Tim Ranzetta

/Tim Ranzetta

About 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.

Skill Development: Building Media Literacy Skills

The world of personal finance is constantly changing…the products that students are evaluating today will be different tomorrow…robo-advisers, target date retirement funds, Venmo, mobile banking didn’t exist just a few years ago. This makes media literacy such a critical skill to develop in our students. To become financially capable they will need to be lifelong learners and know what sources to turn to in order to get quality, credible information. Unfortunately, in this era of fake news, this takes practice and a cynical eye.

That’s why this article from Bloomberg (“Read With Caution When There’s Money at Stake”) caught my attention. It highlights three lessons that readers should be aware of when reading the financial press:

By |April 16th, 2017|Article, Ethics, Writing assignment|

Think You Can Pick A Mutual Fund That Can Beat the Market? Think Again And Buy An Index Fund Instead!

Based on this recently analysis, go ahead and buy an index fund. Over any recent time period (1, 3, 5, 10 and 15 years) you would have trounced actively managed funds. Of course, “past performance is no guarantee of future results,” however, when you see the persistence of index fund success over short, medium and long-term periods, and the primary reason for it (they carry lower fees), I would put my money (and do) on this trend continuing.

Chart from SPIVA U.S. Scorecard Report (only first four lines, full analysis available by clicking on link):

Question: How Much Credit Card Debt Are Americans Carrying?

Answer (from Federal Reserve analysis reported in WSJ): After restating earlier figures, the  level of credit card debt hit $1 Trillion in December of 2016, a level it last seen prior to the recession.

Here is a chart showing how credit card balances (a.k.a. revolving consumer credit) has varied over the past decade:

credit card debt feb 2017

Fun facts from a CBS article:

By |April 13th, 2017|Uncategorized|

What Do High School Seniors Think About the Financial Aid Process?

It’s April so I thought I would do a temperature check for my AVID class just before we dove into an activity analyzing aid award packages. Here’s the word cloud that came from their individual responses (with some mentor comments sprinkled in which tended to be more on the positive side):

Screen Shot 2017-04-07 at 12.56.44 AM

Why did I do this?

NGPF Podcast: Tim Talks To Greg Hock About What Teens Need to Know About Taxes

Thanks to Greg Hock for taking time out during this busy tax season to join me on the NGPF podcast. I have been a client of Greg’s for a few years now and appreciate the value-added services that he provides that go well beyond just filing a tax return. I enjoy exchanging ideas and getting his perspective about building financial capability in young people, which come from years of experience of being a trusted parter with his clients.  I enjoyed our wide-ranging conversation in this podcast, which went from discussing the career path of an accountant to why he took the leap of faith to start his own firm and into specific teen tax tips and common myths when it comes to filing taxes. So, just in time for tax season, here’s Greg Hock…enjoy!


  • 0:00~1:29 – Introduction
  • 1:29~2:29 – How does one become a tax expert?
  • 2:29~3:46 – Experience of working at a Big 4 accounting firm
  • 3:46~5:22 – The entrepreneurial journey: starting his own accounting firm
  • 5:22~8:03
By |April 12th, 2017|Podcasts, Taxes, Uncategorized|

Simulations: How Ride-Share Companies Use Behavioral Science To “Nudge” Drivers

Lengthy article in NY Times (5,000 words, about 30 minutes) recently about the behavioral tactics utilized by Uber and Lyft to nudge its drivers to take certain actions.  Not necessary for students to read the article as I focus this post on 3 of the 4 simulations embedded within it and suggest mini-activities for students to experience the tradeoffs inherent in being a ride-share driver. The simulations also demonstrate how the best interests of the company often diverge from the interest of their drivers. I see these simulations as a fun way to bring behavioral science into the math, psychology, economics or personal finance class.

  1. How changing number of drivers impacts idleness of drivers.
By |April 12th, 2017|Uncategorized|

Question: What Is Most Valuable Car Company In the United States?

a. General Motors

b. Ford

c. Tesla

Next Gen Personal Finance Launches “$50K for 50 States” Financial Literacy Initiative

To mark Financial Literacy Month, Next Gen Personal Finance (NGPF) is excited to announce their “$50K for 50 States” grant program in partnership with the Jump$tart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy. Through this grant program, NGPF will provide $1,000 grants to support the activities of JumpStart state affiliates that meet basic criteria. These state organizations, led by volunteers, deliver much-needed teacher training, advocate for greater access to financial education and support the financial literacy community in their states in myriad ways.

Laura Levine, the Executive Director of Jump$tart, commented on the grant program: 

By |April 11th, 2017|Uncategorized|