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The Fat Wallets of #FatBearWeek

Winter is coming, and Brown Bear grocery bills are out of hand

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Fat Bear Week is back — the “March Madness” of Brown Bears getting wide for the winter!

Fat Bear Week is a celebration of success, survival, and fattening. It’s a chance to learn about bears (and the salmon they love) at Katmai National Park and Preserve in Alaska. Humans around the world can get online, learn about the 12 biggest bear finalists, and vote for their favourites.

Okay, but just how big are these bears? Well, they really stuff themselves. They have to. In fact, they eat the equivalent of a year’s worth of food in six months, in order to survive the winter. They can live off their fat stores for up to 100 days while they hibernate.

Okay, enough with the science. How much is this going to cost me?

A Brown Bear can eat 100 lbs of sockeye salmon on a good day. Lucky for them, they don’t have to pay for their meals. But what if you wanted to eat like a Brown Bear? How would your food bill look?

We’ll start here. The cost of an annual Alaskan hunting and fishing license for a resident is $60. Reasonable.

But maybe you’re over the hustle. Maybe you want someone else to do the hunting. For ready-to-order salmon at the grocery store, expect to pay about $20 per pound of sockeye (uncooked). Okaaaay. Your salmon habit now costs about $2,000 a day.

And if you prefer your salmon as sashimi from that fancy sushi joint that just opened up where the Outback Steakhouse used to be? Prices vary, but it’s pretty standard for a one-ounce piece of salmon sashimi to sell for about $5. At 16 ounces to a pound, that’s $80 per pound. If you’re eating like a brown bear at the sushi bar, dinner’s about to cost you $8000… sans tip!

Did we mention that NONE OF THIS FISH IS EVEN COOKED?!

Listen. A dream’s a dream, and if you want a shot at victory during Fat Bear Week, we have two suggestions… Either become a bear and move to Alaska, or invest your money so that in the future, you can buy yourself unlimited amounts of uncooked salmon. Choose the option that sounds simplest, and good luck!  

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The Cost of Becoming a Supervillain

The Straight Economics on Menacing Your Nemeses

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It’s not easy being a supervillain. Just when you think you’re going to make that big score, in swoops some meddling do-gooder to send you back to square one. Or, worse, a supermax prison. Sometimes though, it pays to break bad. Here’s a closer look at the costs of evildoing.

£4 million: Underground lair

An impenetrable mountainside fortress may *look* cool, but good luck getting the pizza guy to deliver… Standard advice says you shouldn’t spend more than 30% of your income on housing, so you may need to steal a crown jewel or two to afford this Bond villain’s paradise. For those supervillaining on a budget, why live inside an active volcano when you can live next to one for as low as $10,000 on Hawaii’s Big Island?

$16,000: Blofeld swivel chair

The black leather swivel chair famously used by Donald Pleasence’s Blofeld fetched $16,000 at auction in 2014, but you can find your own vintage version for £1,323. Just try to limit the sprees with your new black card. Studies show we’re willing to spend up to 100% more when paying with credit.

$163 million: Your own “death ray”

That’s the price tag the US Navy shelled out for its “megawatt-class laser” superweapon. Doomsday devices don’t come cheap, so shop around. And, since we typically buy with our emotions, maybe sleep on that death ray purchase before pulling the trigger. (Good advice for after you buy, too!)

Up to $1MM+: Shark tank

Dangling your arch nemesis over a tank of hungry sharks is going to cost you an arm and a leg (sorry): anywhere from $15,000 to $1 million. Planning to put your death trap on credit? Use a tool like this one to calculate how long it’ll take to pay off, and make sure you’re holding enough cities hostage to cover your monthly payments. Otherwise, you’ll face an equally terrifying foe: compound interest charges. Between this and the annual upkeep for saltwater tanks, you may find a snake pit’s more economical. Do the deep work and be honest about the kind of supervillain you want to be.

And remember, with death traps, it’s a vibe.

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SpongeBob’s Road to Real Estate

A Pants-Wearing Sponge Cleans Up in the Housing Market. Here’s the Takeaway.

