I love using Excel but I am aware, more than aware, that you can become obsessed with the logic and assumptions and totally lose all contact with reality. Mucking about with a few assumptions can magically delivery the result you want but that doesn't mean it can or will ever happen.
The UK Government is going through one of these exercises to try and find a way of funding future pensions. The numbers don't add up so some bright spark, no doubt with a double first in maths from Oxbridge, working in the bowels of Whitehall, comes up with the bright idea of extending the time that people work before getting a pension.
As if by magic the numbers balance.
An analysis for the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has suggested that workers under the age of 30 may not get a pension until the age of 70.
You can read more details on the BBC web site.
Now all the UK Government has to do is find a way that people can actually stay in paid employment until the late 60s and early 70s. That is the hard bit and believe me - truly believe me - nobody in the civil service has the faintest idea how that can be done. Still the spreadsheet looks beautiful, for the moment.
The UK, like most countries, is abysmally prepared to fund its ageing population. I spend about a third of my most recent book (This I Know) detailing the mess that the UK is in but how, out of the disaster, it creates business opportunities for the private sector. Dick Stroud