"That's an example of taking responsibility. I think that if you are already worth tens of millions of dollars, and you are having to lay off workers, the least you can do is say, 'I'm willing to make some sacrifice as well, because I recognize that there are people who are a lot less well off, who are going through some pretty tough times,'" the president-elect added.
In a lengthy interview that touched on a broad range of topics from the economy and troop deployments in Afghanistan, to Thanksgiving plans with his family, Obama talked about many of the personal adjustment he, his wife Michelle, and their two children will make when they move into the White House on Jan. 20.
Obama, who will become the nation's first black president, shrugged off any suggestion that his history making role put him in any added danger.
His historic victory has prompted online streams of racial hatred and several arrests because of threats to his safety.
Obama told Walters that he does not allow a sense of menace to rattle him and that he simply ignores it.
"I don't think about it partly because I've got this pretty terrific crew of Secret Service guys that follow me everywhere I go," he said.
"But also because, you know, I have a deep religious faith, and a faith in people that, you know, carries me through the day. And my job is just to make sure I'm doing my job, and if I do I can't worry about that kind of stuff," he told Walters.
Even before the presidential campaign began, Obama's wife Michelle had openly worried about the added danger that her husband's candidacy might draw because of his race. She fretted on "60 Minutes" earlier this year that "as a black man, you know, Barack can get shot going to the gas station."
Obama won't be going to a gas station for at least the next four years, but all presidents face an inherent danger because of their position and their policies.
The president-elect said that his children won't get the full effect of being the nation's first kids. He said Malia, 10, and Sasha, 7, will know they are special to their parents, "But they're not special, you know in terms of having to do their homework or having to do chores."
The future first lady Michelle Obama added, "That was the first thing I said to some of the [White House] staff when I did my visit. Because of course, the girls, they're so good. I said, 'You know, we're going to have to set up some boundaries. Because they're going to need to be able to make their beds" and clean their own rooms.
Michelle Obama added with a laugh, "Don't make their beds. Make mine."
Barbara Walters told "Good Morning America" that both Barack and Michelle Obama agreed that it is Michelle who "gets the last word," with the president-elect philosophizing, "When Momma's happy, everybody is happy."
Obama said he was concerned that the isolated life of a president would limit his access to information from outside the bubble of the White House.
Throughout the campaign, Obama was often seen communicating to staff members via his BlackBerry, a convenience the president-elect may legally have to forgo, and one which he indicated he was negotiating to keep.
For national security purposes, a president is limited in his electronic correspondences for fear of hacking. Additionally, presidential communications are strictly monitored and archived for historical purposes.