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By Kyle Hanko
August 22, 2016
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 02:  Jerry Seinfeld attends as CHANEL Fine Jewelry Celebrates The New York Public Library Treasures Collection at The New York Public Library on June 2, 2016 in New York City.  (Photo by Jared Siskin/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 02: Jerry Seinfeld attends as CHANEL Fine Jewelry Celebrates The New York Public Library Treasures Collection at The New York Public Library on June 2, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Jared Siskin/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
Jared Siskin—Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

A million dollars can go a long way. But for people who made a million dollars in years past, that amount of money went even farther. That’s because inflation eats away at the purchasing power of $1 million — or any amount of money, for that matter — over time.

Read More: What Is Inflation, and Why Should I Care?

Using this trusty inflation calculator, we figured out several millionaires “firsts” in history, like the first athletes and media stars to make $1 million. Included on this list is John Jacob Astor, the first American multi-millionaire. He made his fortune in the fur trade. When he died in 1848, he was worth an estimated $20 million. His fortune would be worth approximately $100 billion in today’s dollars.

Advertiser Disclosure

The purpose of this disclosure is to explain how we make money without charging you for our content.

Our mission is to help people at any stage of life make smart financial decisions through research, reporting, reviews, recommendations, and tools.

Earning your trust is essential to our success, and we believe transparency is critical to creating that trust. To that end, you should know that many or all of the companies featured here are partners who advertise with us.

Our content is free because our partners pay us a referral fee if you click on links or call any of the phone numbers on our site. If you choose to interact with the content on our site, we will likely receive compensation. If you don't, we will not be compensated. Ultimately the choice is yours.

Opinions are our own and our editors and staff writers are instructed to maintain editorial integrity, but compensation along with in-depth research will determine where, how, and in what order they appear on the page.

To find out more about our editorial process and how we make money, click here.

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