Online virtual job interview tips from dress code to body language


[Originally written for and published by]

Acing that virtual interview


With many people still working from home, virtual online job interviews have become companies’ go-to for recruiting remotely. And they pose new challenges in terms of impressing potential employers: a solid handshake and a confident walk are now redundant in this new world, but there are plenty of tips and tricks for coming across well on a screen. We spoke to internationally-renowned body language expert India Ford – founder of talkbodylanguage – about how you can give yourself a competitive edge and the best chance at acing that virtual interview. Click or scroll through to read her tips.

Looking the part


It takes an interviewer a mere seven seconds to decide whether or not they want to hire you, so dressing to impress is crucial in making the right impression. But how can your clothes project traits that an employer wants to see in a potential new hire if you’re not actually meeting face to face?

Tip: Dress as if for a face-to-face interview

Jacek Korzeniewski/Shutterstock Your virtual interviewer will likely only see your head and torso, which could tempt you into doing the interview in your pyjama bottoms. But that’s a big mistake. “To get yourself in the right frame of mind you need to make sure that you dress exactly as you would if you were going to a face-to-face interview,” says India. And that includes shoes. “It’s subconscious, but it’ll get you in the right state of mind.”

Tip: Avoid noisy accessories

Doucefleur/Shutterstock Looking the part often involves the added accessory or two, like a watch, or jewellery. This will help you get into the right frame of mind but be careful with what you choose. “Watch out for dangly jewellery that could clank around and interfere with the sound quality,” cautions India.

Energy levels

Nicoleta Ionescu/Shutterstock 

One of the main challenges in doing an interview virtually is that energy levels will naturally be much lower, making it difficult to project the right kind of body language. There are no new surroundings or direct contact with different people to give you that adrenaline and testosterone boost. So how can you ramp up those energy levels?

Tip: Don’t slump over your notes

NDAB Creativity/Shutterstock Waiting to start an interview, you might be tempted to go over your notes one last time and revise your answers – this is fine, but don’t do it slumped at your desk. “When you’re hunched up, you’re boosting the stress hormone, cortisol, which is the last hormone you need during a job interview,” says India.

Tip: Power pose

G-Stock Studio/Shutterstock 

One trick for reducing stress levels pre-interview is striking the power pose. Stand with your head up, hands on hips, and feet hip-width apart, with closed eyes. Smile to yourself and reflect on a time you felt your most confident. “Get into those feelings, and stay in that pose and frame of mind for two minutes,” recommends India. “Within that time, the stress hormone cortisol will go down by over 20%, and testosterone, which is our confidence-boosting hormone, goes up by 25%. This pose is a very quick and powerful way to regulate these hormones that affect us all the time.”

Tip: Just get moving


If the power pose isn’t for you, any activity that involves movement can have a similar impact on your hormones. Whether it’s jumping on the spot or dancing around the room, just get those energy levels up before you sit down to face the interviewer. “We want to project an energy that is open and engaging. In a face-to-face meeting you have so many opportunities to project that energy – an interviewer comes to meet you, they see how you walk and move. In a virtual interview you’re just a static person sitting at a desk. This is a great way to get yourself into that state of mind.”


LStockStudio/Shutterstock During a virtual interview a potential employer will only see you while you are sat down, so it’s key that you do it right. Your body language needs to reflect the traits that will draw them in, and that even extends to how you sit on your chair. So how should you hold yourself?

Tip: Sit at a desk

Jack Frog/Shutterstock Sometimes the simplest set-ups are the best, and sitting at a desk during your virtual interview will give you a good chance of success. “The lower half of our body can sometimes give us away. It is easier, and much more relaxing, to be sitting at a desk as opposed to just sitting on a chair,” says India. It also means that you’ll be close enough to the camera for the interviewer to see your face and eyes, where a lot of crucial body language will be taking place… 

Tip: Sit back

Mangostar/Shutterstock India advises sitting tall in your chair and making sure you sit right back, with your back against the chair. “Lots of nervous people sit on the edge of their chair, and you don’t want to look tentative.”

Tip: ‘Squeeze an orange’ between your shoulder blades 

fizkes/Shutterstock Good posture is paramount in projecting confidence and competency. The key is to pull your shoulders back and down, which India simplifies with a fruit-based exercise. “Imagine you’ve got an orange between your shoulder blades, and just gently squeeze that orange two or three times. You don’t need to stay in that position, but you need to find that sweet spot where you’re not slouching but you’re sitting tall.”

