How Would You Maximize Profit From A Time Machine?

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At some point, everybody and every team makes a mistake they regret and wish they could take back. During our regular status meetings, I sometimes make the mistake of saying something like “if I could go back in time, I’d tell myself not to make that decision.”

flux-capacitor \ Image from the greenhead.

That tees it up for our lead developer who’s so smart even his ass is smart. You might say he’s a smart ass. His response is usually “Really? I can think of a lot better things I would do with a time machine.”

Which got me thinking. Hypothetically speaking of course, if I did have a time machine, how exactly would I maximize my profit?

Often, time travel questions fixate on boring topics such as if you could meet anyone in history, who would it be?

Lincoln? Snore. Jesus? Yah, maybe he can do something about that chronic rash you got going down there.

I think the question of how you’d become rich is much more interesting and potentially creative. Let’s put some constraints on the question to make it more interesting.

  1. The time machine room size and located in your house. Thus you can’t travel with the time machine.
  2. The time machine can only transport you back in time and back. It can’t transport you through space to another location. So if you live in Seattle Washington, you can travel back in time to any year, say 1951, but you’ll still be in Seattle.
  3. You have one trip and one trip only and you can only bring yourself and the clothes on your back. I’d recommend a backpack.
  4. You have the resources available to you today. You can’t go back in time and buy a million shares of some stock unless you could actually afford to buy that stock.

Keep in mind the consequences of your action. It might seem like it’d be easy to go back in time around ten years, go to a public library and login to your old E-Trade account and buy a bunch of stock. But you, ten years ago, would probably notice and assume you’ve been hacked and perhaps sell immediately.

Also, if you travel to a time before you were born, consider that you probably won’t have proper identification and papers, unless you forge them. Could you buy stocks without identification?

So my friends, I ask you. Given these constraints, how would you maximize profit with a single trip back in time?

Again, this is purely hypothetical. I don’t have a time machine in the garage. Let’s just say, I like to be prepared just in case.

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61 responses

  1. Avatar for Joe
    Joe December 18th, 2010

    Sports almanac like Biff Tannen.

  2. Avatar for Dave
    Dave December 18th, 2010

    Assuming I could convince others that the machine exists and would work, I would gather unto me a VERY small group of trusted investors to help me with the lowest-risk, highest-gain ideas. I imagine any time within ten years before I was born would be rife with the opportunities and potential benefits of 20/20 hindsight, even here in Cleveland :)

  3. Avatar for Jonathan
    Jonathan December 18th, 2010

    Take a disguise and as many encyclopaedias as you can carry. Start inventing things before they were invented. Create an empire on stolen ideas while remaining in disguise. Then come back with your bank details and syphon off the cash!

  4. Avatar for stimms
    stimms December 18th, 2010

    For me it would be to purchase land. In the late 1800s the land around my city(Calgary, AB) could be purchased very cheaply, even had for free if you agreed to clear the land. Fast forward to today and tiny lots on the outskirts of the city cost 100k, a couple of quarter sections(2.59km^2) a couple of kms from downtown would be worth a huge amount. The one trick would be having enough money available to pay the 100 years of property tax. I would have to spend a couple of years in the past to earn enough money to start a trust to pay the taxes. I would leave written instructions about what to buy into over the next 100 years. Really written, legaly binding, instructions for a trading company would be idea for building wealth up to a point. At some point the amount of money in the trust will mean that your buying and selling of shares is going to alter the future and the instructions will no longer be valid.

  5. Avatar for Jeroen
    Jeroen December 18th, 2010

    Wouldn't it be better to travel to the future, and bring new knowledge and insights back to the present, and benefit from them when you can experience it yourself?
    I'd go to the future and bring back the next big thing, and made it my own, for example the recipe for awesome electral batteries or another form of power plant. Then just live on that "stolen invention".

