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Accounting for Sherlock


In the previous essay (Holmes Family Fortune), I discussed the possible sources of Mycroft's income and that of the Holmes family. In this essay I explore Sherlock's finances as a consulting detective.

  • Does Sherlock have a substantial inheritance?

  • If not, how does he afford that expensive wardrobe?

  • How much does he make as a private investigator?

  • Why does he choose to have a flatmate?




A Background



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Esquires are considered part of the upper class of British society but they do not hold peerages (i.e. a title such as Earl/Duke). It’s very difficult to generalise on the wealth of esquires. Traditionally they were landowners – having obtained their land not from the monarch as title peers would, but through commerce, trade or inheritance as cadet branches of titled families.


Esquires range from large landowners with fortunes to rival Earls and Dukes to much more modest holdings only a few rungs removed from wealthy farmers. In the Victorian era – vast new fortunes were being made in industry and commerce. Agriculture as a generator of wealth was declining. Traditional esquires who relied on their land holdings would have seen their income comparatively fall.


Translated into the modern era – if the Holmes family managed to retain their land holdings and properties throughout the turbulent 20th century – agriculture is still a poor generator of wealth compared to commence. However property and subsequently land prices have exploded in the last two decades particularly in and around London.


I personally think the house we see Mycroft in during ASIB is the country seat of the Holmes Family. Given Mycroft is able to get to Barts morgue within the same night as being phone at his house – I would say that the Holmes family estate is within the limits of Greater London. I suggested in Holmes Family fortunes that the Holmes family are currently generating the bulk of their income from their property portfolio in London. They probably own a great deal of land in what was once the outskirts of London and benefited greatly from the Victorian and then post-war expansion of the suburbs.


First come, First Serve



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I doubt, as some fanfiction writers like to believe, that Sherlock has a small personal fiefdom plus a fortune in the bank and Mycroft is restricting his access. Firstly, as a competent adult Sherlock is fully entitled to managed his own financial affairs and he would accept nothing short of full financial independence just out of pride. He has the law on his side.


Secondly, would Mycroft really restrict his brother’s material circumstances given how much time and attention he expends on Sherlock throughout the series? Restricting Sherlock’s supply of disposable income is not going to stop him smoking or taking drugs. When you are plagued with substance addiction you will sacrifice everything to fuel that addiction. Cutting Sherlock’s income will just make him eat less, sleep rough and possibly resort to crime.


It is much more likely that Sherlock refuses his brother’s offers of material help as frequently as he rebuffs his concern. If Mycroft has to resort to bribing a complete stranger to report on Sherlock, I doubt he is able to get Sherlock to accept any form of help from him, financial or otherwise.


As a thirty something year old man with a self proclaimed profession, the last thing Sherlock wants is to be supported in any sense of the word by his older brother.


Thirdly, if you were Mr Holmes Snr. would you really entrust half your family fortune to Sherlock?


Traditional estates are very hard to divide up because they were not meant to be portioned out. The reason huge estates and grand country houses can exist in the first place is because all the inheritance says in the hands of one heir – the eldest son. Families often have binding legal contracts to prevent the splitting up an estate. If this were the case, Sherlock would only be entitled to the liquid assets (i.e. cash) but nothing else that is tied in with the estate such as land, the house or the property portfolio.


If Mr Holmes could legally split up his estate, would he want to? Although Sherlock is a genius he shows little/no interest in procuring and managing wealth. Whatever inheritance he would have received is probably still lying dormant in the bank, rather than shrewdly invested in property or stocks. Allowing him to manage half the Holmes family estate would be leaving half of it to wither away.


If the estate is currently managed by commercial agents – one might be more inclined to let Sherlock have a share of the dividends. However that is assuming the estate actually makes enough money – the rental income from their property portfolio may be used to maintain the manor house and any farms that they still own. The remaining profit may be enough for Mycroft to keep up appearances (and he also probably has his own independent wealth) but would it be enough to for Sherlock as well?


In the same way companies benefit from economies of scale, so do family fortunes. The more capital/land one person controls the easier it is to make more money. Splitting the actual estate would not make it more profitable. In fact holding it together might be the difference between keeping afloat and terrible debt.


