OBJECTIVES: To investigate the cognitive correlates of financial abilities in mild cognitive impairment (MCI). DESIGN: Controlled, matched-sample, cross-sectional analysis regressing five cognitive composites on financial performance measures. SETTING: University medical and research centers. PARTICIPANTS: Forty-three persons with MCI and 43 normal controls. MEASUREMENTS: The Financial Capacity Instrument (FCI) and a comprehensive neurocognitive battery. RESULTS: Patients with MCI performed significantly worse than controls on cognitive domains of executive function, memory, and language and on FCI domains of financial conceptual knowledge, bank statement management, and bill payment. Patients with MCI also needed significantly more time to complete a multistep financial task and were significantly more likely than controls to make errors on this task. Stepwise regression models revealed that, within the MCI group, attention and executive function were significant correlates of FCI performance. CONCLUSION: Although impaired memory is the cardinal deficit in MCI, the neurocognitive basis of lower functional performance in MCI appears to be emergent declines in abilities to selectively attend, self-monitor, and temporally integrate information. Compromised performance on cognitive measures of attention and executive function may constitute clinical markers of lower financial abilities and should be evaluated for its relationship to functional ability in general. These cognitive domains may be appropriate targets of future intervention studies aimed at preservation of functional independence in people with MCI. © 2006, The American Geriatrics Society.