How I Met Your Mother: Things That Make No Sense About Money

From apartments to medical bills to paying for beer, how does the money in How I Met Your Mother actually add up?

Did They Ever Actually Pay For Their Drinks?

 In MacLarens, they routinely announce their departure and just stroll out the door (especially Barney, after he manages to successfully pick up a woman). In ‘When Lily Stole Christmas’, Ted even walks out with a full beer. Do they run tabs at all times, as regulars? Do they always pay at the bar, even though there is table service? Likely, it’s just ignored because watching characters pay the bill isn’t particularly fun or relevant, but it’s still irksome.

 
How Much Money Does Ted Earn?

Of all the character’s finances, Ted’s definitely make the least sense. At the start of the series, he is an architect, and while this is far from a low-paying job, he seems to be earning a seriously impressive amount… because he’s 27 in the pilot, but a few years later has enough socked away that he can quit his job and start his own firm, and buy a house (admittedly extremely cheaply, but still, a house) on a whim, and then renovate the whole thing, buy out Stella’s sister’s wedding on Shelter Island, and go out drinking and partying all the time. Given that he doesn’t seem to live a particularly carefully budgeted life (that beer has to add up), how did he manage to save enough to do all that in just a few years?


Why Does No One Talk About Healthcare?

This is another common sitcom situation, as discussions about how to pay for healthcare aren’t exactly a light and funny topic, but why does this never come up – even when the characters are making huge life changes that would impact it? When Lily quits her job, leaves her fiance, and moves to San Franciso to be an artist, she doesn’t even blink at the idea of giving up something so important. Similarly, when Ted strikes out on his own, he doesn’t mention how he’ll pay for healthcare, without benefits from the firm. Or, given that Marshall is still a student at the start of the series, how is he paying for this? Is he still on his parents’ benefits from Minnesota?


Why Doesn’t Barney Pay For His Friends More?

Even if he didn’t want to help out on the little things and become the bankroller of the group, when the gang run into issues (like when Lily and Marshall realize how much it will cost to fix their crooked floor) presumably someone as wildly wealthy as Barney would want to at least offer to help.

What Happened To Lily’s Art Business?

Speaking of Lily’s art business (selling paintings to vet clinics), it is also dropped after it serves its short-term purpose. Perhaps Lily kept going with this and it just never came up again, but given that she is then working full time, renovating an apartment, out at the bar basically nightly, and soon gets pregnant, how did she even find time to paint, let alone sell her work?


How Did Robin Afford That Apartment?

For the most part, the apartments on the show are not as unrealistic as they are on other sitcoms. Barney has an incredible place because he is ridiculously rich, and the main apartment is a two bedroom shared between three people. Lily even has her tiny studio apartment, which doesn’t even fully fit a bed.

Everything About Barney’s Money

It is revealed that he was actually working as a ‘Please’, an acronym for Provide Legal Exculpation and Sign Everything. In short, Barney was being paid an obscene amount of money to sign every GNB document and thus take the fall for all their illegal doings. However, he was actually reporting on them to the feds, giving him all the money, and legal immunity. However, there’s a lot here that still doesn’t make sense – like how he was able to keep this going for so long. Presumably, there would have been enough intel long before it actually came crashing down, and if Barney wasn’t reporting to the feds all along, how was he never in trouble with the IRS? And how much were they actually paying him (16 craploads, as described by Ted, doesn’t reveal much)?

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