If Mr Holmes couldn’t financially split up the estate, it’s not a mystery which son he would choose to leave everything to. Even if Mycroft wasn’t the elder brother, I think Mr Holmes would have found some way to make sure it didn’t go to Sherlock.


However, this doesn’t mean his parents didn’t love Sherlock as much as Mycroft. The main preoccupation with country estate owners in the present day is making sure they preserve the family fortune and heritage for future generations. They need to make some tough decisions about the best way to preserve what they have. If these decisions mean the younger son receives comparatively little inheritance then it is a sacrifice they have to make.


Sherlock did get the same high standard of education and home life as his older brother. He has every chance of making a success of his life with less of an inheritance. His parents are not leaving him empty handed.


Money, Money, Money



From Wear Sherlock, we can see that Sherlock’s wardrobe is fairly expensive. He doesn’t shop at Primark but given what he puts his clothes through, I think he should. Also he does enjoy performing a whole host of scientific experiments in his kitchen. The consumable scientific resources and clothing may be two biggest expenditures apart from rent that Sherlock has to contend with.

Currently from watching all six episodes, I can be forgiven for concluding that Sherlock has about five different shirts, one scarf, an expensive coat, and enough socks to index.


It’s not necessarily an extensive wardrobe and it can easily be afforded on Sherlock’s salary over a period of years. Given he’s not growing wider or taller; the only attrition on his clothing is the spritely activity of chasing down criminals.


I can’t imagine Sherlock spending hours shopping for clothes. He probably just buys his shirts and suits from the place where his father and brother normally do, not because he particularly likes Spencer Hart. He’s not so interested in saving money that he’d expend energy shopping around for a bargain. If he’s never seen James Bond, there’s no reason to believe he’s heard of Primark.


Alternatively, I can imagine that Mycroft buys stuff for him and just leaves it in his flat. As much as Sherlock hates being mothered by Mycroft, there’s no reason to let good clothes go to waste. I have mentioned before (Explaining Sherlock's Sherlockness) that I do not think Sherlock has any personal hatred for Mycroft. His needling comments about his brother’s diet are positively benign when you compare them to what he says to Sally and Anderson. Sherlock dislikes the fact that Mycroft wants to control his life – he doesn’t particularly dislike Mycroft anymore than the next person.


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We are never told how much Sherlock gets paid for his cases. He helps out the police in a sort of pro bono arrangement but I would be surprised if his private clients do not offer him expenses and a fee. People who employ private investigators are usually relatively well off, Henry Knight for example. In The Blind Banker, the bank offered Sherlock in the order of tens of thousands of pounds to solve their particular problem and Sherlock appears to be unfazed by the figure. He rejects the money out of principle because he doesn’t want to be “employed” by Sebastian Wilkes, and I can’t blame him.


Sherlock’s earnings could fluctuate wildly but he does have a constant need for stimulation. When he doesn’t have a case, the world around him suffers almost as much as he does. Therefore I doubt there are many days in the year when Sherlock isn’t working. From the episodes so far: a significant proportion of his cases are not from the police but private clients be it the Royal Family or multinational banks. Of course six cases are not enough to extrapolate a lifestyle but if Sherlock derives income from half of his cases, he could make a decent living.


I have once inquired about the fees for a private investigator. As this industry is poorly regulated and most operators are self-employed the rates vary greatly. We have never seen Sherlock pull out a spreadsheet of prices and ACD Holmes does not have a fixed charge only what the client wants to give, so it’s very hard to say.


I personally speculate based on the income of a private investigator in my region that within an average year Sherlock earns in the range of £30,000 - £40,000. This is a conservative estimate. I believe Sherlock would be able to make more money (some private investigators do) but he’s not running a business. He cares little for profit margins, publicity or pricing.




Amendment: Several people have pointed out that ACD Holmes was often paid large sums of money for his work. One particularly example is the Adventure of the Priory School for solving a kidnapping but ACD Holmes lived in a very different world from today.

The modern police force are a much more organised, professional body compared to their Victorian counterparts. For serious crimes such as kidnapping, murder, disappearance and loss of valuable artefacts citizens almost exclusively go to the police. The police have specialist units that rapidly respond to serious crime. They also have access to databases, equipment and forensic expertise that private investigators do not. In the Victorian era Lestrade would not have been any more equipped than Sherlock but today the police have a distinct advantage over a private investigator.


