A trillion dollars is a mind-boggling amount of money. If you read our recent article titled "How Much Money Is On Planet Earth?", you'd know that if you added up all forms of money (physical and electronic, lending and investments), the world's entire money supply is equal to roughly $75 trillion dollars. And out of that $75 trillion, "only" $5-6 trillion consists of physical coins and bills. Over the next decades, global money supply will increase greatly thanks to inflation and economic expansion, but we're still at least a century or two (or three) away from seeing the world's first individual trillionaire. Unless you count the Rothschild family. (You're welcome illuminati conspiracists.)
The first human in history to possess $1 billion dollars (without adjusting for inflation, just $1 billion sitting in a bank) was John D. Rockefeller. He accomplished that feat for the first time in 1918. When Rockefeller died at the age of 98 in 1937, his personal fortune was equal to $340 billion modern dollars. That's enough to make him the second richest person in human history. Rockefeller was $60 billion inflation adjusted dollars shy of a 12th century African king named Mansa Musa I, whose fortune peaked at $400 billion inflation-adjusted dollars at the time of his death in 1337.
Bill Gates holds the current record for possessing the largest amount of non-inflation dollars at a single time. At the height of the 90s dotcom bubble, Microsoft's soaring stock price gave Gates a real time net worth of $130 billion. An enormous amount of money and roughly $50 billion more than he has today, but still a far cry from $1 trillion. So that got me thinking. What would one trillion dollars look like if it was laid out in plain view?
To start, here's what $1 million in one dollar bills looks like:
If you traded all those ones in for hundreds wrapped in $5000 packs, you'd be able to reduce that giant cube into this little pile that could easily be stuffed into a suitcase:
Here's what $100 million worth of neatly stacked hundred dollar bills would look like sitting on a standard sized shipping pallet:
Here's what $207 million in cash looked like when DEA agents stumbled onto it in the back bedroom of a suburban Mexico City home in 2007. This is still by far the largest single drug cash seizure of all time:
Here's what $1 billion would look like using the same pallet and dummy comparison:
Here's what $1.5 billion in cash would look like on the streets of NYC:
Are you ready to see what $1 trillion dollars would look like? Here it is. The moment of glory. The literal money shot. If you took pallets of cash like the ones above and lined them up to create $1 trillion, this is what it would look like:
Man, just carve me out a tiny corner! I'm not greedy! So there you have it! When do you think the world will see its first individual trillionaire?