23Feb, 2017

What Do You Say When You Only Have 90 Minutes To Talk Money With College Students?

By |February 23rd, 2017|Personal Finance|

I had a great time at Paul Smith’s College (Paul Smiths, NY) earlier this week meeting with about 40 students to answer their questions about money. Thanks to President Dove, Jill Susice and Terry Lindsay for organizing the event and giving me a great opportunity to engage with your students. They were actively involved in the conversation and shared some great money management ideas that they are using in their lives.

Planning for this talk forced me to get to the essence of what I felt was most important when it comes to money management for a college student. Rather than talk at the students I wanted them to be involved too.  I eventually settled on setting up some pollinq questions on PollEverywhere with a few slides prepared also to make key points. In terms of topics to cover, I thought I would tackle budgets, saving and checking accounts, credit scores and credit reports, credit cards, investing and student loans. A lot to cover in 90 minutes but I only had one shot…I hoped for active student participation and I was not disappointed.

I started by asking students what they hoped to get out of the workshop to help me figure out where to focus my time. Here’s a smattering of what they wanted to know (via Poll Everywhere):

23Feb, 2017

Chart: How Have World Stock Markets Changed Over The Past 100 Years?

By |February 23rd, 2017|Chart of the Week, Current Events, Investing, Question of the Day, Research, Stocks|

Interesting graphic from a Credit Suisse report comparing the relative size of stock markets in 1899 vs. 2016 (great for a history course):

Screen Shot 2017-02-23 at 9.40.56 PM

Questions to ask:

23Feb, 2017

Question: Who Has The Best Cell Phone Plan?

By |February 23rd, 2017|Budgeting, Current Events, Math, Purchase Decisions, Question of the Day, Research|

We know your students love their smartphones. How about putting that obsession to use by having them read this article from the NY Times “Picking a New Phone Plan? Here Are Your Best Bets?” As the article notes, every few months the carriers update their pricing models (check out our earlier posts on the topic here and here):

Shopping for a phone plan can be as daunting as picking a health insurance package. The rates and options constantly change, and it feels impossible to make simple comparisons between carriers. Case in point: The best phone plans we recommended a year and a half ago are now obsolete because the wireless carriers have completely changed their offerings.

The article goes on to highlight the “best plans” for different types of users: Single User, Single Power User, Average Couple, Power Couple, Family of Four, Occasional Traveler. Here are some ideas on how you can structure this as an activity for students to discuss with their parents or guardians (copied from an earlier post):

22Feb, 2017

How Is The New FAFSA Timetable Impacting College Offers?

By |February 22nd, 2017|Article, Current Events, Paying for College, Question of the Day, Student Loans|

I was wondering about this question. so was happy to see this article in the WSJ last week (subscription). Our post last September described two of the major changes to the FAFSA. First, families could now complete the FAFSA starting October 1st (previous deadline was January 1st). Secondly, the financial information provided on the FAFSA now will come from prior prior (not a typo) year’s tax return. Let me explain. Those families completing the FAFSA in October 2016 for the 2017-18 school year, data from their 2015 tax year would be used.

The most dramatic impact is that students should expect to receive offer letters from colleges SOONER with about 50% of colleges expecting to send their need-based offers sooner. Here’s the data:

21Feb, 2017

Snapchat Is Going Public. Would You Buy Their IPO?

By |February 21st, 2017|Behavioral Finance, Current Events, Entrepreneurship, Investing, Question of the Day, Research, Teaching Strategies, WebQuest|

First an admission. I have never used Snapchat. Despite that, I thought their upcoming IPO would be a good hook to get students interested in how the stock market works. Before diving into the specifics of Snapchat (actually it is their parent company, SNAP, who is going public), here’s a good video from Wall Street Survivor that explains what an IPO is:


21Feb, 2017

NGPF Podcast: Tim Talks to FinLit Mover and Shaker Brett Burkey

By |February 21st, 2017|Current Events, Investing, Podcasts, Professional Development, Tips for Teachers|


He’s written personal finance workbooks, successfully lobbied Florida legislators, trained hundreds of teachers and taught thousands of students in his career. Oh, he also was a pioneer in bringing a blended learning model into his classroom. Who’s “he”? That would be educator Brett Burkey who took time to appear on the NGPF podcast to share insights from his incredible career. From the statehouse to the classroom, Brett describes how he was able to engage his audience to bring about change. Enjoy!
21Feb, 2017

Happy Birthday Dad!

