Getting started in family financial education

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Getting started in family financial education

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Getting started in financial education isn't an obvious process, but we recommend that families start not with the money, but with their human capital. To do that, we usually start the process by getting families to literally deconstruct their human capital, so, for example, what's important in their families; in my family, for example, I grew up with grandparents who worked hard, I have quilts in my house that remind me of the kinds of things my grandmother did that are so important to me. That's my human capital, the memories, the values, the good stuff in my family. I also have some intellectual capital, you know, in addition to my degrees and my knowledge about families and financial education, I'm actually a pretty good cook, so I can, my ability to make a great rhubarb pie part of my intellectual capital and other families maybe it's somebody who knows everything there is to know about fly fishing, maybe it's something about collecting coins or skating; whatever it is, whatever the intellectual capital of that family is, it matters and then the social capital, we all understand these days as our social networks. I realize for instantly that part of my social network or my social capital is the fact that I can may and I claim that as part of my social capital all the time. So, as families begin to really deconstruct or really take note of who they are and what's important to them, then they can answer the question, well how do we get started in financial education, because now we have a context, now we have some reason to think about why financial skills are important. I want to honor my grandparents, like I said, by having the kind of work ethic that they would be proud of, I want to use my financial ability to take advantage of my skills, you know, if I want to have a great dinner party, which I'm known for, then I wanna be able to spurge on it, if I am financially comfortable, I can do that in a better way and when I know what my social capital is, I know what my resources are to really build my financial capital, so one of the things we do particularly with children is help them understand who they are in the context of their families finances and it's that connection, who am I in connection with my financial skills that makes the difference that matters; without that, all you have are numbers, mean financial education for its own sake is, frankly, pretty boring and flat and nobody really cares much about it; it's only when you're putting financial education to enliven your life, to enlarge your life, to make your life better, to bring your family together, to take your family from good to great, then financial education matters, but without that, it's, frankly, pretty flat.

Learn more about family financial education. Watch our free video for expert advice.

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Expert Bio

More from Expert

Joline Godfrey

CEO of Independent Means

Joline Godfrey is the CEO of Independent Means and the author of Raising Financially Fit Kids; Our Wildest Dreams: Women Making Money, Having Fun, Doing Good; No More Frogs To Kiss: 99 Ways to Give Economic Power to Girls; andTwenty $ecrets to Money and Independence: The DollarDiva’s Guide to Life.

A clinical social worker by training, at the beginning of her career, Godfrey was an executive of the Polaroid Corporation where she provided in-house family and therapeutic services to officers and employees. One of the first women in the nation to manage a spin-off from a Fortune 500 company, she launched Odysseum, a spin-off from Polaroid, and sold it in 1990. Odysseum was a creativity training company serving other Fortune 500 firms.

Godfrey is a graduate of the University of Maine and Boston University and was awarded an Honorary Degree in Business from Bentley College in 1995. She was a Kellogg Leadership Fellow and the recipient of the Leavey Award for Excellence, as well as the Beta Gamma Sigma Entrepreneurship Award.

Recognized in features for The Today Show, Oprah, Fortune, Business Week, The New York Times, and more, Ms. Godfrey is a frequent speaker and consultant worldwide. Godfrey grew up in a family business in Maine and lives in Ojai, CA.

More Parenting Videos from Joline Godfrey >
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