Public-Speakers Who Make the Biggest Bucks

What do you think is the cost to attend a public speaking conference or university commencement of someone you idolize? We won’t lie to you, it’s quite a lot, and it’ll probably burn a hole in all of our pockets. Public speaking generates a lot of money for celebrities, for some A-listers like Leonardo di Caprio or Matthew McConaughey, their speaking engagement fee can range from $100,000 to $1,000,000. From former United States Presidents to ex-royals, you will now know as you go through this list of highest-earning public speakers who they are. However, the amount that they are raking in reported here is not entirely exact because of disclosure issues.

Let us give some credit to Bill and Hillary Clinton for making public speaking circuit a very decent way of earning after retirement from the presidency… How much they each make will make you want to wish you were a scandalous, Lolita jetting ex-president. Even at the lowest paying speaking fee that these high profilers charge is equivalent to the average American annual salary! So if you feel like your college degree that you spent thousands of dollars on is useless after reading this article, you’re not alone.

Jimmy Carter: $50,000

Photo: AP

Jimmy Carter was the former President of the United States of America, the one term 39th president, reportedly, once charged $50,000 for a single speech. However, The Associated Press claims that he usually never takes money for his speeches. Carter was caught in an awkward moment where he said that he doesn’t charge $1 million, which former President Ronald Reagan would take for his speeches. He has always followed the motto of being a giver and never a receiver…perhaps!

When Jimmy was still mobile, he likes to chime in on current political events, perhaps to stay relevant in the public’s eye because it seemed that he never got over from losing his second term to Ronald Reagan. Truth is, Jimmy Carter doesn’t really have much to contribute these days or even when he was leading America.

Richard Branson: $75,000 to $1 million

Photo: (supplied)

Sir Richard Branson is one of the most charismatic keynotes speaker that commands quite an audience. A marketing and brand tycoon who acquired infinite wealth through his business empire, that comprises of over 200 business through his conglomerate Virgin Companies. However, Branson also created a name for himself in the public speaking domain, and people are, of course are attracted to his knowledge of such diverse topics, from music to shuttling passengers to space for a mere $200,00 per person.

Most people regard him as a business master-mind. He might put a huge dent of $100, 000 or more in your bank if you want Richard Branson to speak at your event if you’re lucky… as he’s known to have a $1 million speaking fee at some other engagement. Who wouldn’t want to listen to Sir Richard Branson speak?

Lance Armstrong: $100,000 +

Photo: Getty Images

Lance Armstrong has gained popularity over the years and has many followers willing to pay his ridiculously high fee for a mere speech… well at least before seven of his consecutive Tour de France winnings was stripped from him for doping all those years he was competing. We do not have the exact amount he charges per public speaking engagements, but it is approximately in the ballpark of more than $100,000. Some say that he has earned an estimated $750,000 from a foreign business trip he took. What’s surprising is that this amount is considered normal.

Lance Armstrong is the poster boy of a ‘great’ athlete who is only great because he cheated. His LiveStrong Foundation that he created to help patients who have cancer and has done great good for further development of cancer research which Lance fought and overcame. Since he was convicted of cheating his winnings by doping, he has been stripped of not only all seven titles of the Tour de France but have lost all sponsorships from major brands.

Sarah Palin: $100,000 +

Photo: Pintrest

Palin wasn’t a known public figure before running for the Vice-Presidency in the McCain-Palin ticket. Since then, Palin has come a long way for sure. As a public speaker, Palin has become a bankable name in the country. Her speech costs her host a whopping $100,000 per speaking engagement.  Palin earns even more through her other ventures, such as books she wrote, and there are rumors that a reality TV series is also in the works.

Other than being the butt end of a Saturday Night Live skit, we’re not sure what Sarah has to say because about the only thing she’s known to to do is to play up her Alaska grisly maman personae.

