John McCain Net Worth at Death – How Did He Get Rich? Exposed!

John McCain Net Worth at Death

John McCain had an estimated net worth of $16 million at the time of his death in 2018. John McCain was a Vietnam War veteran and a six-term U.S. senator from the state of Arizona. He was the Republican nominee for the 2008 presidential election, before his loss to Barack Obama. He earns the majority of his income from his career as a politician and writer. 

John McCain, the son of a decorated Navy admiral, enrolled in the United States Naval Academy before being sent to Vietnam, where he was tortured as a prisoner of war between 1967 and 1973. McCain went on to serve as a Republican congressman and senator from Arizona, earning a reputation as a “maverick” who challenged party orthodoxy. He ran for president of the United States in 1999 and won the Republican nomination in 2008, but lost to Barack Obama. McCain made headlines after winning a sixth Senate term in 2016 for his opposition to Republican efforts to repeal Obamacare and his battle with brain cancer. McCain died on August 25, 2018, one day after deciding to discontinue cancer treatment.

To calculate the net worth of John McCain, subtract all his liabilities from his total assets. Investments, savings, cash deposits, and any equity he has in a house, car, or other similar asset are included in the total assets. All debts, such as student loans and credit card debt, are included in total liabilities.

Here’s the breakdown of his net worth:

Name: John McCain
Net Worth: $16 Million
Monthly Salary: $20,000+
Annual Income: $2 Million+
Source of Wealth: Politician, Writer, Fighter pilot, Author, Pilot, Statesman, Screenwriter, Presenter, Military Officer

Early Life and Family

On August 29, 1936, at Coco Solo Naval Air Station in the Panama Canal Zone (then a US territory), John Sidney McCain III was born, the second of three children born to naval officer John S. McCain Jr. and his wife, Roberta. John S. McCain Sr., McCain’s father, and paternal grandfather were both four-star admirals, with John Jr. rising to command US naval forces in the Pacific.

McCain spent his childhood and adolescence moving between naval bases in the United States and around the world. He graduated in 1954 from Episcopal High School, a private preparatory boarding school in Alexandria, Virginia.

Combat Duty and Vietnam POW

McCain, like his father and grandfather, graduated from the Naval Academy at Annapolis in 1958 (fifth from the bottom of his class). In 1960, he also graduated from flight school.

McCain volunteered for combat duty when the Vietnam War broke out and began flying carrier-based attack planes on low-altitude bombing runs against the North Vietnamese. On July 29, 1967, his A-4 Skyhawk jet was accidentally shot by a missile on board the USS Forrestal, resulting in explosions and fires that killed 134 people.

McCain’s plane was shot down over the North Vietnamese capital of Hanoi on October 26, 1967, during his 23rd air mission. During the subsequent crash, he broke both of his arms and one of his legs. On December 9, 1969, McCain was transferred to Hoa Loa prison, dubbed the “Hanoi Hilton.”

His captors quickly discovered he was the son of a high-ranking officer in the United States Navy and repeatedly offered him early release, but McCain refused, not wanting to violate the military code of conduct and knowing that the North Vietnamese would use his release as powerful propaganda.

McCain eventually spent 5 1/2 years in various prison camps, 3 1/2 of which were spent in solitary confinement, where he was beaten and tortured repeatedly. On March 14, 1973, less than two months after the Vietnam ceasefire went into effect, he and other American POWs were finally released. McCain was awarded the Silver Star, Bronze Star, Purple Heart, and Distinguished Flying Cross among other decorations.

McCain was determined to continue serving as a naval aviator despite having lost most of his physical strength and flexibility. He returned to flying duty after a painful nine-month rehabilitation period, but it quickly became clear that his injuries had permanently hampered his ability to advance in the Navy.

Arizona Congressman and Senator

McCain first became involved in politics in 1976, when he was assigned as the Navy’s liaison to the United States Senate. McCain retired from the Navy in 1981 after marrying his second wife, Cindy Hensley, and moved to Phoenix, Arizona. While working in public relations for his father-in-beer law’s distribution company, he began making political connections.

On November 2, 1982, McCain was elected to his first political office, easily winning a seat in the United States House of Representatives after his well-known war record helped overcome doubts about his “carpetbagger” status. In 1984, he was re-elected.

McCain was a loyal supporter of President Ronald Reagan’s administration and found his place among other “New Right” politicians after adapting well to his home state’s largely conservative politics.

