Sep 07, 2016

NGPF Podcast: Tim Talks To Elizabeth Justema of Summit High (Bend, OR) About Teaching Money Values and Beliefs

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My conversation with Elizabeth Justema, a personal finance teacher at  Summit High School in Bend, Oregon coincides with schools opening across the country post-Labor Day. Elizabeth raised her hand when the Social Studies department created  a personal finance elective (it’s quite popular with over 250 students enrolled) for this fall. With a previous career in international marketing at Microsoft, Elizabeth has a wealth of experience to share with her students. As for her interest and knowledge of personal finance, she has her entrepreneurial parents to thank for that.

Our conversation focused on a few topics that educators will benefit from:

  • How she selected a primary curriculum for her course,
  • How she decided what topics to cover
  • How she developed her first unit (“Intro to Personal Finance”) to have students identify their money beliefs and values.



  •  0:00~1:07 – Introduction
  • 1:07~1:50 – Background on Elizabeth
  • 1:50~2:36 – Personal finance as an elective at Summit High School in Bend, Oregon
  • 2:36~4:54 – Elizabeth’s work as marketer at Microsoft and how it informs her teaching
  • 4:54~8:35 – Her process to develop the personal finance course
  • 8:35~10:46 – Deciding on what topics to include in the course
  • 10:46~13:00 – Easiest/most difficult units to teach
  • 13:00~13:52 – Paying for college unit
  • 13:52~16:03 – Method/Approach to teaching
  • 16:03~16:23 – A word from our sponsor, Next Gen Personal Finance
  • 16:23~17:22 – How she plans to use spreadsheets in the classroom
  • 17:22~24:02 – The “introduction to personal finance” unit that she developed
  • 24:02~25:36 – Expectations from the parent survey
  • 25:36~26:14 – Community support for the course
  • 26:14~28:01 – Developing the course
  • 28:01~29:07 – Stocks vs. index funds
  • 29:07~29:36 – Right age to get a credit card
  • 29:36~30:07 – Right amount of student debit
  • 30:07~30:49 – Her best financial habits
  • 30:49~31:56 – Who does she think of when she hears the word success?
  • 31:56~32:37 – Billboard message in front of your high school
  • 32:37~33:32 – Best financial advice she has given to her children
  • 33:32~34:26 – Elizabeth’s kids
  • 24:26~35:43 – Words of wisdom for other teachers
  • 35:43~36:29 – Conclusion
Notable Quote:
“I wanted my students to figure out what their relationship to money is. Even though they are only 15 to 18 years old they already have preconceived notions and experience with money.”

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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