  6. Avatar for Emmanuel
    Emmanuel December 18th, 2010

    - Take some gold
    - Go back to early 20th century with a solid weatherproof box
    - Exchange gold for currency
    - buy highly collectible items such as baseball cards and all junk people collect and pay lots of money for today
    - put your junk in the box
    - burry box somewhere outside town where u you know there won't be a building later on.
    - back to the future
    - dig up your box and auction your junk
    - send me 20% of the profits :)

  7. Avatar for Chad Myers
    Chad Myers December 18th, 2010

    The problem with the sports almanac is that eventually you'll get blocked by Vegas and bookies and such if you make too much money. So you'd have to play it slow, which would detract from maximum profit.
    Stocks are problematic because you would run into trouble from the SEC or the banks eventually (a lot like the mafia and bookies, really).
    Real estate is the best way. People buy land in the middle of nowhere all the time, some get rich, some don't. No one will think it suspicious.
    So the correct answer is: Sell everything you own now, run up as much debt as you can and buy the most expensive gems you can because they will have great value in the past and they have the greatest value by weight/size of anything I can think of. Maybe not gems, but whatever the maximum value per density and volume you can find. Stuff it in your backpack and go back and give it to earliest, most responsible self (maybe when you were 23-25 or something like that). Explain the plan and tell yourself which properties to buy, what to build there, when, and when to sell, etc.

  8. Avatar for Greg
    Greg December 18th, 2010

    This assumes you want to come back and you're interested in being rich in today's economy. A much better scenario would be the following:
    * You sell your stocks, cash out your 401K, liquidate all assets.
    * Sell your house but right before the new owner takes possession, you set a bomb in the time machine room to detonate it after you leave.
    Assuming you've done all of that, you may have something like $200K+ available in cash. Keep in mind, you'll probably need to make sure you have the old bills (not the new-fangled giant head dollar bills). Then, according to the CPI Inflation Calculator, $250K in current money would have the same buying power as $11K in 1913. The year is less important if you go back far enough - key point is that with today's cash you could be very wealthy.
    Having hindsight is much more important in this case because you would know which startups/companies succeed and which do not. You could then use your 2010 money to invest in the appropriate ventures and eventually buy that island you've always wanted, run for president, etc.
    Regarding identity, with the lack of computers to track that information - it would be very easy to create an identity. Or you could just wander over to Ellis island and immigrate into the US.
    I suppose you could use this method to invest on behalf of your future self and then just will it to yourself in the future in a trust - but then you risk creating a paradox because future you doesn't travel back in time and well, that's a problem. In-fact, all of the scenarios where you return to the present are littered in paradoxes because if you buy stocks or set yourself up to get rich in the past - can you be guaranteed that you'll still have the time machine in the alternate future? In-fact, by changing your past - you may have nowhere to return in the future and you may end-up just getting stuck in the past. I'd rather plan to stay and say f* you to the future. :)

  9. Avatar for Tony
    Tony December 18th, 2010

    Historians like to find 'inflection points' in history where changing one event could have massively changed the outcome of world events. An interesting one would be to go back to the early 1900s, travel to Europe, and warn Archduke Franz Ferdinand of his coming assassination. Would WWI have never occured, and consequently WW2, the cold war, korean war, vietnam, etc. etc.?

  10. Avatar for boxertech
    boxertech December 18th, 2010

    Glad this is just hypothetical and you aren't using your real time machine for this.
    Go back, establish an identity, buy a winning lottery ticket, get in on the Amazon IPO, and the Google IPO, maybe invest in if I was able. Then the final beautiful piece, steal Facebook from Zuckerberg. By then, I could hire the people to figure out how.
    Now if I went back 20 years and was myself 20 years younger but I knew then what I know now... Wow! That would change everything. Keep the money, I have better things to do.

  11. Avatar for lb
    lb December 18th, 2010

    I'd go back to 1995, and convince my younger self to quietly patent the idea of a 1px*1px transparent gif for layout spacing. Then he could sue the ass out of everyone in 2000.

  12. Avatar for Nick Josevski
    Nick Josevski December 18th, 2010

    Isn't it as simple as lottery tickets?
    Going back assuming the winning numbers are still going to be the same. Small amount of funds needed potentially huge payoff.

  13. Avatar for Damien Guard
    Damien Guard December 18th, 2010

    If it can only transport you in time and not space then you'll only be able to change the year too not the date unless you want to find yourself in open space.

  14. Avatar for Mike
    Mike December 18th, 2010

    Easy! Go back and buy Boardwalk and Park Place!

