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.

Author: Tim Ranzetta

Question of the Day: What does the average household pay in real estate property taxes annually?

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Jan 27, 2020
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Taxes, Question of the Day
Answer: $2,279 How does your state rank (click here for the details behind the map)? Questions: How does your state rank when it comes to real estate property taxes?  If you are a renter, do property taxes matter since the property owner pays them? Explain your answer. Click here for the ready-to-go slides for this Question of the Day that you can use in your classroom. Behind the numbers (WalletHub):  Depending on where you live, property taxes can be a small inconvenience or...

Interactive Monday: What's the Unemployment Rate in Your County?

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Jan 26, 2020
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Interactive, Employment
The Census Bureau puts out some great data visualizations on a county-by-county level here.  Here's the Employment Status visualization which measures Unemployment Rate here (click on map for interactivity):  Questions: Study the legend to determine how the shading corresponds to the unemployment rate. What are 2-3 patterns you see when you look at the map of the United States?  Are there specific states where you see that unemployment is extremely high or extremely low? ...

Question of the Day: Researchers have found five ways that spending money can make us happy. Can you name two of them?

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Jan 26, 2020
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Question of the Day, Behavioral Finance, Purchase Decisions, Budgeting
Hat tip to Nick Maggiulli of Dollars and Data blog for highlighting this research from .  Answer: Buying experiences Treating yourself (on occasion) Buying extra time Paying upfront (i.e. all-inclusive vacations) Spending on others Questions:  What are ways that you spend money that bring happiness to you? Do they fit into any of these five categories?  Why do you think that researchers found that "buying experiences" might create more happiness than buying "things?"...

NGPF Podcast: Educator Rob Phelan on the joys of entrepreneurship

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Jan 24, 2020
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Podcasts, Entrepreneurship
You get the sense after talking to Rob Phelan that he must thrive on little sleep. As you'll discover in this podcast, he has quite a few "side hustles" beyond his full-time teaching job at Catoctin High School (Maryland). Our conversation touches on entrepreneurship, the F.I.R.E.(Financial Independence, Retire Early) movement, his favorite activities in the classroom and the philosophy behind the curriculum that he is developing. Listen intently to his "scorecard" concept which emphasizes...

QoD: Guess the percentage of each age group that has their driver's license: 16 year olds? 17 year olds? 18 year olds?

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Jan 22, 2020
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Question of the Day, Insurance, Budgeting
Answer: 16 year olds: 25.6% 17 year olds: 49% 18 year olds: 60.9% Questions: When did you get your driver’s license OR when do you plan to get your license? What factors determined/will determine when you get your license? When it comes to auto insurance, do you think the cost of insuring a 16 year old is higher or lower then insuring an 18 year old? Explain your answer. What has been the overall trend in the percentage of teens with driver's licenses over the past 40-50 years? What...

End of Course Student Surveys: Capturing The Magic That Occurs in Personal Finance Classes

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Jan 22, 2020
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Teaching Strategies, Advocacy
Ever wonder that students think are the most important skills they picked up in your classroom? An End-of-Course survey can be a great way to see what "stuck" in your students' minds. Thanks to NGPF Fellow Sue Suttich for sharing the results from her student survey (here's a template that you can use for your End-of-Course Student Survey): Here's a few themes that came out of it: What's important and useful to students can be very different on student-by-student basis due to their...

QoD: Can you name 3 of the top 10 things that adults overspend on (i.e., spend more than their budget)?

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Jan 21, 2020
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Behavioral Finance, Question of the Day, Budgeting
Answer: Questions: Do you have a budget? Are you able to stick to it all of the time/some of the time/none of the time?  How would you answer this question for yourself: What are the purchases that cause you to overspend?  Take 2 or 3 items from the top 10 list and explain why that specific item leads to overspending.  Explain strategies that you could use to control spending in those categories. Click here for the ready-to-go slides for this Question of the...

Teach The Triangle: Making Purchase Decisions

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Jan 21, 2020
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Purchase Decisions, Chart of the Week, Behavioral Finance
Hat tip to Erica Pavlik of Neuqua Valley High School who reached out and suggested we curate resources to help "Teach the Triangle," an instructional idea created by her principal, Lance Fuhrer. Here's how she explained this concept:  "It is like your data crunch but taken a step farther. It collects three types of data (image, article & graph) on a similar topic and ask students one question: What can you infer from this?" We thought we would give it a go. Here are three resources...

