With numeracy playing an integral role in today’s society – both in regards to personal and professional financing – it may come as a surprise to you to learn that 49% of adults in the working-age population of England have the same level of maths skills as those in primary school education. That’s right, almost half of English working adults have the same level of understanding as an 11 year old! Coupled with an increased reliance on technology and a greater dependence on smartphones to work out simple sums, this has the potential to gradually reduce a person’s ability to access this particular skill, meaning that there’s no better time than right now to start feeling confident about your calculations.
Today, we’re celebrating National Numeracy Day for the second year in a row in a bid to help both adults and children brush up on their maths skills. So, whether you’re keen to refresh your memory on calculations you haven’t carried out without a calculator since the noughties, or you simply want to understand why having good numeracy skills is as important as it is, today’s blog will help you help yourself this National Numeracy Day.
Confidence is key
A common misconception amongst today’s international community is that having a solid understanding of maths is only relevant if you intend on going into a specific career, such as accountancy or trading, that requires this as standard – however, this couldn’t be further from the truth. When it comes to knowing your numbers, people from all walks of life require a mathematical competency to help them effectively work out their household budget, plan a holiday, understand interest rates or save for retirement.
Having good numeracy skills doesn’t necessarily mean knowing your algebra from your trigonometry, but being confident in understanding how to work out an equation that pertains to your own life instead. So, once you’re able to tap into your mental maths skills and confidently figure out an equation, this will put you in good stead to use this problem-solving technique in all aspects of your life – both professionally and personally.
The importance of financial literacy
With statistics claiming that those with poor financial literacy are more than twice as likely to face unemployment than those with a good maths awareness, encouraging a focus on harvesting solid basic maths skills is crucial to reducing unemployment and aiding both the national and international economy. Additionally, it’s worthwhile noting that in a digital age where technology is constantly advancing, having a workforce terrified of adding and subtracting is a sure way of facing economic decline. As a result, UK workers need to retain and regularly act on their mathematical ability to effectively compete in global financial markets.
It might surprise you how regularly maths is used in day-to-day life. If you’re preparing for your future, understanding maths has the potential to help you make better financial decisions, including helping you to evaluate interest rates on mortgages and understanding how pensions really work. Not only does this help you understand current goings on in day-to-day life, but by mentally stimulating problem solving abilities, maths helps to strategically evaluate a whole host of external situations.
Tips to help you improve your relationship with numbers
- Learn from your mistakes – Don’t be afraid to start from the beginning and build a good relationship with numbers by embracing and learning from your mistakes. As with anything in life, it rarely matters if you get something wrong so long as you learn from it and use the experience to better yourself the next time around. After all, everyone has to start somewhere and with every mistake is a lesson to be learned.
- Believe in yourself – Maths isn’t easy – there, we’ve said it. But if you go into it with the mindset that you actively want to learn, then you will – maybe not immediately, and probably after a few errors, but you’ll get there if you believe that you will.
- Don’t rush the process – Often when you’re doing a sum under pressure or in a hurry, you jeopardise your ability to process the question properly and potentially rush workings out – costing you time, effort and your sanity as a result. Take your time, and write it out – draw pictures or even turn the equation into a rhyme if you have to! Anything that will help you slowly but surely understand the method behind the maths is a winner in our book.
- Use readily available tools – There are plenty of tools out there ready to help improve your maths skills. This National Numeracy Day, why not join those all over the country taking up the National Numeracy Challenge? This easy tool will assess your level of numeracy knowledge and set an achievable target with plenty of useful resources to help you achieve your goals – all in your own time. Alternatively, if you work better within a classroom environment, there are plenty of free adult courses all over the country that are ready to help you reach your full potential.
As with most matters in life, when you put your mind to something, you can achieve it. So, whether you’re looking to brush up on your maths skills to help you advance in your position within the forex market, or simply want to start from scratch and expand your mathematical knowledge, join the community in celebrating National Numeracy Day, today! For more information, keep up to date with what’s going on on the National Numeracy Day website, and follow us on Twitter to keep up with our activity surrounding the special event.