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How to think about and talk about money in mental health with Ian Dempsey

This article has been amended from episode 76 of the aspiring psychologist podcast. If you'd prefer to watch it on YouTube, you can here Or listen to it on MP3 here. There's also an amusing bloopers reel you can watch here.

Dr Marianne Trent (00:48):

Hi, welcome to the Aspiring Psychologist podcast. I am Dr. Marianne Trent, and I am a qualified clinical psychologist.

When it comes to talking about money and finances, it can sometimes feel a bit like a dirty word or something that we shouldn't do, especially, when we look at how we've been raised, we can experience something called money trauma. This is the case that we often find, when we are working with clients as well, who might have been raised in chaotic situations where there wasn't enough money or where it was their job to budget and make sure there was enough money to go around.

Of course, in psychology and mental health, often the relevant experience roles could well be lower paid than what might be ideal, and so it can feel like there's not enough money to go around, and there's not enough money to even consider our financial planning and our options.

Dr. Marianne Trent (01:46):

Today I'm joined by a qualified independent financial advisor and we're going to talk about ‘all things’ money, specifically for this audience of aspiring psychologists and mental health. It was an absolute pleasure speaking with Ian and I hope you find it useful too.

So let's welcome our guest for today, Ian Dempsey.

Ian is the Money man.

Welcome, Ian.

Ian Dempsey (02:37):


Dr Marianne Trent (02:38):

Thank you so much for being here. People who listen regularly to the podcast will not be surprised that I first stumbled over you on LinkedIn. That is your main hangout, isn't it?

Ian Dempsey (02:51):

Yeah, it is. It's just something that's grown exponentially over the last few years and it's just been a really powerful tool for me to kind of grow a business, leave employment, kind of get out on my own, do it my way, and it's been great. I love it. I love it.

Dr Marianne Trent (03:07):

Ditto in a couple of days’ time, it will be two years since I became fully self-employed. I absolutely think that LinkedIn has been a really big part of that for me. It's a great platform.

Ian Dempsey (03:18):

Do you know what? spooky. It's about the same kind of timeframe for me as well, so I think we must have kind of made that jump around about the same time.

Dr Marianne Trent (03:37):

Amazing. Well, it's been lovely having you as a diving buddy. Hope the water's been warm for you.

Ian Dempsey (03:42):

It's been choppy at times, but we're getting there

Dr Marianne Trent (03:45):

Okay, so, you know, I wanted to have you on because it feels like something I've not spoken about on the podcast at all, is money. It can be a really tricky area to navigate, especially when you don't have so much of it.

Many of my audience are likely to be working Band four NHS, Band five, possibly Band six, and I had a quick look at what that is paid. Band four is around 25,000 grand starting salary, with a monthly take home of 1600. Band five is a gross, 28,000 a year with a take home monthly of 1700 and Band six, if people are working at Band six, is 35,000 a year starting and would take home 2000 monthly. But of course, some of that will be student loans, but I think the student loan only kicks in at a certain amount. So Band four won't pay student loans, unless they do it as an additional payment. But sometimes it's useful to think about what amount we're talking about and some of these people will be footloose and fancy free, but some of them might already have children. And so in these difficult times that we navigate, it's tricky to think about what we do with our money and how we do it, isn't it.

Ian Dempsey (05:04):

It's a massive challenge. It's a massive challenge for everybody. If you just look at the squeeze that we've all gone through in the last two years. Where you've been through a pandemic, you've been through markets crashing, a real squeeze on people's finances, you've had furlough, people losing jobs, then we've kind of come out of that, to talk of a recession, inflation going rampant.

It's a real choppy time for people to kind of manage their finances. Whether you're managing a household just on your own,or you're living with your folks, whether you are trying to raise a family, it costs a lot of money to do this stuff and life is getting more and more expensive. As you know, in a lot of industries, the wages aren't going up at the same kind of level of pace.


