Mar 26, 2021

NGPF Podcast: Jake Cousineau on his new personal finance book, How to Adult

When it comes to writing a personal finance book for teens, who could be better suited than an educator who spends 180 days a year teaching them? Jake Cousineau took his experience teaching personal finance at a high school in California and translated that into a book that would expand his impact beyond the classroom walls. In this conversation, Jake shares how he managed to change his money mindset, why storytelling is such an effective teaching method and how he makes personal finance tangible and approachable for this students. He discusses why he decided to write a book and what he hopes to accomplish with it. Enjoy!


  • 0:00~0:19 Introduction
  • 0:19~7:12 Current Events with Yanely: Early Payday
  • 7:12~7:40 A word from NGPF
  • 7:40~8:49 Introducing this week’s guest: Jake Cousineau 
  • 8:49~9:53 Jake’s background and the school he teaches at
  • 9:53~11:10 Finding and developing personal finance curriculum
  • 11:10~13:52 Topics students are most interested about
  • 13:52~15:45 Deciding to write a book
  • 15:45~20:35 Making personal finance topics approachable and tangible 
  • 20:35~23:05 Explaining the GameStop fiasco and Bitcoin to students
  • 23:05~25:40 The importance of storytelling
  • 25:40~28:16 The structure of the book
  • 28:16~29:58 Finding time to write a book
  • 29:58~33:07 Most difficult chapter to write
  • 33:07~36:16 What triggered you to start thinking about personal finance?
  • 36:16~38:49 Conclusion



  • “So much of personal finance is the perspective and narrative that it’s reactive. If you’re in debt, here’s how to pay it off. Which is great when people wait until they’re in trouble before they learn this stuff. But one of my goals of this book is [to tell people] don’t wait until then because if you can get a foundation beforehand, you won’t have to waste so much time digging yourself out of debt.”

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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