Dec 28, 2018

NGPF Podcast: Tim Talks to Creative Educator Jim Wasserman On How To Build Student Engagement


Once an educator, always an educator. Jim Wasserman took a page from his own book—literally!—and now he’s happily living his “third life” la buena vida with his wife (and investment guru) Jiab in Seville, Spain. This renaissance man found a way to jazz up his economics class and boy has he amassed quite the collection of student stories over the years. Hear Jim dive into how his classroom experience shaped his life and be inspired to go back to your classroom with some fresh new ideas. Enjoy!


  • 0:00–1:05 Introduction
  • 1:06–4:08 Hanging up the briefcase, picking up the book bag
  • 4:09–12:31 Jazzing up economics for students 
  • 12:32–16:35 The power of influence and its financial implications
  • 16:36–19:02 How Jim amassed the stories for his books
  • 19:03–20:02 Reverse engineering the writing process
  • 20:03–20:31 A word from NGPF
  • 20:32–27:34 Bringing investing to life
  • 27:35–30:44 Childhood marketing and the Stalagmite Effect
  • 30:45–36:11 The juxtaposition of feeling safe behind a screen
  • 36:12–40:24 Jim’s “third life” in Seville, Spain living la buena vida
  • 40:25–44:09 Jiab, The Investment Guru, on passive income & budget breaking cats
  • 44:10–45:01 Spanish life is a like a circuit breaker
  • 45:02–46:24 Conclusion

Resources Mentioned:

Jim’s book: Middle Schoolers, Meet Media Literacy: How Teachers Can Bring Economics, Media, and Marketing to Life (book cover)


  • “There’s no money for marketers in teaching delayed gratification.”
  • “Usually when we address credit cards and savings, one of my first questions is, ‘When you use a credit card, from whom are you borrowing?’ And almost all the kids say, ‘The bank.’ And then I draw [a picture of] you now and you later and explain, ‘You’re borrowing from your future self.’”
  • “I tell my kids I’ve been teaching so long I’ve been teaching since BC…. before computers.”

About the Authors

Danielle Bautista

Danielle is a native of Southern California and a recent graduate from the University of Maine, where she braved the frigid winters—a feat in and of itself—and earned her Bachelor's degree in International Affairs. She has a passion for working with non-profit organizations and serving populations in underprivileged communities. When Danielle isn't writing NGPF blog posts, spearheading various outreach projects, or managing contests and flash surveys, you can find her doing some sort of outdoor activity, learning a new hobby, or cracking what she thinks are witty puns!

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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