Niagara Gazette


April 5, 2014

LETTERS FROM THE ISLAND: Cashing out is no easy task for some

Niagara Gazette — Dear Mainland Penny-Pinchers — Every year about this time, as we calculate our fair share of what our Mainland government is worth and then send them 10 times as much, one of those magazines that starts with “F” (Fortune? Forbes?) publishes one of those lists of what it perceives as the world’s richest people, at least in terms of money.

This year it’s Bill Gates, who invented some sort of electronic gadgetry which has brought him the sum of $76 billion. Warren Buffett, who is at least partially responsible for the shortage of daily newspapers around here, counts out fourth at $58.2 billion. Terry Pegula struggled into the top 500 with $3.3 billion, including the 50 bucks his hockey team is worth.

These figures are almost beyond comprehension, rather like the number of chores Polly has planned out for Doug once he finishes this column or the number of times he will go back to correct it. (Poor baby.)

So let us make it easy for you, based on something familiar, such as how quickly one can retrieve money from an ATM.

We’ve clocked it a couple of times at the reasonably responsive terminal at First Niagara (except for the time it ate a $6 cash deposit because the bills were too crinkly). Once the card goes in, you’ve picked a language and remembered your password, you can get $100 in three seconds.

That’s $33.33 per second, $2,000 a minute, $120,000 an hour, and so forth, on up to a little more than a billion a year — $1,051,776,000, actually, figuring in an extra quarter-day for Leap Year.

Therefore, it would take Bill Gates 72 years and three months to withdraw all his money from an ATM. (With our luck, we’d be behind him in line.) That’s if it were drawing no interest. If he were earning as much as 2 percent, the account would be accruing interest faster than it could spit it out.

Warren Buffett, 55 years, four months, but we’d still rather have the Courier back.

Terry Pegula, three years, six weeks, and the Sabres would still be in last place.

Well, we’d love to calculate more, but we’ve got bottles to return. Come visit. Or go figure.

Email Polly and Doug at

Polly and Doug E-mail

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Featured Ads
House Ads
AP Video
Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Palestinians and Israeli Soldiers Clash Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kerry: No Deal Yet on 7-Day Gaza Truce Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow Gaza Residents Mourn Dead Amid Airstrikes Raw: Deadly Tornado Hits Virginia Campground Ohio State Marching Band Chief Fired After Probe Raw: Big Rig Stuck in Illinois Swamp Cumberbatch Brings 'Penguins' to Comic-Con Raw: Air Algerie Crash Site in Mali Power to Be Restored After Wash. Wildfire Crashed Air Algerie Plane Found in Mali Israel Mulls Ceasefire Amid Gaza Offensive
House Ads
Night & Day
Twitter News
Follow us on twitter
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Front page