Tim Ranzetta realized the need for an accessible course for young adults and co-founded Next Gen Personal Finance. The non-profit organization provides online personal finance curriculums, games, free resources and teacher toolkits. We spoke with him about the importance of teaching kids about their money.
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This interview has been lightly edited for style and clarity.
A decade ago, I volunteered to teach a summer course for incoming ninth graders at Eastside College Prep, a school in East Palo Alto, Calif. for students seeking to be first in their family to go to college.
I created my own curriculum and discovered two things: Every student wants to learn how to manage their money, and many students were going home to talk to their parents about what was covered in class. Four years later, I took what I had learned from teaching this course and started Next Gen Personal Finance. I had the good fortune of having Jessica Endlich as my co-founder. Her educational background was instrumental in creating a curriculum that teachers love.
Every student will need to learn to manage their money, and high school is a place where you can reach all students. Most are not learning at home as money remains a taboo subject in many households. Upon leaving high school, they will be immediately thrust into having to make decisions about pursuing further education and how to pay for it, managing a checking account, starting to establish a positive credit history and creating a budget, to name just a few.
I was fortunate to have parents who did talk about money and modeled what it meant to live within a budget, to save for longer-term goals and the value of hard work. I also have worked since I was 12 as a newspaper carrier, a golf caddy, a shoveler of snow, a raker of leaves and other miscellaneous jobs. Earning money at an early age with a goal of paying for college created some early habits that led to me saving over $20,000 for college.
I have this incredible opportunity to give back and help the next generation by creating an endowment to fund Next Gen Personal Finance.
Invest in low-cost, diversified index funds to capture the returns of the stock market. I spent time in my 20s chasing the hot mutual fund and investing in individual stocks. I have been much more successful following this advice about index funds.
The money that I saved for college. Coming from a middle class family with six kids, I knew that I would need to save in order to go to college. My father provided the right incentives by often matching my savings as I got closer to college age. I ended up saving 75% of my total college cost. Education is the gift that keeps on giving. In addition, saving for that long-term goal helped me develop a strong work ethic.
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