  15. Avatar for Phillip J. Birmingham
    Phillip J. Birmingham December 18th, 2010

    I'd send myself a handwritten letter back in late 1985. This letter would have three elements:
    (1) A secret that only I would know, to prove it was from me, and not from a forger.
    (2) A description of the Challenger disaster and ensuing investigation, to prove it was the future me.
    (3) An instruction along the lines of:
    Buy as much Microsoft stock as you can afford, and sell it around New Years' 2000. By then everybody knows there's a tech bubble, but nobody knows when it will burst, so you won't look too wacky selling out.
    Sink the profits into real estate until Q1 2005 or so. Again, nobody thinks the price increases are sustainable, so getting out looks cautious, not suspicious.
    I'm really not sure what to do after that.

  16. Avatar for Joe Chung
    Joe Chung December 18th, 2010

    Withdraw all my money, go back in time a day, withdraw all my past money, go back to the present, deposit past and present sums of money. Rinse and repeat.

  17. Avatar for BorisCallens
    BorisCallens December 18th, 2010

    Nobody else's getting the idea P. is just crowdsourcing us to get the most out of his latest hobby project?
    F. money. I'd go back and tell my past self the little things I learned from life so he would get a general head start.

  18. Avatar for Joe Chung
    Joe Chung December 18th, 2010

    Would past you really listen to future you though? Or let me put it to you this way: why wasn't your first inclination to go to the future and talk to your future self to see what sort of "little things" he learned from his life?

  19. Avatar for haacked
    haacked December 18th, 2010

    I think the scenarios where you go back and try to convince yourself are fraught with peril. You'd probably be freaked out to see a guy who looks just like you but is older. Maybe you could claim you're a long lost uncle. But still.
    Just buying a lottery ticket is problematic. How do you get the winnings back.
    One idea I had was to go back, buy several winning lottery tickets, and mail them anonymously to my younger self with a note with suggestions on what to do with the winnings. Of course this assumes that by doing so, I didn't spawn another universe/time line and when I return, I'm still a broke ass PM. ;)
    Damian, good point! But you know what I meant. We can hypothesize that the process of going back in time is affected by gravity so that you can't travel to another point on Earth, but will remain at the current position relative to Earth's position in the universe. ;)

  20. Avatar for Andrew M
    Andrew M December 18th, 2010

    Go back 20 years and sell your iPhone to Microsoft.

  21. Avatar for Miechu
    Miechu December 18th, 2010

    You are approching the topic with the wrong attitude... Max Payne had some nice insight into that:

  22. Avatar for matt
    matt December 18th, 2010

    buy a few choice domain names.

  23. Avatar for Dean Nolan
    Dean Nolan December 18th, 2010

    I would go back with a list of all sports results from the time I travel back to to the present. I would then go to the betting shops and put accumulator bets on all teams (I do football bets, or soccer to you) for every week.
    A £1 bet could easily make you 2 million back. So as to not be suspicious you would bet with different companies and spread them out so that you may win one or two big bets a year. Plus smaller ones that you can get other people to collect.

  24. Avatar for Shawn
    Shawn December 18th, 2010

    I think this one is pretty straightforward. Foundation, but you play a time traveling Seldon.

  25. Avatar for Nathan Ridley
    Nathan Ridley December 18th, 2010

    I'd go back and write a letter to myself, one where I prove my identity via a photo I take of my older self, then I'd lay out a few things to do that I "should have" done back then. e.g. Buy,,,, etc. Also I would let myself know exactly what websites to build to capitalize on the adsense and adwords glory days when everything was easy and lucrative. I'd also tell myself to start a free dating site and a host of credit card and loan review/comparison sites.

  26. Avatar for Jeremy Foster
    Jeremy Foster December 18th, 2010

    Lottery ticket problem solved. Just get the winning lotto numbers when they're drawn. Jump back in time to an hour ago (just before the numbers were drawn). Buy your lotto tickets. Jump back to present day and claim your prize. This solves the problem of freaking out your former self because he's already created the time machine and knows all about it. If I've made a time machine, I'm pretty much expecting to get a visit from myself, right?

