Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

9 Money Stats That Will Blow You Away

By Selena Maranjian - Mar 1, 2017 at 10:10AM

You’re reading a free article with opinions that may differ from The Motley Fool’s Premium Investing Services. Become a Motley Fool member today to get instant access to our top analyst recommendations, in-depth research, investing resources, and more. Learn More

There's much more money in the world than you probably suspected. Here are some eye-opening money stats that can make you savvier about our financial world and about how to grow richer in it.

"I'd like to live as a poor man with lots of money."
-- Pablo Picasso

Money is a fascinating topic. However much we have, we generally would like more of it: We want ample savings, income, and returns on our investments. We want a fat retirement nest egg to help us sleep better in the future. Money is fascinating in many ways, too. Here are nine-plus money stats that should leave you rather impressed.

An array of money bills in various currencies - dollars, yen, etc.

Image source: Getty Images.

$1.5 trillion: That's how much U.S. money is in circulation, as of January -- most of it in the form of Federal Reserve notes. If you're wondering what Federal Reserve notes are and where you might see some, check your wallet. That's a fancy term for our U.S. currency.

$81 trillion: How much money is there in the whole world? It's estimated to be around $81 trillion, but that's just counting coins, bills, and bank deposits. It ignores other assets with value, such as gold, as well as investments such as derivatives. 

$1.2 quadrillion: That's how much money is estimated to be invested in derivatives, which are financial products that can be quite complicated. It's an immense number -- alternatively written out as $1,200,000,000,000,000. Here's a mind-blowing factoid: More money is invested in derivatives than all of the world's stock markets, combined.

$70 trillion: All of the world's stock markets contain about $70 trillion worth of company shares, and roughly half of that is for U.S.-based companies. That's not so surprising when you remember that we have some immense companies. Check out the recent market values of some familiar names in the following table. Just the 12 of them total more than $4 trillion in value.


Recent Market Capitalization


$720 billion


$494 billion

Berkshire Hathaway

$422 billion

$405 billion


$393 billion


$338 billion

Johnson & Johnson

$333 billion

Wells Fargo

$292 billion

General Electric

$260 billion


$257 billion


$180 billion

Walt Disney

$174 billion

Data source: Yahoo! Finance.

$199 trillion: If you think you owe a lot on your mortgage, imagine all the world's mortgages put together, along with all other debt. It's estimated to total $199 trillion -- with nearly $58 trillion attributed to the United States.

25 years: That's how long coins typically last -- which is a lot longer than our paper currency, which has a life span of about 18 months.

75% cotton: Our U.S. paper currency is made from cotton and linen -- about 75% and 25% each, respectively. Printing our money uses more than 10 million pounds of cotton!

$1 million: That's how much you may be able to accumulate for retirement -- and you may be able to exceed that, too. You just need to save aggressively and invest effectively -- ideally, for a long time. Check out the following table to see what annual investments of $10,000 can grow to:

Growing for

Growing at 8%

Growing at 10%

Growing at 12%

15 years




20 years




25 years


$1.1 million

$1.5 million

30 years

$1.2 million

$1.8 million

$2.7 million

Data source: calculations by author.

3%: Of course, keep inflation in mind as you engage in financial planning for your future, as it will erode your purchasing power over time. Inflation in the U.S. has averaged about 3% annually over long periods, with some years featuring relatively steep growth and recent years featuring relatively slow growth. Steep is a relative term, though, because such a thing as "hyperinflation" exists. As an example, in late 2008, Zimbabwe experienced inflation of about 98% daily and ended up issuing a $100 trillion bill. It later switched away from its own currency to the dollar for more stability, but it's not out of the financial woods yet.

The more you know about money -- especially about how it grows -- the more successfully you can plan for your financial future and amass enough of a war chest to take you through your retirement comfortably. 

Invest Smarter with The Motley Fool

Join Over 1 Million Premium Members Receiving…

  • New Stock Picks Each Month
  • Detailed Analysis of Companies
  • Model Portfolios
  • Live Streaming During Market Hours
  • And Much More
Get Started Now

Related Articles

Motley Fool Returns

Motley Fool Stock Advisor

Market-beating stocks from our award-winning analyst team.

Stock Advisor Returns
S&P 500 Returns

Calculated by average return of all stock recommendations since inception of the Stock Advisor service in February of 2002. Returns as of 07/01/2022.

Discounted offers are only available to new members. Stock Advisor list price is $199 per year.

Premium Investing Services

Invest better with The Motley Fool. Get stock recommendations, portfolio guidance, and more from The Motley Fool's premium services.