Sep 23, 2022

NGPF Podcast: Dr. Becky Rayburn-Reeves and David Condon on building games for NOVA Financial Labs

You may know and love NOVA for their science programming but did you know they also have produced finance games? 

NOVA Financial Lab developed three games to teach students about the built-in biases that impact the decisions we make about money. In this podcast, you will get a behind-the-scenes look at what went into developing the games and what Becky and David hope students will learn from playing them. You will also learn about Yanely's role in the videos that precede the game play and explain the key behavioral concepts behind each of the games. Enjoy!  



  • 0:00~2:23 Introduction
  • 2:23~4:45 David and Dr. Rayburn-Reeves’s background
  • 4:45~6:12 Experience working with Dan Ariely
  • 6:12~8:27 Yanely’s role in the project
  • 8:27~10:45 NOVA’s foci
  • 10:45~14:13 System 1 and 2 thinking 
  • 14:13~21:07 Highlighting biases and the connection between money and time
  • 21:07~22:25 Considering reading levels 
  • 22:25~22:49 A word from NGPF
  • 22:49~27:25 Design process of creating the game
  • 27:25~29:29 Conclusion



  • “The relationship between money and time was key throughout… It’s not linear but it’s exponential growth -- which can be your best friend when you are saving and your worst enemy when you’re in debt.” -David

  • “What we wanted to do was to create a game that had some realistic elements to it, that can be played by a wide range of folks, and covered in a brief way a really important concept that they can learn now and implement in their own lives.” -Dr. Rayburn-Reeves

About the Authors

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.

Ren Makino

Ren started interning at NGPF in 2014, and worked part-time through high school and college. With his knowledge growing alongside NGPF, he joined the team to work full-time after graduating from college in 2020. He is also the producer of the NGPF podcast. During his free time, he likes to try out coffees from different roasters across the world.

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