Trump Is Rich Because His Father Was Rich

Vox: “A new analysis suggests that Trump would’ve been a billionaire even if he’d never had a career in real estate, and had instead thrown his father’s inheritance into a index fund that tracked the market. His wealth, in other words, isn’t because of his brains. It’s because he’s a Trump.”

“It’s hard to nail down Trump’s precise net worth, but Bloomberg currently puts it at $2.9 billion, while Forbes puts it at $4 billion. So he’s worth about as much as he would’ve been if he had taken $40 million from his dad and thrown it into an index fund.”

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  • Cory

    Am I missing something, or is this “analysis” assuming that Trump would never spend a single dollar?

    Money sitting in an index fund for 30 or 40 years doesn’t buy you any tailored suits or private jets. It sits in the fund. You would need to compare the index fund numbers to:
    (Trumps current net worth + (every ‘perishable’ dollar he’s ever spent * index fund return since the day he spent the dollar))

    • Calbengoshi

      A more rigorous financial analysis might not have produced such a good headline. That likely would have meant fewer “clicks” on the Vox article, which would have reduced its value.

      In other words, in the world of political “analysis” and “punditry,” quality analysis that results in a rather mundane conclusion often is worth less than a flawed analysis that results in a conclusion more likely to arouse the public’s interest.

      Of course, even though the analysis is somewhat flawed, that doesn’t necessarily affect the accuracy of the conclusion, i.e., Trump is wealthy because his father was wealthy.

    • RadicalCentrist

      You’re correct. There are too many unknowns to say. It’s certainly the case that Trump is not an investment genius, a la Buffett, who started from an ordinary middle class position. Nor did he really create anything that changed the way people live, like Jobs or Gates (sure they stole ideas, but they executed them way beyond what the inventors seemed likely to have done, especially Jobs). Trump was hardly the first to build luxury buildings in NYC or casinos in Atlantic City or elsewhere.

      • pisher

        Trump is good at making deals that benefit him much more than the people he’s dealing with. He’s a good con man, in other words. But it’s not so easy to take that talent and apply it to public policy. And there are many others who surpass him in this area, who simply lack his talent for self-promotion–or would rather remain players behind the scenes. If Trump had to choose between money and fame, he’d choose fame–every time.

    • woodt

      Agree, but it doesn’t hurt to have some money to start off with.

  • TC Green

    “Trump only rich because his daddy was rich.”

    Is it safe to assume this same study confirmed that the sky is blue, the grass is green and that water is indeed wet?

  • Detroitdic

    The American way.

  • embo66

    “So he’s worth about as much as he would’ve been if he had taken $40 million from his dad and thrown it into an index fund.”

    Which is exactly what thousands of non-Trump silver-spooners did.
    It takes “spare” money to make money — which is why 99% of us are still poor.

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