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Santa Index 2015: Santa’s salary bumps to $143,054

Santa's valueSanta Claus is the hardest-working holiday spirit in the world. He’s a manufacturing executive, professional shopper, sleigh driver, delivery person, list checker, and heads a customer service department for nearly 2 billion children. 

Each year at Insure.com, we use a pre-set list of tasks and match them to occupations from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and then calculate his total wages for the year. (See the full chart of tasks and wages below.) This year, it looks like Santa is on pace with 2015 corporate wage increases and could expect a raise of 3.8 percent or $3,130, bringing his annual wage to $143,054.  

That jolly old Saint Nicholas sure has a lot on his plate this time of year, and like a lot of us, we imagine he does not have visions of term life insurance policies dancing in his head. So, Insure.com decided to make sure that Santa is all set with his current information and life insurance policy before he gets into that open-air sleigh for a brisk ride around the globe.

All of us, even Santa, should periodically take stock of our earnings and figure out how much life insurance we would need to ensure a financial safety net for our loved ones should anything happen to us. If you don’t have Three Wise Men advising you, don’t you pout! Buying life insurance isn’t complicated if you purchase it at a young age, unlike Santa who waited. You’ll get a much more affordable rate – in Santa’s case he could have saved more than $250,000 over the life of his policy.

’Tis the season to get Santa some insurance coverage

What our head insurance elf discovered made our bells jingle – not only did Santa not have any life insurance coverage in place, but he’s also one tough piece of holiday magic to insure! And though no one could actually replace Santa Claus, we want to make sure that should something ever happen to Father Christmas, Mrs. Claus would be able to live comfortably as the beneficiary of his policy and be able to continue to run the family-owned and operated business they’ve built together.

In order to build out a policy quote for Mr. Kringle, Mrs. Claus used Insure.com’s life insurance calculator and found that a policy of $500,000 would help her cover expenses the first couple of years while she learns to take over the workshop.

Next, using some basic health information, we gathered quotes from companies that would provide Santa a 15-year term life insurance policy of $500,000. According to our records, Santa stands at 5’5’’ and weighs 220 pounds. And even though we know Santa is a bit older than our calculator will allow and living “off the grid” at the North Pole, we’ll estimate he’s 70 years old in human years living in Barrow, Alaska. With Santa’s profile information in place, we then examined his health and lifestyle.

Plus, he could get stuck inside a chimney!

The North Pole sees its fair share of carrots, apples and leafy greens, but it turns out the reindeer are pretty much the only ones enjoying a salad. Rumor ’round the pole is Santa is more of hot cocoa with whipped cream and peppermint bark kind of guy. Unfortunately, Santa’s “bowl full of jelly” might be great for his famous laugh, but it’s a pretty detrimental influence in his term life policy. Obesity is a big factor in a number of health problems, including heart disease and stroke, making Santa a high-risk customer. We also know that Santa indulges in pipe smoking, so we included tobacco use on his quote, which is a large influence is his policy rates due to the increased risk of oral cancers and several respiratory diseases.

Rooftops can be hazardous to your health

Occupation is also a large portion determining your life insurance policy. Insurers are taking on a greater risk if you’re a skydiving instructor or a large animal trainer. So, it’s no surprise that, though he wears many hats, Santa’s job of zipping around the world in one night, balancing on rooftops, and shimming down chimneys raises some red flags. 

Would a lifestyle makeover help his premiums?

Comparing his rates with that of some of his workshop elves, we found some substantial differences in rates. A healthy, active, 30-year-old female elf employed as an engineer in the workshop is paying an average of just $306 a year[i] for the same amount of coverage as Santa. The workshop’s master carpenter, a 50-year old male elf, who doesn’t exercise as much as he should but is otherwise healthy, is paying an average of $1,187 a year[ii]. If Santa is looking for a 15-year term life insurance policy worth $500,000, he’s going to be looking at an annual premium price tag of $22,906[iii]. Ouch!

