By Macy M.
According to Thetoptens.com, Batman is the number one favorite superhero of comic fans, outranking the likes of Superman and Captain America. What could possibly make the life of a brooding bachelor vigilante so enviable? Why, billions of dollars of course! Not to mention Catwoman and the Batmobile. Still, there exists an unanswered question that many fans of superheroes and supervillains have wondered. How much would it cost to be Batman? Wait no longer, my fellow fanatics; you are about to find out…
First, let’s talk net worth. Batman’s income comes from his day job as Bruce Wayne, the CEO of Wayne Industries. In a study conducted by students at Lehigh University in 2012, the Wayne family business was compared to current, real-world companies with similar involvement in their respective industries. Adding these values together and acknowledging that stocks for similarly diversified companies trade at approximately 16 times their income, Wayne Industries is worth a whopping $23.22 billion. Bruce Wayne himself owns a controlling share of these stocks (at least 50%), making him worth no less than $11.61 billion. It’s a good thing too, because his cost of living as Batman is substantial. Keep in mind that the following calculations do not include the initial investments of his possessions like the Batmobile or Wayne Mansion but simply reflect the upkeep and monthly obligations required to maintain the lifestyle of the Dark Knight.
Butler: It verges on irreverence to call Alfred a ‘butler’ since he is so much more than a servant to Mr. Wayne; however, for the sake of calculations, we will say that he is just a butler. The average cost of a butler currently runs at $30 an hour. Taking into consideration Alfred’s 24/7 availability, he would earn $21,900.00 each month. Nevertheless, Alfred’s expertise and fatherly presence are priceless.
Batmobile (and other modes of Bat-transportation): The Batmobile excels in everything except gas mileage. Most versions of the car appear to run off of a gas turbine engine, which gets a measly 5 miles per gallon (approximately). If he were to drive it 500 miles each month in his attempts to rid Gotham of its thugs, then the fuel for the Batmobile averages $250 each month. Let us not forget that he has many other vehicles to keep running. For example, the cost of flying a Private Jet round trip from Phoenix to Tokyo once a month is $14,941. It doesn’t take much to imagine that a man of Mr. Wayne’s influence could be required to travel a quarter of the way around the world monthly… for business, of course. The cost for these two vehicles alone totals $15,191 every month.
Batcomputer: DC Comics has stated that the Batcomputer’s capabilities rival the fastest and most advanced supercomputers in existence. Today’s fastest supercomputer consumes 15 megawatts of electricity per hour which could power the average American home for a year and a half. With electricity averaging $0.12 per kilowatt hour, this supercomputer costs $1,800 an hour to run. If we assume the Batcomputer consumes a similar amount of electricity and runs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, Batman’s electric bill for the Batcomputer alone would be about $1,314,000/month.
Crime Lab: DC Comics has also stated that the crime lab located within the Batcave is no less capable than the labs used by the federal government. In 2016, the United States FBI released their budget requests for the year. The total requested amount for research and projects (excluding the FBI agents’ salaries) is $88.9 million dollars. It would be hard to imagine that one man, even if he is Batman, could accomplish the same amount of research as a team of thousands of experts in multiple labs throughout the country. Let’s assume that his research and development could keep up with one-tenth of the FBI’s, his expenses would equal $740,833 monthly.
Artillery and Equipment: Depending on whether or not the Joker is in the Arkham Asylum, Batman’s need for artillery varies. Some sources estimate that he would spend over $10,000 on batterangs, grenades, tear gas, tracking devices and so on. That figure only accounts for the items he keeps directly on his person. Practically speaking, he could need to restock this supply every other month. Also, his penchant for carbon fiber and Kevlar® as a fashion statement estimates a cost of $1,058,600 per suit. We must be reasonable when considering the number of suits that are destroyed each year. If he were to save up and buy 3 suits a year, he’s looking at $324,650/ month in this category.
Grand Total: $2,416,574. monthly
For perspective, it would take an average person earning $20 an hour and working 40 hours a week about 128 years to earn the above amount that Batman spends in a month. Keep in mind that this is an abbreviated list of expenses that are specific to Batman. We didn’t even begin to discuss Bruce Wayne’s expenses for maintaining the Wayne Mansion, grocery shopping, taking dates to fancy dinners, and his philanthropic contributions to Gotham City. There are many practical measures that Batman would likely take to cut these costs including the use of sustainable energy sources, turning off the Batcomputer occasionally, and production efficiency when inventing new gadgets for his utility belt.
*Batman is a registered trademark of DC Comics and is in no way affiliated with Arizona Federal Credit Union.