If spreading Christmas cheer and delivering presents around the world in one day were a paid gig, Santa would make about $140,000 a year.
This year’s Santa Index released by Insure.com shows Kris Kringle deserved a 1.5% raise in 2014, according to a wage analysis by the consumer insurance information website.
Santa’s imaginary salary -- $139,924 -- is a point of contention. An Insure.com survey of 895 adults on the subject of Santa’s financial fate showed most respondents fell into one of two groups: those who think Santa shouldn’t be paid and those who think he should get a sack of cash as big as his present-filled bag.
About 29% of adults said Santa shouldn’t be paid, while 29% said he should earn $1.8 billion each year -- about $1 for every child under 15 around the globe. Some 17% said St. Nick deserves less than $100,000 a year, while 16% said he should make $100,000 to $200,000.
“I don’t think many people would argue about the importance of Santa, but the economic ‘value’ of Santa appears to be a hot-button issue,” Amy Danise, editorial director of Insure.com, said in a statement.
Insure.com calculates what Santa should make by using average wage data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics for the occupations that mostly match elements of Santa’s “job.”
His highest hourly wages would come from running the workshop (which would put him in the same category as an industrial engineer) and piloting the sleigh (comparing the job to that of an airline pilot).
“Knowing your own ‘economic value’ to your family is the first step in finding an appropriate amount of life insurance,” Danise said. “So we hope the Santa Index is a lighthearted way to remind people to consider all the tasks they do when buying life insurance.”
While Santa would make a pretty penny doing his job -- his estimated salary is almost triple what the U.S. Census Bureau lists as the country’s household median income -- some think he still spends too much on gifts.
About one-third of respondents said Santa spends too much on gifts for their families; 25% said he spent more than $500 last year. Only 6% said spending more than $500 is appropriate.
Among the gifts people named as the best present Santa ever gave them? Diamonds and puppies. But Danise said that “a large jar of pistachios, peace and quiet while the kids play and a really nice umbrella” would work too.
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