Being a superhero is not all action and adulation. While there are a group of immortal superheroes, many of the most popular ones are just ordinary people, frequently propelled by extraordinary circumstances into an alternate life. They also have to deal with some pretty basic life questions just like the rest of us, questions that concern jobs, money and conscience. Here we look beyond the capes and costumes and examine the superhero approach to money.
Bruce Wayne, aka Batman, is an unlikely superhero. No secret is made of the fact that he has something of the smooth playboy about him. He has no need to work a day in his life: his money comes via Wayne Enterprises, which he inherited. In fact he’s a billionaire. But don’t be fooled by the playboy tag. Bruce Wayne is not reckless and demonstrates all the traits of a smart, wealthy person. Discretion is key to his existence both as Bruce Wayne and Batman. In both guises he is appreciative of others, well-mannered and shows consideration to people around him, even when exerting his authority. He gives to charity. He does not abuse his position and many times has moved the Bat-mobile because he does not want to park illegally and break the law, or risk a parking fine.
Given his obvious risk aversion and desire to do the right thing, we can safely assume there is no way Batman would be fighting crime if someone wasn’t taking care of the paperwork for Bruce Wayne. Anyone who has Alfred for a right hand man is not stupid and you can bet his other staff are on the ball. Though a playboy, Bruce Wayne is mindful of the need for youth to get a good education and his wise comments to Dick Grayson (Robin) in the original TV version contained life lessons for us all. Finally, he is not profligate. He may have splashed out on a Batmobile and that amazing supercomputer in the Batcave, but he has done it from a position of financial strength. His is a very considered approach to life and superhero activities.
Like Batman, IronMan comes from a wealthy alter ego and does not possess any superhuman powers. Tony Stark has used his wealth in spectacular fashion to buy a massive range of gadgets, vehicles and weapons in order to fight crime. Circumstances forced Tony into an epiphany and saw him change the direction of his life. Unlike fellow billionaire Bruce Wayne, he is an intellectual powerhouse, a genius inventor. His passion for technology is something he’s chosen to use to protect the world he helped endanger, demonstrating a very modern sense of social responsibility.
At the other end of the wealth scale is Spiderman. His alter ego, Peter Parker has faced quite a few difficulties. He is a superhero with financial challenges and needs a real day job as he has lost his uncle as well as his parents. Early on he considered using his superpowers for criminal gain but did not want to upset his aunt by going to jail. It would have been easy for him to fall into this trap, especially after a campaign to discredit him, stopped his TV career. Unlike many modern reality show wannabees who desire nothing but fame, Peter Parker didn’t break down and cry when the TV job fell through. He persisted through all of it and eventually got a job as a photographer on a newspaper which fitted in with fighting crime – and getting exclusive shots of Spiderman. He continues to have one very human crisis after another, all part of living with the mantra, “With great power comes great responsibility.”
As role models they’re not perfect but these guys all know that whether you have wealth, superpowers or a playboy lifestyle, there are always choices to make. And making the right choices when it comes to managing money is often crucial for a financially healthy future.