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Surprising Financial Facts
Jim Johnston, Vice President,Wealth Advisor and Financial Planner | BMO Nesbitt Burns Saskatoon

With the current volatility in the market, I thought that I would lighten things up and share some surprising and interesting financial trivia that I guarantee will not affect your net worth either way.

  • Technology company Apple was started in a bedroom in Cupertino, California in 1976.
  • Bill Gates told his Harvard University professors that he would be a millionaire by age 30. He became a billionaire at age 31.
  • Legendary investor Warren Buffett bought a 40-acre farm at age 14 with $1,200 in savings from delivering newspapers.
  • On January 1, 1791, the U.S. national debt was $75 million. Today, the U.S. national debt increases by approximately $75 million each hour.
  • The first text message (“Merry Christmas”) was sent in 1992. By 2009, 4.1 billion text messages were sent daily in the United States alone.
  • The design of the folding cell phone/flip-phone was inspired by the fictional communicator from Star Trek.
  • The United States generates 24.8% of world GDP with only 4.5% of the world’s population.
  • The main article in The Economist in March 1999 was famously titled, “Cheap Oil: The next shock?” The article surmised that oil prices could be headed to $5 a barrel and prices might hover in a “normal” range of $5-10.
  • In 1979, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) sat at 800. A famous Business Week cover that year touted “The Death of Equities.” Today, the DJIA hovers around 13,000.
  • October 13, 2008 saw the single largest point gain in the Dow Jones Industrial Average. The index rose 936.4 points (11.1%). Just two days later, on October 15th, the index posted its second largest point loss in history, falling 733.1 points (-7.9%).
  • The Dow Jones Industrial Average posted its largest single-day percentage increase on March 15, 1933, gaining 8.3 points for a 15.3% gain. Meanwhile, October 19, 1987 marked its largest single-day percentage decline, losing 508 points and -22.6%.
  • 66% of Americans don’t pay off their credit card bills each month.
  • 72% of the U.S. population own cell phones. Nearly half (47%) of U.S. teens said that, without their cell phone, their social life “would end” or be worsened.
  • Oakley, Inc. chose the ticker symbol OO because it looks like a pair of sunglasses.
  • 5% of lottery ticket buyers buy 51% of all tickets sold.
  • The weight of a standard gold bar is approximately 400 ounces, or 27.5 pounds.
  • Lion County Safari, the first drive-through safari park in the United States, traded under the ticker symbol GRRR.
  • If we could have any luxury in the world (and money didn’t matter) more of us would choose to spend money on a butler and a maid than anything else.
  • 90% of Americans who own pets buy them Christmas gifts.
  • Money is the leading cause of disagreements in marriages.
  • 65% of Americans would live on a deserted island all by themselves for an entire year for $1,000,000.
  • Nearly half of the people who sell their houses with furniture included will take all the light bulbs out of all the lamps when they vacate the premises.
  • Most people won’t bend over to pick up money lying on the sidewalk unless it’s at least a dollar.
  • 92% of us would rather be rich than find the love of our lives.
  • Let’s flip a coin and try to guess whether it will come up heads or tails. Three times as many people guess ‘heads’ than ‘tails’.
  • One out of every four Americans believe that their best chance of getting rich is by playing the lottery.
  • A staggering 74% of us are influenced by how much we can win in a lottery as opposed to the odds of us winning. That’s a good thing for the Government because the odds of winning a lottery jackpot are about 10 million to 1.
  • A person who drives 10 miles to buy a lottery ticket is 3 times more likely to be killed in a car accident while driving to buy the ticket… than… he is to win the jackpot.
  • People tip more on sunny days than they do on dreary days.
  • It would take enough solar cells to cover 53,760 acres, or 84 square miles, in order to supply as much energy at the same rate as just one average gas station.
  • 24 karat gold is pure gold, with no other metals. 18 karat gold is 75% gold by weight 14kt gold is 58.5% gold by weight and 10 karat gold is 41% gold by weight.
  • When are you too old for success? Harland David Sanders, almost broke, founded his Kentucky Fried Chicken (now “KFC”) empire in 1955 at the age of 65. He sold a large portion of it in 1964 for $2 million, the equivalent of $14 million in today’s dollars, and kept his interest in the rest. Until 1980 the Colonel traveled 250,000 miles a year visiting KFC restaurants around the world, and by that time had created more new millionaires among his franchisees than any other company at that time. Today the surviving company serves more than a billion chicken dinners annually in more than 80 countries.
  • Today the top 1% of American income-earners pay more than one-third of all individual income taxes, and the top 5% pay over half.
  • The top 10.3% of Canadians, by income – meaning people making $80,000 and up – paid 56.9% of all income tax in 2009. This group earned 36.7% of all income claimed on tax returns but paid 56.9% of all tax.
  • The top 2.1% of Canadians by income – meaning people making $150,000 and up – paid 29.9% of all income tax in 2009. This group earned 16.1% of all income claimed on tax returns but paid 29.9% of all tax.

Hope everyone has a great summer.

Jim Johnston
Vice President and Wealth Advisor
Financial Planner
BMO Nesbitt Burns Saskatoon

Jim has been an advisor for 15years and specializes in working with high net worth families in the areas of wealth management and estate planning.


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