So effectively, if your wages aren't going up at the same pace as the rate of inflation, you're almost, well, in real terms, you're losing money year on year, which is a real challenge for a lot of people. But there's lots of things that you can do to kind of make the most of your money. And that's kind of, part of what we're gonna talk about today, and hopefully give you some ideas, some tips, some ways to kind of make that money stretch out a little bit further and just give you a little bit of an insight as to what a financial advisor does. Really.

Dr Marianne Trent (06:17):

Great, because I know sometimes the temptation when we don't understand something or if it feels confusing is to run away, hide and bury our heads. I'm guessing you're gonna say that's probably not the wisest course of action, Ian.

Ian Dempsey (06:32):

No, not at all. It's like money's a really emotive subject, right? And if we talk about money, there are a lot of emotions that kind of sit behind that, and kind of do what you do, Marianne, you'll know the kind of the thing and the thought process, the mind, how all that works behind it. But a lot of how you manage your money is influenced by your parents.

So how your parents manage money, how you were brought up to manage money, was it scarce? Was it in abundance?

And that has a big impact on how you look after your finances moving forward. But one of the worst things you can do is the old ostrich of sticking your head in this sand whenever there's a challenge, whenever there's an issue or a problem. And that's really difficult to do because sometimes that stuff's really stressful and I've been there, I've done it.


This isn't me kind of saying preach, preach, preach These are things that I've done in the past and I've been in debt and buried my head in the sand because there's a lot of shame attached to stuff like that. And you think, I shouldn't have a credit card or I shouldn't have this or I shouldn't have a loan, I shouldn't be behind on payments. But sometimes you are. And that's the reality of it. And I think to improve your finances or to get a better handle on it, one of the things that you have to be able to do is, be completely honest with yourself. It's being able to look in the mirror and just be honest with yourself. If you've got a partner involved, be really honest with your partner and that can feel really challenging. It did for me, I hid my debts for the best part of three years from my partner, had the conversation and just said, look, this is where we're at.


She was like, well why didn't you tell me sooner? Let's figure out how we'll get out of it. And that was it.

And I'd spent three years of stress and worry by not being in control of my finances, granted this was a few years back. But it was tough. And I think like, going back to what you said, burying your head in the sand and just ignoring this stuff, it doesn't go away. It just compounds a problem of whether you have got a really expensive outgoings, whether you kind of really need to earn more money, whatever it is, but running away from your problems very rarely solves them.

Dr Marianne Trent (08:43):

Yeah. And there's just so many parallels here with mental health, isn't there, you know, that, we can think that it's gonna get better, if we just kind of ignore it and it doesn't. But of course mental health can be so impacted upon by finances, can't it? you know, the two are very much interwoven and the idea of financial trauma as well, either from, you know, growing up not having enough money or from just the ideas, like you said that our parents passed down to us.

You know, money doesn't grow on trees, you know, you're being frivolous, you don't need to spend that.

You know, my mum definitely is. I think of her approach to money, you know, look after the pennies and the pounds look after themselves. And if she was taking me out for lunch and going to a shop, I could have any sandwich I wanted, but if I didn't pick egg, which was the cheapest, I'd be in trouble. She'd be annoyed. Like that's how I grew up with money.

Ian Dempsey (09:40):

Yeah, I mean it's quite similar. Like, I kind of grew up on both sides of the fence. So my dad ran his own business as a financial advisor and I've ended up doing it now. I dunno why, I mean mum on the other side kind of didn't have a lot of money. So I've kind of seen both sides of it. It's like, it's a blend of the two in the middle for me. Like there's times when I could, over the years I've certainly done it, been completely reckless and thought stuff it, it'll come back at some point. But it is hard managing that stuff. And I think if you look generationally at where your parents or where your grandparents were, there's a few factors that you need to think about when you look at that, actually they've probably got a lot more bang for their buck in terms of their take home pay.


Like how much could you buy a house for? I have had clients that have bought three or four bedroom houses over the years for like 18,000 pounds and where would you get that now you just don't get it. It's impossible. They got a lot more bang for their buck in their take home pay. The whole structure of work was very different. And you've only gotta just take a little bit of reflection time, look at yourself and think about how many adverts you've been emailed this morning? How many have you seen on tv? How many have you seen on social media on the radio or wherever. It's thousands and thousands every day that are all designed to suck that money out of your pocket and pay somebody. And it's very hard to kind of push back against that because the whole construct of society, marketing and social media is to suck that money out of your pocket and get you spending your money.


