Money coach, Jeremy, on flexible work, life experience and his legendary spreadsheet

Jeremy, a chartered accountant, is now a certified financial coach with Octopus Money. A career full of experience and a keen numerical mind make him a natural. We caught up with Jeremy, on a blistering hot day at his home in Hampshire, to find out more.

Hey Jeremy! We often like to start with one very important question. What are three things you can’t live without? Excluding family, of course. 

Peanut butter. My drone. And the bike.

What’s something adventurous you’ve done in your life?

Having kids! 

And what’s something that’s really challenged you?

Having kids.

Can you tell us what you’re up to at the moment, beyond coaching?

I’m teaching myself drone photography. I’m like a kid. I ordered this big drone but you have to jump through so many hoops to actually fly the bloody thing! I also do a couple of hours a week for an Armed Forces charity. I’m the treasurer.  

So what made you decide to become a financial coach?

When I left my job, I’d basically worked too hard, too many hours, too many weeks, too many years. I spent 15 years being part of a team that built a company up from £3 million to £80 million. I didn’t know what I wanted to do next, but I knew I quite fancied a career change. I thought it would be nice to give something back to someone, somewhere. Make use of my profession! 

My wife and I have three kids, so I wanted to find the right thing for us. Something to keep me occupied that’s part time and flexible. Financial coaching is great for that. I was actually at the ice rink with my daughter until 10am this morning. It’s so good to be able to do that. 

How would you describe the culture of the Octopus Money team?

Youthful! Relaxed. But with a purpose. It’s important for me to have purpose. 

Do you have any favourite stories from coaching so far?

They’re all memorable for different reasons! I love that everyone’s goals can be so different. You come across people who are very focused on their pension and then you come across people who are saving for their annual holiday to Disneyland. One person said to me, “as long as I’m comfortable in my retirement, all that matters to me is the family holidays.” You remember those things. 

What do you think makes a good conversation with a client?

A friendly face on the screen. Sometimes I think the remoteness actually helps. Because people don’t really like talking about money. I don’t know if it’s embarrassment…or just being British!

How do you support a client who is struggling with money?

First, you can’t hide from it. You’ve got to confront the truth together. But I’m a numbers man through and through, so I love being able to give people actual solutions to help. You have to show people that they’ve already done the best thing by talking about it. They’ve taken the first step.

As a financial coach, you get to be your own boss, right? What are the best parts of having your own business?

Being in control of your own schedule and time. It gives me the power and control to do what I want to do. Earning money and working 3 days a week – it’s so flexible. Which is great because I want to be able to give one day a week to charity. 

Why is giving back so important to you?

It’s really important to me. I had a good run in my career – I worked bloody hard, but I was very fortunate. And now I’m in a position to give back, I want to do that. Hopefully, it will reflect on my kids a bit too, they’ll think the same way when they get older. 

What kind of person makes for a good financial coach?

Anyone who can talk to people and empathise with them. The biggest thing I’ve personally got to give is life experience. I know finance and numbers really well. Years ago, I actually built my own financial plan on a very detailed spreadsheet. When I was going through training, I ran it through the Octopus Money tool and it nearly matched!

My life experience also helps me empathise. You know, I’ve had times when the money ran out a week before pay day. I’ve been through most of the stages my clients are going through already. I don’t often speak to someone who is older than me! 

What’s a personal goal you’re working towards?

Being completely flexible with employment. I don’t even know if I ever want to retire. I would be happy and content to work part time forever. Spend more time with the family. Buy a van. Go off and travel.

And last but not least, what financial advice would you give your younger self?

My old boss used to say to me “don’t get bent out of shape.” Basically, don’t stew about it, there’s always a fix. That’s the main thing!

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