55 money facts you may not believe are true

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Sure, you use money nearly every day, but how much do you really know about income, wealth, retirement and money in general? The facts about how wealth operates in our world are not as clear as they might seem. It isn’t a simple matter of dollars and cents. 

For example, did you know that wealth is shifting? The “middle class” isn’t a static definition of a group of people; it’s a moving target describing those at the median income. That definition has changed over time as wealth has shifted upward and the rich have gotten richer. 

Learn more about the middle class, income inequality and the shifts in wealth in the United States with the following facts about money.

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1. Growing inequality

Inequality is getting worse, not better. Income inequality has grown in every single state since the ‘70s.

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2. A shift in wealth

Prior to 1973, the top 1 percent claimed 4.9 percent of all income growth, but from 1973 – 2007 they claimed 58.7 percent of all income growth.

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4. ATMs

As of 2018, there were 173.90 ATMs per 100,000 adults in the United States.

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2. It doesn’t grow on trees

Minting money isn’t just a turn of phrase. Coins are literally produced in a place called a “mint.”

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5. Apple’s earnings

Apple makes an average $163.1 million every day — that’s $1 million every 8.8 minutes.

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6. Bigger than Apple

But there’s one company out-earning Apple: Saudi Aramco. It makes $304.04 million every day, or $1 million every 4.7 minutes.

Image Credit: Saudi Aramco.

7. Spending on pets

Americans spend big on their pets. For 2019, it’s estimated we’ll spend $75.38 billion. That’s up from $72.56 billion in 2018.

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8. Public debt

In the United States., the public debt in 2019 was $18.087 trillion, most of it coming from Treasury bills, notes and bonds.

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9. Boom & bust

Most family fortunes are squandered within three generations.

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10. Emergency funds

As of 2019, about 40 percent of Americans were not financially prepared for an unexpected emergency costing $400 or more.

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11. Number of billionaires

As of March 2019, there were 2,154 billionaires in the world.

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12. Growing fortunes…

In 2018, billionaires’ wealth grew by 12 percent, or $2.5 billion per day.

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13. … and falling fortunes

Meanwhile, the poorest 50 percent of people saw their wealth fall by 11 percent and live on less than $5.50 per day.

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14. Gender divide

Wealth is not spread equally between the sexes. Men have 50 percent more of the world’s total wealth than women do.

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15. Tax burden

Out of all the taxes collected globally, just four cents out of every dollar came from a tax on wealth.

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16. Funding education

According to Oxfam, a 1 percent tax on wealth could fun schooling for 262 million children currently out of school.

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17. World’s wealthiest man

The richest person in the world is Jeff Bezos, with a fortune of $112 billion. One percent of his total wealth is about the same as the entire health budget of Ethiopia.

Image Credit: Steve Jurvetson.

18. Inherited wealth

A study discovered that the wealthiest people in Florence today are direct descendents of the wealthiest people in Florence 600 years ago.

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19. The morality of wealth

A researcher found that being wealthy could have a corrosive effect on someone’s morals, making people act more in their own interests rather than considering others’ needs.

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20. Later marriage = more wealth

A study found that women who waited until 30 or later to get married earned more money. Women with a college education who waited until 30 or later earned more than $18,000 more than their counterparts who married younger.

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21. First use of credit cards

Paying with plastic is older than you might think. The first credit cards were used in the United States in the 1920s. Women, however, were not allowed to have their own credit cards until 1974. The Equal Credit Opportunity Act changed that, making it unlawful for any creditor to discriminate against any applicant on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, or marital status.

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22. Modern credit cards

Credit cards as we know them came about in the 1950s and today account for a large amount of debt. On average, a household with a credit card has $8,398 in debt.

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23. Consumer debt

In 2019, consumer debt hit $14 trillion dollars, with $9.4 trillion being home debt and $1.3 trillion being auto debt. Another $1.48 trillion was student loan debt.

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24. The world’s highest inflation

Zimbabwe has the highest inflation rate in the world. In August of 2019, it hit 300 percent.

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25. There are how many?

According to the United Nations, there are currently 180 different currencies used around the world.

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26. Most common currency

The dollar is the most common type of currency, and the U.S. dollar is the most commonly used and recognized type of dollar in the world.

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27. Cryptocurrencies

Cryptocurrencies, which are entirely digital and include things like Bitcoin, have boomed in recent years. There are currently more than 4,000 cryptocurrencies available.

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28. Penny pinchers

It costs more to make a penny than a penny is actually worth. The U.S. Government Accountability Office estimates the U.S. Mint would save about $250 million in 10 years if they stopped making pennies.