And it's so easy to do and get into debt now. Like you can get credit for a pair of jeans that cost 50 quid. You get to pay over three months and like, that stuff just didn't exist 20, 30 years ago. You just couldn't do it. You had to have a great relationship with your bank manager, maybe you go to church with them on a Sunday, take him in an apple pie to be able to do it. And that's the stuff that you used to be able to do. Now it's anybody and everybody can get credit and it's a billion pound industry in the UK and that, I think is a massive part of the problem because it's just so freely available

Dr Marianne Trent (11:44):

And we don't have to leave the house to spend now, do we? Whereas, you know, before the internet you absolutely would've had to go out. And I think that it's easier to spend money when you're not having to actually handle the paper money as well, isn't it?

Ian Dempsey (11:58):

Oh, it's huge. And that was a big problem for me. The one thing that I did to kind of break that cycle was the old, like back in the old school days before bank accounts and credit cards, it was the brown envelope method and it was effectively you'd get your pay and you'd get a lump of cash in your brown envelope and then you'd probably go home, sit down with your partner and say, all right, this is what we've gotta pay out this month, what goes where? And that would go for your bills, that would go for your shopping, that would go for clothes that would go for work and you'd have a series of brown envelopes to do that. And even working in financial services, in banking up until about six years ago, I still struggled to get a hold of my finances because it was what I'd done previously in life and spent a lot of money on nonsense and just ran up debts.


The way that I broke that, was exactly that, by having cash and physically taking cash out because you're then acutely aware of how much money you're spending on crap. It's tap, tap, tap with the card, 10, 15, 20 quid a day can just disappear at a rate of knots. And if you're talking about a salary of two grand a month, you only need to do that four or five times throughout the month and you've easily spent a few hundred pounds that you probably didn't have. It's so easy to do. So easy to do.

Dr Marianne Trent (13:15):

Such interesting food for thought. I think I'm aware there's a bank, a free bank account that allows you to do those pots within. It isn't, I think Starling does that, which can be really useful.

Ian Dempsey (13:28):

Your right my face lit up when you said that. I talk to every client about that account. I'm pretty good with money now, right? as you'd expect, doing what I do. But we moved all of our bank accounts to Starling about three years ago. So we've got individual accounts, we've got a joint account and I've got my business account and it absolutely changed the way I manage money and I tell clients exactly the same because part of what I do with the client is to go through a budget planner and I've kind of rejigged that slightly. So rather than call it a budget planner, I call it a surviving thrive list. So split a sheet of a4 paper down the middle on the left-hand side, write down what you need to survive. So that's your fixed costs, your bills, your mortgage, your car insurance, house insurance, food, that kind of stuff.


And on the right-hand side you do your thrive list. So do that off your bank statements. Now what you can then start to figure out is where your spending is. And the reason starling is so great for that, is exactly like you said, you can set up these amazing little sub-accounts called spaces. So we did the exercise, went through everything and we've got a space for kids haircuts, school uniform, when the dog needs a groom, car problems. So if there's ever a problem with the car, we've got one called hit the fan fund because there's always some little expenses that just pop up. We've got kids' pocket money. I was trying to save up for a set of golf clubs but that's gone out the window now so that's disappeared. But what I love is that we worked our expenditure out over the year so we knew that the MOT’s were gonna come for the car.


So we knew that in, I think it was March, they're gonna come through as the cars get a bit older there's probably gonna be a little bit more. So, every month something goes into that space and you can name the space whatever you want, you can put a picture of whatever you want on there as well. So that every time you open your app you build an engagement. And I think one of the things when you talk about budget planning and managing your finances is, a lot of people think it's really restrictive and it can feel like it if you've never done that before, as in you just go out and tap your card away willy-nilly to do whatever you like with it. But by having those spaces, it's exactly the opposite. The first or the second month that happened, we kind of got to the end of the month, looked down at the accounts and panicked because we thought there must have been in direct debit hasn't come out, there's something gone up that we're not aware about, we went back through, looked through the statements and it was the opposite because we knew everything was covered.


