Associative Financial Literacy
Accompanying the journey of life
Conceived as a collaborative endeavour, this website is intended to be a sharing platform among colleagues around the world who are actively developing and imparting associative financial literacy – whether in schools, youth groups or informal deprived settings.
Several research meetings have taken place where teachers met and discussed how financial literacy can be understood and taught. The latest has been organized by the Economics Conference of the Goetheanum together with the Pedagogical Section and took place 17th October 2020 at the Goetheanum. A report can be found here.
The main focus of this work is the teaching of financial literacy in schools to students from rising 12 to rising 19. The main contributors are, therefore, actual teachers who can use this site to share their experience, their work and their questions.
Associative financial literacy is equally important in informal schoolings, marginalised youth settings, and for those in their 20s, so some of the faculty are active in these contexts. Others are focused on academic and policy-oriented work.
The details below serve as introductions to some of those taking part, their biographies and insights in this field. If you want to know more about associative financial literacy, anyone of them would be happy to hear from you.
Teachers in Schools
Oliver van der Waerden
Teachers in other settings
Christopher Houghton Budd
I am an economics teacher in Switzerland. I have started to teach financial literacy based on double-entry bookkeeping as I am convinced that this will provide the foundation for a new economic paradigm which is not based on mathematical modelling, but on a higher awareness and a true understanding of the economic process.
I have completed a Masters-Degree in Economics (University of Fribourg, Switzerland) in 2017 with a thesis on “Money as accounting – historical and theoretical issues”.
Since then I have been teaching economcis at various Waldorf Schools Economics in classes from 8-12. Beside this I have also given various workshops and seminars on the history of money and bookkeeping in different contexts.
Contact: (german and english): firstname.lastname@example.org
Publications related to «Financial Literacy»:
F. Meier (2019) Auf Entdeckungsreise in die Welt der Finanzen. Publiziert im Schweizer Schulkreis. Download PDF.
F. Meier (2019) Geld ist Buchhaltung – Ist diese Idee reif für die Welt? Publiziert in dieDrei. Download PDF.
F. Meier (2018) Perspectives in Finance – Contemplating Double-Entry Bookkeeping. Associative Economics Worldwide. Buy.
F. Meier (2018) Money as Accounting – From Ancient Mesopotamia to 2008 and beyond. Associativ Economics Worldwide. Buy here.
I am teaching in Switzerland in grades 7-9, mainly French and English. As school co-director I also have to do with finances and with entrepreneurship. Always enthusiastic about new adventures, I started to teach financial competency in grades 7 and 8. For me, the main goal is to waken the interest of the students for money, financial questions and sustainable economy, and to foster a basic understanding of how the economy works. I try to teach in a way that students can make a connection to their own life and so that they understand this topic has something to do with them. This happens through the history of money, double-entry bookkeeping and small independent economics projects. My experience is that students are very much interested in these topics. It is one way to create a connection with the world.
Arthur Edwards graduated from Oxford University in 1991 with a degree in Philosophy and Classical Literature, gained a research Masters from Buckingham University in Economics and International Relations and a Diploma in Educational Research from Bristol University. In 2000 he co-founded the Oxford Economics Forum and from 2004 became active within the Centre for Associative Economics co-editing its monthly journal. He has written widely on economic matters and hosted various courses including The Colours of Money Seminar and Accounting for Oneself. From 2011-12 he co-convened the Economic Literacy Project which brought together economics teachers from different countries for a professional development seminar in New York State. He has taught in various schools in the UK and over the past 15 years he has been active internationally in seeking ways to promote a form of financial literacy that emphasises enterprise and accounting. He is based near Bristol in the UK.
Why Teach Young People About Personal Finance? Talking Economics Monthly. December 2005.
Focus on Financial Literacy. Associative Economics Monthly. July 2006
Money Unveiled. New View, Summer 2007
‘Money Means Not Money’ – Reflections on ‘The Meaning of Money’ 1909-2009. Economic Affairs – Institute of Economic Affairs. June 2009
Space, Time and Human Consciousness: Money as mirror of human experience. The Golden Blade (61st Issue) 2009,
Financial Literacy As Orientation for Independence. Lilipoh 2010.
