I’ve been volunteering as a math tutor most of my life. While we all in the financial services industry support and encourage programs for more financial literacy, there is more to it than that. Before we can assert widespread financial literacy, we need to ensure that we first have widespread mathematical literacy — or numeracy.

I first became familiar with the concept of numeracy years ago when I read Innumeracy – Mathematical Illiteracy and its Consequences by John Allen Paulos. In this book, Paulos points out that while illiteracy is a source of embarrassment for people,” innumeracy” is often a source of pride, as you hear people brag that they don’t get along with math or can’t balance their checkbook. Innumeracy doesn’t carry the same stigma as illiteracy. But it should.

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