Wow, a lot of you responded that you loved my first Crazy Money Facts blog. Thanks for your emails, comments, and shares (but, I wish you all paid that much attention to the rest of my financial advice!). So, as promised, here are 10 more loco, looney, insane, wild, and, just plain crazy facts about money and US currency.
- In our first list of crazy money facts, we took note of the large percentage of American bills that contain an alarming level of bacteria. But, even crazier, experts have determined that at least 90 percent of US bills contain traces of cocaine! In true big baller fashion, $20 bills contain a higher percentage of the illegal drug than mere singles!
- The largest US denomination was a $100,000 bill! That’s right – the Bureau of Engraving and Printing once printed a $100,000 “certificate” between 1934 and 1935. However, this gold certificate was distributed between banks and not released to the public.
- Large denominations of $500, $1,000, $5,000, and $10,000 were printed until 1945, but discontinued in 1969 due to lack of use. Today, the hundred-dollar bill is the biggest denomination still in print. How boring!
- The main focus of the Secret Service today is protecting Presidents, past and current, and ensuring the safety of the top politicians in the nation. But, did you know that the US Secret Service was first formed to combat counterfeiting? After the Civil War, almost half of all currency in circulation was actually counterfeit. So, the Secret Service was formed on July 5, 1865, to find and prosecute the counterfeiters, remove the phony bills from circulation, and stabilize the new united nation’s economy.
- Looking at the average US consumer, we have a good deal of debt once again, including credit card debt. But did you know that Americans consumers spend about $104 billion on credit card interest (not principal paydown) every single year!
Nowdo you see why it’s so important to pay off credit cards?!
- We also waste money on a whole lot more than credit card debt, including $117 billion annually on fast food, $65 billion on soda, $800 million on Girl Scout cookies, $500 on Twinkies, and $96 billion on beer. (Ok, so maybe that last one isn’t a waste.)
- Here’s a shocking statistic: 96% of people who work for someone else (employees) won’t be able to retire by the age of 65 if they’re counting on Social Security, because it won’t be fully available. I was surprised when I read that, so I checked the source and it comes right from the Employee Benefits Research Institute, a credible organization.
- Every year, the TSA at airports collects a lot of loose change abandoned by stressed and hectic travelers. In fact, the TSA collected $765,759.15 in loose change last year – and that’s just the amount they self-reported! Can you imagine how high the real amount is?!
- US bills are pretty darn sturdy and built to last. In fact, the average bill takes about 4,000 double folds (back and forth) before it will rip.
- However, a vending machine will reject your bill with far less wear and tear. The easy remedy is to microwave those bills for about 20 seconds or less and your bills will be as crisp as new!
Did you enjoy those? Don’t worry, I’ll come up with 10 more crazy money facts for you soon!