  27. Avatar for Siderite
    Siderite December 18th, 2010

    Well, you kind of answer your own question in the post, when you say your past self would react to your actions when you go back. Being a developer (a smart one :P) I know that the best way to make a small thing huge is recursivity. So I go back in time, I tell my-self all the history I can remember of what happened and let him decide the best way to make money, have fun, gain knowledge, or whatever. It is clear that when one-self would gain enough to be happy, he would have no reason to build a time machine and the loop would end without a stack overflow. Taa-daaa!

  28. Avatar for Mark
    Mark December 18th, 2010

    Lottery ticket one is easy to do - you don't have to get the winnings back, just claim them into the present.
    Once you know the numbers go back 1 day, buy the ticket, leave it somewhere safe. Then head back to the present, grab the ticket and claim your winnings - simple!
    Other methods would very quickly get tricky - you'd have to assume you couldn't access your accounts safely in the past as the other you would notice, unless it was the really recent past.
    Also you couldn't take large amounts of money back to the past to invest unless it was small amounts and to the really recent past as then you'd either have bills in the system with duplicate serial numbers or bills whos numbers aren't registered leading to you getting arrested in the past.
    The lottery system could equally be applied to betting on sports events but I think the trick is to not travel too far back and to be able to redeem in the present so your involvement with others outside your natural timeline is minimized.

  29. Avatar for Dave
    Dave December 18th, 2010

    Hahaha. What an interesting question and an even more interesting set of rules I think if i could go back i would not be too shocked to see myself so therfor it would be safe to do so. And have a word about ideas and what the future really brings the likes of jquery, facebook and gocompare would be top of the agenda but would this cause a paradox loop where i never get past the day i jump back??? Problem with back is you can do anything even kill your dad and nothing will change for yourself as changes will only create a new timeline a seperate version of yourself that is rich and invents facebook would you even travel back in time to give yourself the idea if you had already created the idea??? Hence the need for multiple versions of your own path in lifenso in reality you would only make the other versuons of yourself rich. If you want to get profit from. A time machine the only wa is to hire out thebusage if the time machine to. Other fools who think they can make themselves rich and powerful :-)

  30. Avatar for Wim ten Brink
    Wim ten Brink December 18th, 2010

    Why go for profit? What purpose does profit have, if it's without happiness? I would pursue happiness instead, using the knowledge I have now about many people to choose the right friends in the past. I know whom to trust and whom will betray me, so with that knowledge I could strengthen my bonds with the right people. When you're with those you trust, then going for profit together is a lot easier.
    I'd also remember the winning numbers for the lotto, which doesn't give away huge prices back then, but still enough to use as investments in certain stocks. Win a few times, perhaps, buy a lot of stock and then be patient. Won't make me happy, though. Plus, I fear for a time-travel paradox:
    When you go back in time, you will alter the future. Time will branch away from the mainstream and all future events would be unpredictable. The winning lotto numbers could be different, and if they are, I'd only lost a few coins but gained the knowledge that the future has changed. So, the lotto won't just make me rich, it would also tell me how predictable the future would be. Because if the past wouldn't repeat itself, I'd just be living my life all over again...

  31. Avatar for Morten T
    Morten T December 18th, 2010

    Well. If the sports almanac doesn't work.
    Buy cheap worn money (as they're no bigger interest for collectors) from that time and go back and use that money to buy gold and diamonds.
    Oh. And don't forget to buy some Curta's too - you won't regret that ;)

  32. Avatar for Rob White
    Rob White December 18th, 2010

    Sell the time machine to the military and them sell your skills to them to operate it, say $100,000,000 per trip?

  33. Avatar for Edwin
    Edwin December 18th, 2010

    This probably won't maximize profit but it is really low risk:
    Set course to June 1939. Buy a copy of Action Comics 1 (Ten cents I believe was the cost). Return and head to the antique roadshow? :)

  34. Avatar for Matthew Hintzen
    Matthew Hintzen December 19th, 2010

    I'd load a bunch of pure Aluminium (which I can buy cheap) into my backback, travel back to 1890, then use the aluminium (which was worth more then gold) to buy up land and put it in a legal trust for myself that I can reclaim back in the future.

