Want to be a wealthy couple?
According to a new study of married couples in the US, couples who score well on a simple test of numeracy ability accumulate more wealth by middle age than couples who score poorly on such a test.
Researchers who carried out the study found that couples where both spouses answered three numeracy-related questions correctly, had an average family wealth of USD 1.7 million, while the average household wealth was USD 200,000 among the couples where neither spouse answered any questions correctly.
Numeracy is the ability to reason with numbers and other mathematical concepts, and are skills typically learned during school.
"We examined several cognitive 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, co-author of the study and Distinguished Chair in Labour Markets and Demographic Studies at the RAND Corporation.
The other two authors of the study are John McArdle of the University of Southern California and Robert Willis of the University of Michigan.
According to the researchers, who reported their findings in the Economic Journal, choosing the wrong person as a family's primary financial decision maker can have consequences.
While families choose the less-numerate spouse less than 20 per cent of the time, when this does happen total household wealth is lower, they found.
For their study, the researchers relied on a sample of married couples from the Health and Retirement Survey – a nationally representative
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