Jun 24, 2024

8 Financial Lessons Students Remember for Life

In May, Next Gen Personal Finance celebrated growing a community of 100,000 teachers as well as its 10th anniversary. NGPF Co-Founders Tim Ranzetta and Jessica Endlich led a conversation with some of Tim’s earliest students about how having a personal finance course in high school set them up for a positive financial future. Read on to find out what they said were some of the most important lessons they learned.


The Inspiration for NGPF

NGPF Co-Founder Tim Ranzetta got the idea to start NGPF after being asked to teach a Personal Finance course at Eastside College Preparatory School, a private school located in East Palo Alto, Calif. serving a population of mostly first-generation, college-bound students.

“It's students like these that inspired me to start NGPF,” said Tim. “When I saw how eager they were to learn, it just lit a fire in me to say, why as a nation, can't we provide this gift to every student?”

Three Eastside alumni who took Tim’s course in high school credit the class with helping guide their financial journey. See which financial lessons stuck with former students Darius Riley, David Civil, and Jasmine Tostado.


1. Share Your Financial Knowledge 

Darius said he shares what he has learned with his family. “[I] have conversations with my mom in regards to building wealth as both of us are first-generation college students or first-generation trying to change the game.”


2. Build Credit Early

Jasmine said the course felt more real when she learned about credit cards. “I wasn't 18 at the time, but I put it in my calendar that when I turned 18, I would open up my first credit card,” she said. “That was one of the first things I did because I remember Tim telling us that we want to build credit early.” 


3. Start Investing Early

David said one of his favorite topics was investing, so much so that it influenced his college major and career path. “I had a pretty early start to my investing journey, which I'm super grateful for,” said David. “Seeing my money grow without doing anything paves the way for me to grow my investment account pretty significantly to a point where, now in my first year out of college, I feel like I'm in a very good spot, especially in a city like New York.” 


4. Set Up a System

“One of the main things I learned from [Tim] was to have a [long-term investment] system set up so that you don't have to be constantly checking every day to see how much they're growing,” said Jasmine. “With how busy life gets sometimes, it's easy to just have a system that works and that runs, and can put some money in your pocket.”

5. Develop a Healthy Relationship with Money

“Throughout college, I kept adding to my investment accounts… I spent, had some fun, but then I always understood the importance of setting some aside,” David said. “The whole NGPF course helped me develop a very healthy relationship with money. Where again, I feel like I'm in a very comfortable place, which I don't think I would have been in without the course and everything that was taught by Tim and the other teachers.”


6. Invest in Yourself

Darius, who runs his own video photography company, said understanding money and how it works and hearing Tim’s business stories helped inspire him to pursue entrepreneurship. “I think that class gave me the confidence to bet on myself to be an entrepreneur,” he said. “Learning [about compound interest] also kind of gave me an idea of how compounding my investment in myself would change my life and my family's life.”

7. Remember Everyone’s Financial Journey is Different

“Everyone's path, including your own, is different,” said Jasmine. “Always keep an open mind and stop trying to compare your path with somebody else's.”


8. Don’t Forget to Give Back

Darius said that because he, along with all the other students who attend Eastside, received a scholarship, he’s inspired to give back. “One of my goals is one day to be able to sponsor a student,” he said. “I think Next Gen Personal Finance is offering [financial] tools so that students can be in position to sponsor students like that in the future, right? That would be the biggest full circle moment I could possibly imagine.”

Access the full podcast episode and transcript: A Celebration with the NGPF Co-Founders and Eastside College Prep Students



About the Author

Hannah Rael

As NGPF's Marketing Communications Manager, Hannah (she/her) helps spread the word about NGPF's mission to improve the financial lives of the next generation of Americans.

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