Sharp Minds: Financiers and Creators

Sharp Minds: Financiers and Creators

Sharp Minds: Financiers and Creators

What do people who are financially astute and people who are creative have in common? What underlies and sharpens their growth, and what can kids learn from that?

I’ve discovered something intriguing… Those who seek to understand financial and investment principles, and those who seek to extend their creativity, can expect to encounter several overlapping considerations. These commonalities provide a learning curve! Parents who are savvy about what lies within the intersection of these two spheres—financial circles and creative ones—can help their kids become savvy, too. Here are four key areas to ponder:

HUMAN BEHAVIOR - It’s variable, and it can be affected by challenge, feelings, changes, external influences, supportive measures, and more. All of this can apply to investing, and to an individual’s response to outcomes, including whether they will continue to invest and, if so, where, when, and how.

Human behavior also affects creative expression. For example, kids who encounter difficulties, experience emotional upheavals, struggle with transitions, or lack support, may be less inclined or able to exercise their creativity. Therefore, it’s important to realize (and to help kids realize) what can have a bearing on behavior, and how to gain control of what might be negatively impactful.

TRUST - When becoming invested in financial activities, trust is paramount. Money, family well-being, and peace of mind are at stake. Banks have floundered and failed, world economies are in flux, and the cost of living continues to rise, all of which is unsettling. Thus, the words and recommendations of trusted advisors really do carry weight. This is especially true where investment incurs potential risk.

Similarly, creativity can be risky because it involves novelty, pushing beyond what’s familiar or conventional, and sometimes even failure along the way. It’s wise to consider the guidance of trusted others and to learn from their experience, from collaborative efforts, and from encouragement. Intuition, and building from what you already know applies to both financial wherewithal and creative undertakings, but trust in others can help mitigate risk factors.

PATIENCE - Financial acumen and monetary gains from investments can take time. Patience is required. The upside is that it allows opportunities for individuals (and their mentors) to better understand market fluctuations, complexities of investment protocols, and useful resources. The downside is that being patient can be challenging. Not everyone likes to wait, or to watch things unfold slowly. However, just as there’s possibility of self-doubt or frustration while enduring wait, there’s the advent of growing confidence and excitement.

Creativity also requires patience. Creative thinking, curiosity, idea extension, and problem-solving are not predicated on immediacy, but take time, effort, and, quite often, resilience. Patience has long been called a virtue (William Langland, 1360), and it applies to many fields—education, health care, the arts, politics, technology, sports, sciences—any endeavor that demands action. Adults who model patience demonstrate pacing, manageability, and the joy of anticipation, all of which can lead to fulfillment.

BEING STRATEGIC - Careful planning and informed perspectives are elements of smart investment practices. Those who are strategic look for patterns, trends, and environmental influences. They’re mindful of current events (both positive and disruptive), they’re shrewd and flexible in times of ebb and flow, and they do the necessary research to learn what’s occurring in various financial sectors, including stocks, bonds, start-ups, and short-term and long-term investment options. They’re guided by their personal experience, focus, sense of purpose, intelligence, and skill sets.

And so it is with creative individuals who forge new pathways in dance, music, writing, drama, sculpture, architectural design, science, or other domains. They’re strategic in those same ways. They plan, prepare, and persevere. They set goals, collaborate, put forth effort, and communicate. They use imagination to engage in creative thought and expression, but they also use their “smarts” to infuse critical analysis, tap acquired knowledge, and discern practical application for whatever it is they aspire to do. All of that is reflective of strategic thinking.


Financial astuteness and creative enterprise hold promise, and can be gratifying on many levels. Individuals who pay attention to human behavior, trust, patience, and strategizing will be better positioned to reap benefits, financially, creatively, and over time.


I’d like to thank Peter Mann for sharing his insights with me. Our conversations inspired my thinking and helped to springboard the ideas that I convey within this article.


Joanne Foster, Ed.D. is a multiple award-winning author of several books, including Being Smart about Gifted Learning: Empowering Parents and Kids Through Challenge and Change (co-authored with Dona Matthews). Dr. Foster’s forthcoming book Ignite Your Ideas (in press) is on creativity, and it’s for kids! (More information coming soon!) To find out about her publications and presentations, and for resources supporting children’s development and well-being, go to

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