The Bachelor is about love, but like most things in life, it's also about money.
Contestants can squabble over who's there for the right reasons, but finances have always played a role in the reality romance show.
"He seemed like a real catch, the kind of guy you lose a girl to — the guy with the good family and money and the handsome grin," creator Mike Fleiss told the New York Times way back in 2002, ahead of the first season, when talking about Bachelor No. 1, Alex Michel.
Seventeen years later, not much has changed. The most recent season of The Bachelorette featured John Graham, described by host Chris Harrison as "arguably the most successful guy we’ve ever had on this show." Though it costs a lot to compete, The Bachelor launches careers: Alumni have gone on to host other shows, invest in real estate and become Instagram influencers.
And that's on top of the money each Bachelor (and Bachelorette) is paid for participating in the show. According to the book Bachelor Nation, stars typically receive a salary commensurate with what they'd normally earn at work during the filming period. But she adds that "these days, it would be incredibly rare for someone to make less than six figures."
Ahead of the Monday-night premiere of season 23, Money dug into the wealth of all 22 Bachelors.
We scoured interviews, news reports and other sources like Celebrity Net Worth, PayScale, and Glassdoor to determine each man's financial status and ranked them. While there are no public, definitive numbers for each bachelor's bank account after the final rose, this snapshot is a good general indication of where the men are in their lives.
Here's how they stack up.
22. Juan Pablo Galavis
This Bachelor appeared on the show in 2014 after a career as a professional soccer player in Venezuela, though he now calls himself a sports and music consultant. We don't know what that actually entails; the closest title we could find on PayScale was "management consultant." That gig typically pays $85,000 a year.
21. Aaron Buerge
Then the trouble started. The Wall Street Journal reported in 2011 that Buerge was earning about $15,000 a month as the president and CEO of the First National Bank of Clinton/Springfield in Missouri, a job he had for over 16 years. But he filed for bankruptcy protection on the grounds that he had $9.3 million in liabilities and just $2.3 million in assets. (He later blamed a loan issue tied to the Great Recession, telling People "I’m not broke." Insert thinking-face emoji.)
Buerge's LinkedIn now lists him as the director and executive vice president of Legacy Bank and Trust. Financial managers make an average of $125,080 per year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which is why we're putting him at no. 21 on this list.
20. Matt Grant
This British Bachelor was a financier during his 2008 season. But after the show, he wrote and sold TV shows like Pimp My Bride and then worked for a software company, according to his LinkedIn.
Grant is now a principal for the business consulting company Grant Schwartz. A typical salary for a principal consultant is about $130,000 a year in the U.S., according to Glassdoor. We imagine it's similar abroad, where he lives with his new wife.
19. Andrew Baldwin
Baldwin is — swoon — a Navy doctor, a role that typically comes with a salary of $174,000, according to Glassdoor. And being the 10th Bachelor isn't even this lieutenant commander's greatest accomplishment: He once traveled to Laos on a mission to treat villagers, which landed him on Outside Magazine’s 2006 "Top 100 Influential People of the World" list. He also founded the Got Your Back Network, a nonprofit that supports military families.
“[Philanthropy] is what I’m all about,” Baldwin told People in 2008. “I don’t have that much money to begin with, but to use the fame to give back, and promote things that you’re passionate about, that’s the way I’m living my life right now.”
18. Alex Michel
Producers wanted a businessman for their first-ever Bachelor, and they found it in Michel. He attended both Harvard University and Stanford Business School, and he's since worked for CNET, Bernstein Global Wealth Management and Microsoft.
After The Bachelor, Michel became a spokesman for Match.com and Princess Cruises. His LinkedIn lists him as the managing director for Generation Consulting — a role that typically pays about $191,000 a year, according to PayScale.com. He's also the co-founder of NewCo, a media and tech startup. He enjoys Olive Garden.
17. Bob Guiney
Guiney, once described in a news release as a "multi-talented reality television star/singer/author/mortgage broker," does it all. The season four star's LinkedIn page lists him as a sales and marketing executive, which PayScale says comes with a roughly $62,000 salary, but his income is likely supplemented by his many side projects. Based on that, we're putting him in 17th place.
On LinkedIn, Guiney writes that he has "an intense interest in the business world and in particular the financial sector." He loves entertainment, as well: Guiney has hosted shows on TLC, HGTV and CMT and appears regularly on the TODAY Show. He's also the lead singer of Band from TV, which boasts a star-studded lineup that raises money for charity — more than $3 million so far.