So, what it means moving forward now is when the kids need some school shoes, when the kids need the football fees, it's all there ready to go. So you're not having those one-off expenses and it's so powerful having that functionality built into the accounts. That's why I love those accounts and talk to everyone about them. But it also kind of makes me wonder why that wasn't done much sooner with some of the traditional stuff,

Dr Marianne Trent (16:20):

Potentially life-changing stuff. But what we know about humans as well, Ian, is we don't always love change, do we? Mm-hmm And we could feel a sense of loyalty and kind of tradition. And I have changed my bank account. So I originally was with HSBC until it got to the stage where I thought they're not even giving me interest, I'm not having it, I'm leaving. And so I moved and I went to Halifax and then originally they had a reward account. It was quite good and it got worse and worse and worse until it, I think they disbanded it, I'm not having it, I'm leaving and I moved and I went to Barclay's and I've been with Barclay's ever since and theirs is getting ever so slightly less good over time, in terms of their rewards. But as I'm listening to you thinking yes that does sound good, I already do all that in the background with an Excel spreadsheet. But actually it's better if it's done for me because then nothing's gonna slip through. But also I'm thinking can I be bothered to change it? You know? Cause we can be quite lazy creatures of habit but that can cost us, can't it?

Ian Dempsey (17:19):

Hugely, like not just on your bank account. If you think about getting some electricity, your car insurance, those fixed costs every single month. Companies make a massive amount of money from inertia by us just sitting there and not making changes and not being on top of this stuff and the bank accounts. One of the big, big things, so there's a bank account switch guarantee in place where if you switch your bank account, everything should be moved from one account to the other. I think it's 14 days, it used to be 28 certainly when I worked in banking and it was a little bit fraught at the start because the bigger direct debit missed or something like that, you get a late payment charge. But the bank would always compensate you for that.

Now it's just ultra slick. Like, when we moved our bank account across in the store, I think within a day we got confirmation from that.


All the direct debits were set up. They transferred all of the standing orders across, they transferred even your existing pay. So, people that you've made a payment to in the past are all there, it was absolutely seamless. But it's one of those things where you think, oh well I get the insurance, or I get cover from my phone or I get this. Great, that's good, but why are they offering you those benefits? Because you're paying for them. You pay for those benefits, the money that goes into the bank, that you put into your bank account, and they lend out at a higher percentage or they do something else with it.

It's a fractional banking system it's called. If you move to an account that works for you, forget about the additional benefits that work for you and makes you aware of your spending, you can see on screen how much you've spent on Amazon this month. You could see that you've got money for the mot, you've got money for the kids' uniform, all that stuff that is worth a lot more than 10 pound a month for your phone cover or whatever it is. And I encourage anybody to have a look at that stuff and really get your head into it because it's a game changer and I don't use that word very lightly, but it is, it's phenomenal once you get a handle on that.

Dr Marianne Trent (19:15):

I guess I was just thinking then, you know, what's the worst that could happen? I could change and if I don't like it I could move back, couldn't I?

Ian Dempsey (19:26):

Hundred percent. I mean you don't necessarily even need to change lock, stock and borrow. You could just open one of these accounts. I mean what I'd encourage anybody that listens to this podcast is, certainly in the UK there will be other equivalents outside of the UK. I think Chase over in the states do something similar, just go into YouTube, and type in starling bank account demonstration, Monzo bank account demonstration. And there's a little video that just explains how it all works and what to do. You could just go and set an account up and just get a little feel for it and see how it works first before you make the switch across. And if you then decide to switch over, awesome. It's done. You can do it. You can dip your toe in with stuff and if you don't like it, like you've said, close the account and go back to where you were and be stuck in your old ways.

Dr Marianne Trent (20:18):

The good thing about my current account though is that I have got a bespoke card with a picture of me and my husband on our wedding day on it, that's a nice touch, it's difficult to take out of my wallet, you know.