McCain was elected to the United States Senate in 1986, following the retirement of longtime Arizona senator and prominent Republican Barry Goldwater. McCain established a reputation as a conservative politician who was unafraid to challenge the ruling Republican orthodoxy in both the House and the Senate. For example, in 1983, he called for the withdrawal of US Marines from Lebanon, and he later publicly criticized the administration’s handling of the Iran-Contra scandal.

McCain was the subject of FBI and Senate Ethics Committee investigations beginning in late 1989. As a member of the “Keating Five,” McCain was accused of improperly intervening with federal regulators on behalf of Charles H. Keating Jr., a prominent donor and chairman of the failed Lincoln Savings & Loan Association who was eventually imprisoned for fraud. McCain was cleared of wrongdoing, though investigators said he used “poor judgment” in meeting with the regulators.

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Campaigns for President

McCain survived the scandal and was re-elected to the Senate with a solid majority in 1992 and 1998. His reputation as a “maverick politician” with strong beliefs and a short fuse grew, and many were impressed by his willingness to be open with the public and the press. He worked tirelessly in support of increased tobacco legislation and campaign finance reform, professing liberal views at times and proving to be more complex than a strict conservative.

McCain published Faith of My Fathers, a book about his family’s military history and his own experiences as a POW, in 1999. He also emerged as a credible challenger to Texas Governor George W. Bush for the Republican presidential nomination in 2000. Many people in both political parties found his candor refreshing. McCain won the New Hampshire primary by a surprisingly large margin, aided largely by independent voters and crossover Democrats.

After a tumultuous primary season in which Bush won South Carolina while McCain won Michigan and Arizona, Bush emerged victorious on “Super Tuesday” in early March 2000, winning New York and California, among other states. Despite winning the majority of New England states, McCain’s large electoral deficit forced him to “suspend” his campaign indefinitely. McCain formally endorsed Bush on May 9, 2000, after a two-month wait.

McCain was back in the news in the spring of 2001, when the Senate debated and eventually passed a broad overhaul of the campaign finance system by a vote of 59-41. McCain’s six-year effort to reform the system, along with Democratic Senator Russell D. Feingold of Wisconsin, resulted in the bill. The McCain-Feingold bill was centered on a contentious ban on unrestricted contributions to political parties known as “soft money.” In 2003, the Supreme Court narrowly upheld the new law.

‘Maverick’ Reputation

McCain supported the Iraq War but chastised the Pentagon on several occasions, particularly for the low troop presence. McCain stated at one point that he had “no confidence” in Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld’s leadership. McCain backed the 2007 surge of over 20,000 troops, which supporters claimed increased security in Iraq.

McCain also publicly supported President Bush’s reelection bid in 2004, despite his disagreements with Bush on a number of issues, including torture, pork barrel spending, illegal immigration, a constitutional amendment prohibiting same-sex marriage, and global warming. He also defended Bush’s opponent, Massachusetts Senator John Kerry, who was attacked during the campaign for his Vietnam War record.

With Bush limited to two terms, McCain declared his candidacy for president in 2008 on April 25, 2007, in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. He quickly secured the Republican nomination in the election. “Now, we begin the most important part of our campaign: to make a respectful, determined, and convincing case to the American people that our campaign and my election as president, given the alternatives presented by our friends in the other party, are in the best interests of the country we love,” McCain said after officially becoming the Republican Party’s nominee.

However, McCain was occasionally overshadowed by the focus on his running mate, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, and was unable to stem the tide that was propelling Illinois Senator Barack Obama to historic heights. Obama easily won the 2008 election, receiving nearly 53 percent of the popular vote and 365 electoral college votes to McCain’s 173.

Presidential Candidate Support

McCain supported Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney and his running mate, Paul Ryan, at the Republican National Convention in 2012. McCain emphasized the need for change in American foreign policy and new military action in the Middle East, specifically in Syria and Iran, in his convention speech.

He began his story by mentioning the 2008 election results: “I once hoped to address you under different circumstances. But our American neighbors had a different plan four years ago, and I respect their decision “he said. “We nominate Mitt Romney for reasons other than gaining an advantage for our party. We entrust him with the care of a greater cause. His election embodies our highest hopes for our country and the world.”

Butting Heads With Donald Trump

McCain was at odds with Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump four years later. Trump mocked McCain’s military service on the campaign trail in response to McCain’s criticism that Trump “fired up the crazies” in the Republican Party. “Because he was captured, he was a war hero.” “Trump spoke about McCain being held as a prisoner of war. “I prefer people who have not been apprehended.”