16. Ben Higgins
Higgins used to be a vice president of business development for Talisys, which likely came with a salary of more than $90,000. These days, he co-hosts the Almost Famous podcast with Bachelor Nation favorite Ashley Iaconetti. Reviewers say the podcast has an "obscene" amount of ads, so we're guessing he's making some nice money off of that.
Speaking of sponsorships, Higgins' social media feeds include posts in partnership with Capital One. In general, #influencers make an insane amount of cash for posting those #ads. One expert told Digiday companies pay about $1,000 for every 100,000 followers someone has. (Higgins has a staggering 1.3 million, so that's $13,000 per post.) Another expert told Refinery29 that reality TV favorites can earn six figures from Instagram alone.
Higgins also started the Generous Movement, a coffee company that invests into the "life-changing work done by non-profits." When Forbes asked how he was funding it, this Bachelor vaguely replied that "at this point, we have agreed to try and do this without a lot of debt." Coincidentally, that's our life motto, too.
15. Nick Viall
According to his LinkedIn, Viall was an account executive at Salesforce before he got caught in the endless cycle of Bachelor Nation TV shows. Glassdoor says the total average pay for a person in that position is $129,000.
Prior to scoring his own season in 2017, Viall headed to the beach for Bachelor in Paradise, which blogger Reality Steve reports can result in an extra payout of up to $15,000. Viall also participated in Dancing With the Stars, which pays out $125,000 plus bonuses based on how far contestants get. He does the occasional Instagram ad and is involved in an essential oils business called Natural Habits.
Hopefully that's all generating enough cash for him to fund a second season of The Bad Chiller Highlight Show.
14. Brad Womack
Womack was the Bachelor twice, in seasons 11 and 15, but he lags behind other stars when it comes to money. Celebrity Net Worth says Womack is worth $500,000, though there's little info on where that figure is coming from. (A note on Celebrity Net Worth as a source: It relies primarily on news articles and real estate records to come up with its totals, which the founder has said are intended to be "the best possible ballpark" estimate, so we take its numbers with a grain of salt.)
13. Charlie O'Connell
Not only is this 2005 Bachelor the brother of actor Jerry O'Connell — you know, the guy in Kangaroo Jack and Jerry Maguire — but he also he has a couple of film credits himself. IMDB says O'Connell has appeared in Dude, Where's My Car and Cruel Intentions, among other movies. His net worth is $600,000, according to Celebrity Net Worth.
12. Byron Velvick
The sixth Bachelor has a storied career in bass fishing. He recently retired, but not before winning two WON Bass U.S. Open championships. As of 2008, he'd received more than $500,000 in tournament prizes, according to Bassmaster; his total career winnings exceed $1.2 million.
These days, he owns the Amistad Lake Resort in Texas. He's a catch (get it?) at No. 12 on our list.
11. Jake Pavelka
The star of the 14th season is a pilot, a gig that typically comes with a salary of about $80,000, according to Glassdoor. But after The Bachelor, Pavelka devoted much of his time to TV, appearing on Bachelor Pad and The Bold and the Beautiful. He also competed on Dancing With the Stars, so that's $125,000, and likely got a $60,000 bonus for making it to episode six.
In all, Celebrity Net Worth estimates that Pavelka is worth about $700,000 today.
10. Ben Flajnik
Flajnik is currently a senior community manager for Yelp, which Glassdoor says usually pays about $62,000 a year. He has investments, as well, in real estate, a vodka company and shipping business, which is probably why Celebrity Net Worth says Flajnik has a net worth of $800,000. We'll drink to that.
9. Chris Soules
Celebrity Net Worth estimates that Soules, The Bachelor's 2015 leading man, is worth $1.5 million — but that may be an out-of-date figure.
We took him down to ninth because these days, he's likely swamped with legal fees. This past November, the farmer pleaded guilty to a leaving the scene of an accident resulting in serious injury after a 2017 crash that killed a man. Soules' sentencing is set for February; he could spend up to two years in prison and pay up to $6,250 in fines.
8. Colton Underwood
Underwood is the latest Bachelor, and Celebrity Net Worth says he's worth $1 million. But it's hard to say where that number is coming from. Though he spent some time in the NFL, he never played a regular season game — or got the big bucks you may associate with big-name players. According to Over the Cap, his career earnings total $121,000.
