Personal finance interview with Emma from The Money Whisperer

emma the money whispererToday, we are interviewing Emma from The Money Whisperer. Emma has worked for 15 years in the finance industry. She’s now sharing her experiences and money advice, as well as her experiences as a mum who loves living the good life, through her blog. Her focus varies from saving to investing through travelling and her family time.

Hi Emma, you are the third money blogger we have interviewed and it might not be a coincidence you have the same name of the app we are working on! 🙂 Can you first tell us what you love about finance? You have been in the industry for so long.

Yes – great name you have chosen for the app!

I started my career as a Chartered Accountant in Corporate Finance, specializing in Valuations & Business Modelling. Since having my children, after an extended maternity leave, I’ve moved into a finance role within the education & childcare sector. I’ve always been good with numbers, especially big ones (!) – the industry is constantly changing, especially so in recent years, so it’s a great, challenging space to be in.

What’s the best financial tip you have ever given someone?

My blog started really because a lot of my mummy friends used to come to me with financial questions. I do plenty of financial research to invest and grow my own family’s wealth, so to share on my blog seemed an easy extension of this research I was already doing.

Having researched the easiest stocks and shares ISAs to select and manage for our children, when a friend asked on our local Facebook network for mums about cash ISAs for her children, I jumped on the chance to provide an insight. I explained about the alternative option of stocks and shares ISAs to her and the other 9000 or so mums. I was able to share how well my children’s funds had performed (19% growth last year) and explain that you didn’t need to actually pick any stocks in particular – just choose a level of risk and your portfolio would be generated for you from this choice.

It’s important to me that people of my generation who learnt no formal financial literacy at school have access to information so that they can make good choices for themselves and their children. If a handful of those mums read my reply and chose stocks and shares ISAs rather than cash ones, think of the potential size difference of their children’s pots in 15 years time 😉

What’s the biggest financial mistake you have ever made?

I was looking to buy a 2 bedroom apartment in London in 2006 when I got the opportunity to go on a two year secondment to Melbourne with work. I never bought the apartment, ended up staying in Australia for almost 7 years and came back to a more expensive housing market. I regret not getting on the London property ladder before I got on that plane! Think of the growth I missed out on!

We have seen you use Monzo. What’s your thought on challenger banks? Do you see them prevailing in the industry?

I think the rate at which the world is progressing in the digital space is a huge positive for the challenger banks who are able to capitalise on this. There isn’t a high street bank that can give you a real time notification to your phone of a transaction (as far as I know). This sort of technology is what the younger generation is going to EXPECT of a bank. My love affair with technology and how it can help our daily lives continues and as long as companies are able to improve the banking experience, I will be a huge supporter. Whether or not the population at large will move from the traditional high street banks in droves, who knows.

What personal finance tools do you currently use to track and manage your money?

I’m a bit old school, maybe because I used to live and breathe Excel, but our our main net worth tracking is all done in Excel. The reason is love the Monzo product is that all your spending is categorised which is great for seeing where all your money goes each month.

I am loving exploring the various apps which are available to track where my money goes and will be providing some reviews on my blog over the next couple of months.

How much do you think you currently spend on eating out?

When we lived in Australia (before kids!) we used to eat out more than we ate in. I miss that life! All this changed with the advent of small people in to our lives but they enjoy eating out so we head to a local restaurant or pub most weekends for lunches and every Friday night. I’d say we probably spend quite a bit on eating out but we rarely pay full price as there is always a discount code for chain restaurants or we get 2 for 1 with our Tastecard. So I don’t feel too bad!

As a mum, do you have any specific idea on how you’ll teach your children financial skills?

As soon as I got my National insurance number, my dad took me round to the local restaurants and shops with my CV and I got a part time job at 15 in my local golf club as a waitress. My children won’t be given lots of pocket money – I think if they earn money themselves, they will approach the way they look after it and spend it totally differently. Even now, at 5 years old I have encouraged my eldest daughter to pick toys she has outgrown to sell on facebook selling groups if she wants to buy something new. She loves answering the door and exchanging the toy for cash. And she treasures those coins like they are gold!

The reality is that our children are growing up in a very different world to the world I grew up in. Card payments have already overtaken cash payments. No-one uses cheques any more do they? Do banks even issue them as standard anymore? With this in mind, I think it is important as a parent to keep on top of current trends so we can learn with them. Money to my children’s generation isn’t going to mean coins.

How often do you check your finances?

I monitor bank accounts and cards for any suspicious activity daily because cyber security is so important now.

Every month on the same day I do our net worth calculation so I keep a track of my share portfolio, ISA, bitcoin, pensions etc fairly regularly but not so often the fluctuations bother me! I think its important to do this regularly and re-balance if necessary.  

If you want to know more about Emma and her blog, The Money Whisperer, you can check out her website.

Edoardo Moreni

I am the co-founder of Emma. I was born and raised in Rome, but went to Uni of Manchester, where I got my MEng in Computer Science. As a true Italian I love sushi and ramen. ;)

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