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Sylvia Browne's Money - Part 1

Just how much money does Sylvia Browne make?

Published: Mar 03, 2008
Written by: Robert S. Lancaster

Piles of money

Background

One thing which frequently comes up in discussions about Sylvia Browne is: how much money does she make from what she does?

Many of her supporters believe that she lives a "simple life," giving the bulk of what she earns to charities, and to her church, Novus Spiritus.

This article is the first in a series which will attempt to examine the truth of these matters.

Browne's Income From Readings

One of her primary sources of income is the money she earns from her "readings."

So, how much does she make from them? Let's do the math.

How many readings does she do per day?

First, we need to determine how many readings she does in a day.

I have heard her say on the Montel Williams show that she does twenty readings every day, six days a week.

But let's look at her own words...

From her 2006 book Insight: Case Files From the Psychic World, on page 66:

PROTECTING MYSELF

Averaging fifteen to twenty readings a day, many of which are highly sensitive and emotional, would be completely debilitating if I hadn't learned early on how to prevent it.

From her 2000 book Blessings From the Other Side, page 128:

I sometimes do as many as twenty readings on Sunday to try to stay current with my waiting list.

From her 2003 book Visits From the Afterlife, page 187:

Averaging, let's say, twenty clients a day for fifty years...

It is also important to note that she has said that these twenty readings per day are separate from her pro bono (free) readings she claims to give, such as, supposedly, to law enforcement.

For purposes of this article, we will take her word at the number of readings she does per day.

Readings per day: 20

How much does she charge per reading?

Her phone readings currently run $750 for a 20-30 minute reading (although people have reported to me that it is often far shorter than even twenty minutes).

She has more expensive readings. For $1,000, you can attend a "Spiritual Salon," which includes a brief session where Sylvia will answer (I've been told) three questions from you.

Her fee for a face-to-face reading is not listed on her site, and perhaps she does not do them any more, but I have been told that the price for one is in the neighborhood of $2,000.

For the purposes of our calculations, we'll assume that all of her readings are the least expensive ones.

Charge per reading: $750

How much does she earn from readings per day?

Let's do the math...

  20 readings per day
X $750.00 charge per reading
  ============  
= $15,000.00 income from readings per day
How many days does she work in a week?

In that Montel appearance, she stated that she does readings six days per week. Her above remark about occasionally doing twenty readings on Sundays seems to imply that she sometimes works seven days a week.

But again, let's go with the low figure, and say that she only does readings five days per week.

Days worked per week: 5

How much does she earn from readings in a week?

Let's do the math...

= $15,000.00 income from readings per day
X 5 days worked per week
  ============  
= $75,000.00 income from readings per week
How many weeks does she work in a year?

When she speaks of averaging "twenty clients a day for fifty years," it implies to me that she works every day, meaning every week. But again, to be fair, I will use a lower figure.

I find no reference to this in her books, so I am arbitrarily going to say she takes twelve weeks off every year, and so does readings only 40 weeks out of the year.

Weeks per year: 40

How much does she earn from readings in a year?

Let's do the math...

= $75,000.00 income from readings per week
X 40 weeks worked per week
  ============  
= $3,000,000.00 income from readings per year
Lowballing

Note that the three million dollar figure was arrived at by "lowballing" - using the low value in each step of our calculations. Had we assumed a higher value at any of these steps, our estimated total would have risen accordingly.

For example, if we had used six days per week (as she herself says), it would come to $3,600,000.00 per year. Or, if we had assumed she worked 52 weeks a year instead of 40, it would come to $3,900,000.00 per year, and so on. If we had assumed six days per week and 52 weeks per year, is would come to $4,680,000.00 per year, and so on.

Other Sources of Income

Remember, the above estimated income is only from her readings, which is just one of the many sources of Browne's income. I find no information on how much these bring in, but merely list some of them here.

1. Book royalties - from the more than forty books published under her name.

2. Lecture tours - she appears in dozens of cities in large auditoriums around the USA, where people pay $50/$75 apiece to hear her.

3. Las Vegas shows - she appears several times a month at the Excalibur hotel, where people pay $75/$100 to see her show.

4. "Spiritual Salons" - where once or twice a month, 35-40 people each pay $1,000 to spend the day listening to Browne and her staff.

... as well as her line of jewelry, her cruises, and more.

Analysis

How accurate is our estimate of Browne's income from readings? After all, there are a lot of assumptions in the above calculations.

One way of gauging whether our estimate is "in the ballpark" would be to compare it to the reported income of her son, Christopher Dufresne.

In 2001, Dufresne filed papers in relation to his then-ongoing divorce (Superior Court of California, County of Santa Clara, Case Number 1-00-FL091095). In the Income and Expense Declaration document, filed October 8 of 2001, Dufresne estimated his gross monthly income from Sylvia Browne Corp. to be $80,000.00, giving him an estimated annual gross income of $960,000.00.

This was in 2001, when his phone readings were only $350.00. If we extrapolate from that, given his current rate of $500 per reading, we get a gross annual income of over $1,370,000.00.

Dufresne's waiting list is far shorter than his mother's (his is several months long. Hers, we are told, is measured in years), so I think it likely that he does fewer readings in a year than his mother does.

Combine that with his lower rate ($500 vs. her $750), and I think that our estimate of her annual gross income from readings at three million dollars looks like it is in the ball park.

Conclusion

Again, I would like to stress that the calculations above are all estimates, but they are based on her own statements.

Any way you look at it, it would appear that Browne personally brings in millions of dollars per year.

So, where does all of these millions go? Does Browne really live a humble and simple life, as she claims? Does she really give most of her money to her church and charities, as she states?

I will be investigating these and other related matters in future articles in this series.

Related Links

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On This Page

  • Background
  • Income From Readings
  • - Readings per day
  • - Charge per reading
  • - Earn per day
  • - Days per week
  • - Earn per week
  • - Weeks per year
  • - Earn per year
  • - Lowballing
  • Other Sources of Income
  • Analysis
  • Conclusion
  • Related Links
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