Therefore BBC Sherlock's cases involving serious crime are almost exclusively from the police, and as Sally says Sherlock doesn't get paid for his police work. Given how Sherlock really only likes serious perplexing crime (e.g serial kills)- I would say that the majority of his cases are not paid. Clients of private investigators are usually people with problems that the police do not get involved in, for example: cheating spouses and human ash that might not be human ash. It is probably only once in a while when a particularly interesting private case like Henry Knight's gigantic hound problem comes up for Sherlock.

In TRF - Sherlock starts to get public recognition for his work. The scenes we see are publicity stunts set up for the media as Sherlock is the current internet sensation and noticeably Sherlock is given gifts of gratitude rather than money. These cases all involve serious crime and would have been reported to the police if only for formality reasons. You cannot claim a priceless work of art is stolen without a police incident number. Sherlock was probably not directly employed but was merely being acknowledge in public for his contribution. Hence why the victims gave him small (but valuable) tokens of thanks rather than presented him with cheques.




Given his clients usually value discretion, I would not be surprised if Sherlock was paid secretly by cash-in-hand or private cheque and therefore his income is not taxable unless specifically declared. Whether Sherlock bothers to fill in a self-assessment for the Inland Revenue is debatable. If he refuses he is technically committing tax fraud but the consulting detective has never really been a stickler for legality. His type of completely below the radar evasion is hard to track down particularly if he’s never paid any tax in his life or claimed any benefits.


Amendment: As one commenter has pointed out - Sherlock might find doing a tax return far too boring but Mycroft is certainly not eager for his brother to be caught committing tax fraud despite the very low likelihood of this happening. I think it is more likely that Mycroft fills in his brother's tax return and then pays his taxes for him, allowing Sherlock to keep his income and helping Sherlock financially in a very round-about way. I personally wonder whether Sherlock even keeps track of how much he earns - or if he can be bothered to learn how to negotiate the maze of self-assessed tax forms.


If he doesn’t personally pay tax this makes him significantly better off than John who does have to pay about 40% of his earnings in tax because he would earn more locum GP. Sherlock’s disposable income is therefore equivalent to someone earning £36,000 - £61,000 on paper.


To get an idea of how much tax people in the UK pay and what it is used for visit this webpage. The median wage is £22,000/year of which £8700 is paid in tax - i.e. around 40%.


This range of earnings I have given is purely speculative but it would enable Sherlock to live in a discounted shared flat in central London. Baker Street today is prime location with prices for two bedroom flats being excessive of £1000 per week at a conservative evaluation. We do not know how much Mrs Hudson decided to discount for her favourite detective but I personally think it would be around half to two thirds.


Rents in central London were always higher than the rest of the country but it is only in the last ten years that they have really reach ridiculous proportions due to rise in house prices. If Mrs Hudson bought her house several decades ago, she probably took out a comparatively small mortage and has managed to pay it all back by now.


A rent of £330-£500/week would enable her to make a tidy profit (provided she is no longer paying mortage on the house) and also compensate for some of Sherlock’s wilder activities. It is still quite a steep price to pay and John actually struggles to pay it soon after moving in. I imaging the money from the bank tide him over until he got a job as locum GP.


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(Side note – Sharing a flat: the situation is somewhat different in ACD canon. A single gentleman of means usually lives in the arrangement we see Holmes and Watson in. The arrangement is due to Mrs Hudson’s decision to rent out rooms in the house, rather than Holmes actively looking for flatmate. It was very common for matrons to rent out their houses to single gentlemen and provide the domestic services that wives normally do. Sherlock and Watson would have individually paid a flat fee for the rooms and room service, not split the rent like they do today. Baker Street in Victorian times was a desirable address but not out of reach of the well-heeled middle class, whereas today most central London properties for sale are only in the reach of millionaires).


A match made in heaven…



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As one commentor pointed out – Sherlock had already moved his stuff into 221B. I personally believe that Sherlock would have moved into 221B whether he found a flatmate or not. It was an incredibly good bargain as properties in central London go and Sherlock knows the landlady has the patience of a saint. She would tolerate his mood swings and erratic rent payments.


