When you reach in your wallet and wind up with a ragtag or torn bill, you always kind of hold your breath – exhaling only after you know the cashier has accepted this on-its-last-leg money, knowing that it’s now someone else’s problem.
Well, eventually, that last leg arrives – and the money has to be taken out of circulation and replaced with new currency. A bill can be folded forward and back 4,000 times before it reaches the end of its lifespan.
The Federal Reserve reports that the average lifespan of a $1 bill is about 22 months; for the $5 bill it’s two years; for the $10 bill it’s three years; for the $20 bill it’s four years; and for the $50 and $100 bills it’s 9 years. Coins are more durable and can last for about 30 years.