Mar 30, 2016

NGPF Podcast: Tim Talks To Eric Tyson, Author of Personal Finance For Dummies

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Thanks to Eric Tyson for recently joining me on the NGPF podcast. Eric has brought personal finance advice to millions through his work as a financial advisor, syndicated columnist and author of Personal Finance for Dummies (and other titles in the Dummies series).

Eric provides insights to the following questions during our conversation:

  • How did his earlier experience as a management consultant to financial service firms inform his personal finance writing?
  • How does he think personal finance should be taught in high school?
  • How much weight should be given to advice provided by “financial gurus?”
  • How should people think about “wealth” beyond just the size of one’s bank account?


  • 0:00~0:30 – Intro
  • 0:30~1:38 – Prior Experience with Personal Finance
  • 1:38~3:48 – Anecdotes to share
  • 3:48~6:43 – His approach as a financial advisor; why per-hour is better model for clients
  • 6:43~8:50 – What lead you to write Personal Finance for Dummies?
  • 8:50~11:37 – What lessons did you learn about personal finance from your parents?
  • 11:37~12:26 – Details about Personal Finance for Dummies
  • 12:26~13:57 – How does the current edition differ from the older editions (currently in 8th edition)?
  • 13:57~15:08 – Why are you such a fan of Vanguard?
  • 15:08~17:28 – Should we put our faith in financial “gurus” always appearing on TV?
  • 17:28~21:28 – Favorite examples of really bad advice
  • 21:28~23:42 – Your philosophy on educating others about personal finance
  • 23:42~24:56 – More on financial gurus
  • 24:56~28:24 – How do you put yourself in a beginner’s shoes given your financial expertise?
  • 28:24~28:40 – A word from our sponsor
  • 28:40~30:47 – How should personal finance be taught in high schools?
  • 30:47~32:37 – What are the most important topics that students should learn
  • 32:37~34:43 – How should people define wealth?
  • 34:43~36:30 – What concepts do people have the most difficulty learning?
  • 36:30~40:18 – Examples of good habits
  • 40:18~41:37 – Index funds vs individual stocks
  • 41:37~42:30 – Credit cards vs debit cards
  • 42:30~43:32 – Good debt vs bad debt
  • 43:32~45:10 – How much student debt is too much?
  • 45:10~47:48  Are personal finance problems caused more by a knowledge gap or our inability to execute on a strategy?
  • 47:48~49:30 – Personal habits Eric wants to change
  • 49:30~50:56 – Recommended reading
Notable Quotes:
  • “I would always encourage people to look at any advice that is out there. What is there agenda? Do they have a bias?”
  • “You got to do your homework. Just because someone is dressed well and is articulate and they have a fancy award framed on their wall doesn’t mean you can trust them”
  • “Students have a natural curiosity to learn about the real world and what their parents are dealing with”

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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