Are you number-savvy or do you struggle with basic numeracy when it comes to budgeting and borrowing? Guest Rachel Malic from National Numeracy says we all need to become numbers people…
Ask any group of people how they feel about sums and you’ll get someone who says they’re ‘not a numbers person’. It’s always a bit awkward when a moment later I tell them I work for National Numeracy, the charity dedicated to helping improve the nation’s abilities with everyday maths.
Over the past few years, we have written to L’Oreal, EE, supermarket chains and even Prince William to challenge anti-maths comments. But with times being tight for so many of us, how can we afford not to be numbers people?
Why aren’t we number-savvy?
Comparison sites encourage us to ‘do the maths’ before switching current accounts and weigh up cashback incentives against poor interest rates. Then there were the findings last year that people who are better with numbers are likely to have more savings.
But scarily all the signs suggest that too many of us aren’t being number-savvy yet.
A survey in 2011 found that half of the adult population has the numeracy skills equivalent to a primary school child. And a few months ago, the Money Advice Service reported that a staggering 18 million adults in the UK lack the numeracy skills to manage their money well.
So, if millions of us struggle with basic numeracy then how are we making informed decisions on major things like savings, pensions and borrowing? What if we mess up a decision which affects our cash flow for years to come?
Don’t be a numeracy naysayer
If financial services, banks, and pensions providers simplified the numerical gobbledygook we have all encountered, and put their numbers plainly, it would be great. But this on its own is unlikely to solve things.
National Numeracy has found that one of the main reasons why people brush up on their everyday maths is to get better at managing their money. We have been helping people with our free, confidential level checker to do just this.
If you know any numeracy naysayers tell them to take a look. Or why not try it for yourself and post your results below? If you score 80 or more you’ve got the Essentials of Numeracy.
Whether it’s for the sake of our everyday finances, planning for retirement, or to avoid falling foul of exploitation, we all have to be ‘numbers people’ to an extent. Can you afford not to be better at basic numeracy these days?
This is a guest contribution by Rachel Malic from National Numeracy, an independent charity committed to helping raise low levels of numeracy and to promote the importance of everyday maths skills. All views expressed here are Rachel’s own and not necessarily those also shared by Which?.
Should it be up to individuals to improve their numeracy, or up to the banks and other services to simplify their communications?
A bit of both (61%, 123 Votes)
Banks and financial services (22%, 44 Votes)
Individuals (17%, 34 Votes)
Total Voters: 201
Are you a numbers person or do you struggle with everyday maths?