What a Million Dollars Looks Like

by J. Money - Published August 8, 2016

one dollar shades


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Jay loves talking about money, experimenting, blasting hip-hop, and hanging out with his two beautiful boys. You can check out all of his online projects at jmoney.biz. Thanks for reading the blog!

{ 90 comments… read them below or add one }

1 MyMoneyDesign August 8, 2016 at 5:26 am

… I counted one million and one …
– j/k ! :)


2 J. Money August 8, 2016 at 10:08 am

that would be hilarious, actually ;)


3 DW @ GreatPassiveIncomeIdeas August 8, 2016 at 5:28 am

Nice! I don’t care what anyone says. One million dollars is still a whole lot of money. I’d settle for it any day.


4 Slackerjo August 8, 2016 at 5:42 am

When I was a kid it was fun to brag “I’m gonna live in a million dollar house!” In some parts of Canada, that will get you a modest house in the suburbs.


5 J. Money August 8, 2016 at 10:09 am

Still more than a $100,000 would buy!


6 Adam August 8, 2016 at 6:11 am

What the heck was the point of this post


7 J. Money August 8, 2016 at 10:09 am



8 Ms. Montana August 8, 2016 at 4:47 pm

J. Money, sometimes your posts are so deep and complex it just flies over the common man’s head.
(Me: laughing hysterically at that comment thread! “what the heck was the point of this posts” was literally the funniest thing that happened in my morning, to included a very inopportune baby spit up incident.)


9 J. Money August 10, 2016 at 3:55 pm
10 Xyz from Financial Path. August 10, 2016 at 4:51 pm

Hey, it made you think about it…
(that was the point)


11 Kevin August 8, 2016 at 7:10 am

Love it!

You should also do the same to illustrate what different levels of debt look like (ex. – what does a $35k car (loan) look like, a $200k mortgage, etc.)

But back to the point of your original post. Everyone now is “meh, a million, whatever.” It helps me to think of a million as a thousand thousand. And to me that still sounds like A LOT, and would sure love to have that in my bank and/or retirement account!



12 J. Money August 8, 2016 at 10:12 am

Damn straight! Most people hating on it don’t even have close to a million in their accounts either which I find pretty ironic :)

(Great idea btw)


13 BAMFmoney August 10, 2016 at 12:36 pm

I’d also add, if $1million wasn’t a lot, then why do the majority of people never have that much saved in their lifetime.


14 John C @ Action Economics August 8, 2016 at 7:44 am

$1 Million looks pretty darn good to me!


15 Colin @ rebelwithaplan August 8, 2016 at 7:48 am

A million is still a good stack to have! I


16 Brian @ debt discipline August 8, 2016 at 8:05 am

LOL. Did your kids help you type this?


17 J. Money August 8, 2016 at 10:15 am

You would be amazed actually how difficult it was to get this post out the door! Wordpress does NOT like a million characters in its articles and freezes up every three seconds, and then on top of that my server had to be tweaked to accept it too! It took longer to just get it to publish than it did to make sure I had a million $ signs in it, haha… Which was a whole other beast.


18 Bert August 10, 2016 at 8:36 am

Just goes to show how difficult getting to a million is


19 The Green Swan August 8, 2016 at 8:21 am

Haha I love the visual! I’ve reached the million milestone and now on my way toward two. What does two million look like? :) Thanks!


20 J. Money August 8, 2016 at 10:16 am

Hot damn – congrats! So let me ask you – is a million dollars a lot or not? ;)


21 Kathy August 8, 2016 at 10:16 am

Even though we have it already, a million still seems to be a lot to me still. And just ask someone if they’d take a million? How many would say, “Nah, I’d rather not bother with that small amount.” ? I think of it in terms of investing. Invested fairly conservatively in the stock/bond market earning a reasonable 5% annually provides an income of $50,000. Not chump change. And that is leaving the principle intact. $50K is more than the average salary in the U.S.


22 J. Money August 8, 2016 at 10:20 am

YES! And love that you still consider it a lot even though you’ve crossed that elusive milestone. So sexy :)


23 Slackerjo August 8, 2016 at 3:08 pm

I could freakin’ live well on 50K!!!!


