Apr 10, 2016

NGPF Podcast: Tim Talks to Reece Cannady and D.J. Bierwirth, Penn Students Passionate About Financial Literacy

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Thanks to Reece Cannady and D.J. Bierwirth for recently joining me on the NGPF podcast. Reece and D.J. have leadership roles running the Financial Literacy Community Project (FLCP) at the University of Pennsylvania.  Their organization serves several high schools and community programs in west Philadelphia by supplying a team of near-peer volunteer teachers teaching an innovative curriculum. Their goal: prepare these students to make sound financial decisions in their futures.

Reece and D.J. provided their perspectives on questions which included:

  • What lessons have the largest impact on their students?
  • How do they train their college volunteers to teach the middle and high school students they serve?
  • What have been the most surprising questions that they have heard from their students?
  • What advice would they offer other colleges interested in running a similar program?


  • 0:00~1:47 – Introduction
  • 1:47~2:38 – Reece and D.J.’s Background
  • 2:38~5:28 – How does the FLCP program work?
  • 5:28~7:04 – Demographics of students in west Philadelphia
  • 7:04~9:04 – How do you get students to relate to you?
  • 9:04~11:49 – How do you deliver the content?
  • 11:49~16:35 – What lessons open students’ eyes?
  • 16:35~21:19 – How has your experiences encouraged you to teach personal finance?
  • 21:19~26:08 – Questions that have shocked you during discussions?
  • 26:08~29:14 – Goals that you are trying to accomplish
  • 29:14~30:49 – Do you target underclassmen or upperclassmen?
  • 30:49~31:15 – A word from our sponsor
  • 31:15~33:16 – Teaching Banking to Low Income Students
  • 33:16~35:02 – Parents’ Reaction to Program
  • 35:02~38:01 – Advice on how to run a successful college-based program like FLCP
  • 38:01~43:03 – How do you teach people to teach?
  • 43:03~45:08 – Parting Thoughts
  • 45:08~45:56 – Closing

Notable quotes:

  • “I really like to help. A lot of these kids have been told promises in their lives and some feel jaded. So being reliable and being a bubbly guy with high energy and letting them know that I am their friend and I am here to help them and that I am going to continue to help them until we tackle the lesson at hand”
  • “When we mention the word bank, the reaction is almost exclusively negative. Which to me is shocking. I’ve always been taught to put my money in a savings account, put it in a bank, and put it away whereas these kids are like taught to put it in a mattress”
  • “At the end of the day, the most crucial part of our program is the moment when we actually go into the classrooms and teach the actual lessons and the people doing that are the teachers. You can have the best possible foundation set up but not the same level of excellence with the teachers and have a completely different program.”

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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