Tip: Keep your chin parallel to the floor


Head positioning can also say a lot about you, and keeping your chin parallel to the ground will create a positive impression. “If your head is too far back, it looks like you’re looking down at people, making you look very arrogant. If you start pushing your head too far down you will look submissive, as though you’re lacking in confidence – this looks as if you’re hiding your neck, which is what we do when we feel vulnerable.” You might need to adjust the position of your screen or laptop for this one, but to show confidence and credibility make sure you keep that chin at a steady angle. 

Tip: Don’t sit like a T-rex

fizkes/Shutterstock Looking like a T-rex is unlikely to give off the right cues about you as a person, so make sure your arms aren’t clamped to your torso. “When we’re nervous or anxious, we keep our limbs close to the body – make sure there’s a V shape of space. If you can, sit on a chair that has arms. That’ll make you look relaxed, you’ll feel relaxed, and arms of the chair will automatically create that V shape.”

Facial expressions


Our resting expressions, or “screensaver faces”, are rarely inviting and, particularly in anxiety-inducing situations, they can appear angry or bad-tempered. A first impression is made in just 1/10th of a second, and if that resting face is the first sight an interviewer sees, their initial thought won’t be that you’re the one for the job. So how do you get it right when it comes to your facial expressions?

Tip: Smile more

fizkes/Shutterstock The best way to look warm, engaging, and inviting is simple: smile. “A smile is one of our most powerful gestures,” India emphasises. “When we smile at someone, it lights up the neural frontal cortex, which is the same area of the brain as when we receive a gift.” 

Tip: Mirror their body language

fizkes/Shutterstock Smiling is also infectious. “We have mirror neurons,” India explains, “so when we smile at someone, they automatically smile back.” Reciprocating a smile is a great way to build rapport, and it also makes us feel better subconsciously. 

Eye contact

G-Stock Studio/Shutterstock Eye contact is a huge part of social interaction in the Western world, and it’s expected of us 60-70% of the time. Without it, it’s impossible to look confident, credible, or competent, which are key traits you want to be showing off to a potential employer. But how do you achieve it through a camera?

Tip: Look directly into the camera

DisobeyArt/Shutterstock Mastering the art of virtual eye contact isn’t as complicated as it sounds, and India breaks it down into two easy tricks: 1) look directly into the camera when you’re speaking – to the other person this will look as though you are looking straight into their eyes, and 2) look at the interviewer on your screen when they are talking – this will provide you with important non-verbal feedback to let you know how they are reacting to you. 

Tip: Don’t look at yourself

Antonio Guillem/Shutterstock It’s important to look the part for an interview, but don’t become preoccupied with looking at the image of yourself on-screen. “If you’ve got a tendency to do that, your eye contact is going to be all over the place,” India warns. If you can’t help yourself, move the thumbnail so that it is as close to the camera as possible, or get rid of it altogether. 

Using your hands


Fidgeting can happen in any anxiety-inducing environment, and as the nerves creep in the body brings in “self-pacifying” behaviours such as touching your face or neck and wringing your hands to try and calm itself down. But it doesn’t come across well in an interview. “On screen it will be amplified and will destroy all credibility. It’ll also raise red flags in the other person’s mind as they’ll wonder why you’ve suddenly started fidgeting.” But there are ways to use your hands effectively in an interview…

Tip: Keep your hands in view

Flamingo Images/Shutterstock India advises keeping your hands in view. If your hands are out of sight it raises questions as to where they are, causing the subconscious brain to become suspicious. “It starts wondering what you’re trying to hide, especially in a virtual interview. It’s important to make sure that your hands are always visible on the screen.”

Tip: Gesture to emphasise points

fizkes/Shutterstock If you are prone to moving your hands around you can use that to your advantage, as it can ramp up your communication while making you look more confident and credible. “Gestures make you look as though you really know what you’re talking about and add conviction to your words,” says India. Hand movements should be kept around the waist area – anything above the shoulders will just look erratic.

Tip: Clasp your hands

fizkes/Shutterstock If you do feel like you need to hold your hands, gently clasp them together in front of you on the desk. “You can also use this as a default position in-between gestures,” recommends India. But make sure the hold isn’t too tight, as white knuckles won’t send positive signals to the interviewer. 

Tip: Keep both feet on the ground isn’t just your top half that might get the fidgets. While your lower body will likely be underneath a table or desk, moving your legs and feet can cause the rest of the body to shift around, which will be noticeable. India advises keeping both feet on the floor, as that will make you feel grounded and prevent the upper body from moving around on-screen.