Al Gore: $100,000 to150,000

Photo: AP

The salary of a Vice President of the United States while in office is approximately $230,000 a year… and for eight years under the Clinton administration, that just didn’t seem enough for Al. So he came up with an idea of profiting from an end of the world crisis and created a ‘documentary’ called the Inconvenience Truth … however, the only the truth was, Al was and is a hypocrite. This former Vice President when not profiting off of his fake ‘Climate Change Crusade’ which he won a Nobel Peace Prize for (yet another complete joke of an award). Riding off this documentary’s popularity and the Nobel Peace Prize, books he wrote, Al launched his own media network, Current TV Network and later sold it to Al Jazeera for a $500 million. Al hit the public speaking circuit hard and would charge a minimum of $100,000 per engagement… promoting his network and his climate change/evil fossil fuel cause. Nothing wrong with that, you say… well the only problem is Al Jareeza is owned by Qatar, a country funded by fossil fuel. See the hypocrisy? In his book he even quote:

Virtually every news and political commentary program on television is sponsored in part by oil, coal and gas companies — not just during campaign seasons, but all the time, year in and year out — with messages designed to soothe and reassure the audience that everything is fine, the global environment is not threatened.”

Al Gore

Our number one Conservationist cheerleader is nothing a but a sell out and a fake when back in 2007, Al’s electrical bill for his private mansion was leaked to be $30,000 which is twenty times more than the average home in America. Funny how after his network was sold to Al Jazeera, Al’s speaking engagement stopped. It’s possible people realized he was a fake? But what is more probable is when you have pocketed north of $100 million from selling your phony network to Qatar, why work?

Condoleezza Rice: $150,000

Photo: AP

The University of Minnesota had to pay a hefty fee of $150,000 to Condoleezza Rice. Rice is known worldwide as a woman with a strong political background and experience. However, we believe that Rice charged such high fees, mainly because she was George W. Bush’s Secretary of State.

David Cameron: $155,00

Photo: AP

We all know David Cameron, the former prime minister of Great Britain for six years from 2010 to 2016. To attend his speeches or to invite him to speak at an event comes at a high cost of $155,000.

George W. Bush: $100,000 to $175,000 

Photo: AP

George W. Bush, the 43rd Former President of the United States, has a mixed reputation within the public domain. Throughout his tenure, sometimes, he received appreciation for his decisions, but he often received heavy criticism too. However, Bush Jr. used his following and recognition to earn money by giving motivational speeches. He cashes in almost $175, 000 with every address. Since his retirement, George W. has done over 200 events which have netted him over $30 million in speaking fees. Not bad for someone who is known for ‘messing’ up his phrases.

Hence, it isn’t too hard to calculate how much he has earned over the years. In 2015, Politico revealed that bush works in hotel ballrooms, convention centers, casinos, and resorts in private across different parts of the world. In this way, he has had an unconventional post-presidency life.

Alan Greenspan: $250,000

Alan Greenspan, the Federal Reserve’s previous chairperson, found a stable income option through public speaking. It didn’t take him even a week to earn $250, 000 at dinner by giving a speech. The guy who came after him as the chairman probably didn’t make that much money in one whole year as chairperson. Funny, isn’t it?

Arnold Schwarzenegger: $200,00 to $250,000

Photo: GI

Arnold Schwarzenegger doesn’t hold back when it comes to making money through public speaking while being an iconic actor. This Austrian who was the former Governor of California commands $250,000 per speaking engagement.

Ben Bernanke: $200,000 to $400,000

Just like his predecessor Ben Bernanke chose public speaking to make money and share his wisdom with the world.  The former Chair of the Federal Reserve takes between $200,000 and $400,000 per speech since his exit from the US Central Bank.

Rudy Giuliani: $270,000

New Yorkers were once lucky enough to listen to his speeches for free when he was Mayor of New York City because he now charges a fortune if you want him to speak at your gig. His highest-earning made him $217,000 per speaking engagement, and throughout his career as a public speaker, he has earned more than $10 million.

Barack Obama: $400,000

Photo: AP

Barack Obama, the iconic first African American United States President, has been in the news for uncountable things… like buying a $14 million beach side mansion in Martha’s Vineyard after claiming climate change is going to raise sea levels. It seems as though Barak isn’t all that concern with raising sea levels after all… it’s good to preach but who says you have to practice, right?

