Does anyone else think Pink Floyd and their song “Money” when they hear the word money? Okay, me neither then. Money is fascinating in that it’s needed to live. You can’t live without some form of currency, at least not for a long time (unless of course you are supported by someone with money). Money can’t buy everything, but it sure helps and it’s natural to want more. I’m not going all Gordon Gecko Greed Is Good, but c’mon, it’s money! When, Willie Sutton, the famous bank robber was asked why he always hit banks his response was simply, “Because that’s where the money is.” You can’t argue with that. Being intrigued (and wanting money) is as natural as breathing, eating and disliking Duke Basketball.
Despite the decrease in the popularity of paper currency, money continues to make the world go round and round. There are so many different currencies and denominations you can spend your whole life researching and not see every coin or bill produced. Every day more money is produced and old money is recycled. Some coins cost more to produce than their face value, some are very rare and others have been clearly used for recreational activities outside of purchasing services. Did you know rats will eat paper money? That’s not a snarky comment pointed at (insert B-level celebrity here) I mean actual rats. I guess that’s why they are rodents ruling the sewers and not the country.
Ever want to stack your bills a mile high? Which company has generated a million dollars since you started reading this? What is the best strategy for winning Monopoly? Okay, there is no clear answer for the last one. However, we are looking at interesting facts, not the size of the bill or which face appears on which denomination. No, hopefully these should make you go "hmm," and also make you reconsider that counterfeiting dream you have had since a teenager (I know I had one).
15 Pretty Penny
A penny costs approximately 2.4 cents to manufacture. That’s a pretty big loss. If you went on Shark Tank and proposed this you would be (sorry) eaten alive. Even the name, Penny, sounds cheap. There really needs to be a full marketing overhall for the penny. I don’t think anyone is collecting these anymore. “Oh, look a wheat penny! I can sell this for 5 cents.”
14 One Love
We have all heard the phrases "money can’t buy happiness" and "money can’t buy love," which as an absolute rings true. Of course, most agree that you can get pretty close if you have serious money. However, studies have shown that those who make more money in the U.S. actually are happier than those who make less, but only up to the amount of $75,000 per year, after which "happiness" appears to level out. Reggae revolutionary Bob Marley had a whole different take on what money can and can’t buy. His final words were “Money Can’t Buy Life.” True.
13 Big Apple
Apple, Inc. earns $300,000 a minute. By the time you read through this list Apple will have made another $3 million. That’s a lot of iPhones! Manufacturers and the economy are always up and down, but here is the best of the best where innovation and design meets demand. It will be interesting to see if Apple continues to make money at this rate in the long run. If they are able to maintain their level of profitability they may even make enough money to buy life. Let’s not pretend Apple hasn’t already trademarked iLife.
The word bankrupt is part of our everyday language, referring to areas outside of just money (moral, social, etc…). The original meaning of the word was very much related to money and banks. In the old days bankers did their business on public benches. If the banker ran out of money or was dishonest his bench was literally broken. That’s hardcore, old-school punishment right there. It can’t be easy to go home after that day. “How was work honey?” “Not great, they broke my bench again.”
11 Out of Sight
Over 65 percent of all U.S. money is actually overseas. I’m sure a lot of this has to do with banks holding money in other countries as well as money borrowed or held for debts. Still, this seems like a high percentage. Shouldn’t this be less than 50 percent? Then the U.S. can proudly say they are the majority owner of their country. I live in constant fear the U.S. will be overtaken via hostile takeover.
10 China Wins!
China was the first country to create paper money. This occurred over 1,400 years ago. How long did it take before people attempted to counterfeit? It didn’t take long and China was very vigilant in their punishment. Anyone caught counterfeiting their paper currency had their heart cut out. You can read that again. I’ll wait. Let’s face it, if removing hearts doesn’t deter counterfeiting, nothing will.
9 Advance to Boardwalk
More Monopoly money is printed every year than real money (there is $15,140 in a game). I guess this makes sense considering that nothing causes more fights and struggle in families than money, except a friendly game of Monopoly. There are few things worse than watching someone buy up the red and yellow properties, except of course losing because you land on Marvin Gardens with a hotel.
8 Drug Lord Money
Drug king pin Pablo Escobar had so much money that rats would ravage and eat approximate $1 billion in currency a year. Anyone else wonder why he didn’t just put someone on the payroll for, oh let’s say 50K to protect his earnings from rats? How many people died before Escobar realized it was the rats eating his money? That number is probably pretty high. I’ve never been jealous of a rat; that is until now.
It takes approximately 4,000 double folds before a bill tears. Is there anything worse than handing someone taped currency? I’m always expecting someone to ask me to stay put because someone wants to talk to me. Worn bills are so sad, especially when next to a new crisp one. Also, there is the bonus of new money smell. It’s better than paint! Old bills also have a scent, but it’s not good; definitely not as enjoyable as paint.
6 Mile High
If you stacked U.S. dollar bills on top of each other one mile high, the stack would be worth over $14 million. This would be the ultimate game of Jenga (whomever knocks over the stack loses). Obviously no one would ever attempt this feat, but if they did I’m guessing they would use $1 bills, but put a $100 on top to make it look better.
5 Making Money
We know doctors and lawyers have to spend extra years in school before they are able to go out and earn money and many other professionals spend additional time on graduate degrees. Did you know that to be a money engraver it takes up to 15 years of training? Money engravers work backwards, using a mirror image of the design that they then cut into plates. This job requires a very specialized skill that isn’t usually thought of when someone asks “What do you want to be when you grow up?”
4 Been Caught Stealing
We already discussed how the Chinese initially cut out the hearts of counterfeiters. The British had more of a “big bang” approach in 1817 when they hanged 313 counterfeiters. It’s pretty clear that printing fake money is a not a good idea. Punishments are stiff and for anyone that has watched the cartoon Scooby Doo you know that that you always get caught (counterfeiting plots accounted for approximately half the episodes). Clearly, counterfeiting doesn’t pay.
3 The $100,000 Bill
The largest U.S. bill ever printed was in 1934, the $100,000 bill. Unfortunately it was never released to the public, just used by the Federal Reserve for transactions. We had to settle for the chocolate crispy candy bar by the same name. The candy bar is tasty, but it doesn’t make me think I’m well off when I sink my teeth into it; especially not when this is considered lunch.
2 That costs five bucks!
There are many slang names for currency, for the dollar bill there is clam, single and most famous, buck. The term “buck” comes from the days before paper currency when elk or deer were traded for goods and services. “Buck” showed staying power as a nickname while “Pig” – ten dollar bill, “Bear” – twenty dollar bill and “Lion” – one hundred dollar bill, never really caught on.
1 Drug Money
90 percent of U.S. paper currency carries traces of cocaine. Does that seem high? Seriously, I blame the seventies and of course, Hollywood because they always deserve our finger wagging. This doesn’t mean that every bill has been rolled up and used to snort cocaine. (Note: I’m pretty sure it doesn’t mean this.) Instead, it’s a complex game of money handling and tracking where your currency originated, traveled and has ended up. It’s asking the question, what adventures has your money been on? Money has so much fun! I’m just going to assume all of our money was once stored in Pablo Escobar’s “money barn” and not only does all of our money contain cocaine, but also rat feces.