‘The Big Bang Theory’: Where Did Raj Koothrappali’s Family Get All of Their Money?

Raj Koothrappali’s Family has a lot of money. The Big Bang Theory mentions the family fortune more than once during the show’s lengthy tenure, but fans are never told exactly where all this money came from. Yes, Raj’s father is a successful doctor back in India, but would a doctor in India really make enough to support his adult son’s whims stateside? The answer is simple; probably not. The money had to come from somewhere there, so let’s take a look at some hints buried in the hit series.

How much does a doctor in India make?

Raj’s father is portrayed as an incredibly successful and skilled gynecologist when he appears, via video chat, on The Big Bang Theory. In fact,  both of the astrophysicist’s parents are considered highly successful, and it is made known that Raj is mostly supplemented by his parents. In fact, at one point, his father cuts him off financially.

So, how much does a gynecologist make in India? According to Glassdoor, the average physician in the country earns about ₹1,104,388 per year. The amount translates into about $16,000 per year in US dollars. Even physicians in the highest pay bracket are pulling in just $27,000 each year. That might not seem like much, but the cost of living in India is substantially lower than in the United States. According to International Citizens, the cost of living in India is roughly 85% less than the average cost of living in the United States. Food, transit and general living expenses are substantially cheaper, too.

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Even with Dr. and Mrs. Koothrappali living in an area with a low cost of living, the doctor’s income wouldn’t be enough to sustain Raj in the United States, especially not if the doctor and his wife are living as lavishly as the gang claims. In one episode it is suggested that Raj’s parents own a Bentley and have several servants. Raj counters the argument by suggesting that the Bentley is a lease, and there were only four servants, two of whom were children.

Sheldon suggests the family’s fortune dates back generations  

If the fine doctor is only pulling in $27,000 each year, by the most gracious estimates, how is he supplementing his adult son’s lifestyle? Sheldon suggests that there is more to the story than Dr. Koothrappali’s career as a doctor. He pinpoints the family’s wealth somewhere between Bruce Wayne and Scrooge McDuck.

According to Forbes, the fictional cartoon character is worth a staggering $ $65.4 billion. McDuck made all of his money in mining, as the cartoon story goes. Bruce Wayne, better known as Batman, is worth an estimated $11 billion. If Raj’s parents have a net worth somewhere between the two, we can assume that the family has access to $37 billion.

A family fortune like that doesn’t come out of the clear blue sky. If the doctor really is a gynecologist and hasn’t invented something incredible during his career, it’s unlikely he’d be able to amass such a fortune.

A fortune like that would make the Koothrapallis the second wealthiest family in India. According to Business Insider, Mukesh Ambani is currently the richest man in the country. He has an estimated net worth of $51.4 billion. His fortune comes from petrochemicals and telecommunications.

Where did all the money come from?

Raj, nor the gang, ever reveal where Raj’s family has gotten all of their money. What we do know, however, is that the doctor isn’t the only one who has access to unending money. When the doctor and his wife part ways, and Raj is financially cut off, his mother steps in.

Kunal Nayyar as Raj Koothrappali
Kunal Nayyar as Raj Koothrappali | Michael Yarish/CBS via Getty Images

Mrs. Koothrapalli chooses to continue giving Raj an allowance. Since she and the doctor are separated, it’s assumed that she has access to her own stockpile of cash. It is never revealed if she, too, has a successful career or if the money is coming from a family trust of some sort. It’s safe to assume, however, that if the family is as wealthy as Sheldon once claimed, there must be family money dating back generations on both sides.