McCain reluctantly endorsed Trump, only to withdraw his support after The Washington Post published a 2005 recording in which Trump lewdly described kissing and groping women. Regardless, Trump won a stunning Election Day victory over Hillary Clinton on November 8, 2016, while McCain was re-elected to the Senate for a sixth term.

President Trump’s administration began amid a whirlwind of controversy surrounding allegations of Russian meddling in the recently concluded campaign, a situation that drew McCain’s attention as chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee. McCain stated his support for the intelligence community’s conclusion that Russians attempted to influence the election outcome, as well as his displeasure with Trump’s friendly overtures to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Health Care Holdout and Tax Reform

McCain returned to the Senate on July 25, 2017, less than two weeks after undergoing surgery to remove a blood clot above his eye and learning he had a brain tumor, to vote to proceed with repealing Obamacare legislation. He also gave a memorable speech to his colleagues, urging Republicans and Democrats to put aside their differences and work together, but also warning that he would not “vote for the bill as it is today.”

McCain followed through on his promise early on July 28. When he was called to the Senate to vote on the “skinny repeal” bill, he was seen conferring with several prominent senators, as well as Vice President Mike Pence, before casting his decisive “no” vote, effectively killing the bill’s chances of passage.

McCain announced his opposition to the legislation again two months later, when Republican Senators Lindsey Graham and Bill Cassidy spearheaded another attempt to repeal Obamacare.

“I believe Republicans and Democrats could do better working together, and we haven’t really tried,” he said.

“I couldn’t support [the bill] unless I knew how much it would cost, how it would affect insurance premiums, and how many people it would help or hurt.”

McCain announced his support for Senate Republicans in late November, as they attempted to pass a new tax bill.

“I have decided to support the Senate tax reform bill after careful thought and consideration,” he said in a statement. “I believe that, while far from perfect, this legislation would improve American competitiveness, boost the economy, and provide long-overdue tax relief for middle-class families.” The Senate tax reform bill barely passed in early December, thanks to McCain’s pivotal vote.

Even while absent from the Senate due to health issues in early 2018, McCain demonstrated his willingness to speak out when necessary. The issue this time was a contentious House memo that purported to show how the FBI and DOJ abused their authority in obtaining a wiretap warrant for a Trump campaign associate. Although many Republicans supported the memo’s public release as evidence of Trump’s bias, McCain was among those who expressed concern that it would harm the intelligence community.

“The latest attacks on the FBI and DOJ serve no American interests—neither party’s, nor president’s, but only Putin’s,” McCain said. “The American people have a right to know all of the facts about Russia’s ongoing efforts to undermine our democracy. We are doing Putin’s job for him if we continue to undermine our own rule of law.”

McCain also attempted to stay involved in the ongoing immigration reform debate by teaming up with Delaware Senator Chris Coons to propose legislation. In April, he stated that the president’s remarks about withdrawing troops from Syria had emboldened Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad, and his words seemed prophetic when al-Assad was accused of launching lethal chemical attacks against his people later that month.

President Trump fired another round in his long-running feud with McCain in August 2018, when he signed the John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act and thanked several people but never once mentioned the man whose name graced the bill. McCain chose to ignore the omission, writing on his website, “I’m proud the NDAA is now law & humbled Congress chose to designate it in my name.” As Chairman of the Armed Services Committee, I’ve found great satisfaction in serving a cause greater than myself—the cause of our troops who defend America and everything she stands for.”

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Book: ‘The Restless Wave’

McCain released an excerpt from his upcoming memoir, The Restless Wave: Good Times, Just Causes, Great Fights, and Other Appreciations, in late April 2018, in which he delves into the discovery and aftermath of his cancer diagnosis, allowing him to “vote my conscience without worry.”

As befitting an elder statesman, McCain warns his Senate colleagues against “secluding ourselves into ideological ghettos” by relying more on personalized news sources and like-minded communities.

“Before I leave, I’d like to see our politics return to the purposes and practices that distinguish our history from other nations’ histories,” he says. “I’d like to see us rediscover our sense of being more alike than different.”

McCain also reflected on his own mortality in the Restless Wave excerpt, with a nod to For Whom the Bell Tolls: “The world is a fine place and worth fighting for, and I hate very much to leave it,” he writes. “I’m sorry to have to leave. But I have no complaint. Not one. It’s been a wild ride. I’ve known great passions, witnessed incredible wonders, fought in a war, and helped bring about peace. I carved out a small place for myself in the history of America and my era.”

