Middle-aged couples with good "numeracy" skills are wealthier than those who aren't as good with numbers, researchers report.
"We examined several cognitive [thinking] skills and found that a simple test that checks a person's numeracy skills was a good predictor of who would be a better family financial decision maker," said James P. Smith, a co-author of the study and Distinguished Chair in Labor Markets and Demographic Studies at the RandCorporation.
As the numeracy score of each spouse rose, there was an increase in the percentage of stocks in the family's financial portfolio.
In 62% of the households, the man was the financial decision maker. This was particularly true when the husband was older and more educated than his wife.
Even when a husband scored zero in his numeracy test, there was a 50-50 chance he would be the financial decision maker in the home.
Families in which the wrong person was chosen as the primary financial decision maker had lower total household wealth.