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Against all odds, everyone’s favourite sea sponge is doing quite well for himself: he owns his own home! Say what you will about SpongeBob’s fashion, food, and career choices, this kid’s captured a milestone that’s a dream for many. And he’s not just captured that milestone, he’s slayed it.

SpongeBob’s hollowed-out pineapple home is allegedly worth $18 000 000 — almost 3X what Drake paid for his Toronto manse. Consider the view: “This post-modern tropical gem features 360-degree ocean views and three stories of nautical luxury,” boasts a  video on SpongeBob’s official YouTube account. 

Okay, so how did he do it, and what lessons can we soak up from this real estate rockstar? 

Millennial Bob: A fiscally savvy thirtysomething

Thanks to a glimpse fans once got of his driver’s license, we know SpongeBob was born on July 14, 1986 — so, he’s a millennial at age 35. Those who grew up watching SpongeBob SquarePants may find it hard to believe that he’s been more disciplined with his finances than the majority of us, but hey, crazy things happen under the sea. Let’s consider that Bob may be a financial wizard, and deconstruct his money moves.

He’s a famously devoted fry cook — some say the world’s greatest —  at the Krusty Krab, Bikini Bottom’s favourite fast-food joint. Work ethic? Check! Income? … inconsistent. In one episode, according to Spongepedia, Bob claims to make under ten cents a year. In another ep, we learn that he pays his boss, Mr. Krabs, $100 an hour for the privilege of working. We’ve seen him pocket an envelope of cash on payday, so he does get the occasional haul, but really Bob’s the original gig worker. 

The Takeaway

He’s been side hustling since he was 12— jouster, chef, lifeguard, lawyer, the list goes on. Bob started early, put time to work in his favour, and probably learned a thing or two about compound interest along the way. 

Is he investing? Probably. He’s sure invested a lot of time over at Mrs. Puff’s Boating School, where he’s failed to get his boating license 1 258 058 times. Silver lining? He’s saving money on gas and boat payments, and likely making that money work for him in the markets.

And finally, Bob knows a deal when he sees one. Submerged “land” is considerably cheaper to buy than its above sea equivalent. In Canada, a man recently listed  two lots, “presently underwater,” for the bargain price of $99,000. 

Is this the investment property to sink your savings into? We prefer drier. But hey, location, location… floatation!

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The Costs of Wizardry

From Muggle to Wiz, Wealthie runs the numbers.

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From the budding wizards at Hogwarts to the more seasoned wizzes of Lord of the Rings, wizardry is where it’s at. For anyone curious about a career in wizarding, Wealthie looks at the costs of getting off the ground. (haha see what we did there?)

Looking the Part: $35+

A robe was just a scratchy cloak until Madam Malkin came along. She cornered the market on fashion and function. We hunted for the ones that Harry and his pals made famous, but they’re only sold at Universal Studios. So, if you’re a label lover who wants the real deal, you’ll have to budget for it.

Tickets to Universal: $315 PLUS flight and hotel! That’s a lot of IRL money. So, while you’re saving up we’ve found good alternatives at well.ca, Walmart, and Amazon, ranging from about $35-$60, with hood, embroidery, and lining. 

Pro tip: sew in a few pockets to make room for spells and potions. 

Carry a Big Stick: $4.50 and Up

The pièce de résistance!  If you’re serious about wizardry – which we know you are – you’ll need a wand. Wands are an opportunity to express yourself. Are you a no frills kind of wiz? A 14-inch gold-tipped standard, or a basic lucite will run you about $4.50 to $5.50. 

Are you a wizard who loves movies and history? Maybe you’d like to bid on Glynda the Good Witch’s wand, which sold for $400 000 back in 2019!

Hocus Pocus: Misc.

Every great wizard has some potions up their sleeve. Since we could use some money to launch our career, we’re costing out potion ingredients for a spell to help you win at Bingo

2 tbsp Pepper

2 tbsp Mustard (yellow works best)

10 freshly picked Honeysuckles OR 20 grams of Organic Cloves

1 sealable glass bottle to hold all ingredients.

