Here's How Much The Bachelor's Matt James Is Really Worth

Matt James is best known for handing out roses on Season 25 of "The Bachelor," which aired in the first half of 2021. The reality star garnered lots of attention as the franchise's first Black Bachelor and for controversially choosing Rachael Kirkconnell — a contestant who found herself embroiled in a racially-charged scandal shortly after the season finished shooting — as his finalist, but he had already started to make a name for himself prior to his time in the dating show spotlight. The TV personality can't seem to sit still; from corporate jobs to social media and more, he has definitely proven that he knows how to hustle.

Born in Raleigh, North Carolina, to divorced parents and raised by his single mother, James has experienced the stresses that financial instability can cause. During his time in both traditional and nontraditional career paths, the TV star has worked hard to establish himself professionally and financially — and he has inspired others to dream big just like he did. As for how much Matt James is worth and how exactly he makes money? Read on to find out

He hoped to make the NFL

Growing up, Matt James played football — as well as basketball and track and field — for Sanderson High School. According to MaxPreps, as a wide receiver for his high school's team, he racked up 716 receiving yards and four touchdowns his senior year. And his performance got attention. According to ESPN, a scouting report noted he "certainly looks the part of an imposing major college receiver prospect and at times shows matching skill set" — and a big name university wasted no time in bringing him aboard. James took his athletic prowess to Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, where he was a member of the football team and an economics major, per an interview with Wake Forest Magazine. As he told his alma mater's publication, he ended up sitting out sixteen games in three years due to injuries. The games he did play his senior year he made count: According to MaxPreps, he got 40 receptions and over 400 yards that season. 

Despite his achievements on the football field, James did not quite make it to the NFL. After graduating from Wake Forest, the six-foot-five athlete tried out for his home state's NFL team, the Carolina Panthers, as well as the New Orleans Saints. After neither organization signed him, his professional football career was over.

Pivoting to finance worked out

After his dreams of catching the pigskin in the NFL did not come to fruition, Matt James capitalized on his economics major and entered the business world. His mentor, Chris Leak, knew that the former athlete would be just fine. As he said in Wake Forest Magazine, "Matt is driven, he's focused, and in my opinion he always had a plan B — what if football doesn't work out?" The future reality star did not put all of his eggs in one basket (or footballs in one storage bag?), and it proved to be a winning play.  

Per Wake Forest Magazine, James had interned for Morgan Stanley, Merrill Lynch, and two local wealth management companies during college. He used this business savvy to secure a job. "When I finished playing football, I moved to Pittsburgh, and I worked for PNC Bank," he said on "The Weekly Take from CBRE" podcast. "That structure and that discipline was major because it was a seamless transition from football." He went on to say that he eventually went to NYC and joined a startup, but it wasn't the right fit. So, he pivoted to commercial real estate, eventually becoming an associate broker at CBRE.

Matt James gives back to the community

Matt James also has a philanthropic history. Inspired by his experience being raised by a single mother, James wanted to help other kids, expanding their horizons and giving them unique opportunities they otherwise would not have had, per Wake Forest Magazine. So, in 2018, he co-founded ABC Food Tours, a non-profit that offers paid tours and also functions as a charity, providing students experiencing food insecurity with positive role models, healthy food, and other benefits. He founded the business with close friend Tyler Cameron, a former teammate at Wake Forest and, of course, the runner-up on Season 15 of "The Bachelorette."

As recounted on the ABC Food Tours website, the organization came to be after James and Cameron got connected with a Lower East Side elementary school and started introducing the students to different restaurants. "The kids were not only learning about different foods, but they were having a blast meeting these business owners, chefs, leaders, and role models," the site reads. "For weeks after the tour, the teachers reached out to Matt and commented on the strong impacts that this experience had on their students."

"I think we don't realize the impact that we're having with these kids," Cameron said in People. "A lot of these kids suffer from homelessness, a lot of them live in the shelters." James told the outlet that ABC Food Tours runs on donations and they also pay out of their own pockets.

The Bachelor has made Matt James money

Matt James is perhaps most well-known for being the lead on Season 25 of "The Bachelor," which aired in early 2021. Originally slated to appear on Clare Crawley's season of "The Bachelorette," James was the franchise's first Black Bachelor and third Black lead, following Bachelorettes Rachel Lindsay and Tayshia Adams in 2017 and 2020, respectively.

While James has not revealed his exact earnings as the Bachelor, "The Bachelorette" Season 13 cast member Dean Unglert revealed on an episode of the podcast "Trading Secrets" that he was offered $75,000 to star as the lead of Season 22, while podcast host and former contestant Jason Tartick was offered $100,000 to be the Bachelor the following year. So, make of that what you will.

Again, cast salaries aren't typically released to the public, but Tartick hopes to change that. As he told Us Weekly, not being open about how much people make — including people in "The Bachelor" world — "reduces the leverage we have as individuals if we don't have the information of what other people are making, or how much they should be making, or how much they're paying, or some of the inside scoop of different industries that could allow us to be better consumers, investors and employees."

