What is a Trillion?

When large numbers get tossed around in conversation people tend to get “numb” to what they mean.

To help put these numbers into perspective, I’ve compared them to seconds so you can see the magnitude of the losses which have come as a result of gambling and the stock market.

1 million seconds = 12 days

1 billion seconds = 32 years

1 trillion seconds = 32,000 years (that’s approximately 30,000 years before Christ!)

People lost 1 trillion dollars of their life savings in two days of stock market crashes in 1987 and 1997.

When the stock market crashes the talking heads on TV say, “This is a necessary retracement (pull back) – prices were getting too high.”

Tell that to John and Jane Doe who were a year away from retirement and had all their money in a mutual fund that lost 40% of its value!

Where are the FTC’s priorities? How can a government use taxpayers’ resources to put a person in jail who sends a chain letter asking people to send him $10? If the entire planet sent him $10 it would equal $60 billion, but each person would have only lost $10. Meanwhile, the stock market has lost $9 TRILLION of people’s money!

Return to : Is MLM a pyramid?

Tim Sales

About the Author

Tim Sales

Tim’s experience in building his own downline of 56,000 network marketers helped him develop his signature training series. A public relations ambassador for the network marketing industry, Tim has also dedicated his time to debunking the false information spread about the network marketing industry.

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Bruce Ballinger

Wow! Thank-you for putting things in ethical perspective.
-Bruce Ballinger

Patti Roney

Great education, warning and comparison!!! Thank you!

Tambria Alexander

Wow – certainly gives you cause to pause.

Don Lipscomb

32,000 years of seconds really lets you grasp the point. Very good!

Jonathan Charles

Thank you for such an insightful website. I will definitely be sure to link this website and tell everyone that is interested in this business to check it out before deciding.

Geta Barr

Good idea, now I can break down the Trilion $$$ Industry to the Team.

Albert Watkins


Joe Kresser

It has always blown me away the way the news media throws around numbers and no one questions it. I remember when I was a boy and the talked of millions that was way over our heads. Now like you say we are becoming “numb” to talk of billions. I seen an artical one time that really wakes you up to question numbers.
A billion seconds ago it was 1975
A billion minutes ago Jesus was alive
A billion hours ago our ancestors were in the stone age
A billion dollars ago was only 8 hours and 20 minutes, at the rate our government spends it. Joe Kresser


Progress is not possible without change, and those who cannot change their preconceived ideas cannot change anything.
This new resource will help anyone who takes the time to see how great this industry really is. Bravo Tim!

Jen Rey

A place to obtain an educated perspective about MLM is sorely needed. You’ve provided a great resource for gaining that perspective with this site and this article. Bravo!

Jennifer Valencia

Wow…that’s just pretty crazy to think about! Thanks for the fyi. 🙂

Patty Jones

Again Thanks, Patty

Joseph Quinn

mind blowing!

Adeline Richter

Wonderful information! Gives me a different perspective.

Kelly S.

Terrific facts. Thanks, Tim


Great Web site Tim, Thank you for all your hard work.

Tom Doiron


You seem to have a gift for explaining complex things in simple terms. Glad you are on our side. Thank you.

Valencia Burton

Great point!

Jacob Camacho

Next time some one wants to distance herself from MLM ask her ‘Why would you ignore a $ 90 billion dollar a year worlwide industy?”

Ulf Paxby

Great information! Great Web site!

marilyn holm

Yes, all those zeros do make a difference, and it’s easy to lose perspective. These comparisons helps put the zeros back into perspective.

Steve Adams

Really Puts the Numbers into Perspective. Thanks.

Susie Wong

This is the simplest prespective anyone can understand. Well said, this is the best!

John Lieto

The difference between the stock market and MLM is that the stock market is not guaranteed to make more losers than winners like and MLM pyramid. The bottom layer of any MLM will always have more persons than all of the layers above combined. At some point, saturation is reached and everyone at the bottom (and several layers above) takes the hit.

Statics from the Direct Sales Association show that 99% of all MLMers lose money. That is not the case in the stock market.

The stock market does not seek to isolate members from their family.

MLMs are all shady, selling overpriced questionable products by annoying everyone they come into contact with.

Please don’t legitimize these criminal enterprises by comparing them to the stock market.

Finally, asking anyone to send you money for nothing may not be criminal, but certainly indicative of a sleazy, lazy character.


and they say business and politics don’t mix!


And if you say the stock market has lost 9 trillion of peoples money… how does that take into consideration if I invest $10 in the stock market and then it becomes worth $200, if it goes back to $10 did I lose $190?? And if I send you $10 and then I never get it back… I definetely lost $10.

Fabio Platero

I’ve heard many people say NM products are overpriced to pay the reps. But for ANY product, regardless of price, there’s someone who thinks it’s overpriced or too expensive.

Overpriced is in the eyes of the beholder. If value is added, people will pay. I know I do. For some things I pay MORE, even if the quality is the same, if other value accompanies it that I want.

Luciano Bargmann

This is really interesting. It’s easy to talk about a trillion, but if you think about the trillion seconds, wow, now it makes a huge sense 🙂

Cheers from Brazil!

Phillip Reschly

Thank you for writing this article, it’s good to have that perspective about how many years a trillion seconds would make. Very interesting stuff here, keep it up Tim.

Have a happy day everyone, from San Diego CA.


So is that your argument?
Because people lose less on the chain letter it should not be deemed illegal?
And because our stock market is based on economic principles mlm is not bad?

Ray Coequyt

Excellent information

Ray Coequyt

Excellent report very informative

Dave Thompson, Nashville, TN

Wow Tim!

I can see from reading some of these antagonistic comments that no matter how well something is explained some people just aren’t capable of “getting it” at all! You know what, Jesus Christ was perfect and they still crucified him! So, no matter what you do or say to some folks it won’t be good enough! Keep up the incredible work Tim!

Dave Thompson
Nashville, TN


hm… nice 🙂

Doug Pine

This is great info for the uninformed.

Jesse Gift

So, what exactly is the point of this example?

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