The High Cost of Living: How Can These TV Characters Afford Their Homes?

Tucker Cummings

For many TV fans, their favorite shows are an escape from the drudgery of everyday life. For that very reason, most TV shows focus on characters who live in nice apartments or homes, and have a high standard of living. But there isn't a TV fan alive who hasn't occasionally wondered how their favorite TV characters can afford to live in luxurious homes.

There are plenty of TV shows that feature characters living extravagant lifestyles that just don't seem realistic. Here are some characters who don't seem like they should be able to afford the places where they live.

Monica Eton and Mike Ross, "Suits"
Mike is shown having a hard time making ends meet before he gets a job at Pearson Hardman, which is why he brings up the high cost of rent in Manhattan when chatting with Monica Eton. After Monica gets blacklisted at all the law firms in Manhattan, she was reduced to working in retail. Even in a high-end boutique, Mike guesses that Monica is going broke staying in her apartment on her meager wages. So how exactly is Monica earning enough money to both live and eat in Manhattan?

Even Mike's own real estate expenditures seem unrealistic. At one point, he's making enough money to have his own apartment (with no roommate), as well as buying an apartment for his grandmother outright. Bear in mind, this is just in his second year at the firm: A partner might have that kind of money, but it seems unlikely that Mike would.

The Donovans and the Gilberts, "The Vampire Diaries"
It's not long into the first season of "The Vampire Diaries" that Matt Donovan is the only member of his family living at home. His sister is killed, his dad is long gone, and his mother is AWOL, rarely sending money home to pay for the mortgage or utilities. Even though Matt works long hours at the Mystic Grill, it doesn't seems like he's making enough money to pay for the house on his own.

It is also not clear how the Gilbert clan pays for their home. It's possible that Elena's parents had life insurance, although not many people their age do. Although, they did know about vampires, so maybe there was a life insurance payout involved. It would certainly explain why Jeremy and Elena are able to live with their aunt, who is a student herself and not earning any money. As a founding family of Mystic Falls, there might be some money in a trust, or perhaps their house was already paid off. But there still seem to be an awful lot of expenses for two teenagers to handle all on their own -- especially if that trust-fund money wasn't accessible until Elena turned 18.

The men of "Friends"
In the show's first season, it seemed pretty improbable that three single women could afford an apartment in New York City. Monica was a chef and likely made decent money, but Rachel was a coffee shop waitress, and Phoebe was a free-spirited masseuse who frequently had her license revoked. However, it was explained that Monica was illegally subletting the place from her grandmother.

The men seemed more unlikely to be able to pay their rent each month. Chandler made good money as an executive, but Joey was frequently out of work, and he ate as much food as four people in some instances.