On the lighter side of things, there’s tons of interesting facts about money that you may not have heard before.
Try sharing one of these conversation starters about money at your next social gathering to see what your friends think!
1. The $100,000 Bill
The U.S. actually once made a $100,000 bill. The biggest bill ever produced was the $100,000 gold certificate. These notes were only for official transactions between the U.S. Treasury and Federal Reserve Banks. They were not meant for the public.
The note features President Woodrow Wilson, who signed the Federal Reserve Act on 23 December 1913.
2. The Secret Service was Originally Founded to Combat Counterfeiting
The United States Secret Service ranks among the elite agencies in the world. It is also one of the oldest federal law enforcement agencies within the U.S.
The Secret Service was created during the end of the American Civil War. The Service came into existence for the purpose of combating the then-widespread counterfeiting of American currency.
It was in 1901 that the agency was asked to take on its protective mission as a result of the assassination of President William McKinley. McKinley was the third sitting U.S. President to be assassinated.
Nowadays, the Secret Service continues to protect visiting foreign dignitaries and national leaders. It also continues to help secure the financial infrastructure of the nation through cybercrime and related investigations.
3. 58% of Americans Have Less Than $1,000 in Savings
Do you feel nervous when you look at your wallet or savings account?
If you have more than $1,000 saved, give yourself a pat on the back.
Since 2015, GOBankingRates.com has been conducting a study about the savings habits of Americans. In 2018, the results from a group of 5,000 individuals showed that 58% had less than $1,000 saved. While 19 percent said they would take on a second job to be able to save more money, only 11 percent were willing to change careers to attain savings goals.
An interesting statistic in the numbers is that people in the age group of 25 to 34 had better savings habits, with 33 to 30 percent with $1,000 in the bank.
As mentioned on several episodes of OFD, one of the best ways to save more money is to think of ways to earn more money while maintaining a similar standard of living. That is, if you earn $10,000 more each year, increase the percentage that you put aside for saving and investing. Don’t spend lavishly on gadgets, luxuries, and designer goods and inflate your lifestyle for no good reason.
Note: See if your social circle has heard of the term “money anxiety disorder” as part of one of your money conversation starters.
4. Pennies Buried in a Garden Help to Repel Slugs
Your spare lucky pennies could serve a very practical purpose.
According to VeggieGardener.com, slugs are a huge problem to gardeners because of the damage they inflict onto gardens. Slugs chew on leaves and devour fruits and vegetables.
While you can repel slugs using a beer trap, coffee grounds, or other type of repellant, a penny ball is a fun project to work on. It not only repels slugs, but adds visual interest to your garden if there are rows upon rows of fruits and vegetables.
All you need is a bunch of pennies, a UV and water resistant adhesive, and something like a bowling ball to stick the pennies to. You’d want a ball that is able to face the elements from being outdoors the whole time.
If you’re using American pennies, make sure you use the ones dated before 1983. Modern pennies have higher contents of zinc and it is the copper content that will repel slugs. Zinc can also cause problems in the soil of your garden. So remember that year!
5. Drug Lord Pablo Escobar Lost Money…to Rodents and Mold
During his heyday, Colombian cartel boss Pablo Escobar was bringing in an estimated $420 million each week in revenue. It made him one of the wealthiest drug lords of all time.
Escobar was dubbed the “king of cocaine.” As his wealth grew, he started to stash piles of cash in farming fields, warehouses, and in the walls of the homes of cartel members.
Roberto Escobar was Pablo’s brother and the cartel’s chief accountant. In his book The Accountant’s Story, he wrote that Pablo was earning so much that each year, 10% of the money would be written off because rats would eat it in storage or the money would be damaged by water or lost.
There was more than enough money to handle, so haphazardly losing some of it money to rodents and mold was not a problem for Escobar.
The cartel is estimated to have spent $2,500 a month on rubber bands for holding stacks of money together.
At the zenith of his power, Escobar’s cartel supplied 80% of cocaine on a global level and smuggled 15 tons of the drug into the US daily.
6. The Oldest Bank Still in Existence
The oldest bank still existing today is the Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena, headquartered in Siena, Italy, which has been in continuous operation since 1472.
The world’s oldest merchant and private bank is Berenberg Bank, located in Hamburg, Germany, and founded in 1590. The bank is still under the ownership of a descendant of the Berenberg/Gossler original founders.
In England, the oldest bank is C. Hoare & Co which was established in 1672. It is a small and private bank that is owned by Sir Richard Hoare’s family, whose descendants manage the current day bank’s operations. As one of England’s most prestigious banks, C. Hoare & Co has served many famous clients including Lord Byron, Jane Austen, and Eton College.
7. World's Gambling Capitals
Gambling is a hard one to leave out when you're talking about money conversation starters.
Las Vegas is considered the best gambling city in the U.S. 15 of the world's largest hotels are located on the Las Vegas Strip, with more than 42 million visitors landing in Vegas yearly.
Elsewhere in the world are plenty of gambling cities. Singapore, Monaco, and Macau are just some of the cities that have world-class casinos. Casino Royale, the James Bond film with Daniel Craig, was set and filmed in the Monte Carlo Casino in Monaco. Long before the James Bond films, Monte Carlo was a small, bankrupt town on France’s coast. Two renowned architects worked on the design of the Monte Carlo Casino in 1878. Since then, the casino has served as the main source of wealth for Monaco’s economy.
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