His main gig these days is off the field as the face of the Colton Underwood Legacy Foundation, which supports cystic fibrosis patients. Tax filings from 2016 show that the nonprofit brought in just over $78,000 in revenue and had $42,000 in expenses. Underwood is listed as devoting 20 hours a week to his job as president, but he is not compensated.
That said, before being cast as Bachelor, Underwood had a tearful run on Paradise. Based on what we know from Reality Steve, he got to wipe his eyes with up to $15,000.
7. Sean Lowe
Lowe has certainly rebounded from his post-grad period, in which he started a financial services company that ended in bankruptcy. Celebrity Net Worth says the 2013 bachelor is worth $500,000, but we're bumping him up in the rankings because he and his wife have appeared on several reality shows and "developed close to $10 million worth of residential and multifamily real estate" in Dallas, as he told Fortune in 2016.
"When the show ended, I realized the financial potential of that whole wacky experience … Fame pays, but I knew it’d be short-lived," he said. "If I could save every penny, I could parlay it into long-lasting success back home in Dallas."
6. Jason Mesnick
Mesnick was an account executive for an estate-planning company heading into season 13 of The Bachelor. He married the runner-up in a televised wedding in 2010, and though it's unclear how much money the couple earned from the event, it could be on par with the $1 million ABC previously paid contestants Trista Rehn and Ryan Sutter. In any case, the money was enough to help Mesnick build a custom five-bedroom, three-bathroom house in Washington a couple of years ago.
5. Arie Luyendyk Jr.
Don't confuse this Bachelor with his dad, who is reportedly worth $20 million. Celebrity Net Worth pegs Luyendyk Jr. at $4 million. A race car driver with surprisingly few wins, he also works as a real estate agent in Scottsdale, Arizona, with RE/MAX Excalibur. The average broker makes $52,000 a year, according to PayScale.
Luyendyk owns a $458,000 condo, but he recently put his expertise to good use and purchased a four-bedroom, 3 1/2-bathroom second home for $860,000.
4. Jesse Palmer
Bachelor No. 5 is a former football player whose resume includes lucrative stints on the New York Giants and San Francisco 49ers. In 2003 alone, his NFL salary was $393,800.
After The Bachelor, Palmer became a sports commentator for Fox, the NFL Network and ESPN — the last of which apparently recently entered a bidding war in order to keep him on board. He currently hosts DailyMailTV and competitive dating show show The Proposal. Though the average TV host salary comes in at about $56,000, Celebrity Net Worth puts his net worth at $6 million.
But Palmer may soon have to pony up for lawyer's fees: Last month, after he reported on Nicki Minaj's relationship with a sex offender, the rapper tweeted that she planned to take him to court for defamation. Minaj added that "the barbz are getting more tuition & student loan money after I sue this hoe." Welp.
3. Travis Lane Stork
Stork was still doing his ER residency when he starred in season eight of The Bachelor. Afterward, he worked at a Colorado trauma center, likely taking home a salary near the $214,000 PayScale says the average ER physician makes. Stork has also written several best-selling health books and hosted 10 seasons of the medicine-focused talk show The Doctors.
2. Andrew Firestone
There's a reason this name sounds familiar: Season three's Bachelor is the great-grandson of the founder of tire company Firestone. (The business is now owned by Bridgestone Corp., which Forbes reports brought in $32.9 billion in sales last year.) His family also has a winery in California.
When Firestone's season premiered in 2003, the Hartford Courant called him a "millionaire," though that title may need a prefix. Celebrity Net Worth estimates Firestone's net worth to be $50 million. He's now the principal of Stone Park Capital, a hospitality firm with a focus on investor return.
1. Lorenzo Borghese
This Bachelor is the son of a prince and descended from a pope. But he works for a living. Borghese has spent 15 years running a natural pet cosmetics line sold on HSN. He's also a managing partner of an Italian cosmetic company, a consultant for a retailer called Multimedia Exposure, the founder of Animal Aid USA, and a founder of the Miami-based South Beach Brewing Company.
"People assumed I played polo and sipped afternoon tea and just went shopping for clothes. They thought I sat around doing absolutely nothing all day," he told Reuters in 2016. "It is the furthest thing from the truth."
Celebrity Net Worth says Borghese is worth $50 million, just in case you weren't already impressed by the fact that he's royalty.