Brian Stoffel is very familiar with a classroom setting — even if he’s teaching adults how to understand the stock market
The finance world is a fascinating place. You’ll see plenty of people who knew that they wanted to stake their claim in the world of economics before moving into their first dorm room. Some others figure out pretty quickly after freshman year that finance is the industry fit for them. But there are also those whose paths led to other careers before landing in finance.
Brian Stoffel is one such person. For a decade now, he’s made his living as a contributing writer for The Motley Fool. He’s got plenty of on-camera experience talking about finance, too — you can catch him on Motley Food Live talking about the latest stock market news. And in 2021, he teamed up with a colleague Brian Feroldi and together the two host a YouTube channel intended to help educate the folks at home about the financial world.
Teaching is something Brian tells TheStreet he has a fair amount of experience with. Before he began his job writing and talking about financial education, he was a middle-school writing teacher.
From The Classroom To The Stock Market
As a kid, Brian noticed that his parents weren’t interested in big, frivolous purchases. He says that the focus was giving the family what they needed, and luxurious or trend spending weren’t deemed necessary.
“In fact,” he tells TheStreet, “they probably taught the lesson too well. […] I really believed money was the root of all evil coming out of college. I could definitely see the ugly side of the unfettered pursuit of money around me.”
But it was his job as a teacher in Washington, D.C., that changed his perspective on engaging with money. He and his wife were both educators working long hours on a teacher’s salary. Both in their late-20s at the time, they dreamed of having more precious time off to live their lives and pursue hobbies. It wasn’t about wanting more stuff, it was about having what Brian refers to as “autonomy of time”. After that, he says, money just became the means to the end — a way to achieve their freedom.
The couple decided to take a risk, and took a year off from their teaching jobs to live in Costa Rica. But while Brian’s wife was flourishing in their new, relaxing environment, he says he was wildly restless. When it came time to rollover the couple’s 403(b)s, he decided to teach himself how to best handle those finances.
His search led him to the online message boards at the Motley Fool — and within six months, he was contracted by the site as a writer.
How Financial Education Online Can Help You
Brian says that he ideally makes content for “someone who was in my shoes in 2009.” He believes that you don’t need to take dense economics classes or major in finance to have a positive relationship with money — after all, he says, “everyone deals with money at some point.” His goal is to demystify some of the language and tone associated with financial discourse. He says “my goal is to show anyone that they can understand their finances and how the financial world works.”
Social media itself can be a helpful piece of that picture. Sites like Twitter (TWTR) – Get Twitter Inc. Report are full of voices talking about finance, for better or for worse. But as long as you’re doing your due diligence, social media can put you in close contact with some of today’s most brilliant financial minds. According to Brian, “spending time around them — even on social media — can help slowly sculpt your mindset in a very healthy way.”