Funmi Olufunwa is a personal finance expert, former lawyer, financial educator and coach as well as being an inclusion and equality activist. She describes herself as being a “champion of financial wellbeing” and we definitely think she deserves a medal for all her enthusiasm and hard work running our Roundtables and taking part in events spreading the word about what we do.
Funmi was nominated for the IFW Showcase by Emily Pool DipPFS AIPW, who says: “Funmi always has lots to say about financial wellbeing, particularly in relation to financial education for children.”
What’s your happiest memory?
What a nice easy question to start with! This is really tricky to answer as I have lots of happy memories from over the years but one that does stand out for me though is eating fish and chips on the floor of my flat that I’d just bought solo. I didn’t have any furniture or cutlery but I was elated.
What one thing do you wish you’d been told about finance when you were 15?
That you don’t have to be rich or have loads of money to invest (although when I was 15 it certainly wasn’t as easy to invest small amounts as it is now). I carried that view with me for years and it didn’t serve me well as it meant that I waited far too long to take an interest in investing.
What made you want to become a financial educator and coach?
I guess it was my desire to help people manage their money better.
I’ve worked in financial services (as a lawyer) for nearly 20 years so I’ve seen first-hand how financial services products are developed and marketed to consumers. I’ve also seen that a lot of people don’t really understand the products they’re using and also don’t seem to take an active interest in their money. So I’ve always wanted to change that.
I’ve also always been interested in education and how people learn, so much so that I considered retraining to be a teacher and took a sabbatical during my legal career to work in various primary and secondary schools.
Being a financial coach and educator allows me to combine and share what I now know and help people find a way of managing their money in a positive way as well as becoming more money confident.
What prompted you to join the Initiative for Financial Wellbeing?
If I’m honest, probably a bit of FOMO to start off with. I started hearing about the IFW and people that I knew or knew of were part of it and brought it onto my radar. I was trying to immerse myself in all things financial wellbeing so I did some research, liked the IFW ethos and mission and wanted to get involved.
What drew you to financial wellbeing in the first place?
It sounds cheesy but I really want people to be able to live their lives to the full, with no regrets and no if onlys. Whether we like it or not, money/finance underpins how able we are to do this and whilst money on its own doesn’t necessarily make you happy, not having it or not understanding it or how it can support you can mean that you have poorer outcomes and fewer choices. I’m also really interested in human behaviour and psychology and financial wellbeing draws all of this together.
What’s the biggest thing you’ve learnt about financial wellbeing since joining?
Whilst there is a framework of areas that it covers, it is also very subjective and means different things to different people. Essentially there’s no one size fits all.
How has the way you work with clients changed since you joined?
Being a member of the IFW means that I’m constantly learning about people’s (coaches, advisors and clients) experiences and money journeys. That wider and increased knowledge and understanding helps me to support my clients better.
Who or what is your favourite (general) wellbeing guru, podcast or book? Please provide a sentence or two explaining why.
You might not immediately think of it as a wellbeing podcast but I find that BBC’s Moneybox is a great listen. It covers topics that span the spectrum of financial wellbeing and are of interest to the average listener. It also features “normal people” as well as financial services and other professionals. It’s easily accessible, good for listening to on the move and very relatable. I listen religiously.
What are you doing to achieve your own financial wellbeing?
I’m identifying and being more mindful of my financial wellbeing aims. I’m working through things that I’ve put off for a while (the dreaded will) and I’m sharing my dreams for the future and my financial goals with those around me.