Thanks to the personal finance disclosure that members of congress are required to submit — and the folks at the Center for Responsive Politics who maintain a database of the documents — we were able to look into the investment decisions of Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan, who as of last week, is now the official Republican vice presidential nominee.
According to the documents, Ryan has benefited from a number of trusts and inheritances that make up most of his wealth, but his investments over the years have cemented his net worth somewhere between $927,000 and $3.2 million.
1. A brief stint as a landlord made Ryan some early cash.
As a freshman representative, Ryan bought three rental properties in his hometown of Janesville, Wisc., in Feb. 1998 He paid between $100,000 and $250,000 for the properties, financing them with a mortgage from Anchorbank SSB.
He collected between $15,000 and $50,000 per year in rent from tenants, and in 2000 bought a fourth rental property. By that point the properties were worth between $250,000 and $500,000.
He flipped the real estate in 2001.
2. Ryan Limited Partnership, an investment group, has made Ryan a lot of money.
Ryan owned a 21.37% stake in RLP well before he joined Congress, and the asset has grown from a worth of $45,358 in 1998 to somewhere between $100,000 and $250,000 in 2011.
That partnership has diversified its portfolio over the years, and has made a brisk trade in stocks and mutual funds. Dividends alone were worth $5,000 to $15,000 last year, although they were higher prior to the recession.
Current RLP assets include Altria Group, Amazon.com, Apple, Google, McDonald's, Philip Morris, Starbucks and Visa.
3. One of his best moves was striking gold on Home Depot stocks.
Ryan owns a one-fifth stake in Ryan-Hutter Investment Partnership, and that group made huge gains on Home Depot.
We know that RHIP owned between $100,000 and $250,000 worth of the stock in 1998. Over the course of 2002 — when the stock sold between $50 and $24 per share — RHIP unloaded 4,000 shares of the stock, grossing between $96,000 and $200,000.
Then, on December 9, 2002, RHIP sold 5,000 shares of the stock, gaining around $120,000.
They also sold between $15,000 and $50,000 worth of shares in 2005.
Altogether, Ryan — with his 20% stake — has grossed between $46,200 and $74,000 from sales of Home Depot stock alone.
4. Ryan made a ton of money from Ryan-Hutter's other investments too.
Ryan-Hutter is an investment partnership that Ryan has held a stake in for two decades, and its from this, plus Ryan Limited Partnership, that Ryan has earned most of his personal wealth.
In 1998, the partnership was worth at least $168,000 but only paid out between $1,600 and $7,000 to Ryan annually. But now, the vast portfolio has gained a lot of value. It's worth between $250,000 and $500,000 and pays out $5,000 to $15,000 annually to Ryan. Even more, at the height of the economy, just before the economic crisis, Ryan was pulling between $15,000 and $50,000 annually from it.
5. Ryan's real money comes from steep investments in his wife's family's businesses.
Ryan's wife is an heiress to a family that is very powerful in the Oklahoma area. After getting married, Ryan's net worth soared compared to his bachelor days.
One investment he and his wife share is a 10% stake in the Blondie & Brownie gravel company. He and his wife made between $5,000 and $15,000 from that investment in 2009, and the stake was most recently estimated to be worth between $100,000 and $250,000.
6. One of his other investments is in Red River Pine LLC, a company with timber interests.
Ryan has loaded up on natural resource investments, like Red River Pine LLC.
Despite the fact that the national economy has been down in the past few years, the worth of these interests has only gone up.
In 2001, the stake in Red River Pine was worth only $15,000 to $50,000. Now, according to his 2011 filings, it could be worth up to $100,000.
7. Paul Ryan also has a stake in the oil industry
Ryan's wife's family has a substantial interest in the Little Land Company, formerly known as the LOCL Land Oil Company.
Ryan's stake is worth 0.08%. But don't let that tiny number fool you — the Ryan family stake in the firm is worth up to $100,000.
8. The Ava O Ltd mineral and mining company is another big investment for Ryan.
Ryan retains a 7.69% share in the Ava O Ltd company, a company with mining rights and other enterprises.
In 2001, Ryan's share was worth only around $15,000 to $50,000. By now, it's worth somewhere between $100,000 and $250,000. And in 2011 Ryan accumulated between $15,000 and $50,000 in royalties from mineral rights in Oklahoma alone.
9. He's also made a large amount of money from an investment in the Fidelity Contrafund.
In 2001, Ryan saw the tech bubble collapsing firsthand with a portfolio that was luckily shielded largely from that crash.
As the market was going down in 2001, Ryan and his wife made an investment worth more than $15,000 in the Fidelity Contrafund, which tries to identify underperforming blue-chips and other stocks.
It was a really good call.
Now, Ryan's stake in the Contrafund is worth $50,000 to $100,000. The fund has consistently outperformed the market over the past ten years.
According to his disclosures, Ryan also has money in the PIMCO RealReturn Fund, a Schwab Government Money Mart account and a number of funds with T. Rowe Price.
10. Ryan is also heavily invested in a bunch of tech companies.
He's personally got between $2,000 and $30,000 tied up in Apple, and is involved in several mutual funds that are also heavily invested in the company.
According to his disclosures, Ryan's also got up to $15,000 worth of Google stock, and similar amounts in Oracle and IBM.
Ryan also sold a bunch of HP stock — worth up to $15,000 — around the time it peaked in 2010, and sold off a bunch of Intel stocks that same year.