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.

Thompson's money
Thompson's money
Net Worth: $8.1 million

Where he got it

Fred Thompson may be history's best-paid public servant.

He's been a senator, lawyer and lobbyist, but his stint as Arthur Branch, the DA on "Law and Order," and other acting bits playing past and present U.S. Presidents and FBI and CIA directors are what made him wealthy.

In 2006 he took in about $3.6 million for his acting roles, another $3.6 million as a commentator for ABC Radio, plus $1.6 million for making speeches. He collected an additional $200,000 or so from his investments.

Thompson had an early star turn in politics as minority counsel in the Watergate hearings. He got his start in show business playing himself - a plaintiff's lawyer who helped to expose a bribe-for-clemency scandal at the Tennessee parole board. The story became a book ("Marie" by Peter Maas) and then a movie in 1985.

When he wasn't holding office, Thompson was a lobbyist - from 1975 to 1993, and then again after leaving the Senate in 2003. He collected $760,000 over the years from Equitas, a British reinsurance company that wanted Congress to limit its contributions to a fund to pay people sickened by asbestos.

To run for President, Thompson had to give up his TV roles, radio gig and lobbying. No wonder he waited until the last minute to declare his candidacy.

Where it goes

Thompson didn't make really big money until he went Hollywood in 2003, so he has only $4 million in assets outside of his homes.

About $825,000 is in retirement plans, the rest in bank accounts. His only liability is a mortgage on his condo.

How he could do better

Thompson is 65, but he should invest "like a 41-year-old," says Cordaro of RegentAtlantic Capital. That's because his wife, ex-political consultant Jeri Kehn, is that age, and the couple have two children.

Cordaro recommends a portfolio of 15 percent bonds, 65 percent stocks and 20 percent in alternative investments.

Another concern: career longevity.

"If this President thing doesn't work out, his acting career may have only a few years left," says Cordaro. "He should be saving most of his income."

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.