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12 November 2010

Maths skills boost couples wealth

Middle-aged couples with good "numeracy" skills are wealthier than those who aren't as good with numbers, researchers report.

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.

 
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