In most vampire fiction, vampires tend to be filthy rich or at least comfortably loaded. It's presumed that over the years they've managed to save/squirrel away money so that they can have a comfortable lifestyle, plenty of security so nobody comes in and stakes them in their sleep, and a fabulous wardrobe. Some certainly look like the Rich Idiot with No Day Job
, others may be Non-Idle Rich
and manage to be financially enterprising. Generally justified
in that the vamp is hundreds of years old, and thus has had plenty of time to accrue his wealth (and invest it via The Slow Path
version of a Compound Interest Time Travel Gambit
). Being technically dead also saves several bills, as there's no need to buy food, water, health insurance, you get the idea.
Tropologically, it's probably to do with vampires being decadent aristocrats going back to Count Dracula
. Both tropes play on the symbolic connection between literal blood-sucking and the parasitic way of life of an (assumed) real-life idle class which does not support itself by its own efforts, but by exploiting other people.
Vampires made in recent years, however, may not fall into this trope due to a Subverted Trope
or lack of savings, and may end up having to work nights at the Quik-E-Mart in order to pay for a dark enough apartment to sleep in.
Undead Tax Exemption
may factor in here.
See also Vampires Own Night Clubs
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Anime & Manga
- JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Dio Brando seemed to have accumulated quite a fortune by the time he appeared in Stardust Crusaders, being able to pay his followers in gold and having an impressive, expensive-looking wardrobe.
- In Dance in the Vampire Bund the Tepes vampire clan paid off the entire national debt of Japan as part of the deal that got the Bund, a politically autonomous refuge for vampires, set up, and they still have enough funds to operate the place, complete with a private army for security.
- Life Sucks brings this up, then explicitly rejects it as unrealistic. The undead protagonist works night shifts at a convenience store, and most of the vampires around him are hardly doing better.
- The Carpathian/European vampires from American Vampire represent old European nobility and thus are loaded. So much that in the miniseries Survival Of the Fittest they're a major financier of the Third Reich as they are big on racial purity as well.
- In Runaways, Toph says he made a small fortune during the Great Depression, but lost it all during the Dot Com bubble. His love for an expensive lifestyle means that he and the two vampires he turned spend their nights holding up liquor and convenience stores every night.
- Played for laughs in Minimonsters, with the Von Piro family in this trope.
- Played with in Dark Shadows. The main vampire's family has fallen on hard times, but when he is released, he shows his family the enormous wealth still hidden in the house.
- Inverted in Near Dark, in which the vampires not only aren't rich, but are essentially penniless drifters who steal as well as kill to survive.
- The Lair of the White Worm features Lady Marsh who, as the name implies, is a noblewoman that often ventures around the world... and yes, she's a vampire to boot.
- The vampires in The Hunger
- Dracula by Bram Stoker: Count Dracula is the go-to example. Dracula lives in a big castle and summons Jonathan Harker to Transylvania to help him buy land in England. Harker notes that Dracula doesn't have any servants, but we later find out that it's because no local will come near the place. Dracula's continuing source of income seems to be buried treasure that is marked by will o' the wisps one night out of the year.
- In The Dresden Files universe, the members of the White and Red Vampire Courts we have seen tend to be extremely wealthy. It may just be that the characters that Harry meets are either ranking members of the vampire aristocracy, or are the kind who can be promoted to such heights. In Changes, Harry sees a large number Red Court Vampires who have given into their bloodlust, and they're noted as only kept around to be used as cannon fodder.
- Justified for the White Court, in that they're a (very) extended family, and when you're able and willing to Mind Rape normals into doing your bidding, it's not exactly hard to get rich, after which money begets money and it all stays in the family. The Raith clan, for example, owns the pornography business. All of it.
- Both played straight and subverted in the Kitty Norville books, with the vampires in power being the wealthy sort and at least one caller of Kitty's being a Quik-E-Mart employee.
- Blood Books (and the TV adaptation Blood Ties): Henry Fitzroy is an aversion: he writes for a living. There's a Lampshade Hanging in the first book where Vicki asks why he has to work, and he says something like, "Oh, sure, I could have bought IBM for pennies back in nineteen-oh-something, but who knew? I'm a vampire, not clairvoyant." He also points out that there is a reason for a high percentage of vampires being aristocracy. A mausoleum is much easier to break out of then a coffin under six feet of dirt.
- This may be more of a subversion, given that Fitzroy lived a life of luxury while he was mortal.
- The Sookie Stackhouse Mysteries and True Blood:
- Eric is clearly the local entrepreneur and runs Fangtasia. And being the local sheriff means that he can force the local vampires to hang out in his bar regularly in order to entice the clientele.
- There are plenty of middle class vampires. Bill Compton, for example, makes do with a rather old house that's in poor condition at least before he became King of Louisiana, when his house got a very swank makeover. Eddie lived in the suburbs like a normal person.