Being engaged

fizkes/Shutterstock Building rapport through a screen can be really challenging, but showing that you’re interested in what’s being said is a great way to indicate to the interviewer that you’re the right person for the job. 

Tip: Nod your head


Nodding your head is a good rapport-building gesture, and two or three slow nods will say that you hear, understand, and agree with the speaker, which are all sentiments you want to get across during an interview. “If you’re speaking to somebody and they’re sitting there with their head vertical, not moving at all, you just assume that they’re not paying attention, so the head nod is a really good way to draw people in,” says India.

Tip: Lean in 

fizkes/Shutterstock Another tip for building rapport with your interviewer is leaning in slightly towards the screen. “This shows that you’re interested and engaged in what they’re saying.”. Obviously avoid going too close to the camera, as giving your potential future employer an extreme close-up of your face may give off a very different message…

Ending on a high

Peshkova/Shutterstock While you never get a second chance at a first impression, that final impression will be the last the interviewer sees of you, so make the most of your remaining opportunity to impress. “The final impression is 100% as important as the first, so the same rules apply,” India says. Here are a couple of extra tips to think about before you hurry to log off.

Tip: Don’t rush

Travelerpix/Shutterstock During the interview you will likely have considered all your answers, and hopefully delivered them in a calm and convincing way. Take your time in saying your goodbyes to make sure you continue to project all that good body language that you’ve already delivered throughout.

Tip: End on a light note

Branislav Nenin/Shutterstock 

With a virtual interview, we miss out on one of the most important rapport-building gestures: the handshake. But you can make light of the situation. “You could even do a bit of a joke,” suggests India. “You could put out your hand and say ‘nice to meet you’. If the interviewer is laughing, that’s a very good sign.” 

Tip: Remember names

New Africa/Shutterstock Using names is a great way to strengthen relationships, and so slipping your interviewer’s name in as you sign off is always a good idea. “Remember their name,” India says, “and use it.” The formula “[Interviewer’s name], it was great to meet you, thank you for your time” is an easy way to include their name as you say goodbye.

Tip: Smile until the end


Smiling is integral throughout the interview, and you want to ensure it’s the final facial expression a potential employer sees, even if you’re having to fumble a little to find the “leave meeting” button. “There’s nothing worse than putting on a smile that’s a quick on-off expression, as that looks very inauthentic. Make sure you maintain that relaxed, open, engaging facial expression as the last impression, rather than your screensaver face,” recommends India.

Practice makes perfect


All of these tips are excellent ways to improve your performance in a virtual interview, but they’re not necessarily habits you can learn overnight. Most people focus on what to say and will be busy creating all of the narrative and preparing for questions – this is all very well, but you also need to put some time aside to practice all of the non-verbal answers you’ll be giving off throughout the interview.

Tip: Film yourself


Very few people enjoy watching themselves on camera, but it’s the best way to see what you’re doing right and how you can improve. “Most people are pretty horrified when they see themselves,” India admits, “but if it’s really important that you get this job, then make that effort and put the time in to see how you come across and how you can best work through the virtual medium.” Check the lighting, how you look on screen, and whether or not you’re ticking all the boxes when it comes to projecting good body language.

Tip: Get your friends involved

You’re only going to get one shot at an interview, so why not practice with friends before the real thing? “Do a virtual meeting with your friends. Practising is the only way you’re going to get used to it, and it’s worth doing as this format will likely be around for the foreseeable future,” says India. Even better: record your practices and watch those back too, either by capturing the screen or getting a friend to record you. This will also help you make sure your technology works and you’re in a quiet enough environment.

Tip: Smile at yourself

Dean Drobot/Shutterstock 

Acing that social smile is key for success both in your personal and professional life, so it really is worth making sure you get it right. “It doesn’t have to be a 70s gameshow host-type smile that’s all teeth, and under no circumstance should it be a stretched, fake, oblong smile. In front of the mirror, find that great smile that you can project when you need to connect and create that really good first impression,” suggests India.

Businesses fast-forwarding future plans due to COVID-19

Tip: Practise on strangers

Olena Yakobchuk/Shutterstock 

When it comes to good body language, you really can practise with anyone. For example, if you’re in a supermarket or a café, try and look people right in their eyes when you say “thank you”. India has a top tip for making this a regular habit: “When you first meet people, look for their eye colour. Just noticing it will force you to look straight into their eyes. You don’t need to remember it, but that instant connection is a great way to build rapport and promotes trust and credibility.” We may have to settle for looking into cameras for now, but getting into this habit will put you in good stead for face-to-face interactions. “These little things can help you get a competitive edge in the business and corporate world, but also in the personal social world.”

