Joline Godfrey has been an innovator in financial education for children and parents for over two decades. In addition to founding Independent Means, Godfrey is the author of seven books, including, Our Wildest Dreams: Women Making Money, Having Fun, Doing Good; No More Frogs To Kiss: 99 Ways to Give Economic Power to Girls; and Raising Financially Fit Kids. Originator of a unique approach to financial education, her work gives families practical help raising children growing up in the midst of abundance.
Godfrey grew up in a family business, gaining an intimate understanding of the complexity of sustaining family and business across generations. Her early career was spent as a social worker in Boston where she began work in one of the country’s earliest settlement houses, later becoming the first woman social worker in the Polaroid Corporation focused on family and gender issues. Her experience in what was then one of America’s leading tech companies enabled her to launch a spin-off from that company which she grew and sold in 1990.
That adventure led to an invitation from Inc. Magazine to host a series of dinner table gatherings for women entrepreneurs around the country, documented in her first book, Our Wildest Dreams. Insights gained from those tables led to deep curiosity about how adults acquire financial fluency—and ultimately to her creating tools for families to help navigate that process. She was the first to develop financial education programming for girls and one of the early pioneers of financial education for children.
In 1992 she founded An Income of Her Own, the country’s first non-profit focused exclusively on financial education for girls. In 1996 she founded Independent Means to address the financial education needs of children and families. By 2003 she had published the first edition of Raising Financially Fit Kids. By 2013 when the Tenth Anniversary Edition of Raising Financially Fit Kids was updated and released, families all over the world were adopting her methods and tools.
Godfrey’s invention of a developmental approach to financial education for family members from the youngest child to the oldest financial novice, was a breakthrough in financial education. This has earned her numerous speaking and practice opportunities, including invitations to address the private gatherings of families across the nation; Fast Company and Inc. 500 conferences; YPO chapters and an historic meeting at Ten Downing Street organized by Gordon Brown to encourage a more entrepreneurial UK generation. She has spoken to family offices from Latin America to Dubai; as well as to many of America’s most prestigious family office gatherings.
A native of the state of Maine, Joline graduated from the University of Maine and received an M.S.W. from Boston University. She was awarded an Honorary Degree in Business from Bentley College for her achievements in financial education. Godfrey was also a Kellogg Leadership Fellow and has been recognized in features for The Today Show, Oprah, Fortune, Business Week, Inc. Magazine, and The New York Times. She is a frequent speaker and consultant worldwide.
Independent Means was acquired in 2015. Godfrey now lives in Ojai, Ca. She writes and consults in the arena of what makes families thrive. Hosting conversations at eclectic tables to bring complex groups together to learn and discover remains one of her core passions.