Q&A on the News

Q: I don’t think Donald Trump has always had money. How did he get his start? Where did he get his education and where is background?

—Eddie Webster, Douglasville

A: Fred Trump, Donald Trump's father, was a real estate developer who started his business when he was 15 years old in 1920.

Later that decade, he was building houses in the New York borough of Queens and owned a supermarket.

Fred Trump began building barracks and apartments for the U.S. military during World War II and then focused on building apartments and middle-income housing throughout New York neighborhoods in the 1940s.

Donald Trump, who was born in 1946, initially attended Fordham University, but later transferred to the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School.

Fred Trump, who was estimated to be worth $250-$300 million when he died in 1999, lent “a small amount of money,” the New York Times reported, to Donald in the 1970s, so he could start his own development company.

“But what he lent was mostly knowledge; Donald really did it on his own, along with whatever boost he got from being Fred Trump’s son, of course,” another son, Robert Trump, told the paper in his father’s obituary.

Forbes estimates Donald Trump’s net worth at $4 billion, but he said in June 2014 that he’s worth $8.7 billion.

Trump said this June that he’s worth $10 billion.

Andy Johnston with Fast Copy News Service wrote this column. Do you have a question about the news? We’ll try to get the answer. Call 404-222-2002 or email q&a@ajc.com (include name, phone and city).