Financial Intelligence vs. Financial Literacy

“Literacy”, according to Webster’s dictionary, is “the ability to read and write”. So it follows that “Financial Literacy” is the ability to read and write numbers. When I first saw the term “Financial Intelligence” on the cover of the book by Karen Berman and Joe Knight, I thought “THAT’s what I’ve been looking for!” – because a lot of us can READ numbers, but what we really want to do is TRANSLATE the numbers and figure out what they are telling us. Right? Numbers are like a language – only easier: if I’m learning Spanish, I have to learn nouns, verbs and adjectives, feminine and masculine, past, present and future AND the grammar rules that give a sentence that wonderful rhythm – and meaning! Numbers don’t have tenses or genders or parts of speech – but they DO have meaning. Leave the complicated stuff to the professionals and learn the simple stuff: what is the story my numbers are telling me. If you need a translator at first, check out or any of the books on “Financial Intelligence” at The Business Literacy Institute Before you know it, you’ll know your story – and you can begin to write the next chapters!

For a real light touch, if business books are not your thing, check out the Financial Intelligence graphic novel (okay – comic book) at


A New American Dream – revisiting the definition?

In 1931 John T. Adams defined the American Dream as “the dream of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement.” And somehow, the dream has become synonymous with owning a house – because a house is about security and stability and a base to come home to. Or at least that is how I think of it. But what is that dream for you? Is it paying off a crushing Student Loan Debt? Is it buying a home? Is it getting healthcare coverage? Is it owning a home? In the Sunday NY Times yesterday there is an article about Jacob Deng Mach, a refugee – one of the Lost Boys of Sudan – living in Atlanta who says “All I knew was that America was the greatest thing in the world. Nobody knew how people struggle in America.” The perception of the American Dream is alive and well in the world – and we still see examples of the American Dream in action (primarily in Silicon Valley these days). If you want to see a vision for a New American Dream, visit If that dream doesn’t work for you – what does? I’d love to hear from you – because at the base of the answer to each of these questions is the same value that John T. Adams wrote about: a sense of opportunity to achieve safety and stability.