Monthly Archives: October 2015


Want To Be A Savvier Consumer? Read This Book

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I hope to get into this book written by two Nobel winners (Shiller and Akerlof) “Phishing for Fools” while on my way to JumpStart conference next week (While on the topic of JumpStart, be sure to stop by Booth #16 to say hi to the NGPF team!).

Here are some snippets of the reviews I have seen:

Question: Bank Error In Your Favor. Can You Keep It?

Answer: No.

This article from took me back to when I was seven and got home from my weekly visit to the bank. I had just deposited $7.00 to my account and when my Dad asked to see my passbook (he liked to do that), we discovered that the new teller had made an error and deposited $700.  Hmmm, I remember thinking…could this be an opportunity?  My dad (who was a lifelong banker) dispelled that thought immediately. I went to the bank the next day and imagine the scene as 7 year old boy tells shocked bank manager about this error.  Wish I had my Instamatic handy to catch her facial expression.

Well, back to the article I linked to…in this case, an 18-year old discovered that he had $30,000 mistakenly deposited into his account…one BMW later….

By |October 30th, 2015|Article, Current Events, Parent Conversations, Question of the Day|

Writing Reflection: What Were The Last Ten Things You Purchased?


Got this idea for a student writing assignment from a recent Forbes column in which people open their wallets and describe the last ten things they purchased while also providing the payment type, some context and the motivation for the purchase.

Here is an excerpt from a 19 year old college student:


1. Breakfast bagel sandwich: $7.78

Although I have a meal plan at my university, I occasionally treat myself to food from outside establishments for breakfast. On this day, I woke up before the dining options on my campus opened, so I dragged myself to a local coffee shop and ordered an overpriced, delicious bagel sandwich.

Hoping That You Weren’t In A Rush to Use Your RushCard…

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Cautionary tale about a prepaid card promoted by a celebrity (from Detroit Free Press):

The financial lockdown that hit RushCard customers — and prevented them from being able to use their own money for days to pay their rent, buy groceries and cover their bills — shouldn’t be ignored by everyone else….

Thousands of customers of the prepaid card were shut out of their accounts in a money maddening moment caused by technical problems that lasted more than 10 days. The troubles started during the Columbus Day weekend as the RushCard was changing technical partners.

The article goes on to highlight lessons from this fiasco:

By |October 30th, 2015|Article, Current Events, Debit Cards|

CFPB Develops Review Guidelines for Personal Finance Curriculum


The Consumer Protection Financial Bureau has released guidelines to assist educators in selecting a personal finance curriculum. One of the things that struck me when I first started teaching five years ago was the plethora of materials out there (for example, there are 827 resources currently available at the JumpStart Clearinghouse).

Here is the purpose of the report and tool that they developed in their Youth Financial Education Curriculum Review:

By |October 30th, 2015|Policy, Professional Development, Research, Teaching Strategies|

Question: What Age Can New College Grads Expect To Retire?


Answer: In what is sure to lead to many groans in the classroom: 75, according to recent report from NerdWallet

This is sure to be a good hook to get students to sit up and recognize the importance of saving while young.  Here are a few questions that you can pose to students as the read the report:

What are the primary drivers that will not allow recent grads to retire sooner?

Answer: The study cites three reasons: student debt, rising rents and aversion to investing in the stock market.

The study cites student debt costing college grads over $684,000 over a 50 year period. Can you replicate the math they used to reach this conclusion?

Answer: Asterisk at bottom of chart:  If student loan payments were invested over 10 years at 6% return, compounded to age 75.

What percentage of assets do millenials hold in cash?  Is that a good or bad thing?

Building Your Fin Lit Educator Network

One major advantage to teaching in the CORE FOUR subjects (math, ELA, social studies, or science) is that you would likely have an entire network of teachers in your school building. Professional development abounds: There are conferences, workshops, websites, Twitter chats, etc. Colleges and universities have entire departments devoted to these subjects.

On the other hand, let’s consider the personal finance teacher.

By |October 28th, 2015|New Products, Personal Finance, Professional Development|

NGPF Podcast: Tim Talks To Candace Fikis, Innovative Economics Teacher at West Chicago Community High School (IL)

It’s Tuesday, which means it must be time for another NGPF Podcast!

Thanks to Candace Fikis, recent recipient of the 3M Outstanding Economic Educator Award, for participating in a recent NGPF podcast to discuss how she brings personal finance to life for her students.

Candace Fikis’s passion for personal finance and economics becomes evident early on in this podcast. A self-professed “Econ nerd,” she clearly brings a high level of energy and engagement to the classroom. Always on the lookout for engaging projects and activities, she continues to expand her teacher network through social media and conference attendance. If you are looking to start up an after-school personal finance club, she has some great ideas on how to build a winning team. Her team won the Illinois State Championship earlier this year!

By |October 27th, 2015|Featured Teachers, Podcasts, Schools In News, Teaching Strategies|