Sherlock’s speculated income is probably enough to cover the discount rent and allow him some disposable income. If at a conservative estimate Sherlock earns £30,000 a year untaxed – and Mrs Hudson is kind enough to rent out the flat for under £2000/month. Sherlock still has around £500 - £600 pounds a month just for himself. That is not very much when you really get spending. Sherlock is human enough to realise that there are plenty of things he could do with extra money in his bank account if he got a flatmate.

Also as trillsabells points out - Sherlock's income is not fixed monthly salary. He may not have any income for months and then receive several enormous payments within days of each other. It's very much a feast and famine lifestyle. Therefore it always helps to have someone else share the financial burden of the rent.


But Sherlock is so anti-social how can he tolerate a flatmate?


I want to point out that Sherlock’s anti-social tendencies mostly affect other people. He is definitely not anti-social in the sense that he takes efforts to avoid people – even people he doesn’t like. He has chosen a job where there is a great deal of contact with people.


Sherlock strikes me as the kind of person who just does not care whether you are there or not because he lives most of his life inside his own mind. In the beginning of the series Sherlock sees interaction with people as a means to an end. When it suits him, Sherlock goes off into his mind palace and completely ignores John for days – he doesn’t even realise his flatmate had spent a few nights in Dublin until weeks later. It does not make him embarrassed or upset when John finds a head in the fridge or lab equipment on the table. Even from episode one, Sherlock hasn’t been particularly bothered about personal space. He appears quite comfortable with John’s presence and thinks nothing of invading his privacy or taking over the communal areas.  He lives pretty much as he would if John didn’t exist – he does not ever inconvenience himself for his flatmate’s sake.


The presence of a flatmate simply does not bother Sherlock.

The question is not therefore how Sherlock can tolerate a flatmate, it is how flatmates can tolerate Sherlock.

Sherlock knows all the personality quirks that make fellow flatmates homicidal - he pre-empts this by listing the problems to John on their first meeting. This behaviour makes it more likely that he has shared with other people before (and then got kicked out after they couldn’t tolerate him any longer). He specifically doesn't mention his intent to keep body parts in the fridge because it is highly illegal. Sherlock might not understand why people dislike having a severed head next to their milk but he knows that they do and it's best not mention it to a man he's trying to convince into taking a flatshare.




Sherlock and John’s first meeting is very businesslike. They size each other up and Sherlock gets straight to the point – it’s over in a matter of minutes leaving John utterly baffled. What John doesn’t realise is that Sherlock already decided he was the perfect flatmate within a few seconds. A returning soldier mostly likely estranged from his family was more likely to tolerate Sherlock’s behaviour simply because he would have no alternatives. Additionally, I think Sherlock already had an eye out for an assistant and John, an unemployed army doctor with a taste for adrenaline, was looking like a good option.



List of Other Metas

Comments

( 31 comments — Leave a comment )
trillsabells
Mar. 9th, 2013 10:10 pm (UTC)
I figured Sherlock needed a flatmate not because he didn't have any money but because his money was inconsistent.

So say he has three paying cases in a month. Horay! In the money! He can replace his coat, buy a few shirts, upgrade his phone, bribe someone to look the other way while he spears a pig, buy all those expensive things he likes to decorate his flat and his person with.

Except then he goes a few months without a paying case at all. He's still got cab fares to pay, expenses relating to the Police cases he's taking on, new costumes, lab equipment, bail money, donations to his homeless network all on top of bills, food, council tax and rent (and also hopefully savings if he doesn't want to be penniless in his old age). While he should have enough to carry over if he's been paid well at some point he will either have to economise to stretch it further or take the first paying case that pops up on his website no matter how boring it is and neither of those options is appealing.

