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Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney found a running mate wealthier than most of us. Although not nearly as rich as Romney, Rep. Paul Ryan has a net worth of about $4.5 million and earned at least $344,000 last year, putting him in the top 5 percent of income earners. Most of his money comes from his marriage and inheritances.

At a glance, Mr. Ryan’s finances reflect an upper middle-class family: Mr. Ryan mortgages his home — six bedrooms with 5,700 square feet on less than one acre — though it’s no gilded mansion. He and his wife, Janna, support three children, and she’s now a stay-at-home mom.

But a review of Mr. Ryan’s financial statements by the Associated Press shows he is in the wealthiest percentiles of Americans. His income is between $344,000 and $1.4 million. Much of his money comes from a trust fund set up following his mother-in-law’s death, as well as investments in natural resources. He also earns an annual salary as a member of Congress of $174,000.

Mr. Romney’s choice of Mr. Ryan could be a lightning rod for Democrats who have criticized Mr. Ryan for his proposed cuts to federal programs for the poor and sick. Mr. Ryan’s supporters said his budget plan is a serious discussion about government’s relationship with Americans and tough medicine for a Washington that for years has spent more than it collects. The Romney campaign declined to discuss Mr. Ryan’s assets, saying his financial statements speak for themselves.

Much of Mr. Ryan’s wealth includes his wife’s assets and her family’s businesses in Oklahoma, where her family members are Democratic heavyweights.

From wire dispatches and staff reports