The Art of Darkness

Finances of the Undead

April 15th, 2014 by Cobwebs

Last week’s link dump mentioned Law and the Multiverse, and intrepid commenter xJane noted:

Someone got me the Law and the Multiverse book one year (I’m still reading it—it’s hilarious!). Such a great way of looking at imaginary worlds—it’d be fun to do a fantasy one (what are the legal ramifications of stock portfolios owned by the undead…?).

I replied:*

I assume you mean vampires, since I don’t really see zombies playing the stock market. I’m pretty sure half of vampire literature depends on them building up their fortunes over hundreds of years.

And she responded:

I do, yes.

And that’s my point! Usually vampires are super rich and living cushy lives that do not require that they take jobs that require them to see this side of dawn. Does a vampire’s bite suddenly make you a stock market expert? Because you don’t just have to hang onto the stocks for a long time—they have to’ve been the right stocks in the first place. And this seems like the kind of thing you’d have to prepare for—like retirement. If I die tomorrow, I would still need to work if I were going to entice healthy young coeds into my boudoir (although the not having to sleep might mean I’m better at my job, I don’t work hourly), but potentially, if I buy life insurance pre-bite, I could cash in immediately post-bite and then invest, hoping to take night time lawyer-jobs for the next 60 years or so while my investments mature…

I guess what I’m saying is that I don’t want to see the legal ramifications of becoming a vampire but the tax and income ramifications.

To which I had to respond:

Okay, well (and I’d like to say here that you’ve inspired me to give this a little more thought than is probably healthy):

1) If you kill your victims, you get to keep whatever you can scavenge off their corpses, plus cars and anything in their homes if you know where they live(d). There’s some capital right up front.

2) Since you can’t be killed by bullets or other normal weapons, and you may not (depending upon the mythology) even show up in security-camera footage, go rob some banks. Eat any cops who manage to track you down. Once you accrue a nice little nest egg, you can stop and lie low for a few decades until the heat dies down (I’m sure that’s what D.B. Cooper is doing).

3) Remember that bit in Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, where all you had to do was deposit one penny in a bank account in your time period, and when you traveled to the Restaurant at the End of the Universe the compound interest you’d accrued was more than enough to pay for your meal? Same idea. If you’re living several hundred years, you can diversify and enough of your investments will probably make money to keep you in plasma.

4) As technology and record-keeping become more advanced it’s going to be harder to pretend to be your own son/daughter in order to “inherit” your estate every hundred years or so. In this case, you may have to rely on a corporation to manage your finances, and you can just skim what you need.

Easy!

And she shot back with:

> Okay, well (and I’d like to say here that you’ve inspired me to give this a little more thought than is probably healthy):

File under Things I Often Think About When Watching Vampire Fiction…
>
> 1) If you kill your victims, you get to keep whatever you can scavenge off their corpses, plus cars and anything in their homes if you know where they live(d). There’s some capital right up front.

Fair point. I feel like this is mostly beneath your average vampire, but everyone has to start somewhere.
>
> 2) Since you can’t be killed by bullets or other normal weapons, and you may not (depending upon the mythology) even show up in security-camera footage, go rob some banks. Eat any cops who manage to track you down. Once you accrue a nice little nest egg, you can stop and lie low for a few decades until the heat dies down (I’m sure that’s what D.B. Cooper is doing).

Good point. I will tell my nieces and nephs to keep an eye out for D.B. Cooper.
>
> 3) Remember that bit in Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, where all you had to do was deposit one penny in a bank account in your time period, and when you traveled to the Restaurant at the End of the Universe the compound interest you’d accrued was more than enough to pay for your meal? Same idea. If you’re living several hundred years, you can diversify and enough of your investments will probably make money to keep you in plasma.

Is it, though? I feel like one would still require a more-than-passing knowledge of the markets…
>
> 4) As technology and record-keeping become more advanced it’s going to be harder to pretend to be your own son/daughter in order to “inherit” your estate every hundred years or so. In this case, you may have to rely on a corporation to manage your finances, and you can just skim what you need.

Hmm, I’d not thought of a corporation, but that’s a good idea. I was thinking some kind of a trust, but if you’ve got enough money—in any century—it ought to be possible to buy appropriate documentation (see, also New Amsterdam).
>
> Easy!

haha, How to Be a Vampire: for Fun and Profit!

