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Money from Your Pocket: The Big and Scary 14 Trillion
© 2012 by Aurelio Locsin.
Take a look again at the image above of 14 trillion. That’s 14 followed by 12 zeros: 14,000 billion or 14 million million. This unimaginably large number is very real and very scary. But before you discover why it’s so frightening for your pocketbook, you need to realize what that number actually represents.
Let’s start with time. We can all know how short a second is and how tens of thousands of them pass every day. How many years do you think have passed to equal 14 trillion seconds?
- It’s not a year, which equals 31.5 million seconds.
- It’s not 2,012 years. Since the birth of Christ, only 63.4 billion seconds have passed.
- Agriculture was discovered about 13,000 years ago, which is only 409 billion seconds.
- Modern humans have only been on the Earth about 6.3 trillion seconds or 200,000 years.
- You have to go back 443,937 years to make 14 trillion seconds. In human evolution, that’s called the Paleolithic or Stone Age and was when the now-extinct Neanderthals discovered fire. Earth only had one giant supercontinent called Godwanaland. There were no land animals existed and bony fish were just starting to appear in the oceans.
Let’s use inches for this scale because we all know how long that is. If you know that there are 63,350 inches in a mile, how far is 14 trillion inches?
- Between Los Angeles and New York, it’s a little over 2,400 miles or 152 million inches.
- The distance from Los Angeles to London is 5,400 miles or 342.1 million inches.
- The moon is about 238,857 miles from the earth, which equals 15.1 million miles. The sun is 93 million miles away, which equals 5.8 trillion inches.
- To travel 14 trillion inches, you have to go 220.9 million miles, which is beyond Mars, and just under halfway to Jupiter.
Let’s reduce 14 trillion to a human scale with the following comparisons:
- Assuming an average heart rate of 72 beats per minute during an average lifespan of 75 years, your heart will beat about 2.5 billion times. If your heart could beat 14 trillion times, you would live 5,600 lifetimes or 420,000 years.
- You have an average of 240,000 hairs on your head. So 58.3 million people, who equal just over the combined populations of California and New York, have 14 trillion hairs.
- You take about 20,000 breaths each day. For you to breath 14 trillion times would take 700 million days or 1.9 million years.
- Your brain holds about 2.5 million gigabytes, which, according to Scientific American, is equivalent to a DVR holding three million hours of TV. So 14 trillion gigabytes equals the brainpower of 5.6 million people, which is about the population of Wisconsin.
In terms of money, here’s what $14 trillion equals.
- The population of the earth in 2012 is around 7 billion. Each person would have to pay about $2,000 to give a total of $14 trillion.
- The population of the U.S. in 2012 is around 312 million. Each American would have to pay $44,872 to equal $14 trillion.
- The U.S. has about 140 million workers. Each worker would have to pay $100,000 to equal $14 trillion.
The Scary Bit
If you’re not a working American, you don’t really have to worry about the $14 trillion.
But if you are a working American, that $14 trillion equals the U.S. national debt as of 2011. And nearly $10.4 trillion of it appeared only since 2001 according to the White House.
So you owe $100,000.
Save up. Because that amount is only going to go up every year.
And some day the creditors are going to want their money back.
Links on Numbers and Statistics
- United States Department of Labor
Find out all about employment numbers at the government department in charge of job information and their stats.
- Accountant Salary Information | Accountant Salary Info
A website on the profession in charge of tallying up financial amounts.