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10 shocking wealth facts

By Judy Martel · Bankrate.com
Monday, February 11, 2013
Posted: 6 am ET

Looking for some interesting tidbits about wealth and investing to share at your next dinner party? The Motley Fool accumulated 100 startling facts about the economy; we give you 10 that are guaranteed to raise some eyebrows.

Microsoft founder Bill Gates has earned $100,000 every hour he's been alive.

1. Adjusting for inflation, Warren Buffett was a millionaire by age 25.

2. In 2011, Asia had more millionaires than North America for the first time ever, according to RBC Wealth Management.

3. If you divide their net worths by their age, Mexican telecommunications tycoon Carlos Slim, the richest man in the world, and Microsoft's Bill Gates have each accumulated more than $100,000 in net worth for every hour they've been alive.


4. U.S. charitable giving was $298 billion in 2011, according to the Giving USA Foundation. That's more than the gross domestic product of all but 33 countries in the world.

5. Since 2008, Americans have donated $19.1 million to the U.S. Treasury to help pay down the national debt. These are actual citizen donations, not taxes.


6. Including dividends, Standard & Poor's 500 index gained 135 percent from March 2009 through January 2013, during what people remember as the "Great Recession." It gained the exact same amount from 1996 to 2000, during what people remember as the "greatest bull market in history."

7. According to Bloomberg, "Americans have missed out on almost $200 billion of stock gains as they drained money from the market in the past four years, haunted by the financial crisis."

8. As of January 2013, there are 16 people left in the world who were born in the 1800s, according to the Gerontology Research Group. With dividends reinvested, U.S. stocks have increased 28,000-fold during their lifetimes.

9. According to a study by Harvard professor David Wise and two colleagues, 46.1 percent of Americans die with less than $10,000 in assets.

10. Franklin Templeton asked 1,000 investors whether the S&P 500 went up or down in 2009 and 2010. Sixty-six percent thought it went down in 2009, while 49 percent said it declined in 2010. In reality, the index gained 26.5 percent in 2009 and 15.1 percent in 2010.

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February 13, 2013 at 9:53 am

Plain and simple if we all had our jobs back or new ones everything would be fine,,,just sayin

February 13, 2013 at 3:16 am

As someone once told me, you only gamble with an amount you can afford to lose. I've followed that advice. You put enough cash away in a savings account to last at least a year. You invest in retirement accounts, 401K's, IRA's and the like. If you have some left over you can afford to lose go into the stock market and buy good quality stocks that have a dividend. Leave it there adjusting every now and then. History shows the market will go up and down but if left there long enough you most likely will come out ahead. Live off the dividends in your old age, like the wealthy do.

February 13, 2013 at 2:16 am

S. Shady, Mr. Gates is dead.

S. Shady
February 13, 2013 at 12:46 am

Mr. Gates, is it still worth your time to bend and pick up a $500. Bill? or is it a higher amount? Taxes and inflation can be included or excluded. Your response please.

February 11, 2013 at 10:54 pm

G.Deese your gready....why ask for 15 minutes you should ask for health instead of money.......your nothing without good health....and besides i would only ask for 10 minutes.....

February 11, 2013 at 9:29 pm

Prove your statements! Especially the one that states "since 2008 citizens have donated 19.1 million to the US Treasury to pay down the national debt......actual donations....not taxes." Give names and monetary amounts please! WHO, IN THEIR RIGHT MIND WOULD DO SOMETHING LIKE THAT ESPECIALLY SINCE THE GOVERNMENT DOESN'T HAVE A PLAN FOR A BUDGET!!!!!!!

February 11, 2013 at 8:42 pm

Wisdom might be to take the middle road. Democracy must rule not ecconomic systems. Capitalism, communism, socialism have all failed when put above democracy and responsible stewardship. Perhaps its time to look at countries ie Norway, Sweden,Denmark,Holland and others where there is a blend of systems SERVING not Ruling its citizens.

A single system playing empire,is much like a global cancer destroying as it goes, a wolf in sheeps clothing, and eventually destroying its self as have all empires of history. The Emperors new cloths are modern day fascism which no one chooses to see- is't it time for each of us to grow up and look at reality? Thank You for your thought in reading this.

k clark
February 11, 2013 at 2:25 pm

Actually what this tells us is that if people would cut back on unessential electronic gadgets and put that money in the stock market for the LONG term, they will end up with quite a bit more money. Yup, wait for the fancy cell phone plans etc and it will pay off in the long run.

R A Miller
February 11, 2013 at 1:51 pm

Just tells us what is already known. The rich are getting richer, as the hell with everyone else. As evident by the staggering unemployment.

G. Deese
February 11, 2013 at 12:10 pm

Mr. Gates, may I have 15 minutes of your time?