24 Paul August 8, 2016 at 10:21 am

I can scroll through it in a second, which really if you think about could be reflective of our consumerist society. Boom, there you go, this post now officially has a message.


25 J. Money August 8, 2016 at 10:28 am

Hah! You cheated and used the bar on the right didn’t you?


26 Paul August 8, 2016 at 10:33 am

I mean I was like half way through and there was no ASCII art, emojis or other Easter eggs….


27 J. Money August 8, 2016 at 10:49 am

Gotta keep it real up here, brotha… Everyone knows the path to a million is boring ;)


28 Lindy August 8, 2016 at 12:33 pm

And for me – this is the point of the post! The path to a million is boring. But well worth it…


29 Paul August 8, 2016 at 2:40 pm

Yeah, I disagree with both of you (respectfully). A million dollars with no fun in between does sound pretty boring though. my argument is that throwing in something to keep it interesting should be indicative of life. If we just work, accumulate $ and then die then whats the point. no experiences = no life.


30 J. Money August 8, 2016 at 3:13 pm

Oh, yes, of course! I just meant “how” you get to a million is pretty boring – i.e. spend less than you earn and invest the rest over many (many!) years. You def. have to have fun in life, it’s just not the “get rich fast” type of deal that most people think of it as.


31 Paul August 8, 2016 at 3:35 pm

I’m really just lobbying for a random Nyan cat, or something like that in the post ;)


32 Lazy Man and Money August 8, 2016 at 10:24 am

Perfect timing on this post ;-).


33 J. Money August 8, 2016 at 10:27 am

Oh yeah??? Did you just cross it, you sexy bastard you?


34 Shaun August 8, 2016 at 10:51 am

I did this exact thing back in high school as an extra credit project. I printed out one million dollar signs on my old dot matrix printer. Using both sides of the paper, I think I ended up with a stack about 2 inches high.


35 J. Money August 8, 2016 at 11:04 am

BRILLIANT!!! Having a physical representation of this is even better. I hope you got an A++++ for that!


36 Brittany August 8, 2016 at 10:58 am

My first thought at the end of this post, “Wow! J Money must have a lot of time on his hands!” That is a lot of $ signs. I’m looking forward to the day we have $1M. It’s still a lot of money, and it’s freaking hard work to get it. Thanks for the visual


37 J. Money August 8, 2016 at 11:03 am

It did take me forever to get this post out the door, but the $ typing was the easier of the bunch (I copied/pasted a lot ;)). See my comment up above to Brian @ debt discipline.


38 Avery Breyer August 8, 2016 at 12:08 pm

A million bucks may not make a person filthy rich these days, but it’s still a VERY decent amount of money and it kills me when people act as if it’s no big deal to have that much.

If one were good at investing, and could make, say, a conservative 4% a year off that… that would be 40k per year which, crazy as it sounds, could buy one a very nice retirement in a place like Mexico :)

Or one could use that million bucks to buy rental homes – whether one did it the low-risk all cash way, or higher risk by mortgaging the properties, it could turn out very well.

The list goes on… nothing wrong with a million dollars at all! :)


39 J. Money August 8, 2016 at 3:08 pm

Thank you for backing me up! :)


40 Matt @ Optimize Your Life August 8, 2016 at 1:44 pm

This reminded me of the Wait But Why chart of Your Life in Weeks – http://waitbutwhy.com/2014/05/life-weeks.html


41 J. Money August 8, 2016 at 3:09 pm

Yes! That guys is brilliant!!


42 Art August 8, 2016 at 3:57 pm

Next article: “What a billion dollars looks like.” !!!!! :-)


43 J. Money August 9, 2016 at 9:36 am

oh my gosh, can you imagine? we’d break the entire internet!


44 Ty @ Get Rich Quickish August 8, 2016 at 4:00 pm

you better believe I just confirmed your work! Well done :)


45 J. Money August 9, 2016 at 9:36 am

As I would expect from you, good sir :)


46 jack August 8, 2016 at 4:49 pm

I counted 13,333 Rows if $75, plus $15 more.


47 J. Money August 9, 2016 at 9:38 am

Count again!


48 jack August 9, 2016 at 12:44 pm

I recounted, and it took me a few hours. $25 more, not $15.


