Tuesday, December 29, 2009


Have you ever tried to visualize what one trillion dollars looks like? There are some attempts to do so on the internet, but I've found them unhelpful, as they don't really help to truly "visualize" -- visually represent -- what it looks like. So I've taken it upon myself to ascertain what $1,000,000,000,000 looks like in terms we can all get our heads around.

Here is what I found:

We're going to use $100 bills (for reasons that will be immediately obvious). We know that a U.S. banknote measures 2.61" x 6.14" x 0.0043".

So...imagine a football field -- 120 yards x 53.5 yards, or 360' x 160' -- covered with ~517,500 stacks of $100 bills, each stack ~6' 11" high and comprised of ~19,200 bills ($1.92 million/stack).

So as you're watching the upcoming bowl games or NFL playoffs, impress your family and friends by asking them to envision the entire playing field -- every square inch -- covered in neat ~7' stacks of $100 bills.

That, my friends, is $1,000,000,000,000.

Scary, huh?

(I've rounded just a tad here and there, but you get the gist. Or at least I hope you do.)