Ian Dempsey (20:30):

Yeah, of course it is. Absolutely. But I think over time, most places will do that. Like I loved when the Barclays stuff came out, because there was a guy that I work with, he had a picture of his son on it and it was so cute. Like he got his card out and he loved it. His whole face lit up whenever he got that out of his wallet. I think it was such a great idea by them.

Dr Marianne Trent (20:49):

Lovely. So, I could talk about money all day. I think this is a great topic to be talking about, but many of our audience reading today might well be working in the public sector, working for the NHS, and often with that there's a pension that comes as part of it. Is that gonna be enough? Should we consider having a private pension in addition to that? Let's have a little chat about pensions.

Ian Dempsey (21:20):

Yeah. Hot topic especially at the moment. Especially when you look at what's recently happened with the budget and the conservative government, lifting the cap on how much it can pay in a lifetime. But I suppose that's more of the top end of the kind of NHS where you've got the bigger consultants kind of stepping away. But if you look at the life bud of the health service, and the people like you say, sit in these bands that we talked about at the start. It's real, there's no hard and fast answer is probably the simple way to look at it because it depends on a much bigger picture. And, one of the things that I'll always talk to clients about, the first question I'll ask is, what do they want to get out of the process?


What makes the time that we are gonna spend together valuable? And ask yourself that same question. Like if you're about to go on the exercise of thinking right, we need to look at the big picture stuff like what does our retirement look like? What are the next 5, 10 or 15 years going to entail? the questions that you can just ask yourself really to uncover what's important to you. Now does a pension play a big part in that? And I think certainly the financial services industry over the years has put a massive amount of pressure on people to have a pension. And I think they are very tax efficient, they are a great way to save for your future, but they aren't right for everybody. Cause you might have a partner that earns a significant level of income, so you might not need that income.


You might have a buy to let property. You might be further down the line and decide you wanna downsize the property to give you some equity to be able to fund that retirement. So rather than just think about a pension, what I'll encourage anybody to do is to think about the ideal scenario, what does your retirement look like? And I think if you focus on the numbers it becomes really transactional. It can feel really boring as well because I don't like talking about the numbers and that can feel strange from a financial advisor, right? But my focus is on the important stuff. So it's gonna be about, what does retirement look like for you? And we'll even go so far as to think, well if you wanna retire in Spain and go and live out there, why? Where, who with, when do you want to do it? Why, why, why, why, why?


And paint a picture, like almost paint the villa, paint that scenario in your head, like what's it gonna look like getting up every morning and going, having breakfast on your terrace, going down to the beach, all that stuff. And once you get that emotional engagement and you can really paint that picture, the numbers can almost become secondary to that and just almost fall into place because rather than sitting down with your financial advisor once a year and saying, you need to be putting in 300 pounds a month in your pension every month. And you're like, well where am I gonna find that? It's okay, if you want this villa thing to happen, we need to make some changes. And those changes are gonna be this, you will probably find a way to make that happen more than, you need to put 300 pound a month in your pension.


Ultimately the results are the same, and going back to what you're saying, should people have private pensions as well as the NHS one? I mean I think for years the NHS has been an exceptional pension scheme. I still think it's an exceptional pension scheme compared to whatever else is out there. It all starts with the simple fact of, can you afford to do it? Like realistically, can you afford to put more money in your pension while it's balancing out what you need right now, what you're gonna need in the next 5 to 10 years? Because ultimately your pension, you can't touch until you're 55 anyway. That will be 57 before you know it, it'll be 60 much quicker by the time we get there, that money's away for a long, long time. That's the million dollar question. It's like a set of scales, like almost three scales. It's the short, medium and the long term. And the pensions, the long term stuff, the medium is five years. The short term is like what you need right now if your washing machine blows up, it's a rebalancing act like you said, there's no hard and fast answer to it.

