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Ways to comprehend how much a million is
Old 08-07-2012, 07:37 AM   #1
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Ways to comprehend how much a million is

I struggle with this. I'm used to using numbers less than 1000. How does one visualize just how much a million is? One way I do is to say if I give one dollar away each second 24/7, it would last over 11.5 days. Or a million days ago was 727 BC. That helps, but still when you get into millions and billions, it's hard for me to grasp.
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Old 08-07-2012, 07:46 AM   #2
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One way to visualize $1M: if my annual budget is $40k, it would pay my way for 25 years.
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Old 08-07-2012, 07:47 AM   #3
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I don't see how any of that helps...try this:
1,000,000/your_yearly_expenses

Still look big?

TJ
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Old 08-07-2012, 08:01 AM   #4
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How about 220 pounds in $100 bills.

If my math is correct (it often isn't) that means that a Million Dollars in $10 bills would weigh just over a ton. "A ton of money!"

But a check would be lighter.
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Old 08-07-2012, 08:14 AM   #5
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I read long time ago that you can not count to a million in your lifetime.
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Old 08-07-2012, 08:37 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MichaelB View Post
One way to visualize $1M: if my annual budget is $40k, it would pay my way for 25 years.
Quote:
Originally Posted by teejayevans View Post
I don't see how any of that helps...try this:
1,000,000/your_yearly_expenses

Still look big?

TJ
Right, the 25 years expenses gives some meaningful perspective. The other things are just other intangibly large numbers, no real help, IMO.

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I read long time ago that you can not count to a million in your lifetime.
Because you would lose count and have to start over again? Or get bored and give up?

At one count per second, that is 1 million seconds, or 278 hours, which would be 35 days at 8 hours a day. It might slow down with the larger numbers, but a lifetime?

1,000,000 sec
16,667 min
278 hours
35 Days, 8 hours/day


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Old 08-07-2012, 08:52 AM   #7
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I can't remember the name of the book and can't find it, but I do recall reading some book about a million dollars to my kid many years ago. It talked about what a million dollars is in various terms, and then covered other topics like interest.

Anyway, are you talking about $1M, or a million of something else? If its $, the above answers basing it on your annual budget or income should be all you need. If it helps, drop the last 3 digits and think of it as 1000 K, where you spend 40K or 50K or whatever per year.

If it's a million of something else, I can't help without knowing what it is. If it's just a general thing, maybe you need to find something else to occupy your mind!
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Old 08-07-2012, 09:38 AM   #8
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xkcd: Money
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Old 08-07-2012, 09:45 AM   #9
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I don't understand why you have to visualize it in a physical way? Just think of it as a means to buy something(an expensive house) or generate income of say $30,000/year. Money isn't really physical at all even though the currency is.
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Old 08-07-2012, 09:46 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by teejayevans View Post
I don't see how any of that helps...try this:
1,000,000/your_yearly_expenses

Still look big?

TJ
Exactly!
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Old 08-07-2012, 10:11 AM   #11
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One way to visualize $1M: if my annual budget is $40k, it would pay my way for 25 years.
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Old 08-07-2012, 10:57 AM   #12
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Here your are... A million dollars

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Old 08-07-2012, 11:14 AM   #13
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Here's a million pennies (and a billion, and more) illustrated: http://www.kokogiak.com/megapenny/
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Old 08-07-2012, 01:19 PM   #14
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The jpeg below is 5000 dots. Print out 200 copies of it and put them up on the walls of your room (like teachers commonly do in a classroom to teach students how large a million is). Voila! Now you will have a better grasp on how big 1,000,000 is.

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Old 08-07-2012, 01:20 PM   #15
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Here's another way to look at a million. Enough to buy you a nice view in high priced Malibu, CA.

Million-dollar mobile homes - MSN Real Estate
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Old 08-07-2012, 03:02 PM   #16
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I read long time ago that you can not count to a million in your lifetime.
Not true. If you smoke 20 cigarettes a day for 50 years, that's 365,000 cigarettes. So you only have to count 3 numbers in the time it takes to smoke a cigarette.

The VAX/VMS computer operating system claimed to measure one of its system parameters in "micro-fortnights". That was the engineers' little joke; there are about a million seconds in two weeks. (I gather that a lot of Americans are not familiar with the word "fortnight", which is interesting because AFAIK it's a very old English word, not something coined in the UK since 1776.)
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Old 08-07-2012, 03:18 PM   #17
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The official Australian pension Web site shows benefit calculations in dollars per fortnight.

In the US, I have seen speeds measured in "fathom/fortnight".

Long live "fortnight".
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Old 08-07-2012, 03:20 PM   #18
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I can't remember the name of the book and can't find it, but I do recall reading some book about a million dollars to my kid many years ago. It talked about what a million dollars is in various terms, and then covered other topics like interest.
"If You Made A Million", a huge hit in our house.

Amazon.com: If You Made a Million (9780688136345): David M. Schwartz, Steven Kellogg: Books

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The adult version of the "If You Made A Million" book...
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Old 08-07-2012, 03:31 PM   #19
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How about 220 pounds in $100 bills.

If my math is correct (it often isn't) that means that a Million Dollars in $10 bills would weigh just over a ton. "A ton of money!"

But a check would be lighter.
Sorry Marko, 22 lbs.
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Old 08-07-2012, 03:33 PM   #20
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Now, if I had a million dollars:
" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" wmode="transparent" width="425" height="350">
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