Rob is a father to Declan, who is almost 2, husband to Amanda, and a huge advocate for personal finance education…
Rob is a high school math and personal finance teacher in Maryland, Co-lead Personal Finance Curriculum writer for ChooseFI Foundation, and the owner of The Simple StartUp.
Growing up, Rob had many money lessons from observing his parents handle money and benefited from opportunities to earn, save, and spend his own money from a young age. However, in terms of formal financial education, it is a similar story to most Americans in that there wasn’t really any.
Fast forward to 2015, Rob had met his future wife, Amanda, who was far more experienced in the workings of money and building for the future. Determined to remedy this imbalance in the relationship, Rob went through a summer of learning where he discovered the world of personal finance, and even more exiting, financial independence. Through this learning journey, Amanda and Rob became debt free, Rob started teaching personal finance at his high school, and their financial lives started moving towards financial independence.
Rob quickly realized that traditional financial literacy curriculum focused on the nuts and bolts of how money works, but rarely talked about financial independence, building wealth, making smarter decisions, and out relationships with money. Personal finance is about more than knowledge. In fact, many well known personal finance experts will claim that knowledge is only about 10% of what is needed to gain control of finances and build wealth. The other 90% is beliefs, values, and self-management. In looking for curriculum that reflected this approach to personal finance, Rob decided the best way to create a curriculum that approached money from this perspective was to create it. In 2018, he approached ChooseFI Media Inc. to partner on creating a high school curriculum that met the true needs of today’s society. They were all for it and with Dani Mendonsa, Mandy Bert, Lindsay Giroux, and a team of volunteers, the ChooseFI Foundation PreK-12 Personal Finance Curriculum was created.
Rob’s passion for helping others to do better with their money has only grown since. In 2020 he published his first book, The Simple StartUp: A Beginner’s Guide To Starting A Business, which helps guide young entrepreneurs through the process of taking an idea and turning it into a profitable small business. This has since evolved into a series of online courses where Rob leads groups of 10-18 year old entrepreneurs through The Simple StartUp steps. To date he has helped over 260 young entrepreneurs launch their first businesses.
The birth of Rob and Amanda’s son, Declan, has turned Rob’s eye towards the early years of education and skill building. In particular, Rob noticed a lack of books that introduced young children to money topics, despite the research indicating that children as young as 3 years old are capable of understanding basic financial topics (Beth Koblinger). In line with Rob’s views about learning and personal finance, Rob was struck by the idea of creating a children’s book that introduced money vocabulary in an age-appropriate way to young readers, and encouraged conversations between children and their families, classrooms, and friends. The idea being, that if the taboo and uncomfortableness of talking about money can be erased in our youth, there will be a generation of money managers who are confident in asking questions, learning from others, and sharing their experiences or knowledge.
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