For most of his 44-year-long career in public office, Joe Biden had a nickname: Middle Class Joe. He also often called himself “one of the poorest members of Congress.” His scrappy roots—born in Scranton, Pennsylvania, to a father who suffered a number of financial setbacks—are now a big part of his 2020 presidential campaign’s plan to appeal to American voters. But according to the Wall Street Journal, the reason why Biden was often at the bottom of the wealth ladder among his colleagues in the Senate had a lot to do with his life-long obsession with real estate. “Even as a kid in high school I’d been seduced by real estate,” he wrote in his 2007 autobiography, Promises to Keep.
Biden began buying homes—especially those that were outside his budget—in his twenties, taking out multiple mortgages and receiving loans against life insurance policies. His net worth was often in the negatives—in 2007, he was ranked the least wealthy senator.
Today, the 77-year-old Democratic presidential nominee is hardly middle class anymore. According to a 2019 Forbes estimate, Biden and his wife Jill are worth $9 million, much of that accrued from speaking fees and book deals that came pouring in after his vice presidency. About $4 million of that worth is in his real estate.
While the Bidens’ collection of homes pales in comparison to his opponent Donald Trump’s many gilded palaces, the family still lays claim to an impressive group of stately digs.