Written By: Jack Marley-Payne, Philip Dituri, and Andrew Davidson
A significant ongoing initiative is to identify the conditions under which financial education is most effective, as it has been shown to work much better in some circumstances than others. One factor to consider is mathematical capability, as it has been linked to improved financial knowledge and financial outcomes. In this paper, we investigated one aspect of math capability: math confidence (that is, self-reported math ability). We examined how this factor interacts with financial education (measured by the number of financial education courses taken) with data from the 2018 National Financial Capability Survey (NFCS). We found that both mathematical confidence and financial education were positively associated with financial behaviors and, moreover, that the effects were largely independent rather than acting as substitutes – suggesting that future intervention work should consider both factors.