Although recently, he made headlines for the incredibly high fees he charges for public speaking. Reportedly, Obama charged as much as $400, 000 per appearance at three consecutive events at Wall Street. He has given speeches at many different private sector activities and events, each costing the host a $400, 000 setback. He is probably earning more now than from his presidency tenure.

Tony Blair: $200,000 to an $616,000

Photo: AP

This man is probably the highest-paid speaker in the world. Imagine earning $616, 000 for speaking a total of sixty minutes. His events cost a ticket of $500, and his prices have remained the same throughout. His long term as Prime-Minister and effortless advice on being the former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom should be given credit. On regular days his event earns him about $200,000.

Bill Clinton: $250,000 to $750,000

Photo: AP

Clinton’s charming personality has won him the President of the United States’ seat twice, and now it’s working in his favor during his career as a public speaker. He speaks for many great causes and topics, and companies are willing to spend a fortune on him. He has the highest asking price of $250, 000 to $500,000 per event. He made a whopping $750, 000 at just one event in Hong Kong. It seems like the entire Clinton clan has a knack of profiting through public speaking.

Since leaving office, it is estimated that from 2001 to 2012, Bill Clinton have made over $104 million in revenue just from his public speaking engagements alone. He has absolutely no shame in charging as much as he does for his speaking engagements fees… hey, if someone is willing to pay, then why not charge as much as you can, right? Bill once told NBC that “I gotta pay our bills,”… that’s a lot of Chardonnay for Hillary!

Megan Markle and Prince Harry: $1 million

The biggest interview where Meghan Markle and Prince Harry spilled the beans and aired their dirty laundry about the British royal family to their Montecito neighbor, Oprah Winfrey have caused quite a stir. Though the couple claimed they did not receive a fee from Oprah Winfrey for the interview, it is reported that CBS paid $7 million to Harpo Productions (Oprah’s company) to air the interview. It’s hard to believe that the Prince and his actress didn’t get a penny from the $7 million… but we digress. According to Neilsen’s ratings, approximately 17.4 million people tuned in to watch the interview to hear about all the dirt.

When Meghan and Harry ditched the royal family and their duties to move out to California, they signed with the same high profile public speaking agency as that of the Michelle and Barak Obama, but instead of the Obama’s $400,000 per speaking fee engagement, Harry and Meghan will not wake up for less than $1 million. We’re not exactly sure what they would talk about now that the world already knows their true feelings about being a ‘royal.’ Perhaps they will discuss Harry’s mental health, or Meghan’s progressive woke agenda.

Ronald Reagan: $1.7 million

Ronald Reagan was offered $1 million (that is equivalent to $1.7 million in today’s currency) per speech by a Japanese communications company Fujisaneki to give two lectures while he was on tour in the country. He was a massive help to the company going through a major crises, and that earned him $2 million ($3.4 million in today’s currency); which was a lot back in 1989. The annual salary of the President of the United States is $400,000 a year while in office.

It was President Gerald Ford who was the first President to take advantage of utilizing his former position to make money after he left the oval office. Former President Ford earned $40,000 for a speech in 1977. Good ol’ Ronny up the ante at $1 million per speech back in the late 80s.

Donald Trump, $1 million to 1.5 million

Photo: Pintrest

We know the Donald loves to give a speech… well, often times, his ‘speech’ is him rambling on about whatever he’s pissed off at the time of any given event. Perhaps the most transparent president the United States has ever had, be it good or bad, the Donald has never turn away a reporter’s questions, regardless whether you like his reply or not… but he will address you. Our 45th President loves standing behind a podium and it has paid off.

Donald Trump, the one-term 45th President of the United States, has always been a magnet for money. His business experience and expertise have invited a lot of followers over the years. He He even won the lottery when The Learning Annex gave him $1.5 million each for 17 speeches. He received appreciation for giving his full attention to the audience’s queries after the end of every speech. Before becoming the president, he was worth $1 million per address.