Expert tips for better video calls for business and pleasure

Final tip: Manage your state of mind


When we are relaxed and happy our body language is naturally good as it just reflects how we are feeling – being able to create that state of calm and confidence in anxiety-inducing environments will naturally lead to better body language. The power pose is perfect for this, but simple breathing exercises can also help you to keep your cool. “If you feel anxiety levels going up, just doing a quick breathing exercise will help. Inhale for three to four seconds, hold for three seconds, and then exhale on four. That will help to relax the entire body.” 

India Ford is a UK-based corporate trainer, business consultant and executive coach, and the founder of talkbodylanguage. Her clientele includes global media corporations, top-ranking law firms, heads of state, and leaders of multiple Fortune 500 companies.


How Donald Trump makes and spends his money


[Originally written for and published by]

Donald Trump’s fortune now and then

Joe Raedle/Staff/Getty Images 

Donald Trump failed in his second bid for the US presidency, and as America’s economy was a big part of the former president’s speech, many have wondered how Trump’s own personal finances are shaping up now that he has left the country’s highest office. In fact, it looks like the presidency might have been one of Trump’s worst business decisions yet, as his fortune has dropped from $3 billion (£2.1bn) when he started the job to $2.3 billion (£1.6bn) today according to Bloomberg. The COVID-19 pandemic and the riot at the Capitol have greatly impacted the former world leader’s brand and businesses, and crucially could impact his relationship with lenders just as $590 million (£422m) in loans will come due in the next four years, with half of those guaranteed by Trump himself. Click or scroll through to see how the billionaire former president of the United States makes, and spends, his money, and how things look now he’s left the White House. All dollar amounts in US dollars.

Money from his father

Sonia Moskowitz/Zuma Press/PA Images 

Born into wealth, Donald Trump is the son of the late real estate tycoon Fred Trump (pictured here with his late wife and Donald’s mother Mary Anne). The former president was reportedly able to kickstart his billion-dollar business empire with what he described as a “very small” $1 million (£412k) loan from his father in 1975. Investigations carried out by the New York Times later suggested that Trump Senior had actually lent his son at least $60.7 million – an amount worth around $140 million (£101.8m) in today’s money.

Family wealth

Jeffrey Asher/Contributor/Getty Images 

The New York Times investigations documented 295 different streams of revenue used by Fred Trump to pass his wealth onto his son, including officially making him his landlord, employing him as his property manager and signing over large chunks of real estate. It was concluded that, by 2018, Donald Trump had amassed the equivalent of at least $413 million (£300.4m) via his father. 

Real estate legacy

Bettmann/Contributor/Getty Images 

Fred Trump built his wealth through savvy real estate development, and his son followed in his footsteps. One of Donald Trump’s early major successes was acquiring the Commodore Hotel in New York, which he bought in partnership with the Hyatt Organization for an undisclosed amount in 1976. The hotel was $1.5 million (£735k) in debt before it was transformed into the Grand Hyatt Hotel, which went on to become one of the Big Apple’s most iconic places to stay. Trump had taken on a risky investment but it paid off, by 1996 business was booming and he sold his half of the hotel to Hyatt for $142 million (£93m). A crucial part of the project’s success was Donald Trump’s tax negotiation abilities, which would have repercussions later in his career…

Commercial real estate

Bettmann/Contributor/Getty Images 

The former president continues to profit from the swathes of property he owns across the world, including 125,000 square feet of commercial real estate near Fifth Avenue in Manhattan. Between 2016 and 2021 Trump’s commercial real estate assets have dropped 26% in value, and are now worth $1.7 billion (£1.2bn) according to Bloomberg. Impacted greatly by the COVID-19 pandemic, Trump may be concerned about the future of his commercial real estate interests as it makes up three-quarters of his fortune. Notably, he has $256.8 million (£183.8m) in debt on his commercial real estate. Trump is pictured in 1980 with a model of what has become one of Fifth Avenue’s most recognisable buildings and arguably the most famous his organisation has built: Trump Tower. The building’s biggest commercial tenant today, according to the New York Times, is luxury brand Gucci.

