NGPF Podcast: Jack Gecawich on the dangers of apps that "gamify" investing

Aug 14, 2020
Podcasts, Investing, Stocks

Jack is a repeat guest on the podcast. He's currently a student at East Greenwich High School in Rhode Island. When we last spoke with Jack earlier this year he was advocating for financial education alongside Treasurer Magaziner. In this podcast, Jack discusses his work this summer leading a group of students through a series of investing lessons. Well, that's what I thought we were going to talk about. Instead our conversation took a detour as we talked about the speculative nature of today's stock market and how apps are skewing students' perceptions of the stock market and their behaviors. This is such a critical message for your students to hear and for a peer to say it brings additional power to the message. He has a fascinating take on this and I urge educators to take note as this is what your students will be talking about this fall! Enjoy!


  • 0:00~1:37 Introduction
  • 1:37~4:29 Jack’s background 
  • 4:29~9:11 Experience testifying in front of legislators
  • 9:11~12:42 Tips and tricks on teaching online
  • 12:42~13:39 Biggest myths and misconceptions students have regarding investing
  • 13:39~18:56 On teens and pre-teens investing using apps
  • 18:56~23:00 How investing apps make money through selling its order flow 
  • 23:00~23:23 A word from NGPF
  • 23:23~29:31 How teachers can dissuade students from day trading    
  • 29:31~34:02 Issues with penny stocks
  • 34:02~42:52 Jack’s favorite activities
  • 42:52~44:13 Conclusion  



  • “What they [investing apps] have done is that they gamified a very serious concept, trading. That gamification, just like you see with Fortnight and other games, it’s addicting.”  

  • “There’s a couple of concepts that I think are fascinating for students if you really dig in and teach them. I think one of them is compound interest. I think people would be very surprised about what compound interest can do to your money over time.”

About the Authors

Ren Makino

Ren has been working part-time at NGPF since 2014, interning through high school and college. With his knowledge growing alongside NGPF, after graduating from college in 2020, he joined the team to work full time with a focus on teacher onboarding. He is also the editor of the NGPF podcast and makes sure it is accessible to teachers on iTunes, Stitcher, and Google Play Music. During his free time, he likes to try out coffees from different roasters across the world and try out new brewing methods, even though personal finance gurus tend to caution against buying a cup of joe.

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.