So the best way to ensure that the bills are paid each month and he doesn't have to suffer the inconvenience of being thrown out of his flat for unpaid rent is to get a flatmate who is motivated enough to make sure any shortfall is covered (and as you said he picks very well by making sure he has someone who has nowhere else to go - I'm guessing previous flatmates have usually discovered, against all odds, actually they do have somewhere else they can go after all. The streets maybe)
wellingtongoose
Mar. 10th, 2013 12:39 pm (UTC)
I agree that Sherlock's income can be erratic but I don't think that this would necessarily cause financial problems. Sherlock may not have any interest in profit but he is certainly smart enough to manage his finances well and he has a great deal of incentive to make sure he has enough money to pay the rent on time. Even he doesn't like being homeless.

I think Sherlock most likely ended up moving into 221B because of his erratic behaviour rather than rent payments. Mrs Hudson already knows him very well from what we can see and she is a very tolerant.

I think Sherlock's primary motive in picking John is that he won't be quick to leave once he finds out just how crazy Sherlock is. The man does not have time to search for another flatmate so soon. John's potential earning power is also on the table, but I assume that Sherlock would have worked out that John is not going to get a doctor's job immediately. In fact he banks on John working less than part time because he wants him to assist him on his cases.
wendybnyc
Mar. 12th, 2013 08:58 am (UTC)

He needs a flatmate because without one, how are groceries ever going to find their way into the cupboards? That milk doesn't teleport in all by itself.

Also, as somebody who can't be bothered to tidy up, it's handy to have somebody around with less tolerance for mess who might take in on himself to take care of it. And if the roommate doesn't do Sherlock's laundry at the same time he does his own... socks and towels are pretty much one size fits all, so just take them (and then deny having done so.)
penguineggs
Mar. 14th, 2013 04:40 pm (UTC)
I saw this on the Meta roundup on Dreamwidth. I have to take issue with this paragraph: "Given his clients usually value discretion, I would not be surprised if Sherlock was paid secretly or cash-in-hand and therefore his income is not taxable unless specifically declared. Whether Sherlock bothers to fill in a self-assessment for the Inland Revenue is debatable. He is technically committing tax fraud but the consulting detective has never really been a stickler for legality. His type of completely below the radar evasion is hard to track down particularly if he’s never paid any tax in his life or claimed any benefits."

In the first place, that's not "technical" tax fraud, it's full blown tax fraud and it's the sort of thing people go to prison for. Sherlock may not care for paperwork, but he also isn't going to go round offering a hostage to fortune for any Tom, Dick or Kitty Riley who wants to eliminate him from the scene. Tax fraud is what they got Al Capone on, after all.

Furthermore, he isn't in the least "below the radar". While his clients often value discretion, the whole montage of events at the start of The Reichenbach Fall showed cases where he was in the full blaze of publicity, for institutions who certainly wouldn't pay in cash (actually, when John gets Sebastian to pay anyway,Sebastian writes a cheque, too). Anyone reputable making a payment to a consulting detective will run it through their own books as a deductible expense, so HMRC are going to start wondering sooner rather than later why it's not showing up at the other end.

And I'm not quite sure why you state he's never claimed benefits. As a university student he'll have had his tuition fees paid at the relevant date, and would have qualified for at least the minimum grant if he was at University before the academic year 1998/9. His mother would have been eligible for child benefit (non contributory) and he'll have a National Insurance number and will have been treated in NHS hospitals. He might also have signed on during the vacations.

Edited at 2013-03-14 04:41 pm (UTC)
wellingtongoose
Mar. 14th, 2013 05:47 pm (UTC)
I have stated quite clearly it is tax fraud. Whether or not you agree with the adjective I use is somewhat irrelevant to the discussion. Technically, in this case, is not a reference to the size or scale of the tax fraud. Tax fraud is tax fraud.

Undeclared income of individuals in this country is estimated to cost billions although no-one is entirely sure because it is so wide spread. In fact HMRC recently ran a tax amnesty just to get people to declare past irregularities so they could have an estimate of how much money they lost. HMRC funding for tackling undeclared income has not increased for over a decade. Their ability to catch people who do not declare all their income is marginal to say the least.

The HMRC also do not spend their lives tracking payments. As long the company they are looking into balances their books - that is as far as the investigation normally goes. Given their limited resources and large volume of work - it is highly unlikely that they will chase after payments. Sherlock also has never worked for the same client twice.

