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Can basic math skills make you rich?

by We Inspire Futures Team

I apparently owe a lot to my 9th grade math teacher. Every Friday, Mr. Smith would have the class play a game. He would write a series of numbers on the board, and the goal was to use basic math to make the first four numbers total the last one.

For example, he’d write: 1 6 8 3 10

You’d have to come up with the right mathematical equation. In this case, ((6*3)-8)/1 = 10 would be the right answer. I loved that game. I was one of the better players in the class–so much so that a classmate wrote something about it in my yearbook. I was honored, although, looking back, it was probably a jab at my incurable nerdiness. While I could never translate my basic skills into nuclear engineering, I was being trained, unwittingly, to become financially successful.

Your Math and Memory Skills Influence Your Money Skills

study by the RAND Corporation, a nonprofit think tank, showed a direct correlation between numeracy (a fancy word for math skills), delayed recall (the ability to remember something you’ve seen after some delay) and your future wealth. Researchers gave a basic numeracy test to participants, and matched scores to household wealth. the results were stunning. For households where both spouses scored zero correct answers on the test, the average wealth was $200,000. For households where both spouses got all of the answers correct, the average wealth was $1.7 million. That’s an 850 percent increase for the highly numerate families compared to the innumerate families. The results were similar, although not as dramatic as the numeracy scores, for recall capabilities–the ability to remember a word set after a break of a few minutes. Families with high word recall scores were approximately 350 percent as wealthy as those with low word recall scores.

Read the full story at

By : Jason Hull, U.S.News & World Report LP

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