Oct 20, 2015

NGPF Podcast: Tim Talks To John Pelletier, Director Of The Center For Financial Literacy at Champlain College

Thanks to John Pelletier, who joined me recently on the NGPF Podcast show to discuss national trends in personal finance education and a solution to the professional development needs of high school instructors.  Embarking on a second career with a mission to improve the financial literacy of young adults in Vermont, John has had a tremendous impact on creating a national dialogue on what the key ingredients of a personal finance program should look like.

Among John’s many awards, he was recently selected as the 2015 Financial Literacy Champion by the Vermont JumpStart Coalition.  Included in this broad-ranging discussion, John shares the “hot off the press” results of his biennial Report Card which evaluates state-level efforts to improve financial literacy in high schools.  Enjoy!


  • 0:30: How did a Duke law graduate with 20 years in the asset management industry end up starting up a financial literacy center at Champlain College in Burlington, VT?  
  • 3:15: Discusses Vermont Summit as launch pad for financial literacy efforts within the state
  • 4:30: Discusses Financial Literacy Summer Institute pilot program held at Champlain College
  • 12:00: Philosophy of Summer Institute pilot for teachers; gaps that training filled
  • 19:00: Costs to run a Summer Institute
  • 20:55: Why John added student loans training module for the teachers in the third year of institute
  • 22:30: John discusses 2015 National Report Card on State Efforts To Improve Financial Literacy in High Schools and factors that go into the grades given to each state
  • 27:15: How are we doing as a nation when it comes to personal finance based on your research?
  • 28:00: Examples of states (Alabama and Florida) that have made changes at the state level to improve their grades
  • 30:00: Research found that the more local control at the district level the less likely it is that a state will mandate that personal finance be taught
  • 31:00: States doing an excellent job in training teachers (Utah)
  • 34:00: Why does Utah have such a concerted effort to teach high school students financial literacy?
  • 35:50: How to pitch a school board to increase commitment to personal finance
  • 38:35: Why student loans and college financing issues are not incorporated in national standards for financial literacy
  • 43:00: Discusses shortcomings in entrance counseling process
  • 45:45: What concepts would you teach high school seniors about personal finance if you only had 45 minutes?


Show notes:

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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