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29. Loose change

The TSA collects a lot of loose change left behind in security bins. In 2012, TSA collected $531,000. In 2016, that rose to more than $867,000. And last year, in 2018, it nabbed nearly $1 million in our loose change.

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30. Short lived

Our paper money doesn’t last very long. A $1 bill will last about 18 months, a $5 bill 2 years, a $10 bill 3 years and a $20 bill 4 years. Coins, on the other hand, can last 30 years.

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31. Rich & poor

The three richest men in the world — Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos and Warren Buffett — have more wealth than the bottom 50 percent of Americans.

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32. The 5 percent

The richest 5 percent of Americans claim two-thirds of the nation’s wealth.

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33. Medical debt

Debt is a heavy weight on people’s psychological well-being, but medical debt is particularly bleak. While 86 percent of people with mortgages (home debt) were satisfied with their lives, only 64 percent of people with medical debt were satisfied with their lives.

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34. Burden of shame

Debt is more than a financial burden. Most people with debt said they felt ashamed by it. Mortgage holders had the least shame – 57 percent said they felt ashamed. But credit cards hit 69 percent, student loans 70 percent and medical debt once again topped the list at 76 percent.

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35. Middle class wages

Wages for the middle class fell from 2000 to 2017. In 2000, the middle class earned $45,826 in wages, while in 2017 they earned $41,640.

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36. Higher total income

While wages fell, the middle class did see an increase in their total income, from $64,280 in 2000 to $67,629 in 2017. This boost comes from an increase in government aid going to the middle class.

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37. Millennial credit card debt

Millennials get a bad rap, but they actually have the lowest average credit card debt among Americans. While 56.7 percent of Millennials have credit card debt, 67.6 percent of Gen X and 65.6 percent of baby boomers have credit card debt.

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38. Racial disparity

Wealth inequality does not impact us all equally. The average white family has 41 times more wealth than the average black family and 22 times more than the average Latino family.

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39. Different sources

Wealth comes from different places for different tiers on the social ladder. The wealthiest people get their wealth from stocks and mutual funds while the bottom 90 percent of Americans get most of their wealth from their homes.

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40. Gender divide

Work is not distributed equally. Among workers making the minimum wage in the U.S., 63 percent are women. Meanwhile, only 5 percent of Fortune 500 CEOs are women.

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41. Not just America

Women tend to make up only a small percentage of the highest earners in every country, not just America. Across 88 countries, women accounted for 14 to 22 percent of the top 1 percent of earners. This survey was conducted between 2010 and 2014.

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42. Distribution of student loan debt

A third of student loan debt is concentrated in the hands of about 6 percent of borrowers. That’s because that 6 percent owes more than $100,000 in student loans. Most borrowers owe less than that and nearly 20 percent owe less than $5,000.

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43. Graduate school

Graduate school is a particular burden for borrowers with student loans. Graduate school loans account for almost half of outstanding student loan debt.

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44. Allowances

As of 2019, if you’re a kid in the United States, your average allowance from your parents is $65 per month.

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45. Spending Bill Gates’ fortune

If Bill Gates tried to spend all his money he’d have a tough time. Even spending $1 million per day wouldn’t deplete his fortune for 218 years.

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46. Social Security

For 2019, people receiving Social Security got an average of $1,461, or $17,532 per month.

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47. Never retiring

About 20 percent of workers say they’ll probably never be able to retire and 19 percent of people 65 and older polled in 2017 said they were going to continue working full- or part-time.

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48. IRAs

One way people are making up the difference in retirement savings is through IRAs. About 35 percent of households have a traditional IRA account, with another 36 percent having Roth IRAs for savings. Twenty percent of households were contributing to more than one type of IRA.

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49. Forced retirement

While most of us envision retirement as hitting at age 65, more than half (55 percent) of Americans retire earlier, often due to health reasons or an unexpected job loss.

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50. Social Security drying up

Social Security may not last forever. It is estimated that without changes to taxes and benefits, Social Security will run out of money by 2034.

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51. High interest

We’re spending a lot on interest, about 5 percent of the money we take home goes to paying off interest. And across our lifetimes, the average American will spend over $600,000 on interest payments.

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52. Gambling revenue

Gambling brings in a massive amount of money in the U.S. Gambling revenue is bigger than theme parks, sports, cruises and music – combined.

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53. Medical expenses

Medical expenses are costing us a lot in retirement. As of 2018, the average retired couple was looking at $280,000 in healthcare costs during their retirement.

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54. Children below the poverty line

In 2019, there were 38.15 million American children living below the poverty line.

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55. Poverty rate

The overall U.S. poverty rate in 2019 was 11.8 percent, but for black Americans that number was 20.8 percent.

This article was produced and syndicated by MediaFeed.org.

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