Mar 15, 2019

NGPF Podcast: Tim Talks to Mike McQuarrie, Headmaster at Erskine Academy (Maine)

In this installment of the NGPF Podcast, Mike McQuarrie describes how Erskine Academy in South China, Maine has created a three course sequence to boost college and career readiness. Providing a strong foundation in personal finance education has ensured that Erskine, an independent school, will succeed in the competition for students. He also describes the close collaboration between the counseling department and teachers which ensures that the curriculum is meeting the needs of the students. Enjoy!


  • 0:00~1:06 Introduction
  • 1:06~4:28 Working as the Headmaster of Erskine Academy
  • 4:28~10:35 Personal experiences with money
  • 10:35~15:16 Personal finance at Mike’s school
  • 15:16~15:47 A word from NGPF
  • 15:47~19:37 How the new requirement fits in
  • 19:37~22:25 Challenges teaching personal finance
  • 22:25~24:51 Benefits of the Junior Judgments class
  • 24:51~27:58 Connection between the guidance department and teachers
  • 27:58~31:59 Paths students take after high school
  • 31:59~35:54 Tips for other administrators
  • 35:54~36:40 Conclusion



  • “I think the key is motivating kids to do activities that make it [personal finance] more real when in fact we are not giving them actual money to do it. And that’s why our team has used a lot of simulations and programs because they engage students by making it a fun problem solving and decision-making activity. It brings something abstract to something more pragmatic.”

  • “I would suggest any program that can put it in place a connection between the guidance department and teachers. By having a strong connection between the two, who worked together to build our curriculum, we know what the students know and can better prepare them for their future.”

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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