QoD [UPDATED]: What percent of graduates leave college with student loan debt?

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Jan 20, 2020
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Question of the Day, Student Loans
Answer: 65% of Class of 2018 had student debt when they graduated [latest data available from TICAS] with an average debt of $29,200 Questions: Why do you think that so many students need to take out student loans to pay for college? What are other ways that students can pay for college? Do you think taking on student debt is a positive or a negative? Develop a list of pros and cons. How would you compare it to credit card debt or auto loans? Here's the ready-to-go slides for this...

QoD: What can save you the most when it comes to auto insurance: 1) Improving credit score 2) Driving a used car 3) Paying for policy in advance?

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Jan 19, 2020
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Question of the Day, Insurance, Research
Answer: Improve credit score by one tier can reduce auto insurance rates by 17% Questions: Why do you think that having a higher credit score (a measure of how you manage credit) would lower your car insurance rates?  Used cars also can help you save on your car insurance. Why do you think insurance companies give you a discount if you drive a used car?  If the average auto insurance policy is $1,502 (much higher for young adults), how much could you save (in $) if you raised your...

NGPF Podcast: How the Arcade Game PAYBACK prepared me for college: Reflections from 5 of the National Winners of the NGPF PAYBACK Challenge Essay Contest

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Jan 17, 2020
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Parent Conversations, Podcasts, Contest Previous
In this NGPF podcast two part series, you will hear from 11 inspiring high schoolers from across the U.S. who were the national winners of the PAYBACK Challenge essay contest. Each will receive $5,000 towards their educational expenses. Each shared what they learned from paying PAYBACK, how it has impacted their college plans and the importance of personal finance in their lives. Student voice matters and these students certainly providing convincing evidence of the benefit of personal...

QoD: How many states do not have state income taxes?

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Jan 15, 2020
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Question of the Day, Taxes
Did you know that most people have to file tax returns for BOTH federal AND state income taxes? Listed below are 7 states that do not (as of 1/10/2020) have state income taxes.  Answer: 7: Alaska, Florida, Nevada, South Dakota, Texas, Washington, and Wyoming Find the top tax rate for your state here:  Note: Tennessee and New Hampshire tax investment income.  Questions: How does your state's tax rate compare to other neighboring states?  Do you think that states that...

Chart of the Week: Investment Returns By Decade

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Jan 14, 2020
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Chart of the Week, Investing, Index Funds
I came across this cool gif on the Irrelevant Investor blog. Lots of percentages here which make this an interesting one for math teachers too!  Be sure to click on the image below to experience the GIF:  Notes: Important: Given the multitude of asset classes here with some familiar and some unfamiliar, you may want to just focus on two bond proxies (5 Year U.S. Treasuries and Long-Term Corporate Bonds) and two stock proxies (S&P 500 and NASDAQ). Of course, if you cover other...

NGPF Announces National Winners of 3rd Annual PAYBACK Challenge Essay Contest

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Jan 13, 2020
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Personal Finance, Contest Previous, Paying for College
PALO ALTO, California, January 14, 2020 - Next Gen Personal Finance (NGPF), a non-profit committed to ensuring that ALL students leave high school with the skills needed to thrive in an increasingly complex financial world, is pleased to recognize 10 students as National Grand Prize winners in their third annual PAYBACK Challenge Essay Contest. Congratulations to the following students who will receive a $5,000 award from NGPF to be used for educational purposes: Abigail Stackle of...

QoD [UPDATED]: Excluding home loans, what are the three largest debts for American consumers?

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Jan 13, 2020
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Student Loans, Question of the Day, Credit Cards, Research
Answer:  Student loan - $1.5 trillion Auto loan - $1.32 trillion Credit Card - $0.85 trillion Questions: Which type of credit has grown the fastest from 2004-2019? Why do you think this is the case?  Using the chart, estimate the growth rate (in trillions of dollars) between 2004-19 for student loans, auto loans and credit cards.  What impact did the Great Recession (2008-09) have on debt levels? Do you think people tend to borrow more or less when a recession occurs? ...