Residential real estate

Joe Raedle/Staff/Getty Images 

Trump also boasts a bulging residential real estate portfolio, with more than 500 units across America, which had an estimated value of $235 million (£183m) at the beginning of 2020. Following the impact of the coronavirus outbreak, Trump’s residential real estate is now believed to be worth $148 million (£115m). Trump also leases residences he’s not occupying, which is quite the money-spinner. During 2017, the former president rented out his estate Chateau des Palmiers on the Caribbean island of St. Martin for an eye-watering rate of up to $20,000 (£16.2k) per night.

Golf courses, clubs and resorts

Davidoff Studios Photography/Contributor/Getty Images 

In 1999, Donald Trump acquired his first golf course, the Trump International Golf Club in West Palm Beach, and Trump Golf has since expanded to include 16 locations in the US, Scotland, Ireland and Dubai, with two sites in Indonesia and another Dubai course coming soon. Between 2017 and 2019 alone, the then-president raked in an impressive $753 million (£569m) in revenue from his golf resorts and his exclusive Florida members’ club Mar-a-Lago, according to Forbes. As with the rest of his real estate, the value of Trump’s golf courses has dropped during the pandemic, giving them a current value of $271.1 million (£211m). Since 2015, income from Trump’s golf clubs has fallen by 19%, while income from his hotels and resort has dropped by a huge 42%, underlining the fact Trump’s time in office hasn’t exactly boosted his business interests. Trump currently has $18 million (£12.9m) in debts from his golf interests, and $330 million (£236m) from his resorts and hotels.

The Trump brand

While Donald Trump’s surname may have become synonymous with property and golf in his pre-presidency days, the Trump Organization had already begun to licence the name to other companies in the 1980s. This propelled it, and him, to become a globally-recognised brand long before he took to the political podium. 

The Trump brand

Davidoff Studios Photography/Contributor/Getty Images 

A whole host of products and companies came under the Trump umbrella, including agency Trump Models, founded in 1999, which provided a $2 million (£1.4m) annual income and had the likes of Paris Hilton and Trump’s wife Melania on its books before it closed in 2017. The Trump seal of approval wasn’t an instant ticket to success, however, and plenty of ideas flopped, including Trump magazine, Trump Vodka and Trump Steaks. The value of the Trump brand has been hotly disputed over the years. After the Capitol riot, Trump Plaza in Florida’s West Palm Beach voted to drop Trump’s name, and New York City is attempting to stop his contracts for ice rinks, a carousel and a golf course. Donald Trump claimed that his name was worth $3 billion (£1.8bn) in 2011, while Forbes reported that a more modest $200 million (£123m) was a better estimate.

Battling bankruptcy

Spencer Platt/Staff/Getty Images 

Not all of Donald Trump’s bigger business ventures have gone well either, and parts of his empire have had to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on six separate occasions between 1991 and 2009 prior to his stint as president. The businesses that needed reorganisation include both of the billionaire’s Atlantic City casinos and Trump’s Plaza Hotel in New York City. But Trump claims that he profited immensely even from some of his less successful projects, saying “the money [he] took out of [Atlantic City] was incredible” in a 2016 interview with the New York Times.

More on Donald Trump’s best and worst business decisions

TV and movie appearances

Richard B. Levine/SIPA USA/PA Images 

Having built up his reputation as a formidable businessman, Donald Trump became the executive producer and star of NBC show The Apprentice, which debuted in 2004. Excellent ratings didn’t just make Trump a household name, it also paid well. The host reportedly made $427 million (£276m) in earnings, endorsements and licensing from the show’s 14 seasons. When merchandise and spoofs started to pop up using Trump’s infamous phrase “You’re fired!”, he attempted to reap royalties from its popularity by trademarking the expression, but was unsuccessful.

More on this and other unusual trademark battles

TV and movie appearances

Chris Hondros/Staff/Getty Images 

The Apprentice wasn’t Donald Trump’s first time in front of the cameras, as he had also made a brief appearance on the big screen back in 1992 in Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, where he encounters main character Kevin in the Plaza Hotel. The hotel was owned by Trump at the time, and while an undisclosed fee had already been arranged for filming in its lobby, there was an additional caveat. According to Insider, the billionaire said at the time: “The only way you can use the Plaza is if I’m in the movie.” So Trump not only profited financially from the film but also got a cameo role. However, one entertainment income he has lost since his presidency is his Screen Actors Guild pension, as after the Capitol riot Trump quit before the Guild severed his membership. Before this, SAG had paid out $80,000 (£57k) in pension to Trump in 2020.

