Their presentation “Financial Literacy: How to Read a Dollar Bill” found an eager audience with the Jump $tart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy. This national nonprofit strives to prepare youth for lifelong success in their financial decisions. “If you’re dealing with students, you really have to understand where they’re coming from,” says Dan Hebert, Jump$tart’s director of professional development and instruction. “That’s why I invited [Nief and McBride] to speak to us. When you think of online commerce and how kids are comfortable buying things on their phones, it’s dramatically different than even five years ago.”

To see the current Mindset List in its entirety and to view lists from previous years, visit or
Let alone a century ago. For their book The Mindset Lists of American History: From Typewriters to Text Messages, What Ten Generations of Americans Think Is Normal, Nief and McBride relished recreating the life and times of every American generation between 1880 and, projecting forward, the college freshman class of 2026. Another project they’re particularly proud of is their collaboration with the advanced-placement U.S. history class at Beloit Memorial High School. The students compiled their own Family Mindset Lists by interviewing older relatives about when they were 18. The questions eloquently dovetailed national history with personal history and opened the door to discussions the students likely never would have started otherwise.

“This was not only a great way to learn history but to personalize it,” McBride says. “The students could not only get to know their family history better, but it was a way in which they could realize that they, too, are now in the process of making history.” 

As a freshman at the University of Missouri in 1990, ­KRISTIN BAIRD RATTINI used pay phones, paid $1.16 per gallon for gas and had a videocassette recording of the collapse of the Berlin Wall.