49 Tonya August 8, 2016 at 8:35 pm

Yes! It is a lot. It is certainly enough to retire on. When you retire, you shouldn’t still have house payments and working to save for kid’s college. If you can’t retire on a million, its because you’ve suddenly decided to significantly change your lifestyle. Retiring doesn’t suddenly turn you into Kanye West.


50 Tonya August 8, 2016 at 8:37 pm

Also, Scrolling through this post was incredibly annoying and gave me time to be annoyed at people who don’t think they could possible survive on a million dollars in retirement. First world problems, yo.


51 J. Money August 9, 2016 at 9:39 am

*fist bump*


52 FinanceSuperhero August 8, 2016 at 10:18 pm

My eyes hurt a little bit after “reading” this post. Moral of the story: More money, more problems, or something like that.


53 Pengepugeren August 9, 2016 at 2:58 am

Now do the US debt.


54 J. Money August 9, 2016 at 9:40 am

I’d need to spread it across every single financial blog out there and THEN some!


55 Jeff Proctor August 9, 2016 at 5:42 am

Lol, this is great. I guess I have trust issues just like the other commenters here because I definitely just audited your work in Word


56 jack August 9, 2016 at 12:46 pm

You’re part of my club


57 No Nonsense Landlord August 9, 2016 at 9:16 am

A million is a lot of money, but really not that much if you intend to spend 60K a year and want to retire at 40…


58 J. Money August 9, 2016 at 9:43 am

Yeah yeah yeah…


59 Denny D August 10, 2016 at 9:27 am

A million invested in real estate should give you control of a 5 million dollar property portfolio (assuming 20% down). It seems quite reasonable that you could turn the portfolio over to a rental management company and still get a 6% ROI. That would be your $60,000/yr retirement. No?


60 retirement dude August 9, 2016 at 10:21 am

Is saving this post the same as saving a million $?

If people would actually own what they purchase in the present time instead of spending all of their future income a million dollars would still seem like a lot of money to them. It sure seems like a lot to me!


61 J. Money August 10, 2016 at 3:57 pm

Print it out and plaster it across your walls – I guarantee it’ll help you hit $1 Mil faster! :)


62 Danny August 9, 2016 at 5:18 pm

J. Money,

I’ve been following you from times to times since the M.O.N.E.Y. show (miss you btw), but this post just made me subscribe to your list!

You are my Financial Pop Art Icon!

Thank you!


63 J. Money August 10, 2016 at 3:59 pm

SCORE! It was all worth it then! :)


64 Lisa O August 10, 2016 at 7:41 am

My take away…..it took me awhile to scroll to the end….it is going to take some time to get there in real life! Liked this article…..inspiring :)


65 J. Money August 10, 2016 at 4:00 pm

You get closer every day! :)


66 Mrs. CTC August 10, 2016 at 9:50 am

Yup. Looks good to me. That’ll do!


67 Dani August 10, 2016 at 12:35 pm

This reminds me of a science project that we did in middle school where the teacher typed a sheetful of asterisks and made us count them and then divide that into one million, then he mimeographed (hey, shuddap, I went to a very old, very poor school with old equipment. That doesn’t make me “very” old LOL) the pages so we had approximately one million asterisks, and then we put them up on the walls in the science lab. The place was completely wallpapered, and we were completely dumbfounded. It’s otherwise so difficult to fathom the actual number, but seeing it, standing in the room and turning round to see them ALL… it was a LOT.

Great post. To the guy (or gal!) that says it’s not that much, I’ll be more than happy to take it off his hands and see if he still feels the same way. I could really get into that kind of science experiment!


68 Dani August 10, 2016 at 12:37 pm

Thinking back on it now, I kinda want to do the same thing with my growing net worth… We aren’t million dollar ballers yet, but we are working on it!


69 J. Money August 10, 2016 at 4:03 pm

Interestingly enough, I’ve been wanting to plaster one of my rooms with $1.00 bills here where each $1.00 = $1,000 of my net worth until it hits just that – $1 Million. It would kinda be a waste of $500 so far, but if it helps me hit it faster then maybe it would be a small price to pay? Let’s both do it and compare pics! :)

PS: I had to google “mimeographed”


70 ZJ Thorne August 11, 2016 at 8:14 pm

I actually love this idea. If you do it with a devalued foreign currency, it would not cost nearly as much, but would offer the effect sought. And just be neat looking. (Foreign currency nerd)


71 J. Money August 18, 2016 at 9:58 am

No doubt! You’d actually only need one Zimbabwe note to do it too, after their horrible inflation problems years back. I think I actually have a 10 TRILLION dollar note or something ridiculous like that… We’re so lucky to be living in the States despite how much we tend to complain about it.


