What does a retired bankruptcy judge do to fill his “golden years?” If you are Hon. John Ninfo, you write a weekly column and visit hundreds of classrooms in upstate New York to teach young people about what it means to be financially responsible. If that isn’t enough, he also created a non-profit, Credit Abuse Resistance Education (CARE), to bring bankruptcy professionals into classrooms throughout the U.S. to share their experiences. Storytelling has an important place in the personal finance classroom (it is personal after all!) and John’s years on the bench in western New York provide him with lots of material to share about the causes of financial distress. In this podcast, you will also hear from the CARE team of Anna Flores and Ian Redman about how you can bring CARE to your classroom. Enjoy!


  • 0:00~1:30 – Introduction
  • 1:30~4:20 – Money memories from John’s household
  • 4:20~6:46 – His work as a judge in the bankruptcy court of Western New York
  • 6:46~11:35 – Changes in bankruptcy caseload
  • 11:35~15:53 – Reasons that individuals land in bankruptcy court
  • 15:53~16:15 – What is a Chapter 13 bankruptcy?
  • 16:15~17:12 – Recidivism rate (how often would people show up in his court again with financial difficulties)
  • 17:12~19:25 – John’s transition to financial literacy education
  • 19:25~21:22 – What John wants to teach in class
  • 21:22~25:10 – Changing people’s financial behaviors
  • 25:10~29:45 – Thoughts on student debt
  • 29:45~34:08 – Discharging student loan debt and the Brunner test
  • 34:08~36:05 – Founding CARE
  • 36:05~37:31 – What CARE does today
  • 37:31~38:06 – A word from our sponsor, Next Gen Personal Finance
  • 38:06~39:14 – CARE’s reach
  • 39:14~40:48 – Bringing CARE to the classroom
  • 40:48~42:01 – Takeaways from CARE presentations
  • 42:01~42:21 – Requests for presentations
  • 42:21~49:13 – Ian’s experience
  • 49:13~51:47 – Rule of thumb for student loans
  • 51:47~52:45 – Parting words
  • 52:45~53:49 – Conclusion


Notable Quote:

  • “If someone had sat down with me and said you are realistically going to make X amount of money per month and your housing is going to cost another X amount  and this is what your minimum student loan payment is going to be and how much money that will cost during the term of your loan and I knew that 50% of my income was going to private student loans, I would have gone and done something else” Ian Redman