Professor of management and economics, Cornell University; author, "The Economic Naturalist"
Back in some early grade at the Riverside Elementary School in Miami, the teacher asked the class to imagine that we put one paramecium on one square of a checkerboard and then it had two daughters that occupied the second square, and the two daughters each had two daughters who occupied the third square and so on. How many would you have by the time you got to the 64th square?
A lot. If you lined up all the paramecia end to end, they would reach the sun and back 6,000 times over. That lesson easily translated into money: If someone had put aside $1,000 the day I was born, with a 9.5% annual return it would be worth almost $210,000 today.
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