Books that used to be best-selling

MARY SCHWALM/Stringer/Getty Images 

Over the course of his career, Donald Trump has penned a total of 19 books, ranging from a manual of golf advice and guides for building a fortune to a crime novel about Trump Tower. One of the most popular of Trump’s works is his memoir The Art of a Deal, which was written in 1987 and benefitted from a resurgence in sales when its author ran for president. However, once Trump was in office that dramatically changed…

Books that used to be best-selling

Noam Galai/Contributor/Getty Images 

Income from Trump’s books dropped to at least $119,341 (£85.4k) in 2020 from more than $888,000 (£635k) in 2015 according to Bloomberg. That said, his most lucrative book deal could be his next. Most presidents write a post-White House memoir, with Barack Obama reportedly receiving $65 million (£46.5m) to write his. While nothing has been announced yet, the former president was rumoured to have been offered dozens of new book and TV deals since leaving the White House, which could be worth up to $100 million (£71.8m) according to the New York Post

US presidency

Alex Wong/Staff/Getty Images 

Since 2001, every president of the United States has received an annual salary of $400,000 (£287k) plus expenses, but Donald Trump’s period in office is reported to have been more lucrative than most, as he juggled his presidential and business interests throughout his term. He had held a total of 88 political events at Trump properties as of September 2020, along with 13 foreign government events. 

US presidency


It wasn’t just money from guests’ overnight stays that was channelled into the Trump Organization, but also from the heavy security detail required whenever Trump and other officials were on the move. Documents showed that the Secret Service spent more than $250,000 (£203k) staying at various Trump locations in a five-month period in 2017 in order to accompany the president. The Washington Post then revealed that the Secret Service paid $650 (£505) per room per night for stays at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, while $17,000 (£13.2k) was spent renting a cottage at Trump National Golf Club Bedminster in New Jersey. It’s also estimated that $2.3 million (£1.8m) from Trump’s presidential campaign fed into his private businesses, including the $1.6 million (£1.2m) spent on renting space at Trump Tower in the run-up to the 2020 election. 

Tax breaks

Mark Wilson/Staff/Getty Images 

Donald Trump’s tax returns were another contentious finance issue in his second bid for the presidency, as it came to light that the then-president had only paid $750 (£537) in federal income tax in both 2016 and 2017. Further examination showed that he paid no tax at all in 11 of the 18 years’ worth of records obtained by the New York Times. Clever usage of taxes has been at the heart of some of Trump’s best business deals, however – when he first bought the heavily-indebted Commodore Hotel, the property mogul negotiated a 40-year tax break that saved the project more than $360 million (£178m) between its purchase in the 1970s and 2020.

Post-presidential life still looks perky

MANDEL NGAN/Contributor/Getty Images 

Having avoided two possible impeachments in the last four years, Donald Trump is also still entitled to all of the perks of post-presidency life, which include a $199,000 (£143k) annual pension, as well as travel expense allowances, staff and personal security for life. His current net worth has dropped since he took the top job, and Trump’s wealth is estimated at $2.3 billion (£1.6bn) by Bloomberg, although Forbesputs his wealth slightly higher at $2.5 billion (£1.8bn). However, both figures are far lower than Trump himself has said he is worth in the past, even allowing for the effects of the coronavirus pandemic on his business interests. But how will he be spending his annual post-presidency income and the rest of his fortune? 

Mar-a-lago is still paying off

Joe Raedle/Staff/Getty Images 

While Donald Trump has made billions through real estate investments, it’s where he spends a lot of his money too. The property tycoon may have moved out of America’s most famous house, but he has plenty of other million-dollar residences to choose from, including the Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida, which Trump allegedly bought in 1985 for $10 million (£9.4m). The value of the 58-bedroom property has since skyrocketed to $170 million (£122.1m), according to Business Insider. In fact, it is one business interest that hasn’t been too greatly impacted by Trump’s presidency, bringing in $22.9 million (£16.4m) in 2020, up from $22.3 million (£15.9m) in 2015.

Read more about Mar-A-Lago, Trump’s Palm Beach hideaway, on our sister site

Other commercial real estate

nyker/Shutterstock Perhaps the most iconic of Trump’s properties is the sky-scraping Trump Tower on Wall Street in New York. While the entire building is multi-use, floors 66 to 68 consist of Trump’s personal triplex penthouse apartment. The apartment alone is worth an estimated $64 million (£49.7m).

