Interactive Investor

Budgeting tips from a former Dragon on the ii Family Money Show

12th May 2022 12:48

Jemma Jackson from interactive investor

Sarah Willingham and broadcaster Gabby Logan discuss the role money has played in Sarah’s family life and entrepreneurial success.

Following the successful launch of the ii Family Money Show last year, interactive investor, the second-largest investment platform for private investors in the UK, recently launched its second series.

In the most recent episode, out today, broadcaster Gabby Logan is joined by successful entrepreneur and former Dragon (from Dragons’ Den) – Sarah Willingham. Today’s podcast follows hot on the heels of series two interviews with Alastair Campbell and Greg Jackson, CEO of Octopus Energy Group.

Sarah details her family’s relationship with money and why she encouraged her children to control the daily budget on their family gap year.

She also outlines how she climbed the ladder in the business world and how sharing an office with the Pizza Express chief executive gave her the confidence to choose her own path within food industry.

Sarah has led a hugely successful career in the food industry and is responsible for turning Indian restaurant chain Bombay Bicycle Club into a multi-million-pound business. She also, along with her husband, built and then floated the nutraceutical company NutraHealth on the London Stock Exchange.

The financial philosophy of a Dragon: look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves

Discussing the influence Sarah’s mother had on her approach to finances, Sarah Willingham, former Dragon, said: “I was really brought up with: you look after the pennies, and the pounds will look after themselves. I can still hear my mum saying that.

“I took her for a meal in London, and she was so horrified because she thought I’d over ordered. She would have been mortified about the fact that I’d over ordered and then there might be waste. So, this was really instilled in me at a really young age.”

Financial freedom and being a busy mum

Sarah also explains how having children changed the way she worked; pulling back from managing her businesses day-to-day so she could achieve a better work-life balance, meet her financial goals ahead of having a family, and spend more time with her four children.

Sarah Willingham, explains: “I have always prioritised my life, always. In every single decision I’ve ever made, every career change, let’s call it that, that I’ve made it’s been because I’ve been prioritising my life. So, I don’t believe in a career path at all.  I think a career path is a path that will go very wrong. I really believe in a life path, and I think you have your life path, and you have to be fluid on that, of course, it’s going to move as you get older and you’re in different stages of your life, but career absolutely has to fall into line.

“I wanted to be a mum. I therefore had to set my life up to allow me to be a mum. And that was a really crucial decision, so I made that decision before I’d started to have children, and because I made that decision before by the time the kids came, I was set up basically, and I also knew I had to make a bit of cash, that’s really important.

“Ultimately what money does is give you, if you have that mindset, is freedom, that’s my drive - to be free.  And I knew that if I set myself up so I was in charge and made a bit of cash, by the time I got to be a mum I would have the freedom to make the decisions, and the career has just got to fall into line.”

Letting your kids control the familial daily budget

Sarah explains why she and her husband let their children control the daily budget on their family gap year: “We had a really strict budget every day which the kids ran, which was brilliant, and it really made them understand the value of money.

“The relative value, I should say, of money, which I think is the only value of money – it’s all about context. So, for example, if we decided to go out to eat in an evening that would mean we would have to pay less for our accommodation that night.

“Or if we had done a really big trip, especially in Canada because the petrol was more expensive, if we spent $80 on filling up the tank of petrol in Canada then you couldn’t go out for the meal that night, and you’d go to the supermarket. They were in charge of that.”

In just its first year, the ii Family Money Show was featured in the top 20 of the Apple Business chart and secured a place in the top 5 of the Apple Investing chart.

The show also won a prestigious bronze Lovie Award for Best Business Podcast last year – the only truly pan-European awards honouring online excellence.

You can listen to the ii Family Money Show on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Amazon Music, or your usual podcast app – linked below.

Apple Podcasts


Google Podcasts

Amazon Music

About Gabby

A former international gymnast, Gabby began her broadcasting career in radio in 1992 and joined Sky Sports in 1996 where she quickly established herself as one of their key presenters. She joined ITV in 1998 and during her time at the channel Gabby’s repertoire expanded through presenting various fixtures including The World Cup and Champions League.

In 2004 Gabby hosted Sport Relief for the BBC before joining the corporation in 2007 and continues to be a prolific broadcaster. A prolific writer, she’s been a columnist for The Times and has previously written for The Independent, The Guardian, Glamour and Stylist Magazine.

Currently a patron of the Disabilities Trust, Prince’s Trust and Great Ormond Street, Gabby is also a vice-president of Sparks. She lives in Buckinghamshire with her husband and two children.

Friends and family

Interactive investor launched its game-changing Friends & Family plan launch late last year. Customers can now offer their friends and family a safe and free initiation into a life of investing. 

For just £5 extra a month, ii customers can each gift up to five people a free subscription to ii. That means that five friends and family can each join ii without paying a monthly subscription fee (otherwise £9.99 per month for ii’s core Investor plan). The offer comes with free regular investing, the full range of investments and exclusive, engaging educational guidance and support.

For customers in ii’s Super Investor subscription price plan, Friends and family is free.

These articles are provided for information purposes only.  Occasionally, an opinion about whether to buy or sell a specific investment may be provided by third parties.  The content is not intended to be a personal recommendation to buy or sell any financial instrument or product, or to adopt any investment strategy as it is not provided based on an assessment of your investing knowledge and experience, your financial situation or your investment objectives. The value of your investments, and the income derived from them, may go down as well as up. You may not get back all the money that you invest. The investments referred to in this article may not be suitable for all investors, and if in doubt, an investor should seek advice from a qualified investment adviser.

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