Why Your Personal Finance Lessons Need to Be Current

Jul 31, 2016
Activities, Activity, Research, Budgeting, Credit Cards, Personal Finance, WebQuest, Checking Accounts, Payment Types, New Products, Current Events, Credit Reports

Reason #1: Money is pouring into start-ups to disrupt the financial sector.

Here’s a market map showing all the start-ups looking to disrupt the financial services industry (here’s recent financing activity) and they are targeting your students (millenials) for their services: 

millennialfintechfinal (1)

Ok, I know you can’t be expected to know who all of these new companies are, so why not use your students to do the research? We created a project for this very purpose, Online Tools and Apps, in which your students become app reviewers.  They select the companies of interest to them (we provide a list or they can select their own), answer the questions below and then select their own method of communicating this information.

Here are the list of questions used to review these tools and apps:

  • What is the primary purpose of this tool?
  • Do you have to pay to use it?  If so, what are the fees?
  • Who is the target customer for using this tool?  Ex:  Individuals, entrepreneurs, businesses, etc


      1. Is the tool online only, mobile online, or does it work on both computers and mobile devices?

  • Does the tool work with specific banks/accounts only?  Or can you use it regardless of your bank?
  • Is there a minimum amount of money or accounts you must have to use this tool?
  • How useful would the tool be for teenagers or people in their early 20s?


      1. How long has the tool existed?  
      2. Who owns this tool?  
      3. How do the owners of this tool make their money?
      4. How many customers, clients, or users does this tool have?  
      5. Is there a catch?  If so, what is it?  

  • What security or anti-fraud measures does this company take to protect their users?


      1. What other tools/businesses are similar to this one?  Who are their competitors?  

  • What are the benefits of using this tool?
  • What might be the dangers, risks, or downsides of using this tool?

We would love to see examples of student work so please send along your favorites!

About the Author

Tim Ranzetta

Tim's saving habits started at seven when a neighbor with a broken hip gave him a dog walking job. Her recovery, which took almost a year, resulted in Tim getting to know the bank tellers quite well (and accumulating a savings account balance of over $300!). His recent entrepreneurial adventures have included driving a shredding truck, analyzing executive compensation packages for Fortune 500 companies and helping families make better college financing decisions. After volunteering in 2010 to create and teach a personal finance program at Eastside College Prep in East Palo Alto, Tim saw firsthand the impact of an engaging and activity-based curriculum, which inspired him to start a new non-profit, Next Gen Personal Finance.