- Bill resides in the house he lived in before death. In the second or third book it's revealed that he owns a shopping complex, so he can't be that strapped for cash.
- Subverted in True Blood with Sophie-Anne Leclerq, who despite being vampire royalty has been taxed by the IRS since coming out of the coffin for all the years that she paid no taxes, and resorts to selling "V" and even using lottery scratch cards to try to pay off her debts.
- The Vampire Chronicles.
- Louis was already rich when Lestat sired him, probably just so Lestat could mooch off of Louis. (Also subverted in the case of Lestat, who was an aristocrat, but the youngest son of a family that was so poor they had to go hunting to put food on the table.) Basically, though, all vampires become filthy rich because they steal from their victims. Or just steal from living people.
- In Tale of the Body Thief, Lestat mentions that he has so much money that he doesn't know how much he has. Somewhere in the high millions. When the eponymous thief asks him for $20 million in exchange for letting him swap bodies for a day, Lestat knows this is just a drop in the ocean for him but is still hesitant to pay the man.
- Armand owns an entire island and flies around in private jets.
- Anita Blake: The vampires vary in this. Jean-Claude is a very enterprising vampire and has businesses all over town, employing various werewolves and vampires in his various clubs, especially at a strip club he often emcees personally.
- While an uncommon topic in the series, the books have shown that becoming a vampire is a dubious economic decision. Not only does it limit your job options but as most vampires do not become incredibly attractive and desirable, staying unlive usually means paying the living for more than they pay for their own food.
- Twilight: The Cullen family own their own island off the west coast of Brazil, and can apparently afford to purchase or build any number of honeymoon cottages, luxury cars, and gemstones. One of the vampires explicitly mentions that it's due to Alice's ability to read the future and the relevant impact it has on the stock market. Before Bella ever meets Edward, the first thing she notices is the incredibly expensive cars that they drive parked in the school parking lot.
- Some Discworld vampires.
- Agnes's first impression of Count Magpyr in Carpe Jugulum is that he's the sort of nobleman who never, ever worries about money. Lady Margolotta is also very well off.
Vlad: "Well, the family has always owned land. The money mounts up, you know. Over the centuries. And obviously we've not enjoyed a particularly active social life."
Agnes: "Or spent much on food."
- Otto Chriek works for the newspaper (though it's possible he only does so to indulge his one great passion, photography.)
- The very middle-class greengrocer Arthur Winkings, Count Notfaroutoe and his Vampire Vannabe wife Doreen, whose determined effort to keep up appearances results in them having the only terraced house with a crypt and a moat.
- There's a nameless vampire in Feet of Clay who works in such places as the holy-water section of a religious supply store.
- Subverted in a (humorous) how-to book on how to be a vampire. It says that being a vampire doesn't make you rich, so it recommends ways of making money for which being a vampire is helpful: selling collectibles (objects that are cheap can become valuable when you sell them after decades or centuries), theft, being a con artist or cardsharp.
- Subverted in the graphic novel Life Sucks. Vampire Vannabe Rosa imagines a society of rich and cultured vampires; real vampire Dave is stuck working for his vampire master at the all-night convenience store.
- Night Watch: Mostly subverted in Sergey Lukyanenko's series. Since vampires are, basically, the lowest of the low in the hierarchy of the Others, their jobs in the Day Watch are limited to security guard duties. High Vampires fare a little better. Played slightly straight with Kostya Saushkin's father, who makes a decent living as an interior decorator (enough to put his son through medical school). Not so much in The Movie, where he's a poor butcher, who only has one pair of pants.
- Played with in Elrod's The Vampire Files, in which Jack Fleming gets a lot richer over the course of several books, but only because he pockets some cash each time he gets into a feud with the mob. If only the gangs had left him alone to un-live his un-life, he'd still be scraping by selling stories about spider-gods to pulp magazines.
- In Elizabeth Bear's New Amsterdam, vampire Sebastien de Ulloa observes he has more money than he could ever spend. However, his lifestyle tends to upper middle class comfort more than complete luxury.
- Chelsea Quinn Yarbro's Count Saint-Germain is incredibly rich, largely because he learned the alchemical secrets of how to make gold and jewels on demand. Over the course of his long existence, he's also found that rich foreigners make easy targets for greedy governments and thieves, and has learned the wisdom of keeping investments in different locations and under different names. He used shell companies centuries ago, but has using them more and more often recently, along with using attorneys and blind trusts.
- The short story The Extinction Parade by Max Brooks features rich, aristocratic vampires battling a Zombie Apocalypse to save their food source. Brooks has stated that he sees vampires as the personification of privilege and aristocracy, and used this as a metaphor for the reactions of the world (particularly the comfortable developed world) to crises like Global Warming and resource shortages; in other words, World War Z with vampires in place of the United States.
