Former President Jimmy Carter currently resides in a far more modest home than he did when he lived at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, the White House.
According to The Washington Post in 2018, Carter, the nation’s 39th president and its oldest former president at 96 years old, lived a fairly routine — and low-cost — life. In actuality, Carter continues to reside in the ranch house he built in 1961.
According to the Post, the two-bedroom ranch home in Plains, Georgia, is only worth $167,000, which is “less than the value of the armored Secret Service cars parked outside.” Plains is about 212 hours south of Atlanta. Georgia’s median home price is $213,026, which is lower than the national average, according to real estate website Zillow.
According to the Post, one of Carter’s frugal tendencies is to spend weekends dining with neighbors while sipping inexpensive wine. He and his wife Rosalynn are said to make their own yogurt, according to the report. Carter has reportedly been known to get his clothing from his neighborhood Dollar General store (he was present for the store’s opening in Plains in 2004), and he frequently travels for commercial work.
The Washington Post claims that Carter has made much of his money lately by authoring books. He has at least 33 publications to his name, including a children’s book and reflections on his time as president. (Thriftbooks.com has 46 books listed.) All former presidents receive an annual pension of $210,700, and the federal government also pays for their travel and office space. Carter is no exception. Carter collected more than $230,000 in such benefits in 2017, according to the National Taxpayers Union Foundation, a conservative advocacy organization.
The modest lifestyle of Carter stands in stark contrast to those of other surviving former presidents.
Former President Barack Obama is well-known for his family’s annual summer vacation tradition on the picturesque (and pricey) Martha’s Vineyard. In 2017, he purchased a $8.1 million mansion in Washington, D.C.
Bill Clinton said that although he departed the White House with a $16 million debt, it was swiftly paid off thanks to his successful paid speeches and book deals. According to a 2001 tax return, Clinton made $13.7 million from his “speaking and writing company” while giving 57 speeches in his first year after leaving the office, per NPR.
Clinton has a $2.85 million home in Washington, D.C., as well as a $1.7 million property in Chappaqua, New York.
George W. Bush has given at least 200 paid speeches since 2009, collecting between $100,000 and $175,000 for each visit, according to Politico.
Contrarily, Carter is not a fan of finer things in life. The 2002 Nobel Peace Prize winner acknowledges, “It just never had been my objective to get wealthy.