  35. Avatar for Adam Boddington
    Adam Boddington December 19th, 2010

    I like the "jump back one day" suggestions for the lottery ticket. Except with my luck, I'd die horribly in space because the planet wasn't in the same spot a day ago.
    If tried jumping back a century, I'd probably die horribly again because of the expanding nature of the universe. Maybe I'd get lucky and end up on someone else's planet. With a breathable atmosphere. But fall hundreds of metres to my death. Maybe a bowl of petunias will keep me company on the way down.

  36. Avatar for Ben
    Ben December 19th, 2010

    Simple, wait until friday, see what fridays Euromillions lottery results are. Then go back 1 day, buy the winning lottery ticket and leave it on my desk. Come back and claim my winnings :)

  37. Avatar for adam
    adam December 19th, 2010

    I would have out-bit Peter Minuit in his purchase of Manhattan Island. Smiple :-)

  38. Avatar for Scott Kowalczyk
    Scott Kowalczyk December 19th, 2010

    It sounds like this single-use time machine would have been give to me and not made by me, so I'd take it apart to see how it worked.

  39. Avatar for Josh
    Josh December 19th, 2010

    1. Research the largest lottery winnings possible between my current age and 18 (legal age to claim it).
    2. Get said lottery numbers, then look at the historical stock markets of a few well known stocks from the winning date.
    3. Go back in time, buy the lottery ticket. Then find someone who can setup a trust for the winnings.
    4. Claim money, setup future stock orders at given dates to time the market.
    5. Come back, claim the money from your trust, and buy way to many gadgets.
    6. Stuff money under mattress, since well you can't use the time machine again to predict the future.

  40. Avatar for Brian Brewder
    Brian Brewder December 19th, 2010

    Looks like somebody has a new Netduino project :)
    Seems like buying the winning lottery ticket for a large payout the day before is the way to go. Just leave the winning ticket on the counter before you go back to the future where you can pick it up and head to the lottery office!
    For fun, you can go out for a drink with yourself just like the Stoli ads :)

  41. Avatar for John Stone
    John Stone December 19th, 2010

    I'd rather take my profits in the present rather than through some speculative chrono-adventure. I would let investors bid on my trip. That way I could set some basic conditions (no active volcanoes please), have a financed expedition, and if a dinosaur ate me or some Yankee shot me, my family could be reimbursed.
    Lottery tickets and investment schemes are for chumps. The chance to get a man on the ground at one of the pivotal points (or places) in history would easily be worth billions.

  42. Avatar for Max Pool
    Max Pool December 19th, 2010

    I am going to be the jerk in the bunch and say - it doesn't matter.
    Time travel backwards would result in two results:
    1) You travel into one of infinite alternate universes, in which you can assume nothing of the future. Google is a flop, Tiger Woods joined a gang, and all government decisions are based from who has the highest score in Ms. Pacman.
    2.) You travel back to your own timeline, and since your future is already known, anything you do will not effect the future. In short, you are as broke as you left.
    The moral of the story? Learn from the past, dream the future, and execute in the present. ;)

  43. Avatar for Bill
    Bill December 20th, 2010

    I would go back far enough in time to find a gold mine that was going to yield a huge haul. Then buy the land and setup a company to keep anyone from doing anything with it until now.
    Then I'd go start digging now and pull all of the gold out.
    'Course that could drive the price of gold back into the single digits - so maybe it's not such a good idea.
    Although you could just pull a little out at a time and sell it off in pieces....

  44. Avatar for John B
    John B December 20th, 2010

    Pretty simple really, I would travel back 100 years and then:
    1) Steal underpants
    2) ???
    3) PROFIT!!!

  45. Avatar for Adam
    Adam December 20th, 2010

    Can we have a TimeMachine in MVC4 with interface ITimeMachine so we can unit test it? I hope you have my request noted.

  46. Avatar for Gary
    Gary December 20th, 2010

    I have an issue with this rule:
    #2 The time machine can only transport you back in time and back. It can’t transport you through space to another location. So if you live in Seattle Washington, you can travel back in time to any year, say 1951, but you’ll still be in Seattle.
    That doesn't work, It has to have the ability to travel through space as well or you will die when you travel back. Your living room is on a rotating planet which is spinning around a sun which is travelling through space away from the center, it will never exist in the exact same place on 2 occasions. So your living room now will be space 50 years ago or a mile underground 5 years ago etc...
    To actually answer the question i guess id take something back, patent it, produce and sell it. Something like a solar panel or maybe iphone :)

  47. Avatar for Guillermo Llosa
    Guillermo Llosa December 20th, 2010

    I'd wait by the time machine quietly. My future self will be along with a recursive plan shortly.

