How Much Money Is There, Really?

Even if we're not materialistic people, money is a big part of our lives. It's impossible to have any security without it out -- and security, in turn, allows us to achieve our dreams and have room to be creative. But how much of the green stuff is there on earth?

Gizmodo, as usual, has the answer. And that answer is: "It depends on how you define money."

- Money money: If you're only counting paper bills and coins, the number is about 5 trillion dollars. This goes by the charming name of "Mo."

- M1: Sounds like the name of a mountain, but it's actually cash plus "quickly accessed" money, such as checking accounts. That figure is $25 trillion.

- M2 = Mo + M1 + savings accounts and CDs under $100,000. About $60 trillion.

- M3: Worth $75 trillion, this figure "is much more abstract and not often cited in official figures. It includes institutional money market funds, long term deposits, and other stuff rich people possess that can somehow be spent but confuses the rest of us," according to Gizmodo's Kyle Wagner.

Of course, all of this can change in a heartbeat. As Wagner points out, it's all currency, and currency can be wiped out. In the meantime, the more important question for most of us is how to get our hands on more of whatever money there is.

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