Published December 19, 2012
From tracking who's naughty and who's nice to running the world's largest toy workshop and delivery service, Santa wears many stocking caps.
He's manufacturing executive, sleigh driver, letter reader, list double-checker, reindeer tender, distributor and more.
All told he should be earning $134,944 this year, according to our analysis of wages from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That's up 1.5% from last year's Santa Index of $132,950.
Determining how much it would cost to replace someone's income -- or the unpaid work a person does for a family -- is an important step in deciding how much life insurance to buy.
Of course no one could replace Santa -- nor will the world ever need to. Nonetheless here are some of the tasks we considered when compiling this year's Santa Index.
Although carefully calculated, our Santa Index has one limitation. Nowhere in the federal labor data is a wage statistic for holiday magic making. That, dear readers, is priceless.
The Santa Index 2012: Earnings details
|Santa's job||BLS occupation used||Hours per day||Days per year||Mean hourly
|Manufacturing executive (workshop)||Industrial Engineers||8||364||$38.39||$111,792|
|Professional shopper||Sales and Related Workers||8||15||$19.19||$2,303|
|Wrapper||Packers and Packagers, Hand||12||14||$10.81||$1,816|
|Labor negotiator (with elves)||Labor Relations Specialists||0.5||365||$28.31||$5,167|
|Letter reader||Correspondence Clerks||1||100||$17.04||$1,656|
|Company representative in mall||Customer Service Representatives||8||21||$15.92||$2,675|
|Investigator (knows if you've been good or bad)||Private Detectives and Investigators||1||30||$23.37||$701|
|List checker (checking it twice)||Bookkeeping, Accounting, and Auditing Clerks||1||30||$13.38||$401|
|Taking care of reindeer||
Farmworkers, Farm, Ranch, and Aquacultural Animals
|Snow plow driver||Highway Maintenance Workers||0.5||360||$17.47||$3,145|
|Pilot||Airline Pilots, Copilots, and Flight Engineer||10||1||$56.76||$568|
|Going down chimneys (chimney sweep)||Building Cleaning Workers||10||1||$13.89||$139|
|Cookie & milk taster||Agricultural Inspectors||10||1||$20.25||$203|
|Deliveries via sleigh (distributor)||Shipping, Receiving, and Traffic Clerks||10||1||$14.65||$147|
|Announcer ("Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!")||Public Address System and Other Announcers||0.01||1||$19.17||19 cents|
Wage source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
Santa's life insurance rates are out of this world
If Santa went shopping for life insurance, the rates might make him cry and pout.
Sorry, Virginia, but Santa is one risky customer.
We did a little checking for St. Nick and found he needs nothing short of a holiday miracle to get decent life insurance rates -- or to qualify at all. Good thing our favorite jolly old elf will live forever and doesn't need coverage.
Here's what's working against him.
The older you get, the more expensive life insurance becomes. When Santa's age is disclosed for life insurance, all he gets is a lump of coal.
So we decided to be a little bit bad -- but with good intentions -- and fudge the numbers. (Don't try this at home when you're actually applying for insurance.)
With a beard white as snow, we figured Santa probably wouldn't pass for under 60, but his lively and quick ability to bound down chimneys and the twinkle in his eye should put him on the right side of 70. Our estimate for this exercise: 65.
A lithe, barbell-toting, tofu-eating Santa in red spandex and running shoes isn't our idea of jolly. Still, all that candy-cane taste-testing at the toy factory, along with those countless plates of milk and cookies on Christmas Eve, aren't doing Santa any favors.
Beloved as his plump figure is, Santa's chubbiness is going to cost him. We ran online life insurance quotes for a 20-year, $250,000 level-premium term life policy for a 5-foot-5, 65-year-old man living in Alaska. (There was no option for the North Pole.) With a healthy weight of 140 pounds, the cheapest rate was $2,573 a year. But anonymous, well-placed elf sources tell us Santa tips the scales at 215; that factor alone boosts the lowest rate to $3,700 a year.
It pains us to say this, but when it comes to insurance Santa's penchant for pipe smoking puts even him on the slightly naughty list. Yes, the way the smoke encircles his head like a wreath is charming. And he does indeed look dandy with that stump of pipe held tight in his teeth. But pipe smokers are at greater risk for lung cancer and all sorts of other very unmerry things.
The lowest five life insurance quotes for that 20-year, $250,000 level-premium term life policy range from $3,700 to $4,838 if we say the 215-pound Santa has never smoked. Once we enter the information about his pipe puffing, the lowest five rates range from $3,700 to $9,210.
We can't say for sure how much Santa's job would drive up his life insurance premiums, but we imagine piloting a sleigh in the dark of night in all kinds of weather is bound to raise some red flags at the life insurance company offices.
If you fly airplanes, some insurers, before issuing a policy, will want to know how many hours you fly each year and the type of aircraft you use. Santa's annual all-nighter driving a toy-laden sleigh is probably not going to put risk-averse minds at ease. Nor are the eight tiny reindeer, who, according to eyewitness accounts, must be called by name and constantly cajoled to dash away, whether it's to the top of the porch or to the top of the wall.
Of course there is the shiny red-nose guidance system, a safety precaution in foggy weather. But consistent reports of pawing and prancing on snowy and icy rooftops remain troubling.
High blood pressure and high cholesterol
Santa's bowl-full-of-jelly belly has us worried. Doctors say people who carry extra weight around the middle are more at risk for serious health problems, including high blood pressure and high cholesterol, than people who carry extra weight in the hips and thighs. Both types of unhealthy readings put people in high-risk categories for life insurance.
"Belly fat is nothing to joke about," the Mayo Clinic warns ominously on its website. Oh, poor Santa, chuckling away, so blissfully unaware.
Stress is another risk factor for high blood pressure. Sure Santa seems to take it all in stride, always quick with a "Merry Christmas" and a ho, ho, ho. But all that double-checking of lists, monitoring of everyone's sleep habits and the sheer deadline pressure -- surely it would take a toll.
Thank goodness Santa will never have to fill out a life insurance application or undergo a life insurance medical exam -- we wouldn't want to hear the results.
The original article can be found at Insure.com:
The Santa Index 2012: St. Nick's efforts worth about $135,000 this year