In The Big Short, Mark Baum, played by Steve Carell, is angry. A hedge fund manager who sees the housing crash before it happens, Mark is angry at the system, but that anger doesn't stop him from betting against the banks and making a killing in the process. In real life, Mark Baum is Steve Eisman — a man who emerged from the financial crisis of 2008 with millions in the bank. Eisman occasionally visited the set of The Big Short, working as a bit of a consultant for Carrel and giving his opinions to director Adam McKay and the other actors. Why Eisman decided to participate in the production of The Big Short is anybody's guess, but one thing's for certain: he doesn't need the money. Steve Eisman is rich. How rich? About as rich as you'd expect someone who bet against Wall Street and won would be. So, what is the real Mark Baum's net worth? Well, that's hard to determine. Contrary to what you might think, considering his involvement with the film, Eisman seems to keep mostly to himself.
After the events of The Big Short, Eisman funded Emrys Partners, a private hedge fund. Though Eisman started out strong, he failed to repeat the success he had in 2007 and quietly shut down the fund in 2014, when Eisman was managing a reported $185 million in assets. He has since started working as managing director at his family hedge fund — the Eisman Group within Neuberger Berman Group. Eisman's own net worth is difficult to piece together, but it's certainly in the multi-millions. In 2007, Eisman was working as a hedge fund manager at FrontPoint Partners. His bet against Wall Street saw the assets he managed at FrontPoint reach $1.5 billion — though that number decreased to $750 million by 2011.
While Eisman continues to work in the financial industry, it seems that his experience betting against the market has left him disenchanted with the big banks. In 2010, Eisman switched gears, moving from betting against banks to betting against for-profit schools. Not only did Eisman and Emrys Partners make investments against for-profit schools, he also publicly spoke out against the system, calling it "subprime goes to college," according to the New York Post, and testifying at a Senate hearing on the subject. And Eisman didn't stop there. The likely millionaire put his money where his mouth is, according to the Chronicle, by declaring he would pay off a for-profit college graduate's student debt, totaling $17,300. While Eisman's net worth is difficult to find, it's at least enough for him to feel confident in paying for a stranger's tuition.
Eisman's passionate act rings true given Carell's assessment of Eisman. As the actor said in an interview with Vulture, "I think he [Eisman] seems himself as a defender of justice and righteousness, while at the same time being conflicted." Well, hopefully being the inspiration for a major Hollywood movie will help ease the sting a little.
Images: Paramount Pictures