The Real Story Behind Donald Trump’s Wealth [video]

How did Donald Trump become so wealthy?

In this short video, The Money Project explores Donald Trump’s successes, failures, family history in real estate, and the help he got along the way in amassing his fortune.

The Donald Trump Story

The story started well over a century ago with Donald’s grandfather, Frederick Trump.

Real estate runs deep in the blood of the Trump family, and Frederick was actually the first Trump to own a hotel.

Born in Queens, Donald J. Trump would join his father’s company early on in his career.

According to Donald, his father became “one of the biggest landlords in New York’s outer boroughs”. By the time of Fred’s death in 1999, it’s said that Fred Trump was worth between $250 and $300 million.

Trump’s Biggest Successes

Trump’s top three business successes include the Grand Hyatt, 40 Wall Street, and the Apprentice.

1. Grand Hyatt  

In 1976, Donald Trump and Hyatt partnered to buy the rundown Commodore Hotel near Grand Central Station.

The end result was the Grand Hyatt, a 25-story hotel, which Trump sold his share of for $142 million in 1996.

2. 40 Wall Street

Another big win for Trump was with 40 Wall Street, once the tallest building in the world. He bought it for $1 million after years of vacancy.

3. The Apprentice

The Apprentice was also a financial home run for Trump. As the show’s host and executive producer, he raked in $1 million per episode for a whopping 185 episodes.

Trump’s Biggest Failures

Like many businessmen, Donald Trump’s career has also had his share of failures.10906219 - success versus failure words on compass, business conceptual image

1. Atlantic City 

Donald’s biggest failure may be his ill-fated venture into casinos in Atlantic City.

2. Other Businesses

Trump also struggled in other ventures outside of real estate: Trump airlines, Trump Vodka, Trump: The Game, Trump Magazine, Trump Steaks, Trump Mortgages and Trump University were all destined for failure.

Trump’s Net Worth

According to Trump’s campaign, he is worth “in excess of TEN BILLION DOLLARS”.

However, he has also been accused in the past of artificially inflating his net worth. Forbes and Bloomberg News both have drastically different estimates of his wealth at $4.5 billion and$2.9 billion respectively.

Read more: The Money Project

Also published on Medium.

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Michael is a director of Metropole Property Strategists who create wealth for their clients through independent, unbiased property advice and advocacy. He's been voted Australia's leading property investment adviser and his opinions are regularly featured in the media. Visit

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