Of Prices True and False – The relevance of Steiner’s Economic Thinking Today, Star and Furrow. BDA Spring 2009
Books and Booklets:
21 Policies For the 21st Century. (with Christopher Houghton Budd).Associative Economics Worldwide. 2019
A-Z A Glossary of Associative Economics (with Christopher Houghton Budd).Associative Economics Worldwide. 2019
From Gold to Golden Rule Citizenised Central Banking. Associative Economics Worldwide. 2019
Three Kinds of Money. Rudolf Steiner and the Development of Monetary Economics. Associative Economics Worldwide. 2021
Daniel W. Osmer
My contribution to the teaching of financial literacy has its roots in Waldorf teacher training (under Werner Glas) and business experience (at the time of the nascent dealerships in Apple and IBM computers) and in the earlier part of my life. For many years, under the rubric ‘Financial Driver’s License’ I have been an advocate of teaching the economic and financial ‹rules of the road› – double-entry bookkeeping – to teens and young adults as an aid to navigating today’s financial highways and byways so they are better able to steer their lives and realise their aims, while mindful of one’s responsibility to serve others and care for the world through the taking of initiative.
I have been hosting the Science & Economic Buzz Cafe gatherings in Sebastopol, California for over 14 years (500+ events averaging 53 participants each evening). The Economic Buzz Cafe events have allowed me to present associative economic concepts to public audiences, as well as a world economic history timeline and the ‹accounting in a nutshell› course – all a way of ‹road testing› the efficacy of the material developed by myself and colleagues. This is documented in my 2018 paper: Entrepreneurial Economics – integrating the teaching of economics, accounting and money. (https://economics.goetheanum.org/fileadmin/economics/Books_and_Theses/DO_5_1_18_Final.pdf).
My current focus is on the role of bookkeeping in America’s own monetary evolution, starting with George Washington – see my articles in the January 2020, September 2020 and January 2021 issues of Associate! (https://economics.goetheanum.org/publications/newsletters).
I studied Business Administration in Brazil and in France and worked in the financial markets for some years. Now I do my best to practice associative economics as a consultant and entrepreneur. I also teach finances based on Rudolf Steiner’s approach to economics.
In 2018, I created a financial literacy program called ConTbem to capitalize young people living in disadvantaged backgrounds in the periphery of São Paulo.
ConTbem encourages these young people to use their creativity, strength and talents. They are asked to design and execute a project with a budget, cash flow and a real balance sheet.
When they come in contact with real knowledge about economics, the world of finance and in particular double-entry bookkeeping, this helps when making the right choices in their personal and professional lives, enabling them to act with confidence and courage to fulfil their destinies.
Prior to going on standby because of the pandemic, which in Brazil is very serious, 250 young people (aged 16-18 years old) had already gone through this 32-hour course. It is available for any audiences and in any context.
Contact: email@example.com (Portuguese, French and English)
Brazil’s Women-Warrior Entrepreneurs (2022). Download PDF (English).
A One-hour Online-lesson (2021). Download PDF (English)
Uma hora de aula on-line (2021). Download PDF (Português).
Christopher Houghton Budd
I have been teaching financial literacy for many years, mainly through my workshop, Air beneath Your Wings, which I have given in many parts of the world in schools, both Waldorf and not, and in impoverished communities and other settings. Also in several cultures and therefore the languages that belong to them. This confirms me in my view that true financial literacy is universal and takes one beyond the capture of modern economic life by any particular group. It is, on the contrary, a necessary means to autonomy and finding (and speaking) one’s own truth and journey. This is why it should be taught in secondary schools at least.
I have been an entrepreneur all my life, but also involved in school governance and local politics. I have a presence in academia, especially focused on youth financial literacy, but also on bringing about an understanding for this in the Anglo-Saxon mind, which, arguably, has much responsibility in this matter.
Selection of Publications on Financial Literacy
Teaching financial literacy can be a challenge because as often as not, the assumptions, vocabulary and examples in economics and business study classes are themselves not financially literate. The same is true of many governmental and macro-economic policies, which give the context for education. There is a vital need, therefore, to formulate financial literacy in a clear way, which requires work to be carried out in academia and in policy circles. The list below comprises my own contributions in those contexts. (Note: In my judgement, and so in much of what I have written, financial literacy is not truly so unless it is also associative, i.e. it has taken the step beyond the last two-hundred and fifty years of focus on self-interest.)
