Retirement Perks
presidential security

Jimmy Carter is shown here followed closely by security guards in 2002, decades after his term as U.S. president.

AP Photo/Leslie Mazoch

What happens to a president after his or her term expires or a new president is voted into office? If you wonder about the difficulty of transitioning from one of the most powerful positions into the ranks of ex-presidents (and a life of relative obscurity), don't feel too badly for ex-presidents -- they get their own special retirement perks.

For starters, ex-presidents receive a hefty annual pension for their golden years. Before 1958, the government expected them to pursue other ventures and didn't support them at all. As of March 2008, they received $191,300 per year [source: Smith]. In addition to that sum, they get a paid staff and office space, in addition to phone services and funds for office supplies.

Ex-presidents even receive compensation for the costs of relocating offices. Although they may not get the sweet rides on Air Force One anymore, they do get an allowance for travel expenses. They also enjoy a great medical perk: receiving medical treatment at military hospitals. To top it all off, ex-presidents can relax safely and soundly thanks to continued personal security. Presidents who entered office prior to 1997 enjoy this security for the rest of their lives, but later presidents only get this service for 10 years.

The last perk a president gets is a pretty special one. In a ceremonial as well as practical gesture (to spare the president's family funeral costs), every ex-president gets a state funeral with all the pomp and circumstance befitting the former chief executive.