Personal Life

On July 3, 1965, McCain married Carol Shepp, a model from Philadelphia. He adopted her two young children from a previous marriage, Doug and Andy Shepp, and they had Sidney in 1966. In April 1980, the couple divorced.

McCain met Cindy Lou Hensley, a Phoenix teacher and the daughter of a wealthy Arizona beer distributor, while on vacation in Hawaii with her parents in 1979. McCain was still married but divorced from his first wife at the time. On May 17, 1980, John and Cindy married in Phoenix. They have four children: Meghan (born in 1984), John IV (born in 1986 as Jack), James (born in 1988 as Jimmy), and Bridget (born in 1991 in Bangladesh, and adopted by the McCains in 1993).

McCain was diagnosed with skin cancer in August 2000. (he had lesions on his face and arm, which doctors determined were unrelated to a similar lesion he had removed in 1993). He was then operated on, and all of the cancerous tissue was successfully removed. McCain also had routine prostate surgery in August 2001 for an enlarged prostate.

Brain Cancer Diagnosis

McCain had a blood clot removed from above his left eye on July 14, 2017 at the Mayo Clinic Hospital in Phoenix. The operation revealed an aggressive, malignant brain tumor known as glioblastoma, which had killed McCain’s former Senate colleague Edward Kennedy.

McCain announced in mid-August that he would continue working in the Senate between treatment stints after undergoing his first round of chemotherapy and radiation.

It was revealed in December 2017 that the senator had been hospitalized with a viral infection and was returning to Arizona for treatment. McCain’s recovery continued well into the spring of 2018, despite his expressed hope of returning to the Senate early the following year.

McCain’s office issued a statement on April 16 stating that the senator was in stable condition following surgery to treat an intestinal infection and providing an update on his activities since leaving Washington.

“Senator McCain has been participating in physical therapy at his home in Cornville, Arizona, over the last few months as he recovers from the side effects of cancer treatment,” the statement said. “He has continued to work as Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, and he has received numerous visits from family, friends, staff, and Senate colleagues. Senator McCain and his family are grateful to the senator’s excellent care team, as well as the continued support and prayers from people across the country.”

End of Treatment and Death

On August 24, 2018, the McCain family issued a statement announcing that the senator would forego further cancer treatment. “With his usual fortitude, he has now chosen to discontinue medical treatment,” according to the statement. “Our family is deeply grateful to all of John’s caregivers for their care and kindness over the last year, as well as the outpouring of concern and affection from John’s many friends and associates and the many thousands of people who are praying for him. God bless you all and thank you.”

McCain died on August 25, just one day after the announcement, at the age of 81, at his home in Sedona, Arizona.

Meghan, his daughter, issued the following statement: “I was with my father at the end of his life, just as he was with me at the beginning. Everything I am is because of him. Now that he’s gone, my life’s work is to live up to his example, expectations, and love.”

Cindy, the senator’s wife, also expressed her heartfelt sentiments on Twitter: “My heart is shattered. I consider myself extremely fortunate to have had the opportunity to spend 38 years with this incredible man. He died as he lived, on his own terms, surrounded by the people he cared about.”

McCain’s office released a posthumous letter from the senator two days after his death, in which he urged Americans to unite once more. “We weaken our greatness when we conflate patriotism with tribal rivalries that have sown resentment, hatred, and violence in every corner of the globe,” the letter said. “We weaken it by hiding behind walls rather than tearing them down, by doubting the power of our ideals rather than trusting them to be the great force for change that they have always been.”

“Do not despair of our current difficulties, but always believe in America’s promise and greatness, because nothing is inevitable here,” the letter continued. “Americans never give up. We never give up. We never run away from history. We write history.”

Meanwhile, McCain and Trump’s feud continued when the president declined to issue a formal statement commemorating the senator’s death, instead sending condolences to his family via Twitter, and the White House only temporarily lowered its flag to half-staff before returning it to full height by August 27. Under pressure, Trump issued a statement later that day in which he acknowledged McCain’s service to the country and ordered the flags to be lowered once more.

McCain’s five-day memorial service began on August 29, when his body was brought to the Arizona Capitol to lie in state. The following day, a memorial service was held at the North Phoenix Baptist Church, with the senator’s 106-year-old mother, Roberta, expected to attend the funeral in Washington, D.C. on September 1.

Further Reading

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