The $100 bill is doomed

The U.S. Department of Treasury says that we have a Trillion dollars in circulation in paper  $100 bills. We’ve known for a while that much of this is kept outside of the United States and that a large portion of the $100 bills actually in circulation are used for illicit activities including drug trade, human trafficking, tax evasion, etc. In short, the $100 bill doesn’t do much for most ordinary citizens and it is an annoyance for government.

Now the Treasury has a simple proposal to simply stop printing them. While they won’t disappear from the economy for a while, soon we won’t see those crisp new bills.

As an accountant, I welcome the change. Counterfeit $100 bills have been a serious problem for me and my small business clients in recent years. Printing technology has evolved to the point where paper money simply is not practical anymore due to the counterfeit risk. Handling cash in general is just a pain. Handling cash is difficult, dirty and expensive. Plus, I think it is better for us as a society to think about money as a notional concept rather than a physical asset anyway.

Farewell $100 bill. I hope to save a few as souvenirs to give to my grand-kids someday.


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