What Can $100,000,000,000 Buy You?

zimbabwe egg dollars
photo under fair use

Zimbabwean dollars that is! Three raw eggs and it was a pleasure doing business with you sir!

Zimbabwe suffers from what’s called Hyperinflation. That is inflation spiraling out of control. When the Zimbabwean dollar was introduced in 1980, it was actually worth more than the US dollar. At that time, the inflation rate in Zimbabwe was around an easily manageable 7%.

This spiraled to a ridiculous 231,150,888.87% by 2008 due to a number of missteps by the Zimbabwean government. No computer in Zimbabwean banks can handle this many zeroes, so the banks simply ignore a majority of the zeroes and mentally round off to the nearest manageable zero.

As of today, USD $1 is worth ZWD $12,625,549,717.84.

Inflation gauges the purchasing power of money over a period of time. Interested in knowing how much a dollar in circa 1774 was worth in 2009? I put together a chart that reflects the value of a dollar over the years.

A dollar in 1774 is worth around $0.04 today.

This is a gentle reminder to my awesome readers to protect your nest egg from the ravaging effects of inflation. (No pun intended.)

14 thoughts on “What Can $100,000,000,000 Buy You?

  1. What Can $100,000,000,000 Buy You? http://bte.tc/fq5Z #RTW

  2. Oh, I think the pun was intended! :)

    I loved the transition from title to post. I never thought that my 100 Billion was going to buy me a few eggs!

    I remember when a family member went to Brazil in the 90s and he would talk about how you bought your food in the morning because the prices would be higher by afternoon. That was just baffling to me.

  3. Thanks Kris! That’s an interesting anecdote!

  4. Oh wow! That gives a whole new perspective on how out of control inflation could become!

  5. Very funny :)

    Inflation (while not a problem yet) has me worried about my nest egg too!

    Great articles, I had no idea it was that bad in Zimbabwe!!!

  6. @MR: You are right, currently we are facing a threat of deflation (which isn’t good either). But inflation will rear its head once the economy starts to pick up and it is better to be prepared than to be caught off guard.

  7. Those better be organic eggs from grain fed, beer swilling, well massaged chickens. :)
    I would love to get one of those 100,000,000,000 bill for souvenir.

  8. retirebyforty: I was thinking the same too – would be awesome to have one of those dollar bills!

  9. Wow, that graph is a little scary.

    When I traveled in Budapest, my friends and I were really excited that the exchange rate was so good – until we realized that prices were high. That’s when we learned you have to have both a good exchange rate, and lower inflation.

  10. :) Good point Lady Mint!

  11. The Zimbabwe situation is pretty unbelievable but it goes to show you why it’s important to always have a little bit of gold as a net regardless of where you live.

  12. Awesome post, MoneyCone! Can you imaging how many 100 billion dollar bills you would need to carry around in Zimbabwe?! Great tip to watch your investment rates and inflation rates to ensure you make money :)

  13. @Christ: The cash you carry would weigh more than the goods purchased for sure!

  14. Huh…I don’t want to guess at what a house would cost…

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