"Math Anxiety" is Real and Affects Americans' Investing, Says Family Investment Center in Recent Wall Street Journal Article

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Many people have an incorrect perception of math principles when it comes to investing, and this can impact how well they manage their financial future. Whether they stem from childhood school experiences with math or other sources, one investment expert is offering strategies for advisors when they’re working with clients held back by math anxiety.

Family Investment Center

Helping investors achieve freedom and confidence is what skilled advisors love to do

Math – it’s the often overlooked (but powerful) aspect of investing that can cause anxiety and negative emotions for thousands of Americans. Many people have an incorrect perception of math principles when it comes to investing, and this can impact how well they manage their financial future. Whether they stem from childhood school experiences with math or other sources, one investment expert is offering strategies for advisors when they’re working with clients held back by math anxiety.

Dan Danford, Founder and CEO of Family Investment Center, understands that many investors have had bad experiences with math and encourages his team and other advisors to be empathetic with those who do highlighted a recent Voices section of the Wall Street Journal. Since many investment advisors are comfortable with math, they may not recognize that some of their clients may have had difficulty getting through geometry or calculus – and these experiences, even occurring during their school years, can significantly impact their investment activity.

As quoted in Danford’s latest whitepaper on the topic, it is estimated that “as many as 60 percent of college students arrive on campus with a poor foundation on which to build – even for a general studies, entry-level college algebra course – and many students can’t handle it. This fear of math turns into avoidance. As an adult, this may lead to an avoidance of investing.”

As a solution to the problem of math anxiety, Danford suggests that stories and analogies are a better way to explain finances and mathematics than graphs and charts when speaking with an investor. He suggests starting with real-world, story-based examples from the beginning because for those interested in saving for college or retirement, fearing the worst with finances and math can mean putting off a trip to an investment planner and negatively impact one’s financial health. He also suggests using a few relevant, professional calculator-based tools as resources for activities like retirement planning, and having a team member become fully trained in these tools. Sharing these calculator tools with clients can help put them at ease.

Reminding clients that it’s the advisor’s job to know the math involved (and to have the experience needed to help guide their choices) can also be helpful toward helping investors let go of math anxiety. “Working with a professional advisor is a way clients can give themselves freedom from constantly worrying about market fluctuations or complex calculations,” says Danford. “And helping investors achieve freedom and confidence is what skilled advisors love to do.”

For more information about Family Investment Center and how the team’s commission-free philosophy helps investors work through negative emotions toward investing, visit http://www.familyinvestmentcenter.com/

About Dan Danford and Family Investment Center
Dan Danford serves as Founder/CEO of Family Investment Center, a full-service, commission-free investment advisory firm. Based in St. Joseph, Mo., Family Investment Center also serves clients in the Kansas City Northland area and across the country.

Danford holds an MBA and is currently a doctoral candidate in personal finance at Kansas State University. In 2012, he was featured in the book “America’s Top Financial Advisors.” A 2009 Wall Street Journal article outlined Danford’s unique birthday messages to clients, complete with a $2 bill inside the envelope. In 2009, Danford was also quoted on “ABC News” for his insight into how parents can protect funds for their children’s college education. He was listed as one of the 150 Best Financial Advisors for Doctors in 2008 and 2009 by Medical Economics magazine. A 2006 article in The New York Times quoted Danford’s insights on working with a financial advisor. In 2014, Danford was featured in an article exploring solutions to math anxiety in the Voices section of the Wall Street Journal.

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Susan J. Campbell

Susan J. Campbell
@family_finances
since: 01/2009
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Dan Danford and Family Investment Center
since: 03/2010
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