Bookmark and Share 24, How Much Is A Trillion Dollars?

Thanks to the cool people at who created a set of graphics to help us visualize what a trillion dollars looks like.

Let's start with $100. Everyone reading this blog probably has a few of these:

one hundred dollars

Now, if you had one hundred $100 bills you'd have $10,000 in a 1/2" high packet:

ten thousand dollars

Let's take one hundred of those little $10K packets and see what $1 million in $100 bills looks like on a human scale:

million dollars

Hmmm. $1 million used to seem like a lot of money but looking at it that way it seems a little puny. You might trip over it and hurt yourself if you're not careful.

Let's look at one hundred of those, for $100 million total, and put them on a wooden pallet for easy transport:

hundred million dollars

Now, how about $1 billion? You're going to need a bigger storage bin:

billion dollars

So, how about that trillion dollars? That's a million times $1 million, or a thousand times $1 billion. No matter how you slice it, it's freaking huge. Notice the little man in the bottom left, and the fact that these pallets are double-stacked and filled with $100 bills:

trillion dollars

Wow! That's 7ft high and 96,768 square feet, or 2.2 acres (bigger than a football field).

Do you know what's even more than a trillion dollars? The U.S. national debt.

Want to see the U.S. debt stacked up in $100 bills? (We understand if you don't want to see it; it is disturbing.) This graphic was done back when the national debt was a mere $11 trillion (March 2009). Sadly, the debt today (January 2011) is now over $14 trillion (27% higher in less than 2 years), so this graphic doesn't even do it justice:

eleven trillion dollars

And think about this: If that was your covered call portfolio and you were making 1%/month in time premium income you'd be getting $140 billion per month. Sweet.

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