Independent Means Inc.


Watch Joline on CBS.

Summer Programs

About Us

IMI Team

Joline Godfrey

Families & Family Offices

Financial Institutions

Private Schools & Non-Profits

Rai$ing Financially Fit Kids

DollarDiva World





Contact Us


Joline Godfrey

Joline Godfrey

Recently, Kiki Sayre interviewed Independent Means’ founder and CEO, Joline Godfrey, for an upcoming issue of ‘Connectivity,’ a publication of the Kellogg Fellows Leadership Alliance. Godfrey, a Kellogg Fellow from 1989-1992, is being featured in a series celebrating Fellows who have made a substantial impact in their career. This is an excerpt from that interview:

KS: Describe the major issue(s) you are working on in your professional life.

JG: My focus is the financial education of children within the context of their families. Children – at all levels of the economic and class spectrum – are targeted to buy and consume, 24/7.  At Independent Means, we understand financial education to be a form of economic self-defense. And creating products and programs that are effective and accessible is one way to help kids be more than “what I wear,” “what I drive,” or “what I possess.”

KS: What has been your approach to addressing the issues(s)?

JG: My/our approach is pretty straightforward. Independent Means offers workshops and summer programs for children; training for adults working with kids; coaching for parents and other adult money mentors; and products for children, families, schools, and youth organizations that make the process of financial education fun and engaging.

KS: What incremental progress or major milestones have you achieved in addressing the issue(s)?

JG: I think the books I’ve written have helped gain acceptance for our approach to financial education.  No More Frogs to Kiss: 99 Ways to Give Economic Power to Girls was one of the first books that got youth organizations to connect empowerment and independence for girls with basic financial skills. When we started in 1992, there was a good deal of resistance to our work. But today, many organizations include financial education as an important aspect of their programs.

More recently, I wrote Raising Financially Fit Kids to give families a practical, developmental approach to raising great kids, using ten basic money skills as the framework for developing self-reliance and values that transcend simple consumerism. That book also identifies gender issues related to money for both boys and girls.

And in the last year, our reach has grown beyond domestic borders. We now work with families and companies around the world. But looking ahead, I still have a fairly lengthy set of goals to achieve. Progress is a process, not an event – and, sometimes, that even means taking a few steps back. I think the important perspective on progress is that it is not linear, but often, haphazardly chaotic and demanding.

KS: How do you measure success?

JG: The flip answer is simple: how often the phone rings and how healthy our financial and social bottom lines are. Those are easy ways to measure our impact and effectiveness. But a more important measure of success is the extent to which the children and families we work with experience real impact. Does their financial intelligence improve? Do they acquire financial skills and habits that help them become more self reliant and independent? Are they able to see themselves as economic leaders and decsion makers who use wealth as a vehicle for good, rather than just an end in itself?

As the founder and leader of Independent Means, I can claim some measure of success. But long-term, if the company cannot survive without me, it will be a sign that I have not built a self-sustaining organization. So increasingly, the power and well-being of my team – and the strength of the company without me – is a measure of my success.

KS: What sustains you in your practice of leadership and your commitment to change?

JG: Time, in a very real sense, has given me the experience and the wisdom to see what really matters at the end of the day…what is essential. Trivial issues or drama do not often distract me. Having a network of friends and colleagues I trust is extremely important. And I meditate, which helps.

KS: If you had to give an aspiring leader in your field one piece of advice,what would it be?

JG: Embrace your weirdness, which is often that part of ourselves we think of as not fitting, different, alien, that which we reject or try to hide. Yet that’s the unique gift that, nurtured, makes us special. One’s weirdness is the fingerprint of the soul – our particular aspect of humanity.

KS:  What do you consciously say to yourself or do to help you stay on trackwith your goals?

JG: I have a payroll to meet, and clients who count on me. These are powerful responsibilities and compelling reasons to stay focused. And I do love my work.  I think that deep engagement in one’s work is crucial to staying on track. If you’re not working on something that’s a vehicle for realizing some larger purpose in your life, it is easy to be distracted.

KS: How do you lead through a crisis?

JG: No panic. Panic is just static that gets in the way of thinking and/or feeling clearly. And I never pretend I have all the answers. A crisis is an opportunity to find the strength in everyone around you; tapping into his or her knowledge and abilities is an effective way to get everyone through a crisis.

KS: What is your passion?

JG: Learning is my passion – in the broadest sense of that word. I read voraciously and eclectically. I travel to learn, pay attention to learn… Eric Hoffer once said: “The learners will inherit the future; the learned will be prepared for a world that no longer exists.”  For me, learning is life. I used to worry that I was merely a dilettante…my curiosity seemed so “unfocused.” Now I see curiosity as the fuel for discovery. And to keep my work – and my life – fresh, I need all the curiosity and learning I can handle!


More About….

Since 1992, Joline Godfrey has been a pioneer in the movement to increase financial intelligence among young people. Developer of a unique developmental approach to financial education, Godfrey’s introduction of the financial apprenticeship stage of life has given parents and community leaders revolutionary tools for becoming better money mentors for kids.

In addition to being the CEO of Independent Means Inc, Godfrey’s standing as an expert is buttressed by her research and writing on the subject. She is the author of Our Wildest Dreams: Women Making Money, Having Fun, Doing Good; No More Frogs to Kiss: 99 Ways to Give Economic Power to Girls; and Twenty $ecrets to Money and Independence: The DollarDiva’s Guide to Life and most recently, Raising Financially Fit Kids, published by TenSpeed Press and is a contributor to a number of books and magazines.

Recognized in features for the Today Show, Oprah, Fortune, BusinessWeek, The New York Times, etc., she is a frequent speaker worldwide. Prior to founding Independent Means Inc, Godfrey spent ten years as an executive for the Polaroid Corporation. Her first company Odysseum, was a spin-off from that corporation. With degrees from the University of Maine and an M.S.W. from Boston University, Godfrey was awarded an honorary degree in Business from Bentley College in 1995.

Book Joline Godfrey for a speaking engagement:

Contact us at (805) 965-0475

The book: Raising Financially Fit Kids

Buy It Now

(click on book for chapter listing and excerpts )


June 21-28
Camp $tart-Up for Girls, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY

July 19-27
Camp $tart-Up for Boys & Girls, Clark University, Worcester, MA

July 27–August 2
Summer$tock for Boys & Girls, Clark University, Worcester, MA

More events in the Calendar