You do not need algebra and calculus. You don't need geometry or trigonometry. You don't even need long division (or if you do need it, you certainly don't need to do it by hand). You need addition, subtraction, multiplication, and simple division. You can use a calculator. But it's also helpful to have some of these sums and products at your fingertips so that if you're in a store, for instance, and you want to know what it will cost you to buy seven turtlenecks for your kids at $12 apiece, you can do the math in your head.
You also need a basic grasp of percentages, decimals, and fractions. If you feel you need some help boning up on these skills, I've provided a basic primer below.
What are they? The word percent
means "parts of 100." If someone says you scored a 70 on a 100-item math test, that means you got 70 out of 100 correct and achieved a 70 percent success rate.
Real Life, Real Money Use
Interest rates, inflation rates, tips in restaurants, and how much interest you're earning on your money are expressed as percentages. You can use them to compare the deals you get on money market accounts from various banks. If one bank is offering 2 percent annually and another is offering 3 or 4 percent, you can easily tell where you'll be getting the better deal.
Reprinted from Make Money, Not Excuses by Jean Chatzky with permission from Crown Business, a division of Random House, Inc. Copyright © 2006 by Jean Chatzky.
Please note: This is general information and is not intended to be legal advice. You should consult with your own financial advisor before making any major financial decisions, including investments or changes to your portfolio, and a qualified legal professional before executing any legal documents or taking any legal action. Harpo Productions, Inc., OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network, Discovery Communications LLC and their affiliated companies and entities are not responsible for any losses, damages or claims that may result from your financial or legal decisions.