‘Money, Bookkeeping and the Inherent Ethics of Accounting’ (2004) in Aristotle, Thomas Aquinas and Rudolf Steiner – Fellow Economists https://aebookstore.com/publications/chb-collected-works/full-chb-list/aristotle-thomas-aquinas-rudolf-steiner/
‘Deep Accounting’ (2004) in Economics Revisited https://aebookstore.com/publications/chb-collected-works/full-chb-list/economics-revisited/
‘Concerning Financial Literacy’ (2005) in Victor’s Blogs https://aebookstore.com/publications/chb-collected-works/full-chb-list/victors-blogs/
‘Deep Accounting’ (2011) in Finance at the Threshold – Rethinking the real and financial economies, Ch.11. https://www.routledge.com/Finance-at-the-Threshold-Rethinking-the-Real-and-Financial-Economies/Budd/p/book/9781138094628
In the Shoes of Luca Pacioli—Double-entry Bookkeeping and Financial Literacy (2016) Ch. 10 in Springer International Handbook of Financial Literacy, https://www.springer.com/gb/book/9789811003585
Money is Bookkeeping – The key to effective financial literacy (2018) with Fionn Meier https://economics.goetheanum.org/fileadmin/economics/Articles_and_Papers/ECPaper2018_CHB-FM_Money_is_Bookkeeping_OECD_PaperTemplated.pdf
Co-editor Associate! Special Edition on Youth Financial Literacy, January 2021. https://economics.goetheanum.org/fileadmin/economics/Newsletters/ECN33Associate__Jan_2021.pdf
Oliver van der Waerden
I was born in Switzerland in 1971. After attending state school, I worked for several years in biodynamic agriculture, both in Switzerland and Namibia, and completed the necessary training. I finished my training as a Waldorf teacher in 2001 in Berlin. Since 2003, I have been working as a class teacher in Kreuzlingen at Lake Constance. From 2015-2021 I also taught technology lessons in the upper school. I am married and have four children.
From 2013 to 2021, I took on many tasks in personnel and salary administration. This gave me a new perspective on the work at the school and increased my interest in economic issues. In the course of this, I became interested in Rudolf Steiner’s suggestions on how to enrich the teaching with aspects of economics and thus make the subject more accessible.
Publications related to «Financial Literacy»:
I was born in São Paulo, Brazil. In September 2019, I moved to Italy where Lombardy is currently my home.
I have been working as a Waldorf English teacher since 2017 and in 2021 I had my first experience teaching financial literacy to youngsters (class VIII) at Scuola Rudolf Steiner di Varese, in the north of Italy.
I met associative economics in 2017, which changed my way of feelling and understanding economics.
In 2003, I graduated from Pontificia Universidade Católica de São Paulo (PUC SP – Brazil), with a degree in business administration. In 2009, I concluded a Masters in Finance from Insper (São Paulo – Brazil). I worked in the financial markets for almost 10 years, until I became a mother in 2010. From 2012 to 2017, I worked as a cake designer, which offered me the possibility of becoming a small-scale entrepreneur. In 2018, I completed the Waldorf Teachers Seminar at Faculdade Rudolf Steiner (São Paulo, Brazil).
Language can create incredible bridges between peoples. As we try to understand with our feelings in a foreign language, we create an active tolerance towards the world, we approach the essence of every human being, we become world citizens. Along with double entry-bookeeping, accounting is also a language that can be «spoken» by every human being around the world, helping us to get closer to one another but also to ourselves. That is the core reason why I see teaching financial literacy to youngsters so important and essential in our times.
Publications related to «Financial Literacy»:
Camila Pannain (2021) Teaching Financial Literacy to Class VIII. Download PDF (English).
Economics Conference of the Goetheanum
This website is the responsibility of Fionn Meier, Switzerland, a colleague within the Economics Conference of the Goetheanum. Although the language is currently English, this is a worldwide website. Accordingly, postings are made in a range of languages.