Is there anything that Santa could do to lower his premiums? While some of the factors, like age, are beyond even his magical control, there are plenty of things that Santa can do to make his policy shine a bit brighter. To reduce costs on life insurance we’d recommend that Santa immediately stop using tobacco products and begin a healthier diet and exercise regimen. For his height, Santa should come in closer to 150 pounds. In order to do that, Santa needs to incorporate regular exercise into his routine. We think he’d enjoy snowshoeing or cross-country skiing in his down time. He’ll also need to show some serious restraint this time of year, passing up the offerings of milk and cookies at nearly every home and snacking on the carrots and water left out for the reindeer instead.  

That’s a lot of bucks – and I don’t mean reindeer

Let’s imagine that Santa looked into this coverage when he was 40 years old, weighing 160 pounds and hadn’t taken up pipe smoking yet. For the same 15-year, $500,000 coverage, he would have paid just $511 annually[iv]. And what if an even younger Kris Kringle who had recently married and started a toy workshop around the age of 25 had shopped for a $500,000 universal life insurance policy?  He would have paid around $1,495 a year[v] (less than $125 a month) if he chose a policy that guaranteed pricing until age 85. That’s a savings of $253,950. And with universal life insurance the policy stays intact for your lifetime, so after age 85 his rates could go up but the coverage would remain.

It’s as plain as the nose on Rudolph’s face: take advantage of your current age and good health to lock in the lowest rate possible.

Santa might be immortal, but the rest of us are not

While Santa probably won’t lose his signature shape or ditch the pipe anytime soon, he could start yoga to help lower his blood pressure after reading the “Naughty” List.

Making sure you have a life insurance policy in place to help protect your love ones is giving them a gift of peace of mind. With that in place, you can focus your attention on your family this holiday season, which is sure to give you a good head start getting on the “Nice” List next year.

The Santa Index 2015

Santa's Job BLS Occupation Title Hours per day Days per year Hours per Year Mean hourly
wage
Annual Earnings
Running the workshop
Industrial Engineer, Manufacturing executive
8 364 2912 $40.92 $119,159.04
Professional shopper Sales and Related Workers, All Other  8 15 120 $18.29 $2,194.80
Wrapper of gifts Packers and Packagers, Hand
12 14 168 $11.08 $1,861.44
Labor negotiator (with the elves) Labor Relations Specialists 0.5 365 182.5 $28.56 $5,212,20
Letter reader Correspondence Clerks 1 100 100 $17.42 $1,742.00
Siting in mall to speak with children Customer Service Representatives 8 21 168 $16.29 $2,736.72
Investigator (knows if you've been good or bad) Private Detectives and Investigators 1 30 30 $25.43 $762.90
List checker (checking it twice)  Bookkeeping, Accounting, and Auditing Clerks 1 30 30 $18.30 $549.00
Taking care of reindeer Farm Workers, Farm, Ranch, and Aquacultural Animals 1 365 365 $12.10 $4,416.50
Snow plow driver Highway Maintenance Workers 0.5 360 180 $18.22 $3,279.60
Pilot of sleigh Airline Pilots, Copilots, and Flight Engineers 10 1 10 $63.35 $633.46
Going down chimneys Building Cleaning Workers, All Other (Chimney sweep)
10 1 10 $14.39 $143.90
Cookie & milk taster Agricultural Inspectors
10 1 10 $20.97 $209.70
Distributor (placing gifts under the tree) Shipping, Receiving, and Traffic Clerks 10 1 10 $15.27 $152.70
Announcer ("Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!") Public Address System and Other Announcers 0.01 1 0.01 $18.20 $0.18
Total Santa salary for 2015: $143,054.14

[i] Quote based on 30-year-old female, non-smoker, 5’5”, 125 pounds, no medications, living in Alaska.

[ii] Quote based on 50-year-old male, non-smoker, 5’5”, 160 pounds, no medications, living in Alaska.

[iii] Quote based on 70 year-old male, smoker, 5’5”, 220 pounds, no medications, living in Alaska.

[iv] Quote based on 40-year-old male, non-smoker, 5’5” 160 pounds, no medications, living in Alaska.

[v] Quote based on 25-year-old male, non-smoker, 5’5” 140 pounds, no medications, living in Alaska.

Methodology

The Santa Index is based on a pre-set list of tasks and hours; tasks are then matched to occupations from the Bureau of Labor Statistics to find the average wages.

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