Interviewing Ben from Moneybox
“Financial independence means having more control in deciding how to spend your time”👌
Ben Stanway is the co-founder and CEO of Moneybox, an app allowing users to save and invest money: “Round up your purchases to the nearest pound and invest the spare change.”
1. Please tell us a little bit about yourself
I come from a family of medics but became interested in investing when I was 12. I overheard a conversation between two family friends, one of whom was working for a company that owned a gold mine in Peru. He mentioned how he’d invested his own money in the company and how he thought it had good prospects. Out of the blue I asked if I could invest too. I didn’t know what investing was, and certainly didn’t know anything about the gold company, but apparently was very sure I wanted to do it! I invested my life savings of £100, and the family friend kindly matched it with another £100. A year later, and by total chance, I sold for over £1,000. From that moment I was hooked!
After uni I went on to work as an analyst at Fidelity. After a couple of years, a few of us left to start our own investment company. We grew that company over nine years and ended up running over $2bn on behalf of clients.
2. What inspired you to launch Moneybox?
We want to build a company that helps you build up your wealth towards the things that really matter in life, whether that’s buying your first home, providing for children, retirement, or just having a buffer for a rainy day. That’s why we created an app that makes it easier than ever to start investing, via simple tracker funds. With Moneybox, you can round up your everyday purchases to the nearest pound and invest the spare change, or contribute via weekly deposits, payday boosts, or one-off payments whenever you like!
We think it’s crazy how little practical help there is to navigate your personal finances, especially around saving and investing. We believe the best way to learn to do something is by doing it, so we make it really easy to get started, and then give you all the information you need to help you make the right choices.
Of course, having enough money is only part of the picture, but we believe good planning can give you more freedom of choice along the way.
3. What’s your relationship like with money and personal finance?
I think a good aim is to try to get to a place where money is not a major source of stress in your life. I’ve found saving before I spend, and generally keeping on top of my personal finances helpful.
Beyond this, I think there’s a risk of having unrealistic expectations of what money can do for you. I see it a bit like oxygen – having enough is important, but having more than enough doesn’t necessarily add much. I’m quite cynical about buying ‘stuff’ that gives an initial rush but makes little difference to quality of life after the first couple of weeks.
4. What does financial independence mean to you?
I think financial independence means having more control in deciding how to spend your time.
5. You now offer a Lifetime ISA with Moneybox. Can you tell us more about it?
The Lifetime ISA is a fantastic product for most people saving toward their first home.
The brilliant thing about the Lifetime ISA is that you get a 25% government bonus on all savings up to £4,000 per year. Put in the full £4,000, and you get £1,000 for free. Over time, these bonuses can give a big head start towards a deposit.
It’s worth noting that if you withdraw your money for any reason other than buying your first home (or for retirement after age 60) you’ll pay a government charge of 25%, so you should only pay in money to be used for this purpose.
We’re extremely excited about the Lifetime Isa and are already seeing huge take up amongst Moneybox customers.
6. What are your plans for 2018?
We want to make Moneybox as useful as possible to as many people as possible.
In 2018 we’re going to be launching an in-app content channel with lots of videos and stories to help customers make the best choices around saving and investing.
Our customers say that they want to have their pensions on the Moneybox platform too, so we’re working on plans to make this possible.
7. What is Vestpod for you?
I think Vestpod is great at helping people engage with and feel empowered about their personal finance. It’s clearly differentiated against its peers and I wish the company the best of luck for the future!
Thanks a lot!
* Please note that this is not a sponsored post... We are interviewing actors and players in the personal finance space because we think we must start talking about money! *