodt for The Real Deal)
Chicago bank sues Manafort to foreclose on Hamptons mansion
Chicago bank sues Manafort to foreclose on Hamptons mansion
Seven Springs in Westchester and Donald Trump (Trump Organization, Getty)
Seven Springs investigation heats up in broader probe of Trump
Seven Springs investigation heats up in broader probe of Trump
Donald Trump with sons Eric and Don Jr. and 1125 South Ocean Boulevard (Getty, Google Maps/Illustration by Alexis Manrodt for The Real Deal)
Trump lists beachfront mansion next to Mar-a-Lago for $49M
Trump lists beachfront mansion next to Mar-a-Lago for $49M
arrow_forward_ios

The Deal's newsletters give you the latest scoops, fresh headlines, marketing data, and things to know within the industry.

Loading...