Trump’s private properties

Courtesy The Trump Organization 

Other properties belonging to Donald Trump include Seven Springs in Bedford, New York (pictured), which was reportedly bought for $7.5 million (£4.9m) in 1996 and is now thought to be worth $24 million (£18.7m), and his home on the Caribbean island of St. Martin, reportedly worth $13 million (£10.1m). Seven Springs was set to become a golf course but remains a private property following opposition from local residents. Trump is also believed to own two homes in Sterling, Virginia with a combined value of $1.5 million (£1.2m), along with two other properties in Palm Beach in addition to Mar-a-Lago.

Decadent décor 

Courtesy The Mar-a-Lago Club 

And it isn’t just the properties themselves that come with a hefty price tag. Donald Trump is known for his decadent taste in décor, with the interiors of his Fifth Avenue penthouse reportedly inspired by the Palace of Versailles. The apartment is adorned with gold candelabras, classical paintings and designer furniture. Cash was most recently splashed on renovations at Mar-a-Lago ahead of the former president’s departure from the White House. The alterations won’t have come cheap, as they were rumoured to have featured large quantities of dark wood and white marble.


Sam Thomas/Zuma Press/PA Images 

Donald Trump’s interest in gold isn’t purely aesthetic – it’s also been reported that he owns thousands of dollars’ worth of the precious metal in a financial capacity. In 2015, the then-Republican candidate nominee submitted financial statements to the Federal Election Commission, which listed gold assets worth between $100,001 and $200,000 (£65k-£130k). Trump also accepted gold bullion in place of a lease deposit from a tenant of his 40 Wall Street building in a highly-publicised event in 2011.

Luxury aircraft

Robert Alexander/Contributor/Getty Images It’s safe to say that the 45th president of the United States has a penchant for luxury, and that also applies to how he travels. Trump’s air fleet includes a Boeing 757 – nicknamed Trump Force One – with fuel costs that rocket into the thousands of dollars per hour of flying. The airliner was allegedly bought in 2010 for $100 million (£67m) to replace Trump’s older plane – an $8 million (£7.5m) Boeing 727 bought in the 1980s.

Luxury aircraft

Andrew Milligan/PA Archive/PA Images 

Also among the fleet is a 1997 Cessna Citation X jet, which would have been worth around $15.3 million (£9.4m) new, along with three Sikorsky helicopters, which will typically set a buyer back between $5 million and $7 million (£3.9m-£5.4m). In true Trump style, the aircraft are lavishly decked out. Trump Force One boasts gold-plated seat belts and a bathroom with golden sinks, while a refurbishment of one helicopter in the early 2010s saw the interiors finessed with 24-carat gold-plated hardware at a cost of $750,000 (£461k). That said, Bloomberg estimates Trump’s collection of aircraft has fallen in value by 59% since 2016, and is now worth $31 million (£22m).

High-end cars

Uwe Anspach/DPA/PA Images 

Trump also has a pretty impressive garage, featuring various top-of-the-line cars including a vintage Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud, a Rolls-Royce Phantom, a Ferrari, a Maybach, and a Mercedes-Benz 3600, according to Business Insider. The billionaire has always had a taste for flash cars – pictured is the 1987 Mercedes Cabrio bought by Trump and his first wife Ivana in the late 1980s.

See more billionaire planes, trains and automobiles

Political campaigning

Scott Olson/Staff/Getty Images 

While most of the funds for a presidential campaign come from candidate committees and outside groups, such as super political action committees (PACs), some candidates choose to throw their own money into the mix too. Donald Trump injected $66 million (£47m) of his fortune into his $322 million (£230m) bid for the presidency in 2016, although $11 million (£7.9m) of that amount went back into Trump-related interests, such as Trump Organization-owned hotels and his private jet. In 2020 Trump chose not to donate any of his own money to his re-election efforts, making him the first billionaire candidate not to do so. 

Giving back

MANDEL NGAN/Contributor/Getty Images 

In 2016 Donald Trump promised he would donate all of his salary if elected as president, and he stuck to his word. Each quarter a different federal agency received a $100,000 (£77.7k) cheque on his behalf. After tax deductions Trump’s take-home salary would have been closer to $78,000 (£60.6k), so it’s likely the then-president dipped into his own finances to donate a round $100,000 every three months, or $1.6 million (£1.2m) over the four-year term. Trump also donated a total of $130 million (£101m) to charity between 2005 and 2020 according to his tax returns, although $119.3 million (£92.7m) of that was in conservation easements, which involve donating land development rights to a conservation charity while retaining ownership of the land and gaining considerable tax benefits in the process. 