72 Stockbeard August 10, 2016 at 1:38 pm

Yup, to people who say it’s not a lot, I’ll gladly take it from them :)


73 SteveO August 10, 2016 at 5:41 pm

One Million Dollars
Number of bills in Feet
50,000 $20 bills 17.92
20,000 $50 bills 7.17
10,000 $100 bills 3.58

Perhaps a visual of cold hard cash or 770 troy oz of gold or 50,000 troy oz of silver.


74 J. Money August 18, 2016 at 10:00 am

Oh yeah – that would be cool too, esp as I’m a coin collector and we appreciate gold and silver value more than the average person :)


75 ESI Money August 10, 2016 at 9:38 pm

Here’s what $1 million looks like.

$ = $1 million




76 J. Money August 18, 2016 at 10:00 am

Here’s what you look like = :(


77 Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life August 10, 2016 at 11:46 pm

I still think of it as “not that much” in the sense of being able to live for a LONG time off of it but you better believe I love every single one of those precious dollar signs like it was a million by itself. Learn to want what you have, not … have what you don’t? What’s that saying?

Whatever, a million is awesome. But in my usual overreaching self, I’ve decided WE can only be millionaires if we EACH have over a million. That’s more than $3M I have to stack up, $4M if I count the dog ;D And why not overreach, in the words of Robert Browning “a (wo)man’s reach should exceed his/her grasp, Or what’s a heaven for?”


78 J. Money August 18, 2016 at 10:03 am

As long as you invite me to your Millionaire Parties, I’ll back you 100% :)


79 Free to Pursue August 11, 2016 at 2:54 pm

Um, yeah. It’s plenty. Thank you very much. Mr. F2P thinks we need more like $3M to $5M, but I know that $1M will be plenty, especially given that we seem to keep making income without even trying LOL.


80 Beth August 11, 2016 at 3:39 pm

Hey! I’ll take it! Assuming we still have social security benefits, having a million dollars at regular retirement age (or even a little before that) would be more than enough to comfortable live off.

How did you have the patience to type all of those???!


81 J. Money August 18, 2016 at 10:06 am

A lot of copy and pasting and then triple checking character counts in Word :)

I don’t even factor in any social security benefits with my planning – if it happens to be there, then great! Extra beer I don’t have to pay for! :) but if not, that’s fine too… Can’t rely on anyone else but yourself!


82 Brian August 11, 2016 at 3:46 pm

I have a picture of me holding $1M (It was all $100 bills though). If you are ever in Vegas and you go to Binion’s you can get your picture taking holding a million dollars (and it’s free). Of course, that million dollars is under plexi-glass, surrounded by guards and there are camera’s everywhere. (http://www.binions.com/million_dollar_photo.php feel free to delete that link, you won’t hurt my feelings)


83 J. Money August 18, 2016 at 10:07 am

Bad ass!! Totally adding that to my “things I need to do one day” list – love it.


84 Geoff August 11, 2016 at 6:53 pm

I counted and your short 1 $


85 Geoff August 11, 2016 at 6:54 pm

you’re…. haha


86 weenie August 12, 2016 at 8:07 am

If I had a million dollars (or the pound sterling equivalent of £730k), I would feel like I’m rich because I don’t have that kind of money right now.

I would also be able to retire on it and live a good life – applying the 4% SWR rule would give me more than enough for the rest of my days!


87 Lindy August 12, 2016 at 11:46 am

I do believe you have broken my feedly subscription with this post. New posts are no longer showing up…


88 J. Money August 18, 2016 at 10:10 am

Ughhh, I know :( So many problems happened with this post – it’s pretty crazy… Technology can’t handle a million characters apparently yet!


89 derek August 12, 2016 at 3:08 pm

You crazy.

Me like.


90 Clint August 20, 2016 at 7:55 am

In other news….J$ pinky and middle finger on his left hand is extremely swollen…don’t forget to ice!


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