Is there a convention for indicating the year of a monetary amount?

Because of inflation citing a monetary sum is rather useless without specifying the year: $20 in 1900 is very different than $20 in 2000.

Is there a standard way to indicate years?

I would expect one of the following, but I haven't found anything to back one up

  • $20 (2000) but this could be confusing in disciplines that use years when citing sources.
  • 2000$20 or 20 2000$ after currency conventions like US$, but these could easily confuse the reader into thinking 2000 is a sum, not a year.
  • $20 (in 2000 dollars) is perhaps more clear, but is a bit redundant with the two mentions of dollar, and still isn't that clear because it could be interpreted as some kind of fraction ($20 per $2000).

This may be especially useful for charts when indicating axis units.

  • In what way is discussing inflation possible without the year? Since inflation is a change over time. How would I buy 1900 bread with y2k dollars? – Elliott Frisch May 15 '16 at 0:45
  • @ElliottFrisch Not sure I understand your comment. I agree that the year is necessary—just want to know how to indicate it. – Unrelated May 15 '16 at 0:50
  • The point is the specie is almost immaterial, better to pick a single data-point (either the amount relative to a fixed point, or the fixed amount). – Elliott Frisch May 15 '16 at 0:53
  • 1
    I think this question is relevant. – ab2 MonicaNotForgotten May 15 '16 at 1:10
  • @ElliottFrisch That makes sense. Would still like to know how to indicate that year, even if it stays constant. Especially helpful on charts. – Unrelated May 15 '16 at 1:25

There is no standardized way to indicate this in general

There are concepts such as real value and time value etc but outside of a technical context they must be explicitly indicated


If you are speaking of charts or graphs it is fairly common to see "all dollar values converted to xxxx dollars" or a single mention of the constant value in the accompanying text.

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