Would you say you were a numbers person?
Let’s just say my maths knowledge has always been fuzzy to say the least, and my comfort level with the basics was pretty low. I avoided the financial aspects of my job, which was a tough act to pull off considering I managed office budgets. To get around it I would simply delegate those tasks to others whenever I could.
From a personal perspective, when I've had meetings with financial advisors to discuss my own savings, I’ve just accepted their advice as gospel and without question because I’ve never felt like I could arrive at sensible conclusions about money myself.
What inspired you to do something about it?
Like most things I guess I felt that I could address my issues if I put in a little effort. I knew that I was smart enough to recognise my weaknesses, but importantly, I knew that I was vulnerable to the advice of others. I was also determined not to accept my parents' philosophy that our family was genetically bad at maths. In fact, I tested this theory by encouraging my daughter with maths and guess what? She won prizes in high school and even went on to study further maths at university.
By improving your number skills, what has it helped you achieve in daily life?
Overall, the biggest impact has been helping me make sensible financial decisions. I’m just about to pay off my mortgage and the resources within the Challenge helped me to focus on the advantages of doing so at a time of rising interest rates. Ordinarily I would have had great difficulty in weighing up the advantages and disadvantages of a particular course of action so it was a real help.
How do you feel about numeracy now?
I feel more confident although I still have room for improvement. I’m also now a very strong advocate for establishing financial skills for children and teenagers.
What would you say to anyone considering improving their number skills? Would you recommend the Challenge?
Absolutely. It allows you to work at your own pace, it’s not judgemental and you can practise at as basic a level as you like. It also provides loads of ideas for future studies if you want to do something more advanced.