Even casual Marvel fans know Iron Man and Black Panther are the richest Avengers — but are they also the brokest?
Many reporters and financial experts have tried to estimate the Avengers’ wealth. From TIME to Forbes, everyone agrees: Tony Stark and King T’Challa are loaded. They’re sitting on bank accounts of $12 billion to $90 trillion, depending on who’s doing the imaginary math.
But no one has studied the two superheroes’ debts — and the debts of the other Avengers. It turns out the richest Avengers are the ones with the most personal debt. And the Avenger who has the most financial freedom isn’t the one you might think.
Disclaimer: We spent hours doing the math, but hard numbers are hard to come by. So if you think we messed up, tell us where.
Tony Stark: billionaire in a super suit, owner of Stark Industries
Assets: $12.4 billion
Debts: $20 billion
Net worth: -$7.6 billion
Being rich doesn’t come cheap. TIME says Stark had a net worth of $12.4 billion, but that was before he destroyed all his suits in Iron Man 3 and sold Stark Tower. Between his suits, his house, and his cars, it would cost Stark at least $10 billion just to live his life, according to Mashable.
During the first Iron Man movie, he decided Stark Industries would no longer manufacture and sell weapons, focusing instead on clean energy. As a result, the company’s stock plummeted. Stark then used the company’s expertise to perfect his Iron Man suit, which cost him about $7 billion in Iron Man 3 alone.
Plus, the money he spent creating Ultron was understandably wasted. The Avengers busted him up after the rogue program tried to commit genocide. Along the way, Ultron destroyed the made-up city of Sokovia, and it’s not far-fetched to imagine Stark faces a slew of liability lawsuits for that. I’m sure Pepper had a prioritized debt repayment plan already setup.
Bruce Banner: nuclear physicist, seven PhDs, stretchy purple pants
Debts: at least $840,000
Net worth: -$740,000
As a nuclear physicist, Banner should be earning a six-figure salary. But with seven PhDs, he must be drowning in student loan debt.
(At least he has bragging rights: “How many PhDs does Hulk have? Zero. How many PhDs does Banner have? Seven,” Banner said in Thor: Ragnarok.)
Banner has at least $840,000 in student loans, before scholarships or grant money. (We estimated each degree would cost him at least $40,000 per year, and three years to complete a degree, multiplied by seven.) Hulk definitely smashed the college fund.
All the exposure to the gamma rays makes Banner immune to diseases, so at least he saves on medical bills. More money to go toward his stretchy pants.
T’Challa: King of Wakanda
Assets: No personal assets
Net worth: No personal net worth
The richest Avenger is supposed to be King T’Challa, who quite literally sits on a fortune. TIME says the kingdom has $90.7 trillion worth of the rarest and strongest metal, called vibranium. But that doesn’t exactly mean T’Challa is rich. It means Wakanda is rich.
The way Wakandan government is structured, any citizen can challenge the king to a fight on a watery cliff to take over the monarchy. If someone beats T’Challa, he’s broke. He wouldn’t even have his Black Panther powers to protect the world, because those powers are reserved for the king. He might keep the suit — it would hypothetically belong to his sister and the Wakanda Design Group.
So T’Challa doesn’t have any debts as far as we can tell, but he’s also one lost fight from no income, either.
Thor: Son of Odin, God of Thunder, former King of Asgard
Debts: Nothing yet
Net worth: One eyeball and a magic axe
Thor had everything going for him: mountains of gold, a space castle worth at least $200 million, and the love and praise of the planet he once ruled. But between Ragnarok and Infinity War, he lost everything, including an eye, his hammer, and his luscious locks.
To rebuild all of that would take a lot in loans, and since he is a god, he probably hasn’t established much earthly credit.
Steve Rogers: really old
Net worth: $350,000
Steve Rogers is 100 years old, but biologically only 33. Before he was frozen for six decades, he was literally a captain in the U.S. Army. So, that means he still has combat pay, back pay, and veterans benefits coming to him.
Rogers was (is?) also a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent, meaning he was a government employee comparable to a high-level FBI agent. This means he would probably be making around $100,000 a year, plus government benefits.
He does have at least one debt: an apartment in Washington, D.C. Assuming it’s one bedroom and one bathroom, it would likely cost him about $4,000 in rent or more than $150,000 to buy.
As for his expenses, his metabolism is so accelerated, he literally can’t get drunk. That means he must constantly eat. His food bill must be astronomical.
Dr. Stephen Strange: Master of the Mystic Arts, former neurosurgeon
Debts: Irrelevant, but if we’re counting, none
Net worth: A levitating cloak?
Strange was making six figures as a praised neurosurgeon, blowing most of it on shiny cars and fancy watches. But Strange then crashed his car and suffered nerve damage in his hands. He drained his bank account trying to find a cure. He eventually spent his last few bucks on a trip to Nepal in search of a mystical community called Kamar-Taj.
At this point, Strange had nothing to his name except a broken wristwatch. But the magic and life lessons he learned at Kamar-Taj made money irrelevant for him. He can basically create gold with his magic, and the superhero gig came with a big house. (So theoretically, he pays for his property taxes in gold.)
When you can travel between times and dimensions, the concept of debt or even filing for bankruptcy is meaningless. So we aren’t categorizing Strange with the rest of the Avengers. That would just be cheating.
Peter Parker: nerdy high schooler from Queens, avid dumpster diver
Net worth: $0
How could Spider-Man be better off than his mentor and father figure, Iron Man? Coming from a single-income household with Aunt May, he learned frugality and how to budget early on. He fished his ancient Mac computer out of a dumpster and sewed his own spidey suit.
Since Parker is a teenager, he’s the least likely to have debt. But these qualities alone will make it easy for him to stay out of it in adulthood. This kind of frugal living sets him up for the most financial freedom of any Avenger.
Originally published at a.msn.com.