$1 Billion Is More Money Than You Could Spend In A Lifetime — Let’s Put That Into Perspective
— 22 January 2024

$1 Billion Is More Money Than You Could Spend In A Lifetime — Let’s Put That Into Perspective

— 22 January 2024
Garry Lu
Garry Lu

One billion dollars.

It’s objectively an insane amount of money. Some would say more than you could (reasonably) spend across a single lifetime.

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But given its prevalence in public discourse — i.e. whatever box office revenue (or lack thereof) generated by some Marvel flick; the graveyard of defunct startups — I feel that $1 billion has perhaps lost the impact of its true scale.

So let’s break down all ten figures/three commas.

The difference between a million and a billion

We all know a billion is a thousand million. But to fully appreciate the vast chasm between the two benchmarks, consider the following:

A million seconds is a little over 11.5 days. A billion seconds is a little over 31.7 years.

How long would it take to become a billionaire?

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In the current economic landscape, you’d be lucky to save $100 a week. But let’s assume that after all your core expenses (and fun stuff), you were able to save $100 per day.

How long would it take you to bank a billion?

Dividing 1,000,000,000 (total) by 100 (money saved) = 10,000,000 (days). 10,000,000 (days) divided by 365.25 (given year) = 27,378.5 (total years).

That’s right. Over 27,378 years.

Now let’s assume every one of your single-lineage descendants was able to save $100 per day from the moment they were born until death (90 years to be generous). That would mean 304 generations of scrimping for a cold, hard billion.

Even if we crank up the numbers to a still-highly-improbable $10,000 per day saved, that’s still 273.8 years.

Quite literally stacking it up in material reality


Now let’s see what $1 billion would look like in a physical form.

The classic Australian $100 banknote is approximately 0.1408 millimetres. A billion dollars in greenbacks stacked vertically on top of one another comes to 1,408 metres (or 1.4 kilometres).

For reference, Dubai’s Burj Khalifa (currently the world’s tallest built structure) measures just 830 metres in height. That means a billion dollars stacked in $100 Aussie banknotes is staggeringly close to two Burj Khalifas.

Multiply this by 225.4 and that’s how much Elon Musk is worth.

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The journey of a billion steps

The average step is anywhere between 2.1 to 2.5 feet. We’ll round down to a nice and even two for the following example.

Taking a billion steps equates to two billion feet or 609,600 kilometres.

For reference, the entire circumference of Earth is 40,075 kilometres; while the distance from Earth to the moon is roughly 384,400 kilometres. That means a billion-step journey would take you over 15 times around the world and 80% of the way through a successful Apollo 11-style roundtrip to the lunar surface.

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Garry Lu
After stretching his legs with companies such as The Motley Fool and the odd marketing agency, Garry joined Boss Hunting in 2019 as a fully-fledged Content Specialist. In 2021, he was promoted to News Editor. Garry proudly retains a blue belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, black bruises from Muay Thai, as well as a black belt in all things pop culture. Drop him a line at [email protected]


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