Why would Sherlock not declare all of his income? Firstly does he even know how much he actually earns in year to declare it accurately? As far as we can tell he does not have much interest in finances. If he does knowing do it we know Sherlock never planned nor did he expect to hit the headlines and become famous. He has not lead his life constantly looking over his shoulder for people to catch him out. He was up until then a very private investigator.

This essay specifically does not mention the TRF because Sherlock's circumstances change dramatically in the last episode. It is impossible to estimate how much he would earn as a "celebrity" private investigator. His client pool has changed dramatically and high profile cases are suddenly the norm.

University student fees were paid directly to the university not the student and maintenance is an educational grant that does not come under the same department as actual benefits. Sherlock's family background would not have qualified him for maintenance loans anyway. Additionally child benefit is paid directly to the parent and not applied for by the child. It is not included in the person's record once they grow up.

Sherlock would have an NI number but if he's never been registered as employed or tried to claim any benefits personally - there would not nothing in his record to flag him up to the attention of the HMRC. He would just be another one of millions of people who are not in employment and don't claim benefits.

The NHS runs its own system - you do not technically need a NI number to get treatment on the NHS. You merely need to register with your local GP and requirements vary according to the practice. This is why there has been such a huge debate about medical tourism and illegal immigrants using the NHS.



penguineggs
Mar. 14th, 2013 06:16 pm (UTC)
0800 788 887

It's the HMRC tax hotline for reporting tax evasion. Sherlock makes enemies. He makes scores and scores of enemies. Why on earth would he leave open a means for those enemies to bring him down with one simple phone call? Freephone, at that.

Also, credibility. People may understand the idea of paying their plumber in cash with no paper trail, but it's a lot harder to understand why they'd do something like that with someone who was providing a skilled professional service.



Edited at 2013-03-14 06:18 pm (UTC)
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penguineggs
Mar. 14th, 2013 05:09 pm (UTC)
Also, your comment on ACD Holmes and the arrangements is actually contradicted by canon:

""Poor devil!" he said, commiseratingly, after he had listened to my misfortunes. "What are you up to now?"

"Looking for lodgings." 3 I answered. "Trying to solve the problem as to whether it is possible to get comfortable rooms at a reasonable price."

"That's a strange thing," remarked my companion; "you are the second man to-day that has used that expression to me."

"And who was the first?" I asked.

"A fellow who is working at the chemical laboratory up at the hospital. He was bemoaning himself this morning because he could not get someone to go halves with him in some nice rooms which he had found, and which were too much for his purse."

"By Jove!" I cried, "if he really wants someone to share the rooms and the expense, I am the very man for him. I should prefer having a partner to being alone.""

They are definitely splitting the rent 50/50
tweedisgood
Mar. 17th, 2013 02:46 pm (UTC)
This. The evidence is that canon Holmes in the early years does not have a substantial and reliable source of income apart from his work. OTOH Watson's army pension at just under £4 a week (income tax being negligible at that time) is a pretty good income for a single man, if you are not trying to live in a hotel, and the implication to me is that his tastes somewhat overstep his means.

Arrangements where meals etc were included in the cost of rooms could be with individuals or on a shared basis - depended on the tenants, the rooms available and the landlady/lord's terms. Somewhat like "digs" used to be for theatre people or single working men living en famille, as Mr Tweed did for a few years in the late 60s.

Edited at 2013-03-17 02:48 pm (UTC)
bootoye
Mar. 15th, 2013 02:52 am (UTC)
Ah, you have tackled the debate of how wealthy Sherlock really is.

I think that his refusal of Sebastian's money and his willingness to give John his bank card shows that he has enough money to disdain it as valuable in itself. He travels by taxi all the time and tips his homeless network by the £50s all this has to be proof that Sherlock has more than just basic disposable income.

In the original stories Holmes made sure to charge those who could afford to pay him and he'd even fore-go money from cases he had some personal interest in or those who could not pay.

I am sure Sherlock got more than 25,000 quid the month of the Blind Banker case and he solved it within a week or so. Also at he beginning of the ep. he was working on another case. I also believe that either Mycroft pays Sherlock a retainer or he pays him per case and Sherlock might just milk Mycroft on fees for his boring cases :)

In aSiB the illustrious client would have been made to pay a large amount for him to investigate Irene even though we don't see the negotiation on-screen. I suspect that Henry Knight also paid Sherlock and John's expenses for their stay at his request.

