Have you ever had so much cash you didn’t even know what to do with it? How many of you have been so flush you just threw your money at anything? It’s very likely that right now most of you are saying “Not me”. Very few people in the world know what it feels like not to have to worry about money. Even the relatively wealthy still worry about payments on their luxury yacht. In both the developing and developed world, the majority of folks live hand to mouth – meaning we spend everything we earn – and many more live with the modern yoke: a debt to the bank, or worse a loan shark. Only the few percent don’t know what it feels like to be us, and today we are going to talk about the number of the one percent, in this episode of the Infographics Show, Bill Gates’ Wealth Visualized.
According to Forbes, William Henry Gates III, aka, Bill Gates, has a total worth of 88.7 billion dollars. His richest man in the world status was briefly undone in 2017 when Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos overtook him to become the first person in the world with a fortune over 90 billion. Gates soon regained the throne.
So what would that kind of stash look like?
Well, let’s assume that Bill’s fortune, if cashed in, would all be in 100 dollar bills. If you pile a bunch of those bills together, a stack of them about one inch in thickness would be 10,000 dollars. It doesn’t look like much, just the kind of thing Tony Soprano might hand to his wife for spending money. But that stack is equal to about the same as a web designer earns on average in a year in Mexico. If you took them out of Bill’s whole stack it would be as noticeable as removing a grain of sand from a child’s sandpit.
Would Bill even notice if you took a million while he wasn’t looking? That’s quite a lot of cash, and more than most people will ever have in the bank. In fact, a new study recently said the USA had a record amount of millionaires, stating that there were now 10.8 million millionaires nationwide. The Credit Suisse Research Institute said in a report the number was higher, at 13,554,000 millionaires. That is about 4 percent of Americans. Still, the Economic Policy Institute reported that in 2017 the average savings of people in the USA from the age of 32 and 61 years old was $95,776. For Bill, a million would look like a small block, enough to sit inside a briefcase. Bill still wouldn’t notice if you swiped this from his entire stash, and you could go off and buy a house or a high-end sports car.
Now, a hundred million is rather more serious, but if you took this while Bill had his back turned he still wouldn’t get suspicious. You’d be set for life with that kind of money. You’d also be worth about the same as another 5,000 American households. Visually, it’s quite a stack and you’d have to put this amount on a crate.
One billion is another matter, and Bill may notice if you took 10 crates from his warehouse while he was taking a pee in one of his 24 bathrooms. You could chip away at this stash and not get through it even if you lived a lavish lifestyle. You’d join about 540 other billionaires in the USA and 2,043 billionaires worldwide, according to Forbes. But Bill has over 80 of those crates, so he would indeed need a lot of storage space for them.
Even if Bill went off the rails and started blowing a million every day, it would take him 243 years to get through the entire stash. Time he just doesn’t have. What if, like a lot of people, he just likes seeing his stash, and counting it! Well, just to count a billion would take him 31 years, 251 days, 6 hours, 50 minutes, 46 seconds. We don’t want to curse Bill, but he’d probably be dead before he finished counting the first 10 crates. He might join the 4.7 percent of Americans that presently have made it past 90, but at 92 years old Bill might be tired and also wondering if he’d spent his time well, hooked up to a food and fluid drip stuck in his warehouse counting 100 dollar bills.
But what if Bill’s bills were not 100s but merely 1s? Well, we can count out counting them for a start, but Bill could have a lot of fun making things with his bills. If Bill could somehow stack his one dollar bills on top of each other, one million bucks would reach approximately 358 feet (109.1 meters). If he stacked 100 million they would reach a height of 35,851 feet or 6.79 miles. That means you’d probably see Bill up there laying the last one as you passed in a passenger airplane. According to one source, Bill would have to spend 441,435,440 dollars to build an average American home (1,811 square feet), with all the parts thick enough to make it a realistic livable abode.
If he stacked his entire fortune it would reach about 6,000 miles. The International Space Station is approximately 220 miles (350 km) from Earth, so Bill could build a few columns to the ISS.
But that’s just silly talk, as you know. What if, instead, Bill decided to get a team together to lay out his bills on the floor? Well, end to end just one billion would stretch for 96,900 miles (155,945.4 km), enough to go around the Earth 4 times. That would mean his whole stash would stretch around the Earth almost 355 times.
But let’s face it, this would be an exercise in futility and Bill has always been about productivity. What if Bill wanted to create a structure, maybe a Great Wall, how big would it be? Building walls in the USA is something of a current issue, so Bill could put his money to some good and save the American taxpayer some money. According to CNN, 62 miles of Donald Trump’s wall would cost about 1 billion dollars.
Well, if we take one million one dollar bills laid out end-to-end, it reaches 96.9 miles, and let’s say the wall should be about 35 feet high (100,000 dollar bills stacked). That means Bill would need 100 billion to build a rather flimsy wall 35 feet high by 96 miles long. But if we shortened the wall and made it thicker, we’d certainly have something sturdy for maybe 20 miles, and Bill might go down in history for creating a symbolic masterpiece.
So, what do you think? Should one man be worth that much money? Let us know in the comments!