Mar 23, 2016

NGPF Podcast: Tim Talks To Pete Jordan About Using Simulations to Teach Personal Finance

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Thank you to Pete Jordan for joining the NGPF Podcast show to discuss his company, Knowledge Matters (KM), and their popular personal finance simulation. Pete describes the benefits of using simulations so students can learn from first-hand experience the impacts of financial decisions that they will be making throughout their lives. He discusses how the tens of thousands of lines of code ensure that the simulation provides a real-world experience for students while meeting the learning objectives we all strive for.

Here are some questions that Pete answers during our conversation:

  • What is “the look” and how did it inspire him to start a company?
  • How has Knowledge Matters effectively been able to get their product in front of so many high school students?
  • How are teachers using KM’s personal finance simulation as a core part of their curriculum?
  • How has the simulation changed over time and what new features are on the product roadmap?
  • What are some examples of how real-world this simulation is?
  • Based on his data, what concepts do students tend to understand best? least?


  • 0:00~0:48 – Introduction
  • 0:48~2:02 – What do you and your company do?
  • 2:02~3:41 – What’s the difference between simulation and a game?
  • 3:41~6:05 – Where did the inspiration for Knowledge Matters come from?
  • 6:05~10:00 – Describing the Personal Finance Simulation
  • 10:00~12:09 – How are schools able to pay for your product? 
  • 12:09~15:49 – Marketing strategies in getting the product in the classroom
  • 15:49~16:52 – How do students ‘win’ in the simulation?
  • 16:52~18:47 – How do you simulate asset allocation?
  • 18:47~20:32 – Describes the engineering behind the simulation
  • 20:32~22:19 – How the simulation incorporates credit and debit cards 
  • 22:19~26:00 – How the simulation incorporates the problem of student loans
  • 26:00~28:19 – How does the sim incorporate investing?
  • 28:19~31:14 – How does the sim incorporate budgeting?
  • 31:14~31:31 – A word from our sponsor
  • 31:31~33:43 – How does the sim incorporate bonds?
  • 33:43~36:13 – How has your simulation changed over the years?
  • 36:13~37:45 – Most Popular Lessons?
  • 37:45~40:10 – Describes the capstone project
  • 40:10~43:32 – Which topics do students excel/struggle at?
  • 43:32~45:24 – Future product roadmap
  • 45:24~46:52 – What are the three concepts you want to teach your children?

Resources mentioned during the podcast:

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.

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