So after doing a little digging and taking a look at the possible earnings for both Frasier and Niles I'm still not sure as to who can actually afford the standard of living shown in the show. Frasier goes a period of unemployment yet there is no mentioning in the show of him having to cut back on his spending until a later season when he is reemployed. As a medical professional with his own radio show it's possible that Frasier would have had to take a pay cut in order to be hired by KACL yet additional money can be made due to sponsor's and syndication however that takes time.

Niles on the other hand seems to have a higher standard of living as evidenced by the look and size of his apartment (He has three floors) and the gag of Martin being lost in his apartment looking for a way to get back to the living room. Frasier even appears shocked at the amount of rent Nile's is paying when he has to move out of The Montana and into the Shangri-La. Both make good money but is it really enough?

  • Interesting… I don't remember the details well enough. Did Frasier not have a 'day job' at the same time, was he entirely radio-based? Didn't Niles have not only income from his own practise but also a hefty whack because of Maris? [I may be totally wrong here, of course].
    – Tetsujin
    Jul 2, 2021 at 18:54
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    Frasier's day job was a radio show host however realistically he would be making less at first since he is no longer in private practice and perhaps doesn't have as syndication or ad revenue until later in the show. As for Niles he had access to Maris's money until they got divorced which would then make his sole source of income his practice
    Jul 2, 2021 at 18:57
  • I also don't remember if their dad had any sort of pension/social security and contributed to Frasier's/his rent?? Jul 2, 2021 at 20:30
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    @DarthLocke I've always assumed the pension/social security was just for Martin's use as I remember he dropped 10k on a RV. (Or he won it I forget)
    Jul 2, 2021 at 20:34
  • 1
    Ha! Road Warrior FTW! Jul 3, 2021 at 12:09

1 Answer 1


You're not the only person who's wondered about this.

How Did Frasier Afford His Apartment?

The key points of this investigation are:

  • Frasier's apartment is estimated to cost one million (1993) dollars.
  • As a practicing psychiatrist, he may have earned a bit more than $100,000 per year
  • As a radio host, his salary was likely much lower (the author provides only the average salary of a "radio announcer," which doesn't seem very helpful, since there's no particular reason to believe that Frasier's salary was close to the average. He may well have been among the highest paid radio personalities and unfortunately, we're not given any information about how much they earned)
  • This would make it seem like Frasier was living beyond his means, however, according to one of the writers (Joe Keenan):

“We talked about, ‘If anybody wonders how he can afford this it’s because Frasier has an investment income,’” Keenan told me. “He made a fair amount of money in Boston as a private therapist and he lectured and he wrote articles and he just invested very well. And at one point somebody said, ‘He’s from Seattle, maybe he got in on the ground floor of Microsoft.’ Little dividends arrived to augment what he was making in the station.”

This same exchange with the writer sort of answers your question about Niles:

Keenan also pointed out that Frasier wouldn’t have seemed as wealthy compared to Niles, who lived in a “preposterously baronial house” thanks to Maris’s money.

(my emphasis)

  • But would Niles still be able to afford it after his divorce?
    Jul 2, 2021 at 20:23
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    "radio announcer" is miles below "radio psychiatrist talk show host"
    – OrangeDog
    Jul 3, 2021 at 13:03
  • Niles actually got much more than he asked for in his divorce settlement making him extremely wealthy on his own. Meris did it to mess with him. It was a plot point in later seasons. Jul 7, 2021 at 3:09

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