‘New Girl’: Could Schmidt Really Afford His High-End Tastes?

Schmidt was the quintessential loveable jerk on New Girl. While irritating and challenging to live with, the four friends who share the walls of a Los Angeles loft find out that they couldn’t make things work without Schmidt. Not only is he the glue that binds the group together, but it seems like he’s the man with all the money, too.  Was he really, though? To hear Schmidt tell it, he’s pulling in money hand over fist, but when you consider his actual job title, his paycheck is a lot more modest than you would initially assume. So, how much money did Schmidt really make at Associated Strategies, and could he really swing his lifestyle?

How much would Schmidt make in real life?

Schmidt, for the majority of the show’s seven seasons, works at a company called Associated Strategies. Often abbreviated to Ass Strat, the company is pegged as a marketing agency. The only male in an all-female office, Schmidt starts off as a junior marketing associate and eventually moves into a slightly higher role, earning himself a tiny office.

Schmidt and Jess
Schmidt (Max Greenfield,) and Jess (Zooey Deschanel) | FOX Image Collection via Getty Images

According to the Economic Research Institute, the average marketing associate in the greater Los Angeles area can expect to earn around $75,000 per year. Because Schmidt apparently began working for the company as soon as he moved to Los Angeles, it can be assumed his starting salary was likely closer to $50,000 per year. Towards the end of the series, it’s possible that he was clearing close to $90,000 per year when you factor in raises, bonuses, and promotions.

How much would Schmidt’s lifestyle really cost?

Schmidt’s most significant expense would be his rent, one would assume. The massive loft would cost around $7,500 per month. While Schmidt absolutely couldn’t afford it on his own, splitting the rent four ways make it a little more manageable. For his portion of the lease, Schmidt would need to shell out over $1,800 per month.

According to Rent Lingo, Schmidt really should have been looking to spend about $1,700 per month in rent, although the absolute maximum he can spend on rent is $2,690. Theoretically, Schmidt could swing his rent if he was earning the high-end estimate for his job. Even at the average for his job title, he could just about make the numbers work.  

The financial problems come into play for Schmidt when you consider his costly tastes. A custom suit, of which Schmidt had many, costs around $1,000 per suit, according to CNBC. Schmidt also enjoyed expensive personal care products. Remember, the marketing associate used body gelato instead of soap. His personal care items alone likely would have cost around $75 each month. His car payment would have tacked an additional $600 per month when you consider insurance and the lease payment.

Even with expensive tastes, Schmidt’s day to day expenses could be covered by his paycheck. He just wouldn’t have a ton of savings. The financial trouble really comes in when you consider Schmidt’s penchant for over-the-top events. His anniversary party with Nick would have cost upwards of $10,000, and his rebranding party would have likely have been priced at at least $5,000.  

Is Schmidt financially flush or secretly broke?

It’s mostly assumed that Nick Miller is the roommate with the least amount of money. Nick’s limited earning potential is the focus of more than a few jokes, but Nick didn’t really have particularly fancy tastes. His style of dress was rustic, and his car was old and beat up. He didn’t care for fine dining and really appeared to prefer staying in rather than going out. Sure, Nick couldn’t swing his rent without the help of his friends, but his outside costs were pretty limited.

Schmidt, on the other hand, had a penchant for the finer things in life. Custom suits, a hefty rent payment, and a new car don’t come cheap. With a monthly paycheck of around $5,500 after taxes, Schmidt could swing his basic needs, but the luxury items and events he so enjoyed would have been totally out of reach. Either Schmidt had access to extra money he never mentioned, or his more expensive purchases went on credit. If everything was purchased on credit, it’s possible that Schmidt was actually broke.