The nation’s 39th president and the oldest living former president in the U.S. history at 96 years old, still resides in the ranch house he built himself in 1961.
Former President Jimmy Carter Leads Shockingly Frugal Life In More Ways Than One
Carter’s home in rural Plains, Georgia (which is about a 2½-hour drive south of Atlanta) is a two-bedroom ranch assessed at just $167,000, which is “less than the value of the armored Secret Service vehicles parked outside,” the Post reports. It’s also less than the median home price in Georgia, which is $213,026, according to real estate site Zillow.
The former president’s house is also much less valuable than other presidents’ homes. For example, Barack Obama owns an $8 million Washington D.C. mansion and Bill Clinton has multiple million-dollar homes.
Carter’s frugal lifestyle also includes spending weekends dining with neighbors on paper plates with bargain-brand wine, the Post says.
Carter says how he and wife Rosalynn even make their own yogurt. Carter has also been known to buy his clothes at his local Dollar General store, according to a 2011 Rolling Stone story (he showed up for the store’s opening in Plains in 2004), and he often flies commercial.
And because of this, Carter costs taxpayers less than any other president. For example, in 2018, he cost taxpayers $456,000. Compared to his fellow ex-presidents, that is impressive, while Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama, each cost taxpayers more than $1 million.
So how exactly does he make a living? In the past, Carter has made much of his income from writing books and has published at least 33, including a children’s book and reflections on his presidency. (Thriftbooks.com lists 46 books.)
Carter also receives a $210,700 annual pension, as do all former presidents, plus the federal government gives all ex-presidents an allowance for things like travel and office space. In 2017, Carter got more than $230,000 in such allowances, according to the National Taxpayers Union Foundation, a conservative advocacy group.
To sum it up, Carter is okay with living within his means.
“It just never had been my ambition to be rich,” the former president has quipped in the past.
With a background in the creative and educational fields, Amelia Finefrock is freelance writer, singer-songwriter and nanny based in Chicago.
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