And that’s the point where I decided to just turn the whole thing into a blog post.

So yeah, there’s the question: When was the last time you saw an indigent vampire? Why is that? Assuming that a vampire isn’t super-rich when they turn, how do they acquire and then hang onto their wealth?

The issue mainly seems to apply to vampires: Zombies, as I mentioned above, don’t really seem to have the faculties to manage convertible debentures, and presumably anybody who gained immortality by, say, a deal with the devil would also be smart enough to make vast wealth part of the package.

So what do you think? If you somehow wound up undead, how would you go about ensuring your long-term financial security? Would you continue to live where you did, go to night school, and try to work your way up the corporate ladder? Would you be able to play the stock market and strike it rich? Or would you become the first vampire to live in a trailer park? Discuss in the comments.


*Did you know that I reply individually to comments left on this site? I totally do.

Posted in Funny Peculiar | 12 Comments »

12 Responses

  1. Tanya Says:

    If vampires can glamour people attaining wealth would be fairly simple. Even if there is a learning period for certain vampiric powers, perhaps whoever made you would teach you about your new abilities until you mastered them. With the ability to glamour people, you could steal all kinds of insider knowledge for the stock market or convince people to give you $.

  2. StoneMaven Says:

    I’d put a “Renfield” on someone rich and less annoying than Donald Trump, or just stalk stockbrokers. “Serve me Minion!” ~OR~ just to point out the other side of the coin, I’d ignore the money thing and live in the old subway tunnels and tenement basements of NYC, and prey on folks who’s clothing I fancied and looked like it might fit me. Of course this assumes I don’t need to sleep in a coffin of my native soil. I suppose I could carry it in a flame retardant sleeping bag if required…

  3. StoneMaven Says:

    I guess you could call the second option the “Counter Culture Vampire” Because when you live that long you’d know that money isn’t real, it’s just game counters.

  4. cookie Says:

    The “red neck” trailer park Vampires were represented quite nicely on an episode of The X-Files. They wished to blend into society which they did quite nicely until one of them, ( a dumbass stoner ) acted stupid enough to attract the attention of Mulder of the FBI. I really miss that show!

  5. Pixel Pixie Says:

    Are you racist against mummies or something?

  6. Cobwebs Says:

    Mummies are zombies with better healthcare.

  7. cookie Says:

    @cobwebs
    Osiruscare

  8. xJane Says:

    I love the part where I say “If I die tomorrow” and we both know I mean, “becoming a member of the undead and bloodthirstily prowling the streets.”

    Tanya (1) raises a point that we both missed: the legendary powers (including the glamour) of the vampire. I still agree that the first few…decades? would be a little thin while you worked your way up from rats and such and also figured out how to use your appropriately vampiric abilities for profit.

    StoneMaven (2), meanwhile, gives us an extremely plausible reason for bankers being such douchecanoes: they’ve been Renfielded! I also like the idea of a flame retardant sleeping bag filled with native soil. I feel like many recent vampire stories have missed out on a great deal of the technology that we have available in this day and age to solve ageless-old problems such as these.

    StoneMaven (3) also raises a good point, but I’d counter that, while you don’t need to go grocery shopping as a vampire and while you could conceivably live in the subway, I feel like most vampires are holed up in pretty cushy estates of one variety or another…

  9. Pixel Pixie Says:

    Well, back to the question at hand, it seems like the vampires in Being Human (the British version) are hit-and-miss in terms of wealth and status. Aidan Turner might be gorgeous for all eternity, but he still has to clean up random people’s poo.

    Damn, he is cute.

  10. StoneMaven Says:

    I kinda envisioned a 60’s dropout who got turned, “I reject your bourgeois quest for wealth. I choose to live my sunless existence removing thugs and pigs from the streets and…hey, those are nice boots. Bet they’d fit me.”

  11. KG Says:

    cookie- I loved that episode!

  12. WitchArachne Says:

    Stonemaven hit the nail exactly on what .i would do: Bloodfarm the rich.
    Except forget investment bankers, I’d pick English nobility. Coz I’m classy as fuck and want a castle.
    Also noone would notice if a bunch of them died. I think they’re born 70 years old.

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