  48. Avatar for caladin
    caladin December 20th, 2010

    Assuming your rules all work,and you can modify the timeline you will arrive back in, etc etc;
    1. Since you only have one shot, and will be missing in the time between the endpoints of the trip have multiple sources of income arranged in case some fall through due to unforseen human error/theft.
    2. To avoid the paradox each source of modern income must be unknown to you until you know about the time machine.
    3. Assemble period cash, bullion, gems etc, as seed money.
    4. Assemble lists of sports info, lottery numbers, top earning stock transactions per day for dest +2 years top yearly for interum time, simple inventions invented in the dest year etc, encrypt in simple cypher in case stolen (ie book cypher), have backup info memorized..
    5. Assemble list of institutions that existed in your planned destintation time and exist today.
    6. Get period documents forged as one of your relatives who looked vaguely like you at the time, or for a person who' died far enough back to be your age (Again relative by preference).(multiple sets is better)
    7. Get master dealer keys made to all the common vehicles in your destination time, just in case you need to steal a car in the past.
    8. Travel back in time to when you were just born, bet on all the above methods earn a nice nest egg.
    9. Set up a Trust fund for yourself not to be revealed till return date +1 day.
    10. Buy property and set up trust to manage it, to be given to you on your <age now +1>th birthday.
    11. Get the Trust set up wtih laywers and a address.
    12. Fund retirement account for your self at a bank you've never done buisness with, one that does not generate tax burden, send all account statments to Trust address, pick good funds or even index funds.
    13. Buy period stuff that's valuble now, put in safe Depotit box, pay for 100 years up front. Bring key back with you (same for all other boxes).
    14. Get antoher Safe deposit box at a seperate bank fill with bullion and gems, same setup.
    15. Buy physical shares of small companies that are giants now, depending on birthdate, IMG, INTEL Dell, whatever, 3rd saftey deposit box, 3rd bank.
    16. Bury more gems & high value items in a secret location known to you and researched to be undisturbed into modern times.
    17. Buy winning lottery ticket, set up corporation to hold and invest money in index funds, all stock to be gifted to you on N+1 birthday.
    18. Find a building you know is there in dest time, hide money in a wall that's being built, so you can retreive it in return time.
    19. Take the rest of the stock tips to a rich trustworthy friend of the family if such exists, or known buisness man. Set up a deal with him if he makes profits from the tips, he holds 10% for you on your return.
    20. Rip of any other good ideas from this list, that meet the critera, add here.
    21. buy back all the gems you sold, to bring back so they are not duplicated, under GIA inspection.
    come back with a bigger pocket full of gold & gems and if even one pays off you're better off than when you left and if most do you're stupid rich.

  49. Avatar for Julien B&#233;rub&#233;
    Julien B&#233;rub&#233; December 21st, 2010

    I'll go back in 1994 and buy a lot of Magic: the Gathering cards for 1$ or 2 that sells hundreds of dollars today.
    With the content of a Bank coffer, I could transfert enough to build a house today. Especially since mass-buying them would cause even more rarity today.
    Make a search for "Black Lotus Beta" on ebay if you don't understand what is Magic: the Gathering. Add "PSA9" to the search if you have solid guts.

  50. Avatar for Pattaya
    Pattaya December 22nd, 2010

    I´ll go once back in 1974 and start working as a hardware & software developer, oh yes i would even i would even invent the Internet, haha

  51. Avatar for Verisimilidude
    Verisimilidude December 22nd, 2010

    If you could go forward first and then come back going ten years into the future, discovering what company / investment had the best return over the previous ten years and then returning would be quite profitable (assuming stable timelines, etc.).
    If you had to go to the past first I think I would take knowledge from today and go back and reap the rewards there. Imagine the riches that a person who could produce pennicillin pre-1900 could reap. Or produce clotting factor and save the life of Tsarevich Alexei Nikolaevic (son of Tsar Nicholas II). Not only would I expect that the Tsar would be generously grateful but you might avert the Bolshevic Revolution. Or you could study Latin and then go back to ancient Rome and sell soap.
    I have a problem with the lottery ideas here - none of them produce a benefit for society and expand the pie, they just move money from another pot to their pot. But if I were to go that route I would go back to 2000 and establish myself as a programmer again, probably in another town to avoid running into my earlier self, earn enough to establish a trading account, and short tech stocks. In mid 2001 I would take my profits and buy treasury bonds, take delivery and stash them in a safe deposit box for pick-up upon my return.

