Here's How Much Kim Jong Un Is Actually Worth

Who among us hasn't looked at the hereditary ruler of a draconian regime and wondered "what's his haul look like after taxes?" Which of us hasn't felt the desire to pull our payroll stubs for the last six months so we could compare them to the salary of an iron-fisted despot while muttering that their job doesn't seem so hard and that we could have totally done that if we'd finished community college? Well, if you've ever wanted to live like nuclear royalty while millions of people under your purview struggled with the constant threat of starving to death, get ready to turn green with envy. This week on Despot Cribs, we'll be looking at Kim Jong Un, leader of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, and what it's like to go through your day to day as a walking god who just can't seem to find a solid barber.


It shouldn't come as a shock to find out the Kim Jong Un is doing better financially than anyone else in North Korea. But how many zeroes are really at the end of his paycheck? Does his agent take a cut? Did he get anything off the back end of The Interview, or was it more of a George Lucas deal where he held onto the merchandising rights and made a killing on action figures? Details on the reclusive Supreme Leader's duckets are unsurprisingly sparse, but according to the International Business Times, a joint investigation by the U.S. and South Korea in 2013 placed Kim's assets at a ballpark $5 billion. That's almost twice as much as some other world leaders, or roughly, based on annual incomes reported by U.S. News, what the average North Korean citizen can expect to make in five and a half million years.

And if you're wondering what the 35 year old Kim spends that cash on, MSN lists a fascinating compilation of investments, including around $30 million a year on imported liquor, an $8 million 200 foot custom yacht, a $1.7 million armored Mercedes Benz S600, and, just to be clear, not food for his citizens.

If this all comes off as unfair to a guy with what must be a difficult job, here's a fun fact: he also has a private jet, valued at an estimated $1.5 million, and you know what he calls it? "Air Force Un." That's kind of zany, right? What a kooky fella. Totally makes up for how the Global Hunger Index reports that nearly half of all North Koreans don't have enough food.

Comparatively, the entire estimated GDP of the reclusive nation sat at about $17.3 billion in 2017, as relayed by Trading Economics. That puts it about on par financially with Mali, whose president, Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta, has a current estimated personal net worth of somewhere between one and five million dollars, and who practically never hangs out with Dennis Rodman.

Un nation, under Un

So what does life look like for your average citizen of a country where nearly a third of the nation's monetary worth gets funneled into the Supreme Leader's Wells Fargo checking account? Less than ideal. As we've mentioned, basic human necessities are at a premium, and food aid from other countries has become crucial. Life choices that we take for granted are under direct government control, with permission from the higher ups required if a person wants to live in the capital city of Pyongyang. Visitors from the outside, a rarity in their own right, have noted a distinct lack of upper-end technology like smartphones and digital cameras outside of staged events. They've also noticed an absence of other staples of western life, like restaurants and functioning department stores. In North Korea's defense, we don't really have any Sears left here, either.

Meanwhile, additions to the Kim family's legacy of monumentalism eat up a respectable fraction of the North Korean budget. In 2012, the Telegraph reported that the addition of a memorial Kim Jong-il statue at the Mansu Hill Grand Monument racked up a $10 million cost for the country, and that North Korean workers located overseas were politely informed that they'd be required to contribute a cool $150 each towards its cost. Meanwhile, military costs and an ever-expanding nuclear weapons program keep the country on the international stage, and were estimated by the Council on Foreign Relations to run at an operation cost of over $3 billion per year. And if you're curious as to how North Korea manages to pull in that kind of cheddar while also experiencing a marked shortage of actual cheddar, then you and the United Nations are in the same boat. According to a UN Security Council report, there's a pretty solid chance that a good chunk of it is stolen in cyber attacks on foreign nations, which really solidifies the whole "Bond villain" aesthetic that Kim seems to be rocking, as if the pantsuits didn't do that already.