Ambus Hunter IV is a personal finance educator who helps people understand their relationship with money and how finances intersect with the other essential elements of well-being: physical, career, social, and community. Ambus is passionate about helping people find balance in life, and money plays a large role in that. He does this through social media, workshops, his blog, and coaching, but no matter the medium, it always comes back to doing what he loves doing most: educating. Ambus is currently pursuing the AFC® certification.
AFCPE: What inspired you to enter this field?
Fortunately, or unfortunately, the inspiration was me screwing up and then connecting the dots. I have always been drawn to education; I used to work as a fitness trainer, as well as a drum instructor. But what really solidified my journey was struggling with compulsive gambling many years ago. I burned through most of my savings, and then within a year, built my finances back stronger than ever. It took working three jobs and cutting out everything I didn’t need, but I did it. Through that nightmare, I fell in love with “the climb” and the process of consistency. The idea that if I just take a few steps in the right direction each day, I will eventually reach my objective. I also gained an appreciation for protecting my overall well-being. I’ve witnessed first-hand what financial stress and an unhealthy relationship with money can do, so I made it my mission to help people find balance.
Through sharing what I knew about money via social media, I realized people were actually reading and implementing what I would post. Eventually, I was fielding regular questions from peers, and I observed that just about everyone was struggling to find balance in one way or another. In 2018, I started volunteering as an educator in the local community and then decided to start my own business in 2019. I already had experience in instructing, a formal education in business, and a real passion for helping people with money, so I put it all together. Here I am.
AFCPE: You’ve done a lot of work developing workshops and curriculum. Tell us about your work with Maryland Cash Campaign.
I have been extremely fortunate to work with two Maryland nonprofits that have dedicated missions of promoting financial literacy and economic advancement for low-to-moderate income individuals and families. With the Making Change Center, I assist in facilitating workshops that prepare moderate-income individuals for first-time homeownership. We also host financial literacy breakout sessions for first-year students at Howard County Community College.
With the CASH Campaign of Maryland (Creating Assets, Savings, and Hope), I facilitate free workshops across Baltimore County on topics such as budgeting, values/habits, credit, consumer protection, retirement preparation, and small business taxes. They are not shy about letting me get out there to do what I love, and I am grateful for their support. Between both of these organizations, I’m able to give back to the communities that need it the most. Also, it’s a bonus that I get to refine my “teaching chops” in the process (lol).
AFPCE: You have a blog, are pursuing your AFC®, and are building a private practice! Do you have any advice for others pursuing this career path?
Don’t do what I initially did which was worry about joining a “saturated” field. There are so many personal finance bloggers, YouTubers, authors, coaches, and educators out there. At the same time, there are MILLIONS of folks out there who have never learned a thing about money. They need us! As educators, we all have something valuable to add to this field so don’t be afraid to get out there. Someone out there is waiting to hear from YOU.
AFPCE: Tell us about “Adultopoly.”
Adultopoly is the brainchild of some very creative people at Loyola University Maryland. The Assistant Director of Student Engagement developed an activity fair for graduating seniors in order to prepare them for “the real world”. One of those creative activities was Adultopoly, and I was brought in to help develop and facilitate it. To start, students select their degree and associated estimated salary, as well as various lifestyle options like housing and transportation. After making these selections, they are left with “disposable income” to roll the dice and see where they land on the board. With each roll, there are random costly life events that occur, like an unexpected medical bill or having to repair the car. The main point of the game is for students to get a taste of the real world and to really feel the impact of their lifestyle decisions relative to their estimated income. It’s basically a combination of LIFE and Monopoly, without it lasting for hours and hours. It’s played out on a GIGANTIC Monopoly board, and the students really enjoyed it. Although I must say, a few received quite the shock that their income may not go as far as they hoped it would (lol). Life is all about choices!
AFPCE: What’s next for you? What has you most excited?
My main focus right now is growing the blog. Writing is not exactly my strength, so I am most excited about exercising that muscle. For me, it’s kind of like showing up to the gym when you really don’t feel like it. It’s painful, but you know that eventually the consistency will pay off.
Ambus Answers the Friday 5:
1. My Why: We each have a duty to use our strengths and knowledge to add value to the world.
2. My Favorite Quote: Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway (Susan Jeffers, Ph.D.)
3. My Hero: Byron Allen
4. My Favorite Personal Finance Resource: The 1985 book, Common Sense, by Art Williams
5. My Best Advice:
- For someone starting the journey to financial well-being: For most of us, 1, 5, or 10 years ago felt just like yesterday. 10 more years will also go by either way, so why not spend them enhancing the quality of your life? Your future self will thank you.
- For a new professional entering the field: Find your lane and go all in. If you love to write, start kicking out the content. If you feel more comfortable on camera, start a YouTube channel, and go with that. It’s easier now more than ever to create your own opportunities so however you can best serve, show up 100% and get at it.
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