Question: What Regions of the Country Have The Most Upward Mobility?

The Equality of Opportunity Project released a vast trove of data last Wednesday focused, as its name suggests, on identifying characteristics in communities that foster upward mobility. In looking at over 700 metro and rural areas in the U.S., the researchers defined upward mobility in terms of a children’s chances of reaching the top 20% in income distribution given parents in the bottom 20%.

Here’s the results from crunching lots of data (note the legend that indicates lighter areas as having more upward mobility):

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  • An obvious question when one looks at a map like this is “what factors drive upward mobility?” Here’s what the researchers found:
By |January 22nd, 2017|Career, Current Events, Policy, Question of the Day, Research|

Chart: How Strong Are American’s Problem-Solving Skills Using A Computer?

From Economist:


Answer: Meh (or about average for OECD countries with about 33% of adults classified in the “High” category).

This Economist article focused on the need for retraining of low-skilled workers as the pace of automation accelerates and many of their jobs go the way of the buggy whip. As for how to accomplish this, Singapore has a promising example:

By |January 16th, 2017|Article, Career, Chart of the Week, Current Events, Policy, Research|

Two Charts That Prove We Need To Teach Financial Aid in HIGH SCHOOL!

From GFLEC Policy Brief on Student Loans:


If You Are A Teacher Enrolled In a 403(b) Plan, Please Read This!

This is a great example where your knowledge of investing can come in handy for yourself and other teachers in your building. The NY Times story shows what happens when light regulation meets rapacious financial firms. This is why financial literacy is so important! We can wait for regulation or we can arm ourselves with the knowledge necessary to avoid disasters like the story told below. Without knowing the right questions to ask or understanding the alternatives, too many teachers have seen their retirement savings swallowed by excessive fees. Actually one question may have gotten to the core of this scandal: Show me the fees (and persist until you get the answer)!

The problem:

What’s New With Prepaid Debit Cards?


New regulations are on their way..here’s an FAQ to help you and your students sort it all out:

  • How big is the market for prepaid cards and who uses them? (Atlantic):

The market for prepaid debit cards has grown dramatically in recent years: The number of people using the cards in addition to their checking accounts increased by 50 percent between 2012 and 2014. According to a report from Pew by 2014, around 23 million Americans were regularly using reloadable cards, and more than one-quarter of those users were Americans who didn’t have bank accounts and were mostly low-income and black. For all their shortcomings, prepaid debit cards fill an important role for Americans who don’t have access to traditional checking or credit accounts. These services allow them to perform basic tasks, such as paying for goods or services online or taking cash out from a convenient ATM, that many Americans take for granted.

NGPF Podcast: Tim Talks To Researcher Dr. Carly Urban About The Effectiveness of Financial Education


I have to be candid and say that I get a little ticked off when I read about how personal finance education doesn’t work (see here and here and here). Here are just a few of the quotes that I came across questioning its value:

  • So when it comes to education, I start rolling my eyes when people suggest education is the magic bullet. Let’s get real, please. As heretical as it is to say in our society, “education” is not the panacea for personal finance.
  • There is almost no evidence that personal finance education works.
  • Financial education is simply not working.

So, given my contrarian nature and based on my experience in the classroom,

Question: What Are The Building Blocks of Financial Capability?


Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) out with a new report “Building Blocks to Help Youth Achieve Financial Capability.”

Skimming through it quickly to bring you the highlights. Here are their three building blocks they identify as critical to financial capability:

What’s The Catch?: New Overdraft Policy Changes

From DepositAccounts comes news of a new overdraft policy from a national bank:


Seems pretty straightforward, right?