The lucrative side of being an influencer

In classic Bachelor Nation alum fashion, Matt James became a major social media influencer after departing the show. He has amassed an impressive following and at the time of writing, boasting just under 1 million Instagram followers and nearly 406,000 followers on TikTok

The former Bachelor has partnered with popular brands such as GrubHub, Lululemon, and Vita Coco to advertise their products. Following former "Bachelorette" contestant Dean Unglert's comments about his own content on "Trading Secrets" podcast, it is reasonable to assume that James makes serious cash with each sponsored post that he uploads. "Most of the money that comes from going on any type of reality TV show is from the endorsements that follow after," the Season 13 alum said, revealing that he made $10,000 from a single ad for a mattress company. This figure lines up with what Bachelor Nation star Ashley Iaconetti told "Bachelor Nation: Inside the World of America's Favorite Guilty Pleasure" author Amy Kaufman: According to "The Ben and Ashley I Almost Famous Podcast" host's calculations, a series star with a million followers could bring in at least $10,000 an ad. 

With nearly one million followers on Instagram at the time of writing, it is safe to say that James' social media is a big source of income. Not bad work if you can get it.

Dancing with the Stars is a good gig

Five, six, seven, eight! In the fall of 2021, Matt James was cast on Season 30 of "Dancing With the Stars" alongside pro Lindsay Arnold. After knocking out back-to-back episodes the fourth week of the season — in which James was dressed as "The Incredibles" character Frozone for a quickstep dance and a "Lion King" character for a paso doble — the pair was eliminated. While his dance skills did not bring home the Mirrorball trophy, they sure did bring in some cheddar.

In 2019, sources told Variety that the starting salary for "Dancing With the Stars" contestants during their rigorous pre-show training and the first two weeks of filming is $125,000, and they can make up to $295,000 depending on their performance. In addition to their initial salary, competitors earn additional money as the weeks go on. In 2009, TMZ obtained a copy of Season 8 winner Shawn Johnson's contract, which showed that a contestant could make $10,000 a week if they stuck around for weeks three and four.

Based on those numbers, it feels okay to assume the reality star made at least $145,000, despite his relatively brief stint on the dancing competition show.

He's living it up with his best friend

Matt James is definitely not living in your usual bachelor pad. Before he started filming "The Bachelor," James spent part of the global pandemic living with his good friend and fellow "Bachelor" star Tyler Cameron in One Manhattan Square, a fancy building in New York City's Lower East Side, according to the New York Post. How much might one of the spots cost to lease, you wonder? In 2020, the outlet reported that a unit can "run between $6,000 and $7,300 a month" — a rate that would set a tenant back $72,000 to $87,600 per year. And apparently, they're really shelling out that cash. A source told the New York Post in 2021 that the two "do not live there for free," adding that "there is no quid pro quo on posting" about that building on social media.

It seems like being roommates has worked out well for the pair of reality TV personalities. When James gave Delish a tour of the condo in June 2021, one of the highlights was the wall of sports memorabilia from his and Cameron's football careers — if that isn't a precious roomie moment, we don't know what is. And hey, who wouldn't mind living with their best friend in what sounds like a beyond luxe rental? For one thing, according to the New York Post, the building boasts a bowling alley, golf simulators, and a wine room. Not much to wine about here. 

Matt James hasn't always had money

As a child, Matt James was raised by a single mother, and his family sometimes struggled to make ends meet, according to Wake Forest Magazine. When the former football player first moved to New York City, he still had financial struggles, telling "Bachelor Happy Hour" podcast hosts — and former Bachelorettes — Becca Kufrin and Rachel Lindsay, "My dating history in New York is slim to none because I was broke. Like, I didn't have any money, so I couldn't take anybody out on a date." That said, romance was not his top priority when he first got to the Big Apple. "I was focused on the charitable work I was doing, or I'm at work — I'm trying to hustle," he said. "I moved to New York to grind."

"New York is expensive," the real estate broker said on the podcast, and while he's certainly correct — his rent is at least $6,000 per month, after all — he is now in a more financially stable place following his stint on "The Bachelor" and his many lucrative social media sponsorships.

So, what is Matt James' net worth?

How much money might the reality star slash philanthropist slash former football player slash commercial real estate broker have to his name? We can't say for certain, but unconfirmed reports list Matt James' net worth at $250,000. Clearly, he's doing well for himself, and he only keeps doing well for himself.

So when a "Bachelor" fan who was unhappy with a rose ceremony outcome asked James to give her money over Venmo, he could oblige without batting an eye. Granted, it was a small amount of money, but still. "He accepted my request," she said on TikTok (via E! News). "He paid me $1 for wasting my time! Thank you Matt James. You can kiss me with your eyes open any day."

Considering his many different hustles, the former Bachelor is living quite comfortably, and as time in the public eye goes on, his net worth will surely only continue to increase.