Donald Trump’s hilariously imprecise assessments of his own net worth are legendary. There was his declaration, the day he announced his presidential campaign, that his personal brand was worth $3.3 billion alone — meaning that the five letters T-R-U-M-P are worth as much as the New York Knicks. (Maybe that’s not a great example.) Bloomberg, in attempting to determine Trump’s net worth, put his personal brand at a more modest $35 million, a mere 99 percent difference.
Bloomberg is one of several outside organizations to try to pin Trump’s net worth down more accurately than “in excess of $10 billion” — the most recent figure offered by then-candidate Trump in May. That was up from the flat $10 billion valuation he offered at his campaign announcement in June 2015, which itself was up from the $8.7 billion he claimed in mid-2014.
The thing about that? The most recent valuation, completed by Forbes as part of its “billionaires” issue, suggests that Trump’s valuation is actually headed the other direction.
What little we know about how Trump earns his money tends to center on the real estate he owns. In preparing its estimate of the net worth of America’s richest people, Forbes noted that Trump’s reliance on real estate to make up his valuation had the downside of meaning that his net worth drops when the market drops. And in Manhattan, the market dropped.
“Midtown Manhattan real estate is down; therefore, so is Donald Trump’s fortune,” the Forbes write-up explained. While he was worth as much as $4.5 billion when his campaign was getting underway, he’s shed more than a fifth of that value since. The net result in Forbes’s eyes is that he fell 208 spots on the magazine’s list of the richest people. (Forbes’s estimate of Trump’s brand value? $230 million.)
That’s in line with other recent estimates, which we walked through in July.
Bloomberg figured he was worth $3 billion at that point, up from $2.9 billion the previous year. Fortune magazine pegged it at $3.9 billion last year, also up slightly from 2015. Neither has released new estimates; it will be interesting to see if they, similarly, estimate that Trump’s new worth has declined — even as he’s assumed the most powerful position in the world.
And, of course, it will be interesting to see whether Trump’s own assessment of his net worth goes down relative to last year. Trump’s never expressed much interest in appearing to be someone who’s unsuccessful, and he’s also never insisted on a strict relationship between demonstrable evidence and adamant assertions. During one deposition for a lawsuit in 2007, it’s worth noting, he infamously declared that “my net worth fluctuates, and it goes up and down with markets and with attitudes and with feelings, even my own feeling.”
One would have to assume that — sitting in the White House, having proven all of the haters wrong — Trump feels like he and his personal brand are worth a lot more than $10 billion. Even if all of those haters disagree.