So I believe the estimates for Sherlock's earnings need to be revised upwards a lot. XD

What about the diamond cufflinks he got from the museum for the Reichenbach Falls? I am sure there was a reward for that painting, maybe even one worth more that the cufflinks.

I also believe that whatever his income, Sherlock hardly even pays for a lot of goods or services in and around London as evidenced by Angelo and his offer of anything on the house...sorta like his good price from Mrs. Hudson. It can't be much rent at all £1000 a month since he was so confident that John's meagre pension would easily afford half the rent.

I remember in the canon, the Priory School or some such, Holmes took about £6,000 from the Duke for the return of his son...because he could pay it and a reward was being offered.

(sorry, but I have no pound/sterling sign)

BTW - 40% income tax is ridiculous...what is the personal allowance? I thought our 25% was steep!!
And £2,000 rent for a 2-bedroom flat is also ridiculous! And you say this is a conservative estimate.... would it be actually twice that then?
(Suspicious comment)
bootoye
Mar. 16th, 2013 09:01 pm (UTC)
Thanks
wellingtongoose
Mar. 15th, 2013 12:13 pm (UTC)
I think Sherlock's earnings during TRF are very difficult to calculate because he suddenly gets a flood of high profile cases for which he receives sole recognition- so after this time his earnings may or may not increase.

The cases in the beginning of TRF are publicity stunts for the various victims and cannot tell us at all whether Sherlock was paid or not. These are serious crimes which would be automatically reported to the police even if it is just for formality reasons. For example there needs to be a police incidence report for the painting's insurance to be valid.

Sherlock would have probably known about these cases from the police and worked with them. Sherlock was already fairly famous by then and it presented a nice photo opportunity for the media, which is why the whole get up is a publicity stunt. The victims presented him with gifts not money. In the same way people present police chiefs with small tokens of thanks but do not pay them.

One thing I took into consideration in the modern era is that in the modern era the police force are much more organised and professional than in ACD Holme's day. Thus for many serious crimes such as kidnapping, murder, disappearances etc people rich and poor go to the police because they have special units to deal with these serious crimes. Therefore Sherlock would get these cases through Lestrade and as Sally says he doesn't get paid for his police work. He does it because he loves it. The victims themselves have no reason to pay Sherlock personally. As far as they are concerned Sherlock is working with the police not for the victim.

However Sherlock does a lot of pro bono work for the police for which he is not paid. He particularly likes serious crime such as murders and serial killers as he says in ASIP. Therefore it is quite possible that a lot of his time is taken up with the police work rather than private client work.

Sherlock before John's blog became "famous" did not receive that many clients as we can see in season 1. It is only in seasons 2 that we see lots of private clients lining up to see him - most of which he rejects.

In ASIB - I don't think the Royal Family actually paid him a full fee because he doesn't actually manage to do what they hired him to before he gets taken off the case by Mycroft Holmes. They would have paid for his expenses which would not have been very much - he was only working for less than a day.

40% tax is actually what you earn above £32,000. So the first £10,000 pounds of your salary is not taxed. The then from £10,000 to £32000 is taxed at 20% and anything above £32,000 is taxed at 40%. Anything above £150,000 is taxed at 45%

Sherlock's liberal spending I believe is not due to having far too much money. He spends like that because during his upbringing he has never really needed to worry about money. He still doesn't probably because Mycroft bails him out if he goes uses up his overdraft.

As for the rent - John's army pension is meagre and in episode 2 which is probably less than a month after, he is already having to get Sherlock to help him out and tide him over. Then he gets a locum GP job to pay the rent. Central London rent is horrendous - Mrs Hudson is being very altruistic - she can easily make more money. However she also has to deal with Sherlock basically ruining her flat so I doubt her rents would be any lower than £1500/month



bootoye
Mar. 16th, 2013 08:30 pm (UTC)
I think we are missing some of the equation where Sherlock and his income is concerned and I think it is clear that he gets no money form the Met. Police.


