Kurt Eichenwald: A People’s History of Donald Trump: "He’d have done better if he’d never gone into business... (Live from the Republicans' Self-Made Trump Hell)
...In 1982, Trump reported to New Jersey regulators a personal net worth of $321 million, built largely on his father’s connections, as well as loans and guarantees for bank credit. Two years later, a Trump lieutenant testified that his worth had not changed much. In 2004, in reviewing his application for a loan, Deutsche Bank concluded he was worth $788 million. Trump now makes the highly dubious claim that he is worth $10 billion; Forbes estimates that the real number is $3.7 billion.
That’s a lot of money, to be sure, but suppose Trump had never done any deals and instead sold all of his assets back in 1982 and invested them in a fund based on the Standard & Poor’s 500 index. With dividends reinvested, he would have increased his wealth to $535 million by 1985. By 2004, his personal wealth would have increased to $5.9 billion. And three years ago, he would have exceeded what he claims to be worth now by more than $1 billion; today, he would be worth more than $13 billion, just under three times the Forbes estimate.