Interview: Breaking the Money Taboo With Liana

Liana The Inspiration Space

Hello Liana!

Could you please tell us a little bit about yourself?

I’m originally from California and moved to the UK to study Fashion in 2004. I met an awesome man, had a fabulous job in PR and so I thought, ‘What the hell, why not get married and stay?’ I did and it’s all worked out from there...

What inspired you to launch The Inspiration Space?

I wholeheartedly believe that everyone can reach their true potential if their given the right environment, resources and support. Surrey is changing in a very exciting way as more people leave London, have families and start their own businesses. However, we’re not moving at the same pace as London and I soon realised that the traditional networking groups around here don’t really appeal my peers. Using my background in creative marketing and events, I wanted to create a platform that was fresh, high quality and most importantly inclusive for all but women-led.

What’s your relationship like with money and personal finance?

I would say I have a pretty good relationship to money and personal finance however, I got married at 22 and I’m a bit embarrassed to say, I’ve never been financially independent. The weekend we got engaged we set up a joint bank account and both of our salaries have been going in there ever since. Prior to that my parents were paying my bills as I was still in University. Having said that, I am definitely an equal partner when it comes to making financial decisions though and I know how to manage money thanks to my professional experience.

When I worked in creative agencies I managed budgets of up to £2.5m and was lucky to work alongside an amazing Finance Director who taught me all about cash flow, P&L’s and keeping a close eye on the numbers. Now that I run my own business, I put those learnings into practice daily and I find that I enjoy looking at the numbers as much as coming up with ideas and running events.

As I get older I become more and more frugal - I suppose it’s better impulse control and a lack of FOMO when I see friends with the latest bags, cars, etc. I like to spend my money acquiring memories and experiences, not stuff and I think my financial decisions reflect that.  

What does financial independence mean to you?

Financial independence is knowing that I can feed, clothe and house myself and my children without the help of anyone else, including my husband. I’m not anywhere close at the moment but this is what I’m working towards.

Financial independence is knowing that I can feed, clothe and house myself and my children without the help of anyone else, including my husband.

What’s the one thing you indulge in? 

Fitness classes! I regularly attend classes at 3 different gyms in Surrey and often head up to London to go to KXU because the lunch time boxing class on a Tuesday is 🔥🔥🔥.

What is the best financial decision you have ever made?

Overpaying on our mortgage without a doubt. We were going to move a couple years ago but then Brexit happened and the chain fell apart. With interest rates on traditional bank accounts being so rubbish we decided the best thing to do was up our monthly mortgage payments to the same amount we would have been paying on the new house. Two years on and we have an additional £50K in equity and are staring at the possibility of being mortgage free in less than 8 years.

Have you ever experienced a financial epiphany? A sort of wake-up call, where you suddenly think - “I must start doing things differently”? 

When I had my first child I knew I wasn’t going back to my job at a London creative agency for several reasons. I was jaded, tired and wanted to take some time out to do the ‘mom thing.’ My husband was working really long hours as a Partner at a high pressured City law firm and after two years at home it dawned on me - he’d be working for the next 30 years, maintaining if not accelerating his earning potential, and I’d be at home with children who would, over time, need me less and less and with professional skills that would be completely and totally irrelevant.

That made me panic - all it takes is a couple of Mumsnet horror stories about husbands leaving their wives or dying tragically to put the fear in me. So I realised I had to start my own business with the sole aim of  having more control over my finances from a 360 point of view - income generation, investment & management and the fun part - spending it :)

What is Vestpod for you?

Vestpod is a source of knowledge and power. Reading the weekly newsletters has reassured me about my basic approach personal finance and has made me way more curious about how I can actually make my money work harder. The articles are so easy to understand and relevant to the day to day circumstances I find myself in as a woman, mother and founder of a start-up.

Own up. Have you made any major financial faux-pas?

I once spent £700 during a weekend away with friends and didn’t realise it until I came home. I was buying rounds of cocktails at expensive NYC bars, sunglasses, clothes - literally living my best life. When I got back my husband was like, ‘You just blew our whole holiday budget on yourself, in a weekend.’ You see, we were booked to go on a dream trip down the Nile about a week after I got back and I spent all of our spending money. I had to ask my parents to help me out a bit and then transferred the balance to a 0% credit card. I paid it off over the course of a few months and I’ve been much more fiscally responsible ever since.

Favourite book & podcast?

My favourite book is “Valley of the Dolls” by Jacqueline Susann. It was ahead of its time - written in 1966, and tells the story of three female friends as they seek, and ultimately attain, success on Broadway and in Hollywood. These women basically sell their souls and trade on the currency of their beauty for fame and fortune but there isn’t a happy ending as such.

My favourite podcast is ‘How I Built This’ and my favourite episode is Whitney Wolfe - co-founder of Tinder and founder of Bumble. The launch strategy she used to launch Tinder is inspired and was done without social media. Just let that sink in - a millennial, launched an online app to other millennials and didn’t use social media to get her first 10,000 downloads. Just her black book of contacts at her old University, 1,000 flyers and text.

Your story: I’m a Creative Coach and Founder of The Inspiration Space, a community that provides resources, practical tools and creative support for people who work for themselves or aspire to one day.

A firm believer that anyone can reach their true potential given the right environment, encouragement and mentorship I work in collaboration with established entrepreneurs, coaches and mentors to curate high quality opportunities for small business owners and start-ups to learn, connect and thrive - professionally and personally.

Where can we find you? The Inspiration Space | Instagram | Facebook Group

Thank you!