- There are CEOs, celebrities, and athletes who make far more than the President of the United States.
- POTUS' salary might not pay as well as other high-ranking professionals, but there are many benefits and perks that increase the entire compensation package.
- The President and his family are given unsurpassed—and costly—protection by the Secret Service at home and when they travel.
For all of the many responsibilities that come with the role, one might think that the President of the United States’ salary would reach the millions. But it is not so: The President of the United States makes $400,000 a year.
While this figure is much higher than the average American’s salary, it is easily surpassed by the likes of Silicon Valley executives, Hollywood celebrities, and professional athletes. In fact, many presidents made more money in their careers prior to moving into the White House. Some presidents, including Donald Trump and John F. Kennedy, even waived their rights to the presidential salary because their personal fortunes were so large.
Of course, just like many high-ranking professionals, salary is not the only benefit that comes with fulfilling the duties of POTUS. Here are just a few of the many perks that come along with a four-year term in the Oval Office:
The White House
For the ordinary family, housing costs eat up a large part of the monthly budget. But for the First Family, life at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue comes without rent or mortgage. The 132-room White House is prime real estate that is likely valued somewhere in the hundreds of millions of dollars, but the President, the First Lady, and any children still living at home get to live there for free. It is natural for each incoming First Family to want to make its own mark on their new home. This is where the $100,000 redecorating budget comes in handy.
Private Chefs and Housekeeping Staff
One of the reasons the White House has so many rooms is that it is also home to a permanent staff of cooks and housekeeping staff. It costs millions each year to maintain the White House, but the President does not pay a dime unless he hosts private parties. In that case, POTUS will receive a monthly bill that covers the salaries and expenses of the staff for the set-up and clean-up of those events.
When the President does have downtime at the White House, he can retire to any number of rooms designed for fun and entertainment. Among the many amenities available for recreation and exercise include a movie theater, a bowling alley, tennis and basketball courts, and a putting green.
Secret Service Protection
It takes a bit more than a house alarm to secure the White House and its inhabitants. Luckily for the First Family, the Secret Service is an ever-present fixture in their lives. The President enjoys protection for life, and any First Children are protected up until they are 16. As of 2017, the budget to maintain security detail for POTUS was $1.9 billion.
Bullet-Proof Car Fleet
The President gives up any car keys upon entering the office and instead becomes a passenger in any vehicle in the armored fleet of cars known as “The Beasts.” They are designed with one goal in mind: to protect the President and his fellow passengers. It is a very good thing that the President does not have to worry about paying at the pump. These cars are basically tanks on wheels, and so they only get about five miles to the gallon.
Air Force One
For the President of the United States, gone are the days of waiting at the airport. That is because Air Force One, a Boeing 747, is always ready for takeoff. The 4,000-square-foot plane features private presidential quarters and a medical operating room. At $200,000 per hour, riding Air Force One is decidedly more expensive than any first-class ticket.
While there is money for vacation and travel, it is not exactly easy for the President to take the family on a regular vacation anymore. President Trump might be able to retire to his Mar-a-Lago resort when he needs some R&R, but for those POTUSes who are not also real estate moguls, there is always Camp David. This country retreat in Frederick County, Maryland has been a respite for the American president and family dating back to the 1930s. Among the home’s features are a gym, pool, and airplane hangar.
With all of the perks and benefits that come with being President of the United States, it is safe to say the actual salary far exceeds the $400,000 annual paycheck.