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."