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Being good at maths at school can help improve financial confidence as an adult

Toni Hetherington, October 15, 2018 12:38PM Kids News

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Using your maths skills can help you save money at all ages. media_cameraUsing your maths skills can help you save money at all ages.


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If you want to be good with your money — either as a kid or an adult — you need to learn maths.

The two go hand in hand with insights* from the 2017 Westpac Numeracy* Study, showing 4 in 5 (82%) Australian adults have found maths to be helpful in becoming financially confident and almost all (97 per cent) adults believing maths is important in helping Aussies be smarter with their money.

It also found 4 in 5 (80 per cent) Aussie adults agree that maths will be more important for jobs in the future and two thirds (65 per cent) are surprised by how much they need maths in their everyday lives.

The survey of more than 1500 Australian adults and children, also found those with a university level of maths education were more likely to be satisfied in their career and financial situation than those that only completed Year 10 maths.

media_cameraMaths will play an important role in most jobs in the future.

Mo Jebara, CEO and founder of Mathspace, said encouraging children to complete maths tasks can help solve the nation’s future workforce issues.

“Today, more than ever, our world needs every citizen to be skilled in mathematics. With the advent* of artificial intelligence* and automation*, many of the jobs we see today will either not exist or be transformed to require less routine work and more analysis* and application of expertise*. But we’re not producing the extra mathematics students to fill these new roles,” Mr Jebara said.

Mathspace Essentials, an interactive eBook with content aligned to the Australian curriculum for Years 3 to 12, is part of his efforts to encourage more students to fall in love with numbers. It includes thousands of video lessons created by maths teachers, and more than 30,000 interactive practice questions with step-by-step hints. Thanks to the support of Westpac, Mathspace Essentials is now free for all Australians.

Mo Jebara of Mathspace who is teaching kids financial literacy. Supplied Westpac media_cameraMo Jebara of Mathspace.

Mr Jebara said he hoped his maths program would improve children’s financial understanding.

“Maths is a prerequisite for anything to do with money and finance. From comparing savings accounts, and deciding on the best phone plan, through to buying things on special at the supermarket, you’ll need maths to make good financial decisions. So it’s only natural that if you don’t have a good grasp of maths you’ll feel less confident about the financial decisions you need to make.”

A fun video to show how maths can be used in everyday life. The Summer School content mentioned at the end is no longer available.


  1. Practice, practice, practice. There’s a common view that is incorrect that some people just aren’t “maths people”. This is simply not true. Everyone can be good at maths with practice, because it is actually in the struggle to learn something new where the improvement takes place.
  2. Challenge yourself. But don’t just practise things you already know. Always try and stretch yourself with problems that are just outside your comfort zone.
  3. Be curious. Computers now do a lot of the calculations* for us, but life is so much more interesting if you think about how things work. So, whenever you come across an opportunity to apply maths in the real world try and take the time to understand what’s happening.

* For more information about Mathspace, go to


  • insights: gaining an accurate and deep understanding of someone or something
  • numeracy: understanding numbers
  • advent: the arrival of something
  • artificial intelligence: development of computers to perform tasks normally requiring human intelligence
  • automation: using automatic equipment
  • analysis: close examination
  • expertise: expert skill or knowledge of something
  • calculations: mathematic equations



  1. What percentage of adults think maths helps them be smarter with their money.
  2. What position does Mo Jebara hold at Mathspace?
  3. Why does Mo Jebara think many jobs will not exist in the future?
  4. Is it true that you are either good at maths or not good at maths?
  5. How many adults are surprised at how much they use maths in their everyday lives?

1. 5-minute maths
The article states how important learning maths is to everyday life and your future.

Work with a friend and have a go at the different types of maths problems below and see which ones you can solve. If you know how to solve one and your friend doesn’t, see if you can explain how you worked it out, and vice versa. Try not to use a calculator and see if you can complete the questions in less than 5 minutes.

a. What is the price of a $50 top if it has a 25% off sale?
b. 210/7 (210 divided by 7)
c. 645 + 386 + 298 =
d. If 9 children received 6 lollies each, how many lollies dpo they have altogether?
e. 8/10ths of 200?
f. I am between 20 and 30. I am a multiple of both 3 and 4. What number am I?
g. Convert 1 3/4 into a decimal.
h. 0.78 + ? = 1
i. A plane journey takes six and a half hours. If it leaves at 8.40am, what time will it arrive?
j. A length of rope measuring 4m is cut into 8 equal lengths, how long will each length be?

(Answers at bottom of story above the comments)

2. Extension
Do you see maths as an important skill to learn?

List five things you can do now to help yourself improve upon your mathematics skills.

Time: Allow 15 minutes
Curriculum links: Mathematics

After reading the article, with a partner, highlight as many connectives as you can find in pink. Discuss if these are being used as conjunctions, or to join ideas and create flow.

a. $37.50
b. 30
c. 1329
d. 54
e. 800
f. 24
g. 1.75
h. 0.22
i. 3.10pm
j. 50cm

HAVE YOUR SAY: Name a job you think would require you to be good at maths.
No one-word answers. Use full sentences to explain your thinking.

Extra Reading in money