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Europe's Trillion-Dollar Money Drop

Written By Brian Hicks

Posted May 16, 2010

Welcome to the Wealth Daily Weekend Edition — our insights from the week in investing and links to our most-read Wealth Daily and sister publication articles.

Now that all of Europe has been supposedly “saved” by central bankers run amok, here is a great representation of just how large of a sum of money one trillion dollars is.


Try to visualize a million million dollar bills, if there was such a thing in one place at one time.

As usual, a picture is worth a thousand words…

We’ll start with a $100 dollar bill, the largest U.S. denomination in general circulation. When I was kid, these were the subject of complete fascination. No one but your grandfather had one.

Today, you can barely leave the house without a few of them in your pocket. It seems Benjamin Franklin’s bills have taken the place of the $20 bill from just a few decades ago.


one hundred


A packet of them — like your bank teller has in her drawer — adds up to $10,000 and is about a half inch thick.

For a college kid, this might pay for a few months at school or the greatest spring break of all time. In total, the middle class needs about 10 of these stacks a year just to meet their financial demands and sleep soundly at night.


ten thousand
Our next pile is a measly million dollars — or 100 packets of $10,000. It’s not nearly as prestigous as it used be… It could easily fit into a backpack. Keep that in mind the next time your buddy brags about being a millionaire. The status just isn’t what it used to be.


one million

The truth is you’re not really rich until you have collected $100 million. That’s real money and it fits pretty neatly on a standard pallet. I’m told it feels great to roll around in.


one hundred million

Earn a net worth of one billion dollars and you end up ranked 937th on Forbes‘ List of Billionaires.  And while that doesn’t put you in the same league as Bill Gates or Warren Buffett, it’s still an exclusive club — and a ton of dough.

one billion

Our next stop is the number that everyone hopes will bailout all of Europe: a thousand billion — or a one followed by 12 zeros.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you $1 trillion dollars:


one trillion

(Our man is the tiny figure on the left that can barely be seen)

Keep in mind, of course, those pallets are double stacked, and each one is stuffed with $100 bills.

So the next time you hear someone toss around the phrase “a trillion dollars” like it something easy to move — think again. 

If you didn’t before, you now have an idea of what a trillion dollars really looks like. Now is a good time to point out that it would take 13 of those pictures to pay off the U.S. national debt.

But will this amount be enough to keep the European Union and the euro from collapsing?

I, for one, have my doubts…

But I do know this: it’s enough to throw one hell of a party. 

As for the places where some of that “new” money might eventually land, I bring you a few below from the pages of this week’s top-read articles in Wealth Daily and our sister publications, Energy & Capital and Green Chip Stocks.

Have a great weekend.

Until next time,

steve sig

Steve Christ
Editor, Wealth Daily

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