  52. Avatar for Adrian Grigore
    Adrian Grigore December 23rd, 2010

    I'd pack a backpack full of tulip bulbs and travel back to 1637. Amsterdam is 500 km away from where I am living, so the voyage to there should take just a couple of weeks. Once I am there, I could sell them for about 30.000 Netherlands gulds a piece (the average house in Amsterdam cost about 10.000 at that time). Next, I'd invest half of my money in Amsterdam real estate, and put the other half on a Rothschild numbered bank account (that bank alredy existed at that time and still exist today).
    P.S.: My girlfriend would sell pepper in Amsterdam and buy some diamonds with the revenue.

  53. Avatar for Josh
    Josh December 26th, 2010

    Very interesting topic, the idea of time travel astounds me.
    I personally live at the southern tip of California, right near the border. So the way I see it, I should pack as much salt as I can possibly carry. Why salt, you ask? Well hundreds upon hundreds of years ago *starts time machine*, I believe that at one point in areas such as South America, salt was in fact worth its weight in gold. Now, surely, if one could find a way to transport as much salt as possible to the ancient world to exchange it for vast amounts of useless soft, yellow metal, then surely a huge profit could be reaped considering gold is worth over 5000 times the value of salt. (Makes you think of a trick question, really: which weighs more, a pound of salt or a pound of gold?)
    Or, one could of course go with the classic "win every lotto...ever" method. But I'm betting winning more than one will warrant a federal investigation of some sort.

  54. Avatar for Hendry
    Hendry January 6th, 2011

    If you go back to yesterday and buy lottery tickets, why bother handing it to your younger self, or looking for a safe-box for you to collect in the future?
    Why dont you just buy the tickets, put it in your pocket, take them with you to the future, and claim the prize?
    You'll make millions of profit, and your younger self wouldnt even know you had came for a visit.

  55. Avatar for Gaweph
    Gaweph March 16th, 2011

    The easiest method (and with no dangers of paradoxes) would be to wait until the day after the lottery, say a Sunday, then go back to Saturday and buy a winning ticket.
    Then all you have to do is post it to yourself, and then travel back. When you return, you can have a normal Sunday evening and wait for the mail man the next day to deliver your winning ticket to your door.
    Done, there's no chance of a paradox, you haven't altered your past at all, and you are just another lottery winner, no need to make a new identity or anything like that.

  56. Avatar for jakob
    jakob July 12th, 2012

    i would go back in time and tell my former self to meet me at an exact place and time every week of every year with the time machine so eventually there would be an army of exact duplicates of myself and then i'd tell science to fuck itself because i figured out cloning bitch, then i reap massive profits and fuck the world with my cluster of jakob cocks!

  57. Avatar for Roxy
    Roxy March 19th, 2014

    If you own a time machine money becomes quite useless you know.

    But to play along, go back in time win the lottery. put all that lottery into investments that are going to successful and bam money.

  58. Avatar for PGH
    PGH January 25th, 2015

    I think about it all the time. The things I passed on!! My god man, how depressing.

  59. Avatar for cody
    cody June 29th, 2015

    Unlimited rullute memories 6 numbers go back 10 min bet 1 dollar win 35 bet that win $1225 bet that win $42875 BET that win $1500625 bet win 52521875 and win $1 838 265 625 then lose at least $300 000 000 so they don't get suspicious then cash out and live like a king

  60. Avatar for mark davis
    mark davis October 20th, 2017

    A single $20 bill could score you 400 copies of Action Comics #1 in mint condition. Conservatively speaking each book would get you about 3 Million when sold. That's 1.2 B-B-Billion for one Andrew Jackson. You would, of course, need to then slowly release them into the collector's market so as to not devalue them.

  61. Avatar for KBH
    KBH January 1st, 2018