Who says you can’t flip the academic experiences of your youth on their head, and become a renowned business founder?
Eloquently Her has been chatting to BoringMoney.co.uk creator Holly Mackay, about ‘cutting the cr@p’ and helping us all get ‘wealth wise’.
“So many women are ‘all round legends’ in their fields of work and life, but when it comes to investment, they either fall asleep or go cross-eyed.”
This is the opening line of Holly Mackay, a phenomenal, engaging and ‘blunt as you like’ finance expert.
Perhaps it’s her candid dialogue and witty conversation which has made her such a hit with women seeking to find a savvier way to tackle their wealth.
She’s attracting huge numbers of individual clients through her business Boring Money, and her comment and analysis is given great credibility within the finance sector.
Let’s be clear though. This is not a woman who has ‘stumbled’ into developing an investment guidance organisation for consumers.
No. Holly has an impressive CV featuring roles with the likes of Merrill Lynch, Aviva and Santander.
Oh, and she just happens to have sold her first firm to Centaur Media after just three years.
“Naturally strong with numbers? Heavens no,” she insists, as we start our chatty interview on a summery afternoon.
“In fact, I was the complete opposite in my younger years.
“I wasn’t particularly good at maths during school, and my focus was on modern languages.
“When I went into the world of work it was in film and television operations, but after eight years I decided to completely re-think, and then began my finance career.”
It isn’t an altogether left-field route, perhaps, given her father had been a finance director and had heavily encouraged Holly to invest from a young age.
She reflects on the fact that even as disconnected as the TV world may sound from her next career move, she learned a great deal from realising how little people in that arena were ‘properly investing’ for their future.
“I was in Australia at the time I made the big decision, because I’d ventured out there for some backpacking and then – as the story goes – fallen in love,” she carries on.
“Over there, it wasn’t incredibly easy just to make a start in the finance world, so I took a $10 an hour role in unit pricing.
“It was incredibly mundane, and something of a gamble, but I’m a persistent and inpatient so-and-so, and I think that combination meant that it paid off for me.
“I became more and more involved in the compulsory pension side of things, and in working on investment portfolios, so that by the time I opted to come back to the UK in 2003 – at the end of a long relationship – I’d gathered an awful lot of insight.”
At the time, aged 32, Holly certainly wasn’t feeling particularly hopeful about her professional or private prospects.
She was somewhat heartbroken, had her belongings in several dozen boxes, no job, and a plan just to start with living back at her parents’ home.
But Lady Luck seems to have favoured the brave.
“I pretty much felt I’d hit rock bottom back then,” she confesses, wistfully.
“I did feel an incredible loser, but I was motivated to want to make a success of myself, so I reached out to some banks and found roles with the likes of Abbey (pre Santander) and just continued to learn everything I possibly could about investment.
“By 2007 I had really started to gain confidence in what I was doing, and again, partly fuelled by my impatience, I decided to set up my own business.”
Platforum launched in 2008 and focused heavily on educating business level investors and creating dialogue to inform, influence and analyse.
In no time at all, this ‘accidental finance expert’ was being approached by a major media group, and able to sell the business on in full.
“I consider myself fortunate in terms of the time and place, but naturally, I’m also really proud we achieved so much in so little time,” she says.
“I spent three years doing an earn-out for the buyer, and then by 2015 I was ready to do my own thing again.
“This time I wanted something very much about focusing on the individual, and about debunking the myths and cutting through the gobbledygook to help people make sensible decisions without huge effort or pain.”
Today, the company has 12 staff and is growing rapidly.
The core mission, so says Holly’s company biog, is to ‘cut through the cr@p’ and simplify finances in a world where so many of us – particularly women – are left wondering what the best solutions are for our money and savings.
“I think what I love most about this business, over and above my first, is getting to see the individual impact,” Holly picks up.
“I get e-mails from people saying how we’ve helped them really shift the way their money is working for them, or the understanding they have about their own wealth management.
“They’ll tell me how delighted they are to have taken that first step into investment, and how excited they are about tracking the stock market and seeing what their money is achieving.
“It’s that which feels so rewarding.”
She goes on: “For me, I’d still say that I find economics boring and that I loathe a lot of the unnecessary dull analysis you see in the money world.
“What truly ignites me though, is how finance is all about fear or greed or human sentiment, and it’s a reflection of fads and trends.
“It’s what I call behavioural finance, and I love that side.”
Recently moved out of London to a slightly less frantic life on the edge of High Wycombe, Holly is now a single mum of two, and is unsurprisingly much respected in her own field – and beyond.
She has impressive aspirations for ‘business baby number two’ (as she refers to it), and says there’s much to be achieved in a time when everyone is anxious about what their money is doing for them and how it’s going to serve them in later life.
“These are strange times, with so much shifting sand in the world of politics and finance, so it definitely makes people more keen to investigate their options around wealth management,” she says.
“My desire for Boring Money is that we continue to grow and inform and support, by being completely trustworthy and authentic.
“This time, my business is allowing me to build relationships and really be part of the customer journey.
“I’m excited every day I go into work, and I’d like to think that as someone who was only in set 4 of maths at age 13 but made it into the world of investment planning, I prove that you really can be anything you set your mind to.”
For more information about Boring Money, go to www.boringmoney.co.uk
To register your interest in the future wealth wisdom event, email firstname.lastname@example.org