Most of these items, you’ll find at home for free, so cast your spell and let’s get you some dough for a bestie!

A Wizard’s BFF: Priceless

Every wizard needs a companion — one that strikes fear into the souls of their enemies, and is also extremely cute. Like an owl! Did you know that owls are able to turn their heads a full 270 degrees? Oh, and owls have adapted to nearly every ecosystem on the planet? Hoo knew?!

The Eurasian Eagle Owl generally costs between $2,800 and $3,800. Suddenly, a rat like Scabbers looks like a steal. You could train a raven, or adopt a cat. You can even adopt a Great Horned or Saw-Whet Owl for $25 to $100 monthly. Don’t forget to factor in costs for  food, training, and exercise. 

Owning a pet is a pretty serious business, even with magical super powers. So you may want to start by testing out your powers of convincing on the Muggles in your home. 

The wizardry game is a long game. And a fun one. You’re now armed with the tools you need to become a wizard. So, come up with a Wizard name, and don’t forget to trademark it!

Thoughts on pursuing your dreams:

Don’t let the Muggles get you down.

– Ron Weasley

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The Cost of Being Batman

Running the numbers on this Caped Crusader. 

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Yes, Batman’s got a lot to juggle, keeping Gotham safe from the Riddler and Penguin. But, that’s not all that’s on his mind. Like any business titan, running a multi-billion dollar enterprise while moonlighting as a caped crusader, Batman’s got to stay on top of his budget. 

Wealthie looks into the BatWallet to investigate how this superhero stays in the black.

$13.04 billion: Total net worth

Ten years ago a group of econ students (and obvious DC Comic fans) at Lehigh University estimated Batman’s wealth at 11.6 billion USD, ($13.04B in today’s dollars). It’s mostly the result of inheritance after his parents’ brutal murder. But, B. Wayne deserves some credit, too. He’s put his money to work at Wayne Enterprises. Being mega wealthie is actually Batman’s superpower. He doesn’t have superhuman strength, x-ray vision, or even spider powers. He just knows how to make every buck count.  

$137 million: Market value of Wayne Manor

Bruce inherited his 42,500 square foot, 11 bedroom, luxury lair from his parents when they died. Since then, it’s been destroyed several times by various enemies. 

Without considering the costs of all those rebuilds, here’s what Batman budgets annually:

$1.6M: annual upkeep

$37,000: property taxes

$27,000: house insurance (and that’s monthly!)

$41,250: The Batsuit

This is what the costume worn by Michael Keaton in Batman Returns fetched at auction. If you’d prefer a functional memory cloth polymer cape (the kind that stiffens to facilitate flying from building to building), that’s going to set you back $40,000 on its own. 

$11, 588, 928: Annual life insurance policy

It’s not cheap being a batguy in the big city. According to Vantis Life, a US insurance company that scores factors like dangerous situations, exposure to firearms, and alcohol consumption, Batman is one of the most valuable clients in Gotham or anywhere.   

$1.5MM: Salary for Alfred Pennyworth

The starting salary for a butler is around $30/hour. However, the highest paid butler on the planet — a guy named Gary Williams, who works for a billionaire in Miami — rakes in a reported $2.2 million a year. Keep in mind that Batman’s right hand has a fairly extensive job description, and some top shelf job experience.  Alfred’s LinkedIn page includes stints with British spy agencies MI5 and MI6. He spends as much time supporting his boss in special ops as he does delivering tea. He’s also been on the job since Bruce was seven, so we’ve factored in a few substantial raises.       

$12.3MM: Estimated Price to Buy the Daily Planet 

That’s right, Batman is technically Superman’s boss, having bought the newspaper where Clark Kent works as a bespectacled reporter. It wasn’t cheap (and print media is a risky investment these days). But the cost of owning the competition: Priceless. 

Financial advice from Batman’s nemesis:

“If you’re good at something, never do it for free.”

– The Joker, ‘The Dark Knight’