Rob Phelan – Financial Literacy Teacher

Welcome to Connect FCS Ed, thank you so much for listening. I’m your host Barbara Scully and on today’s episode, I have a special guest with me. I have Rob Phelan, who is a Math and Personal Finance educator from Frederick County, Maryland. He is author and founder and creator of the simple start-up, which is a book geared towards entrepreneurship for 10 to 18-year-olds, and co-creator of the ChooseFI PreK-12, a Financial Education Curriculum.

Through his classroom work and Simple StartUp Virtual courses, Rob has helped beginner entrepreneurs form over 250 new businesses, across all different types of industries. The ChooseFI Curriculum has been used by hundreds of teachers across the United States and helped bring free financial education to many underserved populations when it comes to personal finance.

Ready? Listen in…


•  Financial independence is a point at which you can say, I no longer need to work, and I’m not talking about traditional retirement, it can apply a traditional retirement here, hit 65, like, Okay, I’m done. I better have enough money left to get me through the rest of my life, that is technically financial dependence when you have enough money to get you through to the rest of your days, whenever that happens to be. (3:57)

•  So I’m a teacher first and foremost. I still teach full-time Math and Personal Finance. I love working with kids, and in particular, I love educating kids about personal finance, so it’s one of my favorite things to do is why I love getting up in the morning, going to school. I also love working on creating these curriculums, to talking to people like you and telling everyone else out there like, Hey, there is a way to do better with your money. (8:14)

•   I’ll give you a prime example that a second, but we have assessments that are about the financial literacy side, but also how can we measure, how do the kids attitude towards money change, do they feel they are good managers of money, do they cost by themselves as saviors or spenders, what would they do if they’re presented with different scenarios and we start measuring like? (12:58)

• That’s again, going back to personal finance education, I see the kids that I know their situation at home is not ideal, and they’re the ones who are paying the most attention and taking that home to their family, mean like, Oh, we can do this to… Save some money, or here are some ways we could earn more or… One, just ask me a question like, Okay, my family is going to refine their mortgage, because their mortgage just too much. They’re drowning in the mortgage. And do you know some ways that we can do that? And it’s like, Well, I’m glad you’re asking these kinds of questions, because you’re realizing this is what’s causing that problem, the housing cost is too much of the take-home pay, and we try and figure out ways to change that up. (26:45)

•  At the high school level, that’s probably the one where you do see potentially a full course that is just personal finance, so the way we set it up was we’re assuming that nobody is lucky enough to actually have a full year-long personal finance class, so instead we create units, we created individual lessons, and each of those could be taken on their own and insert it into a classroom. So if you take the whole thing, it would cover an 18-week semester-long course for a 60 to 90 minute class. If you wanted it to be a year-long course, it’s very easy to take most of those lessons to divide them and a half and stretch over two days because you can extend these activities very easily through the conversations that you have, extending the projects a little bit longer. 29:47)


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April 07, 2021

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