£1500.00 is a ridiculous amount of money to pay for a 2 bedroom flat. I know Sherlock's own bedroom is ridiculously large and thus he is probably getting a really good deal and all but I have to wonder who can afford to pay those ridiculous rents? Our currency is worth $10-13 to £1 and so that in real terms for me is $15,000 to $20,000.
I know in some of the housing areas here ex-pats can pay up to US$1,500 a month for a house rental but this is much more. So, I guess that there aren't any houses for rent unless like the condos that Irene was living.

Are salaries in the UK that large? O.o (culture shock!!!) How many public servants would actually be paying those taxes?

Do you have any idea what say a secondary school teacher would earn in the UK? I believe my yearly salary converted to pound/sterling would be about £16,000. (TT$160,000) Of course, my mortgage works out to about £160 a month LOL (put that way it sounds cheap to live here ^^ and I could have lived in luxury with that cheque Sebastian gave Shelock)
(no subject) - wellingtongoose - Mar. 16th, 2013 09:24 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - bootoye - Mar. 16th, 2013 10:53 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - wellingtongoose - Mar. 17th, 2013 03:47 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - tweedisgood - Mar. 17th, 2013 02:32 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - bootoye - Mar. 20th, 2013 09:16 pm (UTC) - Expand
(Anonymous)
Mar. 15th, 2013 04:53 am (UTC)
Sherlock's earnings
Hi

I just want to comment about Sherlock's earnings. I have read all of Sherlock Holmes short stories and it is mentioned in the Bruce Partington Plans that:

...'Mycroft draws four hundred and fifty pounds a year...'

It was the total amount of Mycroft's salary in one year during Victorian era. Meanwhile in a few stories, it is mentioned that Sherlock received thousands of pounds as payment from his high class client (member of royalty family, whether it is England or European, aristocrat family and also politicians).

For example, in the Adventure of the Priory School, Sherlock accepted 6,000 pounds as payments which was the amount of Mycroft's salary for 13.33 years.

If the same thing apply in the modern Sherlock, he would earn a lot of money.

PS: Sorry for my English, I'm from Indonesia
wellingtongoose
Mar. 15th, 2013 12:24 pm (UTC)
Re: Sherlock's earnings
One thing we have to take into account is that Sherlock in the BBC at the start is not a high profile consulting detective. He only becomes more famous and gets more private client (many of which he rejects) during season 2.

Even at the height of his fame - Sherlock might not actually have that many private cases he actually wants to solve.

The police force today is much more professional and organised body than it was in the Victorian era. Serious crime such as kidnapping, murder, disappearances, burglaries of valuable items are almost exclusively reported to the police instead of a private investigator. The police have special units for various types of serious crime and importantly people have more faith in police procedure/the legal system than they did in Victorian times. The victims families rarely turn to private investigators for serious crime simply because the police force is a) free and b) has powers of arrest and prosecution.


Sherlock's involvement with various types of serious crime in the modern day would be as an unofficial help to the police and not directly employed by the victims family. He therefore doesn't get paid - as Sally says.

Modern day Sherlock's private clients approach him for things that the police don't get involved in such as cheating spouses, human ash that might not be real.

Sherlock is not particularly interested in these minor cases - therefore much of his work would be pro bono helping out with the police.

Thus it is impossible to extrapolate from ACD Holme's earning to Sherlock's because they live in completely different eras.

In the series it appears that Sherlock has two large windfalls: the Bank (which he almost rejected) and possibly Henry Knight. Neither of whom paid the modern equivalent of half a million (£6000 Victorian pounds).

I want to point out the Royal Family wouldn't have paid Sherlock's full fee because he didn't manage to do what they wanted before Mycroft took him off the case. They would have paid him a day of expenses but they had no reason to pay him anything beyond that.

Given the nature of the Bond Air scandal, Sherlock is not going to be remunerated by the government simply because Sherlock created the crisis in the first place.
Re: Sherlock's earnings - shezan - Mar. 15th, 2013 02:28 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Sherlock's earnings - wellingtongoose - Mar. 15th, 2013 02:42 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Sherlock's earnings - shezan - Mar. 16th, 2013 05:34 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Sherlock's earnings - wellingtongoose - Mar. 16th, 2013 09:29 pm (UTC) - Expand
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