Ian MacNicol/Stringer/Getty Images 

If Donald Trump wasn’t in the White House during his term in office, you could almost certainly find him on a golf course. He made an estimated 298 golf outings during his presidency, at an alleged cost of around $145 million (£113m) to the American taxpayer. The expenses covered travel, overnight stays and the extensive security detail he required as head of state. Now that he has left the White House, Trump will be picking up most of those costs himself, although former presidents are afforded life-long security protection as part of their retirement package.

Personal styling

Sachs Ron/CNP/ABACA/ABACA/PA Images 

As a man who is always in the spotlight, appearance is incredibly important to Donald Trump. The former president has long had an affinity for Brioni menswear, and while it was supplied free of charge during his run on The Apprentice, Trump started to pay for his suits during the 2016 presidential campaign. Each suit sets him back between $5,250 and $6,900 (£4.1k-£5.4k). The former president’s tax returns also revealed that $70,000 (£54k) had been spent on styling his hair while he was on the hit TV show, all of which had been claimed back as expenses. It appears that being camera-ready is no cheap pursuit if you’re Donald Trump.


Chip Somodevilla/Staff/Getty Images 

From suave suits to lawsuits. Donald Trump has had a fair few run-ins with the law during his lengthy career, and had been involved in a total of 3,500 legal actions across federal and state courts before he first ran for office in 2016, according to USA Today. The best-known and priciest of Trump’s legal mishaps was the Trump University litigation. The businessman was slapped with a $25 million (£17.9m) settlement fee in 2016 after students had paid $35,000 (£27k) for Trump’s ‘get rich quick’ classes, which failed to deliver and were described as “fraudulent” by an attorney general. Having now lost the protections afforded by the White House, Donald Trump could have many more costly legal battles in his future.

Family fortune

Pool/Pool/Getty Images 

While Donald Trump infamously told the Fox & Friends talk show that his birthday gift for wife Melania in 2018 was “a very nice card” as he’s too “busy to be running out looking for presents”, the rest of the former president’s family doesn’t appear to be too hard-up when it comes to benefitting from Trump’s wealth. 

Family fortune

Mark Wilson/Staff/Getty Images Donald and Melania Trump’s only son together, 14-year-old Barron, attended St. Andrew’s Episcopal School in Maryland during his father’s presidency, at a cost of $40,000 (£31.1k) a year. In January Melania was seen scoping out new schools in Florida ready for the family’s departure from the White House, including the Pine Crest School in Fort Lauderdale, which costs a slightly cheaper $35,150 (£27.3k) per year. 

Family fortune

John Lamparski/Contributor/Getty Images 

The teenager (pictured with Melania and half-sister Ivanka in 2009) is very accustomed to a life of luxury and, when he was just seven years old, Melania told ABC News that she lathered him in her now-defunct brand of caviar moisturiser each night before bed. Barron also enjoys his own floor of the triplex Trump Tower penthouse when the family is living in New York and has received a plethora of gifts thanks to his father’s celebrity, including a chandelier from Ellen DeGeneres and a horse from the former President of Mongolia.

Family fortune

Sipa USA/SIPA USA/PA Images 

Donald Trump’s grown-up children have also profited from his empire, with Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump (pictured left and second from left respectively) both working as Executive Vice Presidents at the Trump Organization, through which they’ve amassed fortunes of around $25 million (£19.4m) apiece. Sharing his father’s name could be a blessing or a curse for Donald Trump Jr, but it has highlighted something that his father doesn’t splash the cash on, and that’s gifts. Donald Jr. often received second-hand monogrammed presents that had been given to the former president but then passed onto him given that they share the same initials, according to an interview with Extra TV.

Family fortune

MANDEL NGAN/Contributor/Getty Images 

Ivanka Trump (pictured right) is the richest of the Trump siblings, having built up a fashion empire alongside her dealings at the family business, giving her a net worth of around $375 million (£291m). She also seems to have inherited her father’s affinity for expensive grooming services, as a sum of $95,464 (£74.2k) was among the expenses in the 2020 reveal of Donald Trump’s finances. Tiffany (pictured left) is the only grown-up Trump child who isn’t involved in the family business – instead she attended Georgetown Law school until last year, at a cost of around $69,000 (£49k) per academic year.