The former public school teacher is worth an estimated $1 million.
Joe Biden’s cabinet is much poorer than Donald Trump’s, and nowhere is that discrepancy clearer than in the position of education secretary. Betsy DeVos, an heiress whose immediate family holds an estimated $2 billion fortune, was the richest person in Trump’s administration other than the president. Biden’s secretary Miguel Cardona, on the other hand, is worth about 0.05% as much, an estimated $1 million. Most of his money is tied up in a house, retirement accounts and a couple of 529 college-savings plans for his children.
Miguel Cardona Vs. Betsy DeVos
DeVos shares a massive fortune, which was last valued by Forbes in 2019, with her husband and four adult children. It’s made up of mostly Amway stock, a stake in NBA team the Orlando Magic, as well as a collection of private equity investments, commercial real estate, mansions and yachts.
The son of Puerto Rican transplants, Cardona grew up in public housing in Meriden, Connecticut, a city between New Haven and Hartford. He attended public schools as a child, and went up the road to Central Connecticut State University becoming the first person in his family to graduate college. After, he came back home to Meriden to take a job as an elementary school teacher.
“At Israel Putnam Elementary, Miguel, on a starting teacher’s salary, fished $450 out of his pocket to make sure that his kids had the supplies they needed,” said Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut at Cardona’s cabinet confirmation hearing earlier this year. “He was relentless in teaching his students to refuse to let socioeconomic obstacles block their dreams and their progress.”
Inside Cardona’s Wallet
Miguel Cardona and his wife Marissa each have retirement accounts through Meriden, Connecticut public schools.
That relentlessness also helped Cardona rise through the ranks of public education. In 2003, before he turned 30, Cardona became the youngest school principal in all of Connecticut. The next year, he and his wife, Marissa, bought a house for $305,000.
Cardona stayed on as principal for 10 years, and in 2013, became his district’s assistant superintendent. In 2019 he assumed the role of commissioner for the Connecticut department of education. In that role, he earned an annual salary of about $200,000, according to the financial disclosure he filed after his nomination to Biden’s cabinet.