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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.

Giving

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.

Investing

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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37 Comments
Robert Hanson
February 20, 2013 at 8:50 am

test
this is only a test

Ken
February 20, 2013 at 6:02 am

worked all my life.Put two boys through collage.(there doing Great!) Lost my business and retirement when G.M and crysler got the taxpayers money to save there ... Paid in dearly to fica and all the other goverment fee programs. had a medical problem ,many minie strokes,sugury, . was told no more work can't get cleared to go back to work and disablity is playing games. At 57 no one will hire me like this . I guess I get to watch everything I ever worked for disappear and wonder why a drunk , druger,girl with several kids by several guys, can get fica money and the people that paid in for a life time can't.! Take some advice don't lisen to the right thing to do ,Cover your self and pay into your own controlled program. When the time comes you need it, it will be there. C.Y.A. don't depend on the Goverment to take care things.

SUE V
February 19, 2013 at 10:14 pm

I AM RETIRED NOW AND COMPLETELY BROKE. I HAD ENOUGH MONEY TO TAKE CARE OF ME IN MY OLD AGE UNTIL MY MOTHER GOT SICK AND DIDN'T HAVE THE MONEY NEEDED. I TOOK CARE OF HER AT HOME AS LONG AS I COULD BUT HAD TO PUT HER IN A NURSING HOME WHERE SHE COULD GET THE CARE SHE NEEDED. AS I SAID SHE HAD NO MONEY AND MEDICAID REFUSED TO HELP ON THE BILL FOR 11 MONTHS AND I HAD TO PAY OUT OF MY RETIREMENT FOR HER CARE OF $5300. EACH MONTH. NEEDLESS TO SAY THAT IS WHERE MY MONEY WENT.

NOW IT IS UP TO MY CHILDREN TO TAKE CARE OF ME AND THAT IS NOT WHAT I WANTED TO DO. I AM 70 YEARS OLD

James boatwright
February 19, 2013 at 9:51 pm

I was born into a poor family with uneducated parents. There was no chance for them to make any real money due to unsteady work and 4 kids. My sister finished high school and had a moderately good life. I went to college and got a bachelors in electrical engineering and retired with a pension, a good sized nest egg, and dra SS. My 2 younger brothers dropped out of high school got their girl friends pregnant and struggled their entire lives.
Is there any correlation to education, good judgment and luck to success? I think so...

Susan Lopp
February 19, 2013 at 9:06 pm

The problem w/poor people is they do not know how to think of people that have a lot of money.If they were not so busy coveting wealthy people;thinking only about themselves and how poor they are.They could use this negative time and energy to better themselves and the life of the ones they love. Rich people should know better than to make fun of poor people. Most of the ones poking the fun are the children of rich parents. Instead, of getting down on their hands and knees thanking GOD on how fortunate they are. The rich use their time and energy making fun of the poor which is sad. Regardless, whether or not your rich or poor you are born into this world. You either have money or you don't. The problem w/both the rich as well as the poor;they neither one know how to spend money or think normal.

David Goetsch
February 19, 2013 at 8:10 pm

#1 read "Think and grow Rich" by Napoleon Hill

#2 know the rule of 72 (divide your annual %increase into 72, and that is how many years, that years investments will double)

#3 save in your 401K, but sure you must include a 'Roth' ira too.
(the tax consequences are crucial to you and family)
#4 make as much as you can, give to your church or charity at least 10%, and spend the rest on you and family

David Goetsch
February 19, 2013 at 8:08 pm

#1 read "Think and grow Rich" by Napoleon Hill

#2 know the rule of 72 (divide your annual %increase into 72, and that is how many years, that years investments will double)

#3 save in your 401K, but sure you must include a 'Roth' ira too.
(the tax consequences are crucial to you and family)

Jose Sinclair
February 19, 2013 at 6:42 pm

no one ever mentions that Gates was "phone phreaker", who stole long distance service from ATT using the Radio Shack dialers.. and Zuckerberg, creator of Facebook, hacked into college databases to steal photos and create "Facemash", stealing data is a federal crime - his penalty? college suspension for 6 months, which he said "gave me more time for hacking" -apparently there's still two levels of justice in the US, one for the wealthy (no punishment), one for the poor (prison time).. also Buffett was born rich, in his own words, "I never had to move, my birthplace home was big enough, a mansion to most"

lula taylor
February 19, 2013 at 6:22 pm

i amire great minds like bill gates the plan always start with a thought process if followed threw ,the plan can prosper as did his to no end. every one cannot recive this high process of mind.

Linda Baden
February 19, 2013 at 4:07 pm

What can I say? I cannot blame the economy for all of my problems though I would like to. I have had so many dead end jobs that didn't pay very well.

Then I had other problems that prevented me from going to college. Oh, it's not too late I guess, but when I would get out I would be too old to have a good job. I am 58 years old.

I did have stocks for many years as part of an inheritance, but lost them all in 2002-2003. I envy those who are rich, but I do give money to charities when I can. I admire Bill Gates.