Former President Donald Trump has fallen off the Forbes 400 list of America’s richest people for the first time in 25 years.
In a story posted Tuesday, Forbes noted Trump is now worth an estimated $2.5 billion — $400 million short of the cutoff to make the list this year.
Forbes said Trump is just as wealthy as he was a year ago when he finished at number 339 on the list. However, it said he dropped $600 million since the start of the pandemic.
Trump had maintained a spot in the top 200 on the Forbes list from 1997 to 2016. But Forbes pointed out that after he won the presidency he began to drop in the rankings, before completely falling off the list in 2021.
The Forbes report stated that Trump could have diversified his fortune five years ago when federal ethics officials were pressing him to divest his real estate assets. The move would have allowed him to reinvest the proceeds into broad-based index funds. Presidents are exempt from a statute that says people who hold assets that might conflict with their government jobs are at risk of violating conflicts of interest law.
Trump decided to keep his assets. At the time they were worth $3.5 billion after subtracting debt. Forbes said if he had decided to sell off everything, there was a chance he would have been forced to pay capital gains taxes.
By paying capital gains taxes on everything he owned, Trump would have lost about $1.1 billion — leaving him with $2.4 billion.
But if he had put the $2.4 billion in an index fund tracking the S&P 500, his fortune would have jumped to $4.5 billion, according to Forbes.
A March report by Bloomberg News had said Trump’s net worth decreased by $700 million during his years in the White House.
It said his net worth was down to $2.3 billion from $3 billion when he became president. The news outlet blamed much of the loss on the pandemic and the Jan. 6 violent protests at the Capitol.
It noted the worldwide outbreak of COVID-19 has been hard on hotels and resorts that bear his name, and on office buildings key to his wealth. Additionally, it said the Jan. 6 protests damaged his relationships with lenders and brokers.
Bloomberg estimated the value of the former president’s commercial real estate properties fell by 26% between 2016 and 2021.