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How the 2016 US presidential candidates spend their own money

Wed 11 May 2016, By Dean Cromwell
How US Presidential Candidates spend money

Whenever election time rolls around, we hear candidates making promises about how they’re going to budget your precious tax dollars. And that can make it difficult to choose. But what might be more revealing is how they spend their own money. You may be surprised…

For example, though he is now out of the race, we can reveal that Ted Cruz has a weird obsession with canned soup! He even admits to having a stockpile at home and he's been known to order it when travelling.

Life’s little luxuries

If you’ve ever won even a small jackpot, you know the temptation to splash out on something for yourself is strong. The presidential candidates are just as human and they like to indulge themselves too.

Hilary Clinton seems to prefer specialty coffees over a regular cup of Joe. On a campaign stop in Le laire, Iowa in 2015 she ordered a masala chai and caramallow latte, according to CNN. Bernie Sanders on the other hand seems to have a soft spot for soft-serve. And he seems to have humble tastes too. His favourite flavour? Maple cremee. When it comes to Donald Trump, it's clear that the man never does anything in half-measures. While you couldn't strictly call this a 'little' luxury, he does own a vineyard and winery on a 23,000-square-foot estate in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Investing in the future

The only sensible thing to do with a large sum of money is invest it. And it would appear that many of these candidates know a thing or two about investing for the future. Real estate is always a good investment.

Naturally Trump leads the pack when it comes to real estate investments (hardly a surprise really as it’s how he makes his money). Apart from the estate in Charlottesville he also owns Trump Tower in Fifth Avenue, New York. And he owns the 17-acre Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida. And there’s the 39,000-square-foot property with 213 acres in Bedford, New York.  I could on, but I think you get the picture.

Hilary Clinton follows him up with two homes of her own. One is a $1.7 million mansion in Chappaqua, New York. And the other, a $2.85 million home on Embassy Row in Washington, D.C. This despite her claims that family left the White House ‘dead broke’ in 2001.

Bernie Sanders also has two homes, one in Burlington and one in Washington, D.C. Although probably not in the same league as Hilary and Donald, it serves as proof that investing in real estate is a smart move.

Traveling in style

Pressing the flesh is hard work. So it makes sense for the candidates to travel in comfort. Clinton relies on chartered air travel and presidential suites to keep her fresh for the cameras. But this doesn’t come cheap. The cost of a night in the presidential suite of any hotel can range from $1950 - $5000. And according to news website Politico, she had spent nearly $560 000 on charted flights by October 2015.

Trump of course does things his own way and when it comes to travel he’s already ready for the election. In 2011 he bought a Boeing 757 for a cool $100 million. Then there’s the pre-owned Sikorsky helicopter he picked in 2015. Both the Boeing and the Sikorsky had to be decked out in Trumps favourite material – gold!

When he’s not flying around the countryside, Trump makes short work of the road in his stable of luxury cars including a vintage 1956 Silver Cloud Rolls-Royce, a 2015 Rolls-Royce Phantom valued at $500,000 or more, a Maybach, a Ferrari, a Mercedes-Benz S600 and an SLR McLaren valued at $455,000.

The exception to the rule here is Bernie Sanders. Coming from a working class background, he’s quite happy to take a commercial flight. Although we’re willing to bet he fly’s business class, rather than economy when he gets the chance.

The surprise spends

This is where things get interesting. These are the purchases that reveal more about each candidates personality than the planes, cars and hotel rooms. Some are large, some are small – but they all show us a more intimate side of the candidates.

We’ll start with Donald Trump. If you know anything about the man, you’ll know that he does things on a grand scale. In 1983, just after opening Trump Tower, Donald celebrated his success by purchasing an entire football team for $9 million dollars. After recruiting some of the best players, the team went on to enjoy success until the league folded two years later.

By now you’ve probably gathered that Bernie Sanders isn’t much of a spender. But, he consistently donates small amounts to charities. Most of that money comes from sales of his book, but he regularly donates anything from 5% - 10% of his annual income.

But of all the unusual things candidates spend their money on, Hilary Clinton stands out as a woman close to our own hearts. In January 2016 she bought a Powerball lottery ticket in hopes of bagging the $1.5 million prize. She planned to fund her campaign with the prize money.

Don’t you feel like you know each of the presidential candidates a little better now? Perhaps you’ll follow Hilary’s example and buy yourself a Powerball ticket online. You could just win enough to start your own run for the presidency? Or just splash out on the presidential suite on your next vacation. After all, winning a lottery can be just as thrilling as becoming a president—and much less stressful. Best of all, even if you’re a Canadian— you can still win the lottery.