- In the comic book adaptation, the vampires' wealth is explained by use of human proxies to put a living human face on their finances and cover up their misdeeds, with most of them recruited through promises of wealth or eternal life, or simple intimidation. The narrator and her partner Laila have one that they call Willem, whose entire family has served them this way for several generations.
- The comic also combines this trope with a streak of populist anti-elitism, with the narrator describing vampires as parasites who contributed nothing to society while exploiting its weakest and most vulnerable members. "Willem" also snaps and kills himself over his poor treatment by his vampire masters, telling them in his final words that they should learn how to take care of themselves for once. In addition, even before the Zombie Apocalypse the growth of the middle class was having the same effect on vampires that peak oil has on human society. Desperately poor people were the vampires' go-to source for sustenance, as they were the ones who, unlike the rich and the middle-class, wouldn't be missed by society at large, and as a result many vampires moved to Third World countries as the West grew more prosperous (and thus depleted of easily-accessible resources). The narrator laments the fact that vampires never bothered to learn how to sustain themselves on such a difficult food source rather than treating it as a mere sport for when killing slum dwellers was getting boring, wondering if more of them might have survived had they not grown lazy subsisting on the low-hanging fruit.
Live Action TV
- In Vampire: The Masquerade and Vampire: the Requiem, this can be played straight or averted depending entirely on how many dots in the "Resources" merit a vampire has. Stereotypically, vampires tend to get richer with age and certain clans are more liable to collect wealth and earthly goods than others. Some clans, like the Ventrue, tend to Embrace people who were already rich while still alive and will put their neonates through a financial Training from Hell called "the agoge." Other clans, like Gangrel and Nosferatu, tend (or may even prefer) to live in destitution.
- Night Life: Vampyres and other Kin in the RPG have to work and/or steal to get money, in keeping with the grungy motif of the game.
- Magic: The Gathering: The vampires in the Innistrad block (and world) are aristocratic and walk around like they own the joint wherever they go.
- In Touhou, Remilia and Flandre seem comfortable in the Scarlet Devil Mansion. Complete with a Ninja Maid with Time Hax that helps her speed up chores, and a Kung Fu master for a gate keeper. According to Memento in a Strict Sense the mansion often holds party at night and invite other people in Gensokyo.
- Not that anybody seems to get paid beyond having a place to live, and there's a reference in the PCB manual that Sakuya's the only reason the mansion is even heated in the winter. The Scarlet sisters seem to prefer being mostly self-sufficient to having a full treasure vault.
- The Sims 2: In the Night Life expansion vampires are introduced, with vampires NPCs that fit this trope (since they are obvious parodies of Dracula, even being counts) adding them to your household can give around 50 thousand simoleons. Rich Idiot with No Day Job might fit them as well since vampires have problems with the Sun.
- Tsukihime: Arcueid Brunestud can rent out entire floors of hotels and apartment complexes despite having no obvious source of income. Subverted though, she just hypnotizes the staff into giving her the space. Her real income source comes from being an elemental who can create gold from thin air. A fanboy of hers in the Magic Association then sells the gold and gives her the loot. Presumably Arcueid does this in small enough amounts that there's no risk of crashing the gold market.
- In the Legacy of Kain series, Vorador lives in sweet Victorian style mansion, where as by Soul Reaver, Kain's empire has conquered all of Nosgoth, and thus he lives in a grand palace.
- Anton from Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box , until it's found out that he's not really a vampire.
- Jurgen in Sam & Max Beyond Time and Space is living in a Gothic-looking German castle. The Devil's Toybox reveals that, prior to being bitten, he was an amateur archaeologist and a follower of Yog-Soggoth. He was either already a wealthy aristocrat or made his money after becoming a vamp.
- LaCroix, Ming Xao, Strauss and Isaac in Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines (who are old vampire leaders who are 'upper class') play this straight. Other vampires, like Bertram, Nines (and his crew) and Beckett, not so much.
- Lord Janus Hassildor, Count Skingrad, in The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. It's not quite clear how rich he is, but his town is likely the most prosperous in Cyrodiil after the Imperial City itself, and he has an extremely well-appointed castle. Also likely applies to the Player Character if they get turned, given that there's not much worth buying after a while.
- Lord Harkon of Volkihar from the next game, on the other hand, owns a rather dilapidated big fancy castle, full of both old luxury and new scrap, debris and general yuck.
- Nosfera: Nosfera has her own castle complete with servants.
- Metamor City: Malcom ard'Valos is a well-known investor and one of the wealthiest men in Metamor, as well as Vampire Prince of The Syndicate. Morgan Drauling on the other hand is nobility, but was cut off from the family fortune years before she was turned so she works as a coroner for the police.