Mike Pence, the Government Pension Millionaire

If you’re wondering, or at least a little bit concerned about what will become of our current vice president, don’t fret. Although the 60-year-old has less than $100,000 in savings, he does have an ace in the hole, his government pensions. His federal and state pensions combined give him a net worth in excess of $1,000,000.

While other notables working in the public sector such as Steven Mnuchin and Wilbur Ross with their already made fortunes or Betsy DeVos, who inherited and later married into even more wealth, Mike Pence stands apart. Mr. Pence has decades of government service, enough to provide him with taxpayer-financed pensions to last the rest of his years.

Pence began life as the son of a Korean War veteran and started his professional career as a lawyer. Two unsuccessful runs for Congress later, the latter which embroiled him in a scandal over political donations, he found work at a conservative think tank and a local radio station. As the local ‘Rush Limbaugh on decaf’ or so he was presented, the future vice-president found himself projected into minor celebrity status. He parlayed that into another political run and won a seat in Congress in 2000.

Mike Pence began life in Congress with mostly a paycheck and not much else. His father had owned shares in Kiel Bros. Oil Co. It operated as a gas station and convenience store that expanded to over 200 locations with his brother Greg Pence as the company’s president. The venture came to an end in the early 2000s when the firm went bankrupt. Mike Pence saw his investment share, which had been valued at up to $450,000, reduced to zero.

By then, Pence had reached vestment status with five years of federal government service. That made him eligible for a guaranteed lifetime income. His combined state and federal pensions will provide him with $85,000 or better per year. The vice-president will also benefit from a pension padding loophole created in 1986 that gives members of Congress and staff a higher payout than other federal workers. Although Pence helped to vote that perk out of existence in 2012, it still exists for him and other members as a grandfather clause. With 12 years as a congressman and time served as vice-president, Pence can collect some $50,000 per year for life or sell his pension for an estimated $700,000.

After his time in Congress, Mr. Pence became the governor of Indiana in 2013. That entitles him to another pension courtesy of the Indiana taxpayers. It could provide as much as $35,000 per year, depending on when he applies for it. It has a cumulative value of some $500,000. Another possible income source for the future former vice-president is speeches and book deals, often a moneymaker for retired politicians.

Mr. Pence, along with his wife, do owe as much as $245,000 on Parent PLUS student loans taken out to help their kids, but their liabilities do not include a mortgage since they sold their previous homes.

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