Millionaires-in-Chief

The top White House contenders are a lot richer than the rest of us. Here's where they got it...and where it goes.

Edwards' money
Edwards' money
Net Worth: $54.7 million

Where he got it

Most of Edwards' wealth comes from awards won as a medical malpractice and personal-injury attorney.

After his 2004 run for Vice President, he joined Fortress Investment Group, a $40 billion manager of hedge funds and private equity, as a part-time consultant - for an annual salary of $480,000 (plus profit sharing).

Edwards has since resigned, but Fortress has continued its generosity. Its employees have donated $190,000 in this election cycle, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

The hedge fund industry is itself looking for continued generosity from the government: the ability of managers to pay taxes on carried interest - that is, profits on investments - as though they were capital gains (taxed at 15 percent) and not ordinary income (taxed at 35 percent).

But Edwards says they won't get a break from him. He wants the loophole closed and says that would save taxpayers $12 billion.

Where it goes

Edwards has $24 million - or about 40 percent - of his fortune in alternative investments, mostly Fortress-owned companies or pooled funds. In 2006 he even sold a $4 million stock portfolio he owned with his wife, Elizabeth, to put more into Fortress.

Investments in hedge funds and private equity, however, are risky and illiquid. Hedge fund investors usually have to agree to lock in for a specified number of years.

Such investments may also pay little or no current income - although Edwards in 2006 reaped about $2.1 million from them. The balance of the Edwards' portfolios is in bonds issued by North Carolina counties.

How he could do better

No more than 10 percent of the Edwards' net worth should be in alternative investments, says planner Roth: "Fortress is $40 billion, but that's a pretty small part of the $51 trillion global market to concentrate in."

Roth also points out that such investments typically carry stiff management fees - 2 percent of assets and 20 percent of any gain. He suggests that Edwards pare his hedge fund holdings as soon as he can.

If he becomes President, he should put the money in index funds to avoid conflicts of interest.

Hillary Clinton

John Edwards

Rudolph Giuliani

John McCain

Barack Obama

Mitt Romney

Fred Thompson
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Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer LIBOR Warning: Neither BBA Enterprises Limited, nor the BBA LIBOR Contributor Banks, nor Reuters, can be held liable for any irregularity or inaccuracy of BBA LIBOR. Disclaimer. Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.