Aug 10, 2018

NGPF Podcast: Tim Talks With Andy Davidson About Math's Role In Building Financial Capability

Andy Davidson spent much of his career on Wall Street and saw first-hand what happens when consumers lack basic financial skills.  What he saw inspired him to create a course that teaches personal finance through mathematics. And thus, FiCycle was born! Hear how he describes the rationale behind the three pillars of his curriculum, the importance of scaffolding and what this entrepreneur has learned along the way. Listen closely as Andy espouses the virtues of bringing more math into your financial education course. Enjoy! 


  • 0:00–1:06 Introduction
  • 1:07–2:05 Andy’s stint on Wall Street
  • 2:06–6:09 The booms and busts of mortgage backed securities
  • 6:10–9:30 Why being an innovative employee matters
  • 9:31–14:07 The humble beginnings of FiCycle
  • 14:08–16:19 From concept to reality
  • 16:20–24:15 The 3 pillars of his curriculum
  • 24:16–24:48 A word from NGPF
  • 24:49–27:33 Understanding the value of a diversified portfolio
  • 27:34–29:28 Where scaffolding comes into play
  • 29:29–32:00 What Andy’s teacher PD workshops entail
  • 32:01–34:17 Curriculum offerings
  • 34:18–38:00 The adoption cycle
  • 38:01–39:36 Financial principles above all
  • 39:37–41:36 What he’s learned along the way
  • 41:37–43:15 Andy’s pitch for incorporating more math into financial literacy
  • 43:16–43:52 Conclusion

Resources mentioned:


  • “Most of those [personal finance] courses, which didn’t really have a strong enough math component, would talk about present value, future value, and risk… wouldn’t give students the actual mathematical tools they needed to make financial decisions. This led me to thinking, ‘Well, this really needs to be linked to math in some fashion.'"
  • “Once you explain to [students] the difference between cash and wealth and they can start thinking about borrowing and the costs associated with borrowing… they sort of naturally can start thinking, ‘Is this something that’s adding value to me or not adding value?'

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.

Mail Icon

Subscribe to the blog

Join the more than 11,000 teachers who get the NGPF daily blog delivered to their inbox: