You are listening to Investing Matters brought to you in association with London South East. This is the show that provides informative educational and entertaining content from the world of investing. We do not give advice so please do your own research.
Peter Higgins 00:16
Hello and welcome to the Investing Matters Podcast. My name is Peter Higgins and you can find me on Twitter/X at Conkers3.
Today I have the huge privilege of speaking with the multiple award-winning journalist broadcaster, speaker, author, specialising in finance, personal finance, and BBC Morning Live finance expert, Iona Bain, the founder of the pioneering Young Money blog in 2011.
The UK’s first and longest running finance blog aimed at young people.
Iona is the UK’s go to voice on millennial money. Welcome, Iona.
Iona Bain 01:01
Thank you so much for having me.
Peter Higgins 01:02
Thank you so much for joining me on this Investing Matters Podcast.
Iona, I want to start if I may, with the conversation regarding your musical journey, non-finance but musical journey from the City of Edinburgh Music School to studying music at Oxford University. Tell us a little bit about that?
Iona Bain 01:23
Well, the City of Edinburgh Music School is actually a state school, it's quite unusual.
It sat within a pretty normal comprehensive school in Edinburgh called Broughton High School.
And I went there to study cello and piano to a very high standard.
And every time we had to do exams, assessments, recitals, competitions, and at the same time also keep up with a normal state school education.
And music is the biggest love of my life. I still do music as much as I can outside of my career today.
And it was my first love and I think for the first 21-22 years of my life, I thought that I was going to end up working in music in one way or another.
And I think my state school education combined with also a very rigorous classical music training really stood me in good stead.
And I wanted to study at the highest possible level, which is why I went to Oxford, I think I was the only person from my school to go to I was one of the only people in my school to go to an English university.
It wasn't necessarily the dumb thing to go down south, if you like.
But I was definitely the only person who went to Oxford within my year.
And I was determined to study music at that really high level. And it was tough. But I learned a huge amount.
And it was once I came out of Oxford that I decided actually classical music as much as I love it. I realised it was not the career, the part of the music world that I wanted to work in. What I was really getting excited about was my pop music.
I was writing songs, I was performing them in public, I had a band and I decided to go to Glasgow, and play in lots of bands, and also write music journalism in order to earn my crust because as you can imagine being a gigging musician is exactly lucrative.
I did that for a couple of years after I graduated.
And it was a very different experience from Oxford as you can imagine, but equally character forming and amazing, and taught me so much.
And it was during that time that I then started to look around me see what struggles my peers were having when it came to their finances.
And I realised actually we could do with talking about this a lot more and that's what led to my blog.
Peter Higgins 04:01
So you're talking now about 2011, you started The Young Money blog, what led to that, because there was a little situation that happened, which I think you might want to share about your music royalties or whatever you were earning at the time that went amiss?
Iona Bain 04:21
Yes, that's right, my gig earnings.
So I managed to get myself a residency playing with this really talented singer at a bar in Glasgow, which I later found out was actually run by the mafia. So yeah, good job. I didn't play too many wrong notes.
And I used to get paid cash in hand.
That really should have been a clue actually.
And I used to keep the earnings from these gigs in a piggy bank, at my parents’ house where I was living to save money.
Because for a period after graduating, I moved into student accommodation because a bit of my story that I didn't say was that I was actually intending to do a postgraduate degree in pop music.
And yes, I realised that that was a complete waste of money.
When I was in the queue, waiting to pay for the course and I just realised hang on a second.
I'm sure for some people it would be a fantastic way of learning about pop music, it would be very, very worthwhile but for me, it just felt like a waste of money and I realised that, thankfully before I signed on the dotted line so I continue to live in the student accommodation but actually just got out there and learned about pop music.
You know, the way I think you should by doing it by being in bands, recording all that stuff.
But then it became more and more expensive.
And I was not earning a huge amount. So I moved back home with my parents and I stayed in my old childhood bedroom and I would keep the piggy bank on the windowsill.
And I was building up some good savings in there from these gigs I was doing, and I thought I was being very grown up. But then one night, my parents came to watch me among these gigs, and we all came back from Glasgow to Edinburgh in the car.
And when we got in the house, we realised that the burgled and of course the piggy bank was gone, because the burglars must have seen that and thought whoopee!
And yeah, I had to give a description of the piggy bank to a police officer later that night and talk about it was pink and had a tail. And it just felt ridiculous.
It was one of those surreal moments where I just realised, actually, I'm pretty clueless about this stuff. I thought I was doing the right thing. But actually, that cash really should have gone in the bank where it was safe, where thieves couldn’t get their hands on it.
And it's not the most earth shattering thing that could ever happen to someone in terms of their finances.
But we all have these moments in life, don't we where we can take a step back and realise actually, this could teach me something, this could be a moment for me to learn from. And I could go in a different direction from here. And it wasn't the reason why I started my blog. But it definitely played into my decision making around that time.
Peter Higgins 07:06
Fantastic. I love that story. But I hope and it wasn't the mafia coming back for their money!
Iona Bain 07:14
I never considered that. I did a very good job for them. And to be fair, they treated me very well. So no, I think I don't think I've got any beef with them.
Peter Higgins 07:23
Good. Okay, that's good to hear.
Now, by your own admission, then Iona, we're looking back at 2011, you've got a bit of financial despair there regarding the piggy bank going missing, and your monies and savings going a miss.
So that was almost a salvation, but also the inspiration for the blog then?
And what was your motto at the time? What was your mantra about making some changes?
Iona Bain 7:47
Yeah, I mean, you know, on the serious side, even though that was quite a funny incident in its own way, or at least I could see the funny side of it.
I was starting to feel incredibly worried and anxious about the future, because I just had no idea whether I was ever going to be financially independent.
I was living at home with my parents. And I looked around me and everyone else seemed to be having exactly the same anxieties.
And I realised this was becoming really typical of my generation.
And yet, these anxieties were not being expressed by young people in a forum that they could access and learn from the conversation about money was very much happening above our heads in the personal finance pages of the media, and was being conducted by concerned parents and grandparents.
But it wasn't involving us.
And I felt that that was something that I could address.
Because I was a keen writer, I'd always enjoyed expressing myself, I had a command of language.
And I was good at presenting myself. And actually, my musical background really came into its own later on when I had to present my blog and my ethos much more to the public through my work.
But my motto, as you brought up, there was don't get mad to get informed, because it struck me that everyone around me was getting pretty mad.
But there wasn't really a way for them to get informed. And I thought, well, if I do a blog, a), I've got nothing to lose. Because actually, I was earning pretty much diddly squat at the time.
And I think very often in life, you have to reach if not rock bottom, then certainly a place where you've got very little to lose before you're willing to take those risks and do something that might have seemed too outrageous or too difficult previously, but there's a kind of, you end up just having this attitude of why not? You know, what else am I going to spend my time doing?
Where else am I going to direct my energy and my intelligence, I might as well give it a go. And if it doesn't work out, it's not the end of the world, I can try something else. And then also, I think, by writing about money, I ended up learning about money.
And I think one of the problems is that as young people graduate or move into adult life, whichever path they take, things get so busy, their jobs take over, they end up having to actually just learn as they go along. But very often, they don't have that space to be able to really understand what the right thing to do is when it comes to their finances.
But when I was writing my blog, I was able to really go into depth about all these different issues, and therefore get to understand money much better myself. So I just thought if this helps me learn about money, great. And if it helps a few other people learn about money along the way and feel a bit more positive and informed about the future. Well, then I've done a good job.
Peter Higgins 10:54
Fantastic. I love that. Can you share with us some of the early sort of topics that we really getting your teeth into when you first started blogging?
Iona Bain 11:01
Yeah, I did my first ever blog about the cost of music festivals.
And that was a subject that was close to my heart because I was a musician and I was really dismayed at just how much young people were being priced out of the music festival experience and how corporate the experience was becoming and how far removed it was from its origins as being part of an alternative way of life.
And that then led on to me having a big interest in secondary ticket selling the really broken market around gigs and how young people were having to pay huge amounts of money to go to gigs and why that's happening.
So it got me really interested in actually the economics around music.
And that gave me a bridge into the other areas of personal finance that felt a bit more distant to me and abstract to me.
And then I moved on to writing about car insurance, because at that time, I was wanting to get a car to be more independent.
And again, I was really shocked at just how much it was costing me.
And new products were coming on the market like telematics insurance, that specifically were at young people, but they required a bit of demystification.
So I found myself actually having lots to write about internships, whether it was right to ask young people to work for free, there was also the launch of the Money Advice Service, which is now in the money in pension service.
And whether at that time, there was going to be special advice for young people or not. And I just really got stuck into it.
And as far as I was concerned, if it was a financial issue that affected young people, however, kind of wacky or, or slightly left field it might be, then I wanted to talk about it.
And if anything, those slightly more left field ideas work to its advantage, because maybe your average younger reader is not going to read a blog about how savings, but they might get into learning about money through understanding festival tickets or that sort of thing.
Peter Higgins 13:01
And also, they're going to listen more so to person have a similar sort of age to them, as more importantly, so yeah, fantastic.
So whilst you were doing this, you're obviously working part time and fitting it in part time, one of the things but then you did another leap, you went back down to London, back forth, there’s a song there somewhere and back to London.
Iona Bain 13:25
Well, I'd never lived in London, I made my foray down south to Oxford, but never spent any time in the big smoke, and my brother had actually just moved to London.
So I did visit him and was very taken with the City and thought, oh, wow, this is this is where grownups go to do grown up things and have grown up jobs.
And I think that must have stayed with me.
And when I made that change in 2011, when I realised hang on, I'm not doing very well, in my music career, I need to reinvent myself, I need to adapt in order to survive.
What am I going to do, having identified that I was really keen on writing and good at it.
I felt like I could pursue that more seriously.
And the blog did help as a showcase for my writing.
And I always say to young people who are interested in getting into journalism, that you can now be a journalist online, you don't have to wait for anyone to give you permission to do it, go and do it yourself.
Give yourself permission. And that way, at least you can show to prospective editors that you have got what it takes.
I mean, that advice would have seen a lot more novel 12 years ago than it would now because everybody seems is online and everyone's sharing their content.
But back then, it wasn't as much the done thing as it is now it felt like you were going out on more of a limb for sure.
But yeah, my dad was a journalist.
In fact, I'm a third, fourth generation journalist on my dad's side of the family.
So there was a part of me that felt like I was kind of honouring my family by doing that, too.
And he was able to get me to go to events in London, where I could meet people who could maybe offer me a job.
So I would start going to those events and see where it got me.
And then I started doing jobs in the financial media to learn about money to learn about journalism, the more rigorous side of reporting the legal side, what it's like to work to weekly deadlines, I did a variety of jobs that helped me learn all about those things, and kept up the blog in my spare time.
Peter Higgins 15:41
Brilliant, share with us some of the various part-time/full-time and freelancing roles that you did during that time and your learnings from them as well?
Because, you know, as a young person, taking that big leap, sometimes going into these organisations can be quite scary.
Iona Bain 15:54
It was very scary. Yeah.
And I would say 12 years ago as well, workplace culture was more challenging than it is now.
I think today, there are more standards in terms of what we expect from people in the workplace.
But back then it was more of a free for all. It's quite amazing.
Talking about that time, it was only just over a decade ago.
But we've seen so many changes in that period that it's definitely fair to say that I struggled with some of those early jobs, especially because the culture in some of these places was awful.
If it wasn't, you know, sexual harassment. It was a very workaholic culture, where you'd have to put your coat on the back of your chair at 9am and then you couldn't leave the office until six or 7pm.
No matter what even if that wasn't necessarily the best thing for the work that you were doing, even if actually getting out and meeting people and doing things was a way to generate stories.
Unfortunately, you might end up working for bosses who didn't see it that way.
But nonetheless, I'd say any young person who does those kinds of jobs, they do have to pay their dues, I think they shouldn't have to accept some of the really appalling behaviour that that I put up with.
And thank goodness, that we don't have that anymore.
But certainly, I think that you have to accept the need to work hard to prove yourself to be hungry to be keen to get ahead. And then the key really is to understand at what point you can start to say, actually, no, I've earned the right to be able to redraw some barriers here and to assert my rights here.
That's, I think, the main skill that you have to learn in your 20s. At what point can you do that and not jeopardise any opportunities that would come your way otherwise.
Peter Higgins 17:57
Brilliantly said, Thank you for sharing that Iona with me.
Now, I know you're very passionate, and an advocate for people skilling up and educating themselves post school, post University.
And you also went on to complete an Open University course on household money. Please share with us the benefits and what you attained from that course?
Iona Bain 18:17
Yes, well, I was very fortunate in some of my early jobs, despite what I've said previously, that I was able to get some on the job training, for instance, in media reporting, which is very important when I see what some young people are doing online.
Now in terms of things that could be quite legally contentious that I think that maybe we could do with a bit more understanding of legal issues when it comes to reporting things.
So I was lucky to get to receive that kind of training. And I learned a huge amount through all those jobs, not just about how to be a journalist, but of course, about certain subjects and about the financial industry as a whole.
You know, I was around at the birth of the retail distribution review, I was working on a financial trade paper, that was really interesting finding out you know, how that was going to affect financial advisors. I was around when George Osborne introduced to pension freedoms that had a really big effect on the pensions industry.
So really getting to know exactly how these events actually filtered down into the whole financial industry was fascinating.
But then, you know, after doing those jobs and continuing to write the blog, I think it's important to recognise what you don't know. And I realised, I think, by about 2014/2015, that there were still gaps in my knowledge.
So Open University through Future Learn, were offering this household finance course that you could do online.
And it was a no brainer, because it was free, you could do it in your own time.
And it was extremely accessible. And it actually became a really important touchstone for me when I was writing my first book Spare Change, because I was very fortunate to be approached by a publisher called Hardy Grant, who said that they wanted to do basically a Millennial Money handbook.
And so what they published was really beautiful, full of illustrations and quotes.
The idea was to make it inspirational to want to manage your money better.
But of course, this being my first book, I was really keen to make it as rigorous, and as obviously as factually correct as I could do. So that period was all about really plugging those gaps in my knowledge, shoring up my knowledge, so that I could be as authoritative as possible without losing that accessibility that I think made the blog a success. And that I thought would make the book a success too.
Peter Higgins 20:52
Brilliant. So also around that time, you've done a lot of TV and radio whilst working, or that shifts do an Open University as well. You're also working for particular, very highly regarded newspaper at the time as well?
Iona Bain 21:05
Yes, that's right.
So after doing my initial early jobs on some not very well-known websites, financial trade news, I did a stint for a while as a radio producer, you know, I did all sorts.
But I tended to stick to freelancing, rather than go in house and work full time for media outlets, partly because my blog was growing and interest was growing in the blog.
And I was being asked to do more and more things relating to the blog, for instance, I remember when I was working for Financial Advisor,that was the financial trade paper that I worked on, sadly, no more.
But at that time, I was called up by Channel Four News and asked, would I go on the show that evening, and I was at work.
And I thought, well, I haven't got time to go home and get changed or anything.
So thankfully, you know, I was looking perfectly presentable. But it was an example really, of the early days when I would get asked to do these things and feel really daunted but excited. And then it turned out that I was perfectly comfortable actually in studio and broadcasting on TV and radio.
And I think it comes back to the classical music education that I received. So when people express surprise about this shift that I've had in my life for me, it feels very natural because when you say that today you perform that has a connotation of it being a facade, or it'd be false or negative is more that when you're speaking on TV or radio, it's very different from when you're having a conversation like you and I, and podcasts, I have to say are an interesting medium, because they feel like a much more natural conversation.
But the art of getting a certain point across in a very limited space of time. That's what broadcasting skills are.
And I realised that I was attuned to those skills as a public performer previously, so I started doing more and more of that. And then I was also asked to do shifts pretty much nonstop throughout the whole of the first half of 2016.
Throughout that whole period, I was working pretty much nonstop for The Times, which was, again, a great training ground, I was there as well, when the Brexit referendum happened, the atmosphere in the newsroom was very electric that day. But there came a crossroads really, when I realised that I could continue down a more conventional media career working full time for a newspaper, for instance, or actually take my blog, grow it and see what opportunities would arise from it. And I decided to take the latter path. And I think it's definitely one of the best decisions I've ever made.
Peter Higgins 23:53
Absolutely. Now, I want to talk about that a little bit later on. But first of all, let's talk about all that TV appearances radio, you've done the Spare Change book, and many other things as well, for etc.
And then you've got your first award, as well. Tell us a little bit about that very first award from Santander?
Iona Bain 24:10
Oh, yes, that's right.
So Santander used to run media awards, and I was named Money Blogger of the year in 2016.
So that fed into my feeling that actually, things were changing that the blog was being taken more seriously.
Because, I mean, it's hard to believe now.
But actually, I remembered in those first five years after I'd set up the blog, blogging really wasn't taken seriously, the term influencer did not exist.
It was seen as an amateurish, and really quite, you know, low form of journalism, if you like.
And actually, to some extent, people still see it as that today. And there will always be people that will give blogging a bad name.
But of course, now I think you can't really get away with making out that it's got nothing to offer. I think it's clear that online media has shaken up traditional journalism in a big way.
Actually, traditional journalism is going more the way of blogging than anything else. And therefore, again, that kind of confirmed for me that the future was in you, ploughing your own thorough, and you representing different perspectives and viewpoints as a journalist, and as someone who's written about young, personal finance and brought that to the fore.
Sometimes having got a lot of flack for it as well, because this was also during the whole period of the intergenerational wars still ongoing.
I will be asked to go on TV radio a lot as the token angry millennial talking about how the baby boomers stole our future. I mean, it's not really something I do anymore, because my views have softened and nuanced.
And I've grown up a bit since then, I realise it's way more complicated than that, of course.
But I think that yeah, you put yourself out there, you talk about young personal finance issues, and you stick up for younger people's financial rights, if you like.
And it can be quite scary. And you can feel that you're really putting yourself out there at first. But after a while, you realise actually, that's the way to go in the sense that today, we all are living online, whether we like it or not, we all have a brand as much as people would detest that word. And I'm not a huge fan of it. But in a way, we all have an image online and identity online.
And it's about trying to understand how you can create that identity in a way that will help other people and not just let the powers that be.
And the systems in the establishments kind of tell you, what you can write about and what your place and what your role is.
And I think that's the shift that's taking place over the past 10 years and, and that's why a lot of online media has proved very threatening to establishment media. And sometimes of course, that's tipped over into quite dangerous places. But I think at its core, it can be a really good thing.
Peter Higgins 27:14
I absolutely agree with you.
Completely be what you said there regarding what's going on in the media side of it.
So many people are leading the broadsheets to become freelancers themselves and setting up their own agencies.
But I want to ask this though, I think it's quite important.
You've touched on earlier that your third/fourth generation of journalists within your family and you have the opportunity to write for The Times full time which everyone going whoop whoop and celebrating, that you're going to your Dad is saying actually that I think I want to do something myself. And then you set something up Young Money Agency with your Dad, just retired. Did you have to convince him?
Or was he like, come on, let's go darling. Let's go sort this out!
Iona Bain 27:55
I think yeah, I think it was probably more the latter, I think he was, yeah, probably more encouraging and believed in me.
And I think it's partly because of the way that he managed his career.
So yes, he worked full time for a newspaper.
And therefore, because of the times that he lived in, you know, he was that more traditional journalist, and he really believes in the pure value of journalism, to fight for the underdog, to stand up to the bullies that you often find within the financial establishment.
And he did a fantastic job throughout his career of doing that.
But he's also a realist, and he understands that things have changed resources that newspapers and across the media have diminished. And there is just not that same.
There's not that same investment into that kind of journalism anymore. And so much journalism now, is basically clickbait, and it's about just filling up the online pages. And it's about serving the overlords at Google. And that's quite depressing to realise. And one reason why I think him and I decided that actually we could create our own space within the media was because I had managed to, I think I'd managed to maintain my authenticity.
It's such an overused word now. But at its core, you know, it's a very good way to describe the value that really should be at the heart of, of any business.
But certainly, if you're in the media, you're constantly navigating ethical and moral issues about what to write about how to write about it, and so on, you know, this idea that we can have a completely neutral, you know, impartial media because there's going to be an element of bias in whatever media that you read, because the very act of selecting the stories will show bias.
So it's about just trying to navigate those dilemmas as sensitively as you can. But I think what was becoming apparent was that the financial industry was wanting to learn, actually, how can we treat younger people better? How can we listen to them more? How can we serve them better?
And one reason why I set up Young Money agency was because I was able to kind of help them understand, okay, here's not just the content that will appeal to them. This is not about putting content out there that will make them want to buy your products, but you don't actually have to change anything.
This is about you understanding, okay, how can we try to actually change our products and move with the times, because we all have to live with money, we can't live without it.
These products are an essential part of life. So we need to make them better.
And my attitude was, it's better to work with the industry to figure out how we can do that, rather than just sit on the sidelines, and constantly criticise and find holes to pick in the financial industry, which is a very easy thing to do easy target. But unless you can do it in a very targeted, sustained way.
Actually, what you write just becomes tomorrow's chip paper. It doesn't make any difference. But I actually wanted to make a difference through what I was doing. So yeah, that was one reason why we set up the money agency, and he just retired. So he wanted to keep busy. It was a no brainer, really brilliant.
Peter Higgins 31:26
Brilliant, no, I'm so pleased that you did because it went from strength to strength, and you ended up working with numerous publications and did numerous campaigns, do you want to share some of the larger organisations that you've worked with? Because there's, there's so many I've got a list here of all of them.
Iona Bain 31:41
Yeah, I'm trying to remember them all as well.
Peter Higgins 31:48
I've got here regularly contributing to the Financial Times, Sunday Times, Telegraph, Daily Mail, Independent, Guardian, and several online publications, which invariably lead to you getting lots of recognition. And then you're part of the association of Independent Professionals and self-employed Individuals. If I'm pronouncing IPSE, in 2018, they give you an award, that's recognition for you.
Iona Bain 32:13
Yeah, I won the Freelancer of the year in 2018, which was wonderful, totally unexpected. I had to go and give a presentation about my work and what I'm trying to do to a panel.
And they decided, yeah, I was doing good things. And that's why I won the award, which was one of the best moments of my professional and personal life.
And it vindicated really my strategy, because I think the safe thing to have done would have been to have continued working full time in the traditional media.
And I just decided, actually, going freelance right now is the way to be able to do lots of different work, and do lots of really innovative work as well.
So you mentioned that the newspapers that I went on to write for, often, this would be straightforward journalism, I still kept my hand in with that. But I also started writing more pieces about money from the younger perspectives, which was great to see more of that being included within the traditional media.
And now I think it is a standard part of financial coverage. You know, it's, it didn't used to be it really didn't used to be a standard part of the financial media landscape.
But now, it does feel like if you're not talking about issues that affect young people, I think editors now understand even if they're not reading what you're writing, their parents and their grandparents are and in many cases, they care more about their kids than they do about their own finances.
They know themselves, they're okay, but they're worried about the next generation because they know that times have changed so drastically.
But I also did all sorts of different types of content speaking, broadcasting work for the big fund houses, the pension companies, and so on.
But all throughout that time, I also maintain my independence. And that's why, you know, I would be asked to speak at, it's now it used to be called the National Association of Pension Funds, but it's changed his title quite a lot over the years, it's now the Lifetime Saving Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association, I'd be asked to speak at their conference a lot, because I would bring an independent perspective.
And yes, I would work for these clients. But that didn't mean that they could buy my loyalty to the more that I would then, you know, have nothing but wonderful things to say about the pension industry. Far from it, you know, I would often be one of its biggest critics. So yeah, I think it was the way that the agency worked really was that my dad would help on the more technical side.
But I would be kind of public facing I do more of the journalism that was out there in public, and obviously, the speaking and so on, but he would help me with the research and the technical expertise behind closed doors. And it worked really well.
Peter Higgins 35:05
Thank you. I think what's brilliant about what you've just said, there, it's about how you engendered and enabled a lot of these quite stuffy organisations to become far more inclusive.
We're talking 5-10 years ago, where before it was like, what do we need to talk about young people for?
Now, you're there, you're providing all the information and the seeing the growth and the importance of acknowledging young people's involvement in finance.
And, you know, obviously, one of the catalyst for that. So inclusivity is, and it's been talked about all the time now. And the talking about young people I was talking about a bit later on, we can talk about it now, about the rules being changed regarding auto enrolment, and what the saying regarding that, and royal assent is being given to change the criteria for that going forward. So that's something you know, recognising the need for empowering young people to save for the future as well.
Iona Bain 35:57
I've always had very strong thoughts on auto enrollment, because whilst it absolutely has been a game changer in terms of getting more people to save for their retirement, it of course, bring lots of problems and risks with it, the main one being that we end up sleepwalking into a poor retirement because we think that what we're saving at the moment is sufficient.
And that just because we're auto enrolled into our company, workplace, it's a case of job done. And I think it's dawning on younger people that actually, unfortunately, that's not the case, they are going to have to save more if they want the kind of retirement that they see their parents or their grandparents enjoying.
Now, one of the things I always say about pensions is that we actually do a very bad job of helping young people understand the kind of retirement that they actually want. I think a lot of pension estimates and recommendations are based on a kind of retirement that maybe young people in the future don't want to have, because it's one that will be quite damaging to the environment involving around the world cruises, or one that just involves an awful lot of spending and unnecessary kind of upkeep.
And I think that's one reason why we really need to have much, much more detailed work being done around actually, how much do you need to save to have the kind of retirement that you want.
I think young people need those more personalised, helpful targets for the future rather than these very blunt general rules that might not be suitable for everyone.
And in any event, if you tell a 30 year old that they have to save 15% of their income into a pension, the vast majority of them will just laugh at you and go, are you kidding me?
I don't have 15% to put towards anything outside of my essential bills and a few things that keep body and soul together. So I think we need to get much better at talking to young people in a realistic helpful way about pensions.
Peter Higgins 38:06
Indeed, I mean, I'm going to quote you now, you’ve been quoted as saying that pensions are sexy. Are they sexy? And are more people young people talking about pensions?
Iona Bain 38:19
Well, I was probably being quite provocative there when I said that, because, you know, I think most people would struggle to say that pensions are sexy.
I think that if you take away the word pension, then yes, you can make it sexy, because it's about you living your best life when you're wanting to start working.
When I talked about it in my book, Own it. I described it as a future fund.
I said, that's, in my opinion, much better term for pensions. And I think that pension comes up with a lot of baggage as a word.
People have got lots of associations and connotations with the word pension, and a lot of them are very unhelpful. And I wonder whether we could do with an overhaul, but I mean, it's pointless me saying that is never going to happen. I think we're saddled with the word pension, we've got to make the best of it. But I think it's about kind of helping young people understand that one day when they want to stop working and do something else with their life, especially with the longer lives that people are living now.
They're going to want to have enough money to be able to really make the most of it and that doesn't mean having an uber materialistic lifestyle. That's not what it's about. It's a about freedom.
And I think that's one reason why we saw the financial independence retire early movement take off over the past few years. I mean, I've got a lot of, you know, reservations and misgivings about that.
But one thing I do admire them for is the way that they really reset the conversation around why we work, what we save our money towards.
And actually, for them, the majority of them would say, it’s about freedom for me. And that's something I can really resonate with and connect with, and I think is a very good reason to want to save more for the future, if you can.
Peter Higgins 40:37
Indeed, I completely agree with you. Thank you for sharing that. Now, obviously, to use your term, you have some fire in your belly during COVID lockdown, because that's when you chose to write your book.
Pleas can you share with our global audience really an overview of the book, the first half of the book seems to focus on the why of investing.
And the second half on how to invest, do you want just give us a little synopsis of the book, please?
Sorry, I couldn't get the title either. Sorry, Own It. How our generation can invest our way to a better future. Thank you.
Iona Bain 40:42
Yes. I wanted to write the book because I felt very strongly that young people needed a firm friend to guide them through the maze that is investing today, I didn't see any other book out there that really dug into not just how to invest, but why to invest.
And I didn't really see a book that did it for complete beginners, in a way that was accessible, friendly, and dare I say humorous.
And that's where I felt like I could contribute, because I know everyone has a book in them.
But for me, this was such a massive passion project, because I just sensed that the time was coming for young people to really get to grips with this subject, and not just learn about investing through pure trading in stocks and shares, but actually learn about how investing affects our pensions, how investing relates to saving, and just there was so many issues that I felt needed to be talked about.
So as you mentioned there, the first half is all about why we need to invest for the future, despite all the headwinds that we faced.
And then the second half is really a deep dive into how to do it. And that was extremely challenging to write, not least, because obviously, it's a fast changing world.
But really figuring out how to help that person who's completely fresh and new to this whole area.
Get to grips with the passive versus active debate.
Where do you begin with that if you're not really immersed in this world?
What robo advisors are the difference between them and digital trading apps, cryptocurrency these sorts of things I just felt for someone who just didn't know anything about them.
Having an instep was vital. And it turns out, it was perfect timing in many ways. Because when COVID initially here, I thought, oh, my goodness, nobody's going to want to read a book about investing because nobody's going to want to invest.
Well, little did I know, just a few months later, actually, we went through a kind of young investing boom, because young people were furloughed. In many cases, they weren't spending as much money as they normally would. And they were using that extra cash actually, to invest in the stock market in many cases, and doing so for the first time.
And doing a lot of wacky things in the process, obviously, like sending the shares of Gamestop booming and going into cryptocurrency and investing in NFTs, which was always going to go badly wrong. But it just goes to show that actually young people did have that appetite to invest, but that they didn't really know how to do it. And that's why I wanted to do the book.
Peter Higgins 43:29
You’re absolutely spot on. Absolutely.
The timing of your book couldn't have been better. You know, I think most of it started from the US really regarding all the young people getting into investing more so trading, the meme stocks were an absolute nightmare and what they were up to.
But there was a time when most young people if it's talked about investing or trading the first word to say it was crypto and you’d feel like an older person telling them off. But they all wanted to do something and had an appetite for it at the time. So fantastic time for your book.
Iona Bain 44:01
Yeah. And I think on balance, it's a good thing that young people were dipping their toes in the water. And if they lost a bit of money, hopefully it wasn't, you know, life changing.
Hopefully, they didn't invest more than they could afford to lose. And therefore it would have been a steep learning curve, shall we say?
And sometimes I think you can read about these things.
But then actually experiencing them and going through them will help you learn in a very real way.
And I shared at the end of the book, a kind of Bridget Jones type diary of my time spent investing in 2021 because I had started myself dipping into shares and doing a bit more active trading than I had done before.
And I learned a lot from doing that as well.
And I shared what I learned to show the reader look I'm not some I think this is such a problem today with so much of the investing culture right?
Like you get so many people out there who like I've got it all sussed out. I know the secret to becoming a millionaire.
You just have to consume all my content, ideally at this price. And hey, you'll be just like me, and it's to use apologies for the strong language here, it's bollocks like a lot of the time, it just is completely nonsense.
It's a facade. It's not in any way valid or legitimate.
And I think that actually showing that you yourself are trying to navigate markets, with all their unpredictability, and all their surprises and twists and turns showing that to your audience makes you more relatable and makes them realise actually, yeah, this stuff's not easy.
If even she can get things wrong, it just goes to show, you actually got to take it seriously, you got to think about it really carefully.
Peter Higgins 45:48
Absolutely spot on, it goes back to what you were saying earlier about authenticity, he's also got to have integrity.
And this is what it's about building something from the ground up. There's too many of these fly by night sort of individuals that come by, and they've got a picture of themselves in front of a Lambo or a yacht or something.
And it's just in the studio and that's allowed them to do that. And they've achieved nothing.
And they're trying to achieve wealth, from actually having other people pay them to teach them absolutely nothing.
So yeah, I completely agree with you about the way you're going about it.
Now, I wanted to touch maybe a little bit here, regarding the book a little bit about the lifetime allowance, obviously, lots of young people have been able to get into investing via that.
And it was, I think, was one of the better things that have been done of late regarding young people of 18 and having access to save for an ISA.
Tell us a bit about that, and why that's useful regarding getting on potentially on the property ladder?
Iona Bain 46:47
I mean, I've talked a lot about lifetime ISA over the years.
And I think that, first of all, you've got to acknowledge that generally speaking, the Lifetime ISA is not going to solve the housing crisis, there's been too much of an emphasis on supporting people who already have the means actually to be able to save for a deposit, giving them a boost.
There's been too much of a focus on that rather than actually identifying the underlying reasons why we have a housing crisis, which has too much demand and not enough supply. And the solutions to that problem are far harder to enact involve lots of tricky political decisions.
Nonetheless, I think that the Lifetime ISA presented a unique opportunity for young people who could take advantage of it to learn not just about saving, but also move on to learning about investing.
And I started saving into my Lifetime ISA after actually, I got on the property ladder.
So for me, it was actually a substitute initially for a pension.
Because, you know, I was starting out in my freelance career, I did not have lots of money to put into a pension.
For me a lifetime ISA felt much more realistic and achievable in terms of you can only save up to £4,000 a year.
And it was a way for me to start learning about investing.
So yeah, over the years, my Lifetime ISA strategy has evolved and changed, I have to say, I've moved away more from the active investing that I was doing early on towards more passive investing, particularly now.
But nonetheless, I think for anyone who can take advantage of the LISA, it's well worth considering. And it's amazing how many people you meet, who are saving for a property and still don't really know about it. And I don't think the Treasury has necessarily done a fantastic job in getting the word out about Lifetime ISA.
And there are problems with it, maybe the house value limit could be raised to take into account the fact that property values in London in the southeast keep going up, the penalty is not great.
I think it kind of has the potential to be the worst of both worlds.
It combines, you know, the lockup of the pensions, but then with the kind of ability to access your money, which you shouldn't really be doing anyway. And you get really penalised in the process, I think it should just be one or the other either have the money locked up in a way that you can't access or allow people to access it without a penalty, but it's a bit of an unsatisfactory halfway house.
But nonetheless, I think if you can make it work for you, then do it.
Peter Higgins 49:36
Now you've touched on it a little bit. There are times if you can go into a bit more detail about your own investing strategy, what you're currently investing how you invest it, and how that's changed since your early days, because he didn't have a lot of money. And obviously if going back even earlier, your piggy back got stolen.
Iona Bain 49:52
Yeah, when the piggy bank got stolen, I can't pretend that was the moment where I realised so I'll tell you what, though, the thing is that if you put your money just in the bank in savings, and actually you're losing money in real terms, because of inflation, that was a bit too advanced for me at that stage, I just thought I just want to hold on to the money that I earn.
And then as your time goes on, you learned about this concept of inflation. And this was during a time when inflation was like low compared to what it is now.
But it was still compared to what rates you were getting on your savings. It was still in real terms, eating the value of your money away. So as time goes on, as you learn more you it dawns on you, I've got to invest in order for me to outpace inflation and for me to earn a real return on my money.
So with that I started using stocks and shares ISA using a bit of that allowance. I opened a Lifetime ISA for my retirement as well.
Painfully conscious I didn't have a pension and that I should be doing something about it.
And, you know, as I said before, I was mainly investing in, I have, say, an investment trusts, and I still do like investment trusts, but I wasn't doing individual share picking or anything like that.
And then that changed. As we went through into lockdown, partly for the book and partly out of curiosity for myself, I've started doing a bit more active investing, and share picking and things like that. And I had a couple of success stories, I bought a games company based in the UK a few months before it got bought out by a much bigger company and its share price really jumped.
So little success stories like that kept me interested.
But now I would say my priorities have changed insofar as I've got my own mortgage and with interest rates haven't gone up.
I'm of the controversial opinion, I think it's a bit controversial, that you ought to prioritise paying off your mortgage over getting the best possible savings rate, simply because once you can get that monkey off your back, you're freeing up more money in the long run, to do other things like saving and investing. So that's my priority.
But also, actually, I do have a pension now. And I am putting as much as I can into it. Because with rising taxes, once you get over certain thresholds, you really do have a problem in terms of how much you're paying.
And therefore, that's when the pension can really come into its own. And I I'd be really interested to know actually how many millennials, who are kind of in my age bracket who are doing a bit better in their career.
Now, how many of them are opening pensions on that basis alone, and it does just go to show that the tax attraction of pensions really does still come into its own at times like this and can still be very, very attractive.
So that's what I'm prioritising.
But I'm doing I am doing mainly Vanguard at the moment I am doing mainly passive investing.
I'm just I don't, apart from the fact that I don't really have the time to do active investing any more.
I suppose my I've got less of an adventurous investing outlook. Now I have got more cautious, but then I think everybody has got more cautious. I don't think I'm unusual in that respect.
Peter Higgins 53:20
No, I think you're spot on that people and it's tight.
It's also about being time poor, because you're very, very busy with, you know, agency, all the different roles that you're playing, and tasked with and talking about roles.
You're the BBC morning live, finance expert for everybody, not just not just young people.
So tell us about that and how that came about. Because you're there, you've got a significant role there as the voice of everybody's financial expert. So how did it come about?
And what topics have you covered mainly there?
Iona Bain 53:53
Well, I was asked if I would go on the show initially in late 2021.
And this was a few months after I was approached by a great agency called Mirador Management who wanted to represent me because they felt that there was a gap for financial expertise on TV and radio.
And it's nice having that expertise coming from a younger woman. So they wanted to represent me and I wanted to do more TV and radio.
So it was a good fit and they also helped me with my corporate work as well.
And yeah, I was asked to do morning live in late 2021.
And then I was asked if I wanted to become a part of the family of experts that appears on the show every week from early 2022 onwards.
And I said yes, and I've been doing it pretty much every week that it's been on ever since sometimes more than once a week.
And on top of that, I also do visual transmissions or VTs for the show where I go out and do a report about a particular financial issue.
So I did one on my struggle with numbers and how you can get better with money, maths.
I've done one on cash stuffing, I did one on pensions actually how women can save more into their pensions and the pension gap that exists between the genders.
And yeah, in terms of my live studio items, I've covered a huge range of subjects, and the shows broadcast to over a million people, you know, every day, and I'm very proud of the work that we do on the show. It does feel like public service broadcasting at its best.
Peter Higgins 55:35
Brilliant now, it's absolutely phenomenal what you've achieved there.
But I think it's also amazing, Iona that you are intelligent and inspiring individuals that's achieved so much.
You touched on there just a little bit about your own difficulties regarding dyscalculia. Can you just explain to our audience what that is and how you've overcome it? Because I think it's absolutely phenomenal that you've done what you've done despite it.
Iona Bain 56:00
Thank you, well, it was quite scary sharing that initially, because I was worried everyone would think I was stupid, which has turned out not to be the case.
I've had nothing but support and encouragement for sharing my story. And there's been a bit of misreporting about it.
I did a newspaper interview a few months ago and it said that I can't do even simple arithmetic in the headline.
Not true. I can do simple arithmetic just goes to show newspapers sometimes miss report what people say shock horror, but on Morning Live, you know, I came out and said I had dyscalculia which is basically it's fair to say it's a bit like dyslexia.
But with numbers, you know, my brain struggles to process numbers in the way that most people could.
And it's not that I can't do arithmetic. It's not that I don't know that two plus two equals four.
It's not that I can't do those simple sums.
But there's always that little voice in my head saying, Are you sure? Is that really the case, I can never be entirely confident.
And obviously, anything that goes beyond the most basic arithmetic, I completely lose confidence.
And I have to go to a calculator, I have to ask someone to check the sums.
And I get a bit paralysed with fear. And I've had this all my life, I always hated maths at school, absolutely hated it.
And, you know, it was only because I had a very good learning needs department in my school, and a fantastic maths teacher who created a very calm, focused environment, and took it at our pace and made sure that we understood absolutely everything as we went along.
And he was also actually very strict. And this is a bit of an unfashionable thing to say.
But I think that really helped. There was no messing about in his class. And I think that really helped. But being referred to the learning needs department when it became clear that even with his support, I was still struggling, and I was still finding maths to display this horrendous experience and ordeal.
Whereas with pretty much everything else, I was fine. I was. And obviously there were certain subjects like English, where I was absolutely fine.
So as someone who wanted to be a high achiever, it was frustrating. But yeah, the learning needs department were fantastic. And they got me referred. And they established that I had dyscalculia, and then gave me the support that I needed to get through my exams.
And then I kind of shut it away and didn't mention it thereafter, because I thought people would judge me, but then I decided to be more open about it last year, with my role on Morning Live, it felt like the perfect opportunity for me to be a bit more yeah, vulnerable, I suppose.
And to share this and to encourage other people to come out. And not just, it's not just so that we can all wallow in it and go, you know, I can never be good with maths.
My message is actually, I'm dealing with maths in one way or another every day through my job.
And yet, I've found a way to manage or find a way to cope with it. If I can, then anyone can. And it really doesn't have to be that scary.
And there is no shame in using a calculator.
There is no shame in using these aids, you know, life's not a competition when you get to a certain point.
It's not about just proving that you can do things. I mean, I heard about a particular high profile person in this field, who shall remain nameless, who can do such good mental arithmetic in their head that they go around the office like asking people, right, what's this sum? Why what's the point, life's not like that.
You don't need that kind of level of maths knowledge, you know that abstract maths knowledge is obviously very enjoyable and pleasurable and wonderful and life enhancing for so many people.
But it's not how I see the world. It's not how lots of people see the world. It's maths as a kind of means to an end for a lot of people. And I wanted to reflect that perspective, even though money is at the core of my career.
Peter Higgins 59:56
I applaud what you've done. And I applaud you maintaining your authenticity and integrity. And on top of that, then you've gone beyond that. And you've become the ambassador for the National Numeracy Organisation.
So please tell us about that piece of work that you're doing and actually helping not just young people, but adults as well, regarding that piece of work?
Iona Bain 01:00:14
Yeah, I'm an ambassador, which means that around certain times of year when they're wanting to do awareness, raising campaigns, like number confidence week, which you know, at the time of recording is coming up very shortly. My role within that is to really be a public face, if you like for people who struggle with numbers, and to provide resources for people to go and consult if they want to build their confidence around numbers.
And I also talk about these issues from the money perspective.
So I'll talk about budgeting ratios that could be useful, like the 50, 30, 20 rule, I'll talk about how to understand your pay slip, all these things that actually used to scare me, and don't anymore, and so I know what it means to gain that knowledge and to become competent and comfortable. And I would love more people to have that in their lives. And if I can help one person have that in their lifestyle, then that’s fantastic.
Peter Higgins 01:01:19
I think that's fantastic. Fantastic.
I want to talk now about a very particular TV appearance, Question Time from the front room or the living room of your parents’ house. Tell us about that?
Iona Bain 01:00:30
Yeah, I was asked to go on Question Time for the first time during lockdown.
I've met Fiona Bruce at an event that she was chairing, it was like a Question Time event.
And I was on the panel. And she must have mentioned me to the producers because they got in touch with me during lockdown and said we're doing this young, special.
You know, we're doing a special programme all about young people's issues and concerns and we think you're a good person for it.
But it's absolutely terrifying because you don't know what the questions will be in advance. You have no idea what they're going to ask.
And so you know, I just prepped like mad for it and decided to just do it and go for it and not check Twitter afterwards, basically.
Which was I mean, to be fair, it was okay. I survived the social media onslaught that happens if you go on Question Time, mainly because, you know, I tried to stick to the facts I tried to stick to what I know best. I tried to be really reasonable.
But it was funny because I had to do it. As you said, I was living with my parents at the time. And I had to do it from their front room. And I had to actually put a sign on the door saying, please do not disturb among questions. So yeah, that was very strange.
Peter Higgins 01:02:54
Fantastic. I love that you were able to do that.
But also, it puts you in the actual whole media network, because everyone's watching that particular programme, aren't they?
It's one of the largest ones regarding what they discuss. And also looking at finances not just politics. So yeah, absolutely phenomenal.
Iona Bain 01:03:12
Yeah, but I don't think you want to do it every week, though. I think that would not be good your health and well-being, you know, once in a while, it's okay. But yeah, every week of that would be very stressful.
Peter Higgins 01:03:25
Completely agree with you.
Now, I'm conscious that I've had you on here for a little while.
So thanks so much for sticking with me here.
Now, since you started your Young Money agency and blog, what advances and innovations have you seen that pleases you the most related to educating young people regarding their financial future?
Iona Bain 01:03:43
Oh, that's a really interesting question. I think obviously, the whole development of financial technology has been fascinating to watch.
There was only one banking app on the market when I started my blog. And the idea of open banking would have been seen as very futuristic.
And smartphone banking just wasn't the norm.
Now, we have not just the main banks, all offering apps that have budgeting tools as standard. It's expected now that they have these apps.
But also, you have banks that have never had a high street presence, who exists purely online, as well as all the investing apps that have come on stream plus the robo advisors really all not necessarily providing a huge challenge to the likes of Hargreaves Lansdown and interactive investor and all those big beasts, but very much diversifying the market and showing that there are different ways to offer that kind of service.
And yeah, I think it's a bit of a myth that, you know, young people are attracted to all these apps and services like moths to a flame.
But nonetheless, I think they've definitely encouraged the financial industry as a whole to up its game to understand and recognise what next generation need.
Having said that, I will introduce a note of caution, which is that I also think that with this move to an increasingly cashless society brings massive, massive risks, and not just the risks that are well publicised around exclusion in terms of people with disabilities or the elderly, but just in terms of the idea of people really feeling in control of their money.
And I actually think that younger people over the past 10 years, they've been really sucked into this whole world of E-commerce and online shopping, cashless payments, by now pay later, all these innovations that are supposed to make their lives easier.
But I think it's a general story that we've seen with technology that actually, it might superficially make our lives easier.
But actually, in the long run, it could be making life a lot harder, it could be making it much harder for us to establish boundaries for us to really feel in control of our money. And I feel like that's going to be the big thing to watch over the next 10 to 20 years, you know, how well can the younger generations navigate this new world?
How well can they put their own boundaries in place, and ensure that they're in control of these apps and services and in control of their money and that it's not controlling them.
Peter Higgins 01:06:28
Fantastic. I fully appreciate that reply, full and candid.
Now, I'm going to ask you briefly now, what are your aspirations for the Young Money agency beyond 2020?
Because I know there's a particular project you've been working on as well. But I want to talk about in a minute.
Iona Bain 01:06:46
Just remind me, what project that is?
Peter Higgins 1:06:50
I want to talk about what you've got planned for the Young Money agency before that?
Iona Bain 01:06:54
Well I have recently described Young Money blog, I've rebranded it as Youngish money, because I'm now in my 30s.
I'm not getting any younger, lots of people are writing about Millennial money issues, which is fantastic.
And you know, I want to open, you want to acknowledge that there are new people coming along, and you know, they deserve their opportunity to shine.
So yeah, I'm writing about youngish money.
And I describe it as a platform to talk about money issues in a mature and constructive way.
But I'm not blogging as actively as I used to, because I'm that much busier with my broadcast career now. And I really want to pursue that as much as possible.
So yeah, I do still do a lot of speaking a lot of journalism and corporate campaigns.
But my dad, I'm letting him enjoy his retirement now, now that I'm working with a media agency.
I think he I think he can definitely put his feet up and take a step back because he deserves it. He's worked very hard over his career.
Peter Higgins 01:07:59
He has indeed And he's produced a superstar so he must be very proud indeed.
Iona Bain 1:08:05
Well, yes, his work's done.
Peter Higgins 1:08:08
He’s works done. Absolutely. So tell us about File on 4, the project you've been working on then, please?
Iona Bain 1:08:13
Yeah, absolutely. I've done File on 4 twice this year for the first time, which has been a real honour because it's the flagship investigative programme for BBC Radio Four.
My first investigation was into social housing.
And that was broadcast in March. And my second one was broadcast at time of recording just last week.
So yeah, it will be out by the time that everybody watches and listens to this.
And it's all about the anatomy of a fraud, where we look in detail and in depth at a fraud spree and its real, financial and emotional ramifications for all involved.
We speak to a real convicted fraudster one of his victims, we have actually obtained audio of a real fraud taking place as well. And we get experts to analyse that to really understand how and why fraud happens. And we ask, you know, what can be done to prevent this from happening in future if we can. So yeah, it's a very powerful, compelling, tough lesson, because we don't shy away from the really devastating human cost of fraud.
But it's a very important programme, because too often, we can just get bombarded with the numbers surrounding fraud and see it as a bit of a victimless crime and just get very bogged down in the detail of how fraud victims are compensated and so on.
But we can actually lose sight of the real human stories that lie behind fraud. And that's what we wanted to bring to the surface. So you can catch up with that now on BBC sounds.
Peter Higgins 1:09:43
Brilliant. Thank you for sharing that. I've got a fun question for you.
Before I've give you my final question.
Now. I've noticed that Ed Balls and Robert Peston formed a band called Centrist Dad, as you are a classically trained and pop music passionate individual has your views regarding music and your passion for music.
Are you pining to get back doing the piano cello or pop music?
How are you expressing your musicality at the moment?
Iona Bain 1:10:15
It's a really good question.
So I'm wanting to get back into it a lot more.
I've been actually getting back into songwriting in the past year or so which has been lovely.
Felt my creative juices flowing again, which is fantastic.
And partly maybe because I've also had the opportunity to move into my own flat, you get your own space, it really clarifies a lot of things maybe helps you to be a bit more creative and productive.
So that's been fantastic. Yeah, I sing with the choir, I play piano a lot.
When I'm at home, I play sometimes with an orchestra as well.
So I absolutely do keep music in my life as much as I can. And I'm a big believer that I would be a very sad one dimensional individual if all I did and all I talked about and all I thought about was money, it really doesn't make my world go round.
For me it's something that I think everybody needs to understand and be confident and informed about.
But my favourite phrase when it comes to money comes from the author of Gulliver's Travels, Jonathan Swift, who said keep money in your head and not your heart. And that's exactly how I feel about money, it's important to keep it in your head. But don't ever let it get into your heart.
Peter Higgins 1:11:30
Fantastic love that. You've almost answered my final question here. I'm going to ask it anyway. What sage pieces of advice would you give to any parents of a young person or indeed, directly to a young person regarding personal finance or investing?
Iona Bane 1:11:50
My advice would be a bit unfashionable and controversial, perhaps.
But boundaries matter. I think boundaries matter in all areas of our life.
And our finances are no exception.
And if there's one part of your life that will benefit more from boundaries than anything else, it's our money.
I think today, we are in a world where we're going to be constantly induced to spend money to make ourselves feel better, to make ourselves feel worthy.
And it will always be put forward as the route to happiness.
And I think parents would do really well to just encourage young people to think for themselves about everything that they're seeing why they're seeing it, and to put boundaries in place so that they are not exposing themselves nonstop, to all those inducements to spend money, especially through their phone.
And if they can establish those boundaries now, they won't miss what they don't see, there are so many things that I just decide, don't belong in my life, I've made a conscious decision to exclude them from my life, because I know as soon as I bring them in, I'm going to want to spend money on them. It'll be a nonstop cycle that will never satisfy me.
So understanding that in advance, and learning about that in advance is the way to go I would say and learn about debt the easy way, not the hard way learning about debt the hard way yeah, okay.
If you've ever been in credit card debt, where thousands and thousands of pounds, you're not going to rush to get back into credit card debt like that again in the future, but it's far better to actually never end up in that situation in the first place.
Peter Higgins 1:13:44
Fantastic reply. Iona it’s been absolutely amazing having you on this Investing Matters Podcast.
Thank you ever so much for being so kind, generous and candid with your answers as well.
Ladies and gents, that was Iona Bain the multiple award winning journalist broadcaster, speaker, author, specialising in personal finance and the finance expert for BBC morning life. Thank you ever so much. Take care. God bless you.
Iona Bain 1:14:10
Thank you. This has been a lovely interview. I've really enjoyed it.
Peter Higgins 1:14:14
Thank you Iona, I’ll hopefully see you soon.
Iona Bain 1:14:17
Thank you for taking the time to listen to investing matters. Be sure to check out the London South East website for free tools and info to research your next investment. You can also join in the conversation on our social media channels. And don't forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel for more content, including our CEO interviews. Catch you next time.