Unveiling the Legacy of Henry Kissinger's Net Worth and Controversial Journey

Jamie Lerner - Author

Nov. 30 2023, Published 11:06 a.m. ET

Henry Kissinger
Source: Getty Images

The Gist:

  • Henry Kissinger, passing at 100, left a $50 million net worth. Fleeing Nazi Germany, his career spanned politics, earning him a Bronze Star from WWII.

  • Serving under Nixon and Ford, Kissinger influenced major events like the Bangladesh Liberation War and the Chilean coup, solidifying his place in the Republican Hall of Fame.

  • Beyond politics, Kissinger's fortune came from speaking engagements, book deals, TV appearances, and real estate, including a notable $5 million book deal and ownership of properties across the U.S.

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It’s impressive when anyone lives to 100 years old, but especially when it’s someone who escaped the antisemitism of Nazi Germany. Henry Kissinger and his family fled Germany in 1938, around the time of Kristallnacht, when it became life-threatening for Jews to live in Germany. He then became one of the most influential politicians in American history.

Throughout his storied career, he worked as the U.S. National Security Advisor and the Secretary of State, and he served in the U.S. military during WWII, fighting in the Battle of the Bulge. Henry passed away on Nov. 29, 2023, with a Bronze Star and a controversial legacy. But what was his net worth?

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Henry Kissinger
Source: Getty Images

Henry Kissinger had an estimated net worth of $50 million when he passed away.

Throughout his life, Henry did whatever he could to lift his career and his family’s legacy. This included several complex foreign policy decisions that led to the deaths of millions of people. His work alongside Presidents Nixon and Ford placed him in the metaphorical Republican Hall of Fame.

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But he did a lot of impressive things to get there. Essentially beginning as a refugee from Nazi Germany, Henry assimilated into American culture through his Army service and education. He received his B.A. from Harvard in 1950 and later received his Masters and Ph.D. in Philosophy in 1951 and 1954, respectively.

Henry Kissinger

American politician, diplomat, political scientist, and geopolitical consultant

Net worth: $50 Million

Henry Kissinger was an American security advisor and Secretary of State whose policies affected world politics for generations to come.

Birth name: Heinz Alfred Kissinger

Birthdate: May 27, 1923

Birthplace: Fürth, Bavaria, Germany

Mother: Paula Kissinger (née Stern)

Father: Louis Kissinger

Education: B.A. summa cum laude in political science from Harvard (1950), M.A. from Harvard (1951), Doctor of Philosophy from Harvard (1954)

Spouse: Anneliese "Ann" Fleischer (m. 1949, d. 1964), Nancy Maginnes (m. 1974)

Children: Elizabeth Kissinger (b. 1959), David Kissinger (b. 1961)

Died: Nov. 29, 2023

Place of Death: Kent, Conn., U.S.A.

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While Henry initially despised Nixon, when he saw that Nixon was gaining traction in the election, he contacted Nixon’s team to offer support, hoping to impact foreign policy. They were described as “unusually close.” Henry’s position in Nixon’s Cabinet led to relations with China, Vietnam, the Koreas, and of course, Israel.

Henry also had a hand in the Bangladesh Liberation War, relations with the Soviet Union, the Persian Gulf, the Turkish Invasion of Cyprus, the 1973 Chilean coup d’état, the Argentinian “Dirty War,” Brazil’s nuclear weapons program, the Rhodesian Bush War, the Portuguese Empire, the Indonesian occupation of East Timor, relations with Cuba, the Western Sahara conflict, and relations with Zaire.

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Henry Kissinger and Richard Nixon
Source: Getty Images

Despite all of Henry’s work in politics, he amassed most of his fortune from speaking engagements, book deals, consulting work, television appearances, and real estate. In 1979, a New York Times article estimated he was receiving $400,000 to $600,000 per year for this work, which was equivalent to about $1.4 to $2.1 million today.

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Henry was paid $15-20,000 for a single speaking engagement in the 1970s and 80s. He earned $5 million in advances and royalties for his book, The White House Years, and $1 million as a special consultant on world affairs for NBC.

As far as his real estate goes, his family now owns properties in New York, Connecticut, and Palm Springs, Calif. In Connecticut, they own a 300-acre estate, which angered locals because they cut down thousands of blueberry bushes to dissuade locals from trespassing. They also own an apartment in New York City’s River House, which likely costs at least $15 to 20 million.

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