Based on what we know about some of our favorite TV characters and their jobs, I compiled their theoretical annual incomes and what they’re apartment rents would be to determine how far over (or under) they fell within the 30 percent rule. The 30% rule is how much an individual should spend on housing. As it turns out, just about every TV character might be living outside their means where their monthly housing allowance is concerned.
Sheldon and Leonard from “The Big Bang Theory” are self-proclaimed nerds and, coincidentally, self-proclaimed geniuses. Both Ph.D. graduates and research scientists at Caltech are estimated to earn nearly $217,000 combined a year. If they responsibly followed the 30 percent rule, this would give them just over $5,400 to spend each month on their shared two-bedroom apartment. By my estimation, they’re only spending a fraction of that amount, putting them well within the threshold of a healthy housing budget.
By my calculations, George Costanza from “Seinfeld” would be the biggest perpetrator of all. Anybody suprised by that one? Earning roughly $30,000 a year at Kruger Inc, I estimate his apartment in the Big Apple would set him back over $3,700 a month—or 149% of his monthly income.
A fellow New Yorker, Robin Scherbatsky from “How I Met Your Mother” isn’t far behind when it comes to unrealistic income-to-housing portrayals. As we saw over the show’s nine seasons, this Canadian-displaced New Yorker pursued her dream of being a big-time TV anchor to no avail. At one point, she was even in danger of being deported back to Canada for having no job at all. Based on my estimation of Robin’s annual income and the cost of her apartment, she’d be spending 90% of her monthly income on housing in the real world. Put another way, there’s no way she could ever have afforded that apartment. Maybe her and George Costanza could get together and become roommates.
Monica and Rachel from the iconic ’90s TV show “Friends” earned an estimated $160,000 combined annually as a chef (Monica) and Ralph Lauren executive (Rachel). The roomies would have about $4,000 a month to put toward the cost of their plush New York City apartment if they followed the 30 percent rule.
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