‘2015: enjoy the rest’

I trust you all had some time off over Christmas and I hope you all enjoyed the rest.

I’ve mentioned this before, but as we enter another year of counting, it reminds me of the inconsistency we’ve established in doing so.

2015 will typically be called ‘two thousand and fifteen,’ although some will talk about ‘twenty fifteen.’ Some even say ‘two fifteen.’ 1990 would never be referred to as ‘one thousand nine hundred and ninety’ but instead ‘nineteen ninety’ similar to ‘twenty fifteen.’ 1900 would invariably be called ‘nineteen hundred’ as ‘nineteen’ simply wouldn’t work, yet 2000 would be called ‘two thousand’ as opposed to its alternative ‘twenty hundred.’ In practice, many referred to it as ‘y2k.’ We refer to previous decades as simply the ‘30s’ or ‘40s’ when teaching the history of the Depression and Second World War. By the middle of this decade, we’ll need to be more specific as it could easily be mistaken as the 2030s or 2040s. The First World War was in the 1910s but that doesn’t sound right and we still haven’t solved that one hundred years on.

Life must have been so much simpler with the lack of variation in 1 (that’s year 1, although it’s not clear to me that anyone was actually counting then). None of this keeps me awake at night.

Here’s some interesting numbers for 2015 (or ‘two hundered and one/five’ as I’m going to call it):

  1. 12,345,678,987,654,321 – the answer to the sum 111,111,111 x 111,111,111

  2. 11,000,000, 000 – the approximate number of pounds paid annually in annuities

  3. 5,000,000 – the number of people who may now be told they can cash in their annuities

  4. 400,000 – the number of people likely to approach retirement each year

  5. 1,500 – the number of pounds paid as a cash sum to retiring Police dogs in Nottingham

  6. 1,000 – the number of years ago the Hindu-Arabic numeral system we use today was developed

  7. 92.5 – the percentage of people expected to take up Guidance, according to a study

  8. 75 – the percentage of someone’s retirement fund they can take subject to tax

  9. 25 – the percentage of someone’s retirement fund they can take tax free

  10. 4 – the number of paws usually attributed to a Police dog in Nottingham

  11. 3.1415926535897932384626433832795028841971693993751058209749445923078164062862089986280348253421170679 – Pi, roughly.

  12. 3 – the number of paws attributed to a Police dog in Nottingham which has sadly lost one in the line of duty, and hence requires ongoing care, which costs money

  13. 2.5 – the percentage of people expected to take up Guidance, according to another study

  14. 2 – the year they reflected on 1

  15. 1 – the number of minutes involved in researching this list, mostly using Google, which was supposedly named after a ‘googol,’ which is the number 10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000

The lowest number on my list is zero – that’s the number of people I’d like to see being scammed out of their retirement savings by criminals once they have access to their pension funds after April. Sadly, I doubt it will be that low.

This keeps me awake at night.

At the time of writing, we were already 8 days into 2015. A little over 2%. Or 1/50th.

Enjoy the rest.