By |February 21st, 2017|Savings|

I often get the question “Why did you start Next Gen Personal Finance?” It usually comes after I describe an eclectic career which has found me driving shredding trucks, analyzing executive compensation packages and making investment decisions at a mutual fund company. To answer the question, you have to start with the man who would have celebrated his 88th birthday yesterday. He was raised during the Depression and forced to the countryside when the Nazis bombed his home city of London during the Battle of Britain. He didn’t talk much about his childhood yet it was easy to see how these events were seared into his psyche and explained his frugal nature. 

20Feb, 2017

Implementing “COMPARE: Making Credit Decisions” Amanda Volz-style

By |February 20th, 2017|Activity, Credit Cards, Lesson Idea, NGPF Fellows|

NGPF Fellow Amanda Volz took a fairly basic activity from our bank — COMPARE: Making Credit Decisions — and made it her own. Now, she’s sharing the strategy, guaranteed to liven up your classroom, with you. As an added bonus, the activity she’s referring to is now available in Spanish, too, so some of your English Language Learners can participate fully in this discussion-based fun. Read on for Amanda’s guest blog post…

20Feb, 2017

Video Resources: Avoid Those Checking Account Fees

By |February 20th, 2017|Checking Accounts, Debit Cards, Research, Video Resource|

It’s often the first financial product that a young person will use. Maybe they start with a savings account but eventually they graduate and pair their savings account with a checking account. In that process of setting up this new account, the customer will be asked (or they should be) whether they would like “overdraft protection.” The term sounds innocuous and better yet lures them in after all who doesn’t want to be protected. Have your students watch one or more of these videos (hat tip to NGPF’s Jessica for curating these videos from December 2016) and odds are they will choose to “just say no” when it comes to overdraft protection.

This Pew Charitable Trust video from December 2015 interviews people “on the street” to get their thoughts on overdraft fees and policies. Also highlights the blind spots that consumers have when it comes to the “fine print” of checking account agreements. A great overview and only 3 minutes long! Pair this video with the NGPF Fine Print: Reading the Fine Print of Your Checking Account and you will have savvy students when it comes to checking fees!

Key questions for your students:

16Feb, 2017

Question: How Much Does Bad Credit Cost You With Auto Insurance?

By |February 16th, 2017|Uncategorized|

Answer (from Consumer Reports): $2,090

A two-car couple with poor credit will pay an extra $2,090, on average, compared to a family with excellent credit. That’s more than what it usually costs to add a teen driver or even the penalty for having two DWIs.

Many people are surprised to discover the various ways that credit scores are used to gauge an individual’s trustworthiness (note that I didn’t say creditworthiness). Now, here’s some evidence that auto insurance companies price risk using credit scores and that a low credit score can really cost you.

I actually just had a insurer who provides homeowner’s insurance ask me for my credit score since they thought they could get me a lower premium. When I sent them my score, I was surprised to see a 30% reduction in my premium. Yay! Another reason to manage your credit well!


Want to give your students experience reading a credit report? Here’s our Fine Print on Credit Reports.


15Feb, 2017

Schools in the News

By |February 15th, 2017|Schools In News|


  • Altoona teacher awarded for her work with personal finance (Leader Telegram)

An Altoona High School teacher won a statewide award Thursday for her work as a personal finance instructor and involvement in a financial literacy program for high school students. Kelly Ostrander, in her 27th year at Altoona High School, received the 2016 Financial Literacy Award in the legacy category. 

  • What high school freshmen are learning could save you thousands of dollars (WBAY)

It’s easier than ever to find your credit score–an important number that could save you thousands of dollars over time. That’s why high school freshmen in Ashwaubenon are learning a lesson about building good credit as a requirement for graduation. Students in Mr. Lotto’s Career and Financial Planning Class live and work in a virtual world via an online personal finance program.

Pelham High School’s freshman class got a taste of what it’s like to be an adult on Friday, Feb. 10, during Keeping it Real, a program created by the Greater Shelby County Chamber of

15Feb, 2017

NGPF Podcast: Tim Talks to NGPF Fellow Charles Kafoglis About His Four Principles to Teaching Personal Finance

By |February 15th, 2017|Investing, Podcasts, Professional Development, Summer Institute, Tips for Teachers|


Thanks to Charles Kafoglis of Incarnate Word in Houston, Texas for sharing his insights recently on the NGPF podcast. I got to know Charles through his participation in our Summer Institute in 2016. I saw firsthand his passion for financial education and have enjoyed our ongoing dialogue about different approaches to teaching investing. In this podcast, Charles shares the four key principles that serve as the foundation for his personal finance course as well as how his course ties into the leadership program at his high school. Finally, he will share how he sets the tone for his course early in the semester and the resources he relies upon to do that. Enjoy!