The 400 richest Americans are now worth a combined $2 trillion, according to Forbes. That's more than the GDPs of many nations.
That sets a record, Forbes said, and marks a jump from last year's total of $1.7 trillion.
The average net worth of a Forbes 400 member is now $5 billion-also the highest ever. And the costs of being part of the 400 Club rose to $1.3 billion.
(Read more: Gates tops Forbes list again )
But it's the $2 trillion number that remains the most interesting. The 400 richest are now worth more than the GDPs of many nations-and they are worth more than most governments spend or tax.
Here is some perspective on what the 400 richest Americans are really worth.
- $2 trillion is more than the combined net worth of half of all Americans. The bottom half, of course.
- $2 trillion is more than the annual GDP of Italy, Mexico or Canada.
- $2 trillion is equal to the Federal Reserve's holdings of publicly traded U.S. Treasurys.
- $2 trillion is the estimated size of the underground economy, mostly unreported income.
- $2 trillion would fund all government spending through July of this year.
- $2 trillion is equal to about two-thirds of all taxes to be collected in the U.S. for 2013.
- $2 trillion would pay for all of the existing home sales in the U.S. in 2012 AND2013 year-to-date.
-By CNBC's Robert Frank. Follow him on Twitter @robtfrank
- Newport estates regain their shine
- Gates tops Forbes list again
- The 1% earn biggest share since '20s
- Why we likely can't close rich-poor gap
- Follow @robtfrank on Twitter
- Who are America's richest people?
image: © Infusionsoft