We want everyone to meet personal finance blogger, and all-round finance whizz, Jen Kempson, aka Mama furfur. She’s our 100 Days Challenge champion, ready to support our challengers as they try to improve their Borrowing Power over 100 days.
In a few weeks, we’ll be sending our challengers to meet Jen in person for a chat about their plans for how they’re trying to improve their Borrowing Power. But before then, and for those of you embarking on the challenge at home, let’s get to know her a bit better:
What got you interested in personal finance?
My financial journey began somewhere many people can relate to: my husband and I needed to tackle a large amount of debt. So, when I was on maternity leave, I took the opportunity to learn more about personal finance and I set a goal to be completely debt-free (including our mortgage) within 5 years. It’s been a long path since then, but the journey keeps on going!
Why did you set up MamaFurFur? And what were your motivations?
On that journey of learning, I realised that there were very few people talking about money and investing in the UK, particularly on YouTube, that I could relate to. I’ve been in sales as a profession all my adult life, so I decided that being in front of a camera and creating that content for others in the UK felt right for me. My plan was to share what I had learnt along the way in case others could benefit too. My goal was always to share how I overcame my own financial problems with others, so that they didn’t have to suffer on their own, but know there was a way to make better financial decisions with a little more knowledge.
And dare we ask the reason behind the name? 😉
It’s a nickname that my stepchildren gave me all those years ago when I first started writing blogs (back then I only used to write about being a mum, hence the “mama”). Plus it’s really distinctive, and I want people to remember my blog.
What are the three key pieces of knowledge you wish people knew about managing their money?
I have three simple rules for managing your finances, and the secret is actually doing them rather than just understanding them.
1) Always try and earn more than you spend. Positive cash flow is always the goal and you will grow your wealth over time.
2) Pay your future life first, with every pay cheque. By putting a minimum of 10% straight into investments or savings in a high interest account, you’ll start building your nest egg, which should be left to grow for years to come.
3) Debt is not bad, nor does it make you a bad person if you have it. You’ve simply made a choice to pay for something over the long term for a premium. That said, try to make as many purchases as possible with cash (via your current account), so ideally you don’t owe anyone anything.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received about managing your finances and who was it from?
The first book I picked up on maternity leave that kicked off my financial journey was “I will teach you to be rich” by Ramit Sethi. It gave me some of my favourite financial advice, things like: divide your income every month into the two essentials 1) things that keep you safe (like your place to live) and 2) things that keep fed (i.e ensuring you have enough essentials to eat), along with setting long term goals like ‘being debt-free in 5 years’ or ‘having a savings pot of 5K”. But, do remember to have fun with it sometimes!
What excites you about working with Zopa?
I’m excited when companies look for ways to help people overall, especially when it comes to money. If the customer or potential customer comes away better off as a result of their interaction, which I believe Zopa strives for on a daily basis, then that makes a difference in people’s individual lives and their money.
What do you find exciting about Borrowing Power and the 100 Days Challenge?
While it’s tailored to Zopa’s products, Borrowing Power can help you make more informed decisions when it comes to your finances. I always promote healthier finances, and so does Zopa’s app feature. I can’t wait to see a difference in the way people feel about their money and financial health in such a short period of time.
What are your ambitions for the 100 days challenge?
I’m really excited to help real people in their everyday lives, and to see a difference in the way they feel about their money and financial health. I love both hearing from and helping my audience, and it will be really special to coach a few people along their Borrowing Power journey.
MamaFurFur now has over 17k subscribers. What’s the best finance tip that you’ve given in that time?
Hmm, probably that we don’t have to only earn money – we can actually use our money to make further money long term… you just have to know how to do it. That’s where I can help!
What do you think helped you become the UK’s Best Micro-Influencer in 2019?
I like to believe that it was my practical, down-to-earth approach, my passion for making content that helps others and that I give tips and ideas that can be applied easily. It was a great feeling to be recognised by my peers in the sector.
You recently disclosed that you’ve made more money from your channel than you did from your day job… What are your tips?
Have a vision for the life you want, and then take direct small actions towards it every day or at least every week. Keep the momentum going any way you can until you get to the goal that feels right for you. Even if the steps feel uncomfortable or push you to try something new – use your goals to see what opportunities feel right along the way that will help you get to your ultimate bigger picture. I started my YouTube channel some 18 months ago now, believing that it was helping others, and it has helped to keep my focus. To have support financially from it now is wonderful.
Given the above, what are your ambitions for the future? Where do you want to see MamaFurFur grow?
Great question! I would love to write another book in 2020 around money and having a ‘success mindset’. I’m also just excited to see what else might come my way. One of my big goals is to help people take away the pain and stress of money that I felt, and help them have a life full of choices and freedom. I’d really love to help 100k people by the end of 2020.
These views are all Jen’s own. Any advice given is for information purposes only, and does not act as financial advice. Your financial decisions are your full responsibility, and if you are in any doubt, please contact a Finance adviser before undertaking any investment with your money or change to your financial activities.