Dr Marianne Trent (25:22):

Yeah, I feel like I wish I'd known you in 2000 and 2006 I think it was. So I'd started in a private hospital and at that point they weren't inviting new members of staff to come into the pension scheme until after three months. But, I think initially I was on a six month fixed term contract. And so when it came up and they invited me to join, I thought, well there's probably no point because I'll be out before you know it, you know, if I can't get a new job. But they did renew my contract and actually I ended up working there for almost two years and I never got round to joining the pension scheme. And still I think that was probably quite a stupid decision on my part, because I didn't have any fixed overheads. I was living with my parents, I was earning a reasonable wage and I still think that was like wasted money for my future. Should we be talking these decisions through with people?

Ian Dempsey (26:24):

A hundred percent. If you look at it at a very simple level, like people look at the word pension, pensioners, they think it's boring. That's gonna be years away before I'm going to need it, especially if you're in your twenties, right? And you're at the point where you think, well I'll do that later. In 17 years of experience in financial services, the people that retire at 55 are the ones that started it then. And you're not talking massive amounts, you're not talking huge commitments. But think about it this way, the minimum requirement for a pension now as a workplace scheme is an 8% contribution. So, you put in 5%, your employer will put in 3%, on top of that you'll get your tax relief. So, if you get as a basic rate tax per say 20% tax relief, then you're almost doubling your money before anything else happens because you've got your employer contribution and your tax relief.


So right off the bat, you put in a hundred quid, you're effectively getting nearly 200 pounds into that pension. It's not quite that but it's there or thereabouts. Where else are you gonna get that? And if you did that in your twenties or maybe even you've got kids and you started doing that for them because you can do a pension for your kids from birth. If you did that for them, they're the ones that will continue paying 150 quid a month into the pension for the rest of the life and retire early or get to 65 with a whacking great pension rather than have to get, which the vast majority of people do, get to the forties, hit the panic button and I'm doing the same, hit the panic button and think I need to start ploughing some serious money into this pension or I'm never gonna be able to retire.


And I was the same as you. I just, I didn't, didn't have one. Like I worked in banking where the pension schemes were really good, it wasn't even an interest to me at the time. And then I had kids young at 23, it was then that I thought, can I put money into a pension, or can I afford to, I guess kind of pay for stuff for the kids but looking back and reflecting on it. There was always money for a coffee. There was probably always money for a beer with my mates. It's a tough one to balance because you kind of, want to enjoy yourself, right? It's not all about money, like your life shouldn't all be about money and focusing on this stuff and thinking that I need x amount to be able to have a great life when I retire.


And if I don't have that, I'm a failure. The vast majority of people get to the forties and then start really putting that foot down and thinking, right, I need to put in 500, 600 pounds a month. That vast majority of clients that I deal with do that because they just haven't had that foresight. So you're not alone, it's not too late if you haven't started a pension in your thirties to start one then even your forties, even your fifties. But if you can start it in your twenties, get your kids to start theirs in their twenties and make them more aware of it. And I think what's quite interesting now is we've got generations of people kind of coming through the system and the education system who are of the Instagram generation, they are of social media. They're seeing all this amazing content from financial cultures, financial advisors, ways to make money. And they're a lot more aware of this stuff. And I think you've got a generation of kids, certainly a lot of them coming up that are much more financially aware than we ever were. Cause it's all there. But the other side of that is that it's a lot easier for them to get money and buy things that they don't necessarily need. It's a real kind of, again, balancing act.

Dr Marianne Trent, Clinical Psychologist in a blue outfit
Dr Marianne Trent

Dr Marianne Trent (29:53):

I wish I'd done it sooner. I wish I'd been less embarrassed. I was embarrassed about not having enough money. I wouldn't have thought I had enough money to talk to a financial advisor when I was on band 4, 5, 6. But actually when I look back now, I didn't have a child until 2013. In my early thirties, I had so much disposable income before I committed to a mortgage and stuff, that was probably my most abundant time in my life. So I went from band four to band six and I went from, you know, I was only paying about 300 pounds a month at that point. I remember looking in my bank account on the day that I got my first full month's pay of band six. And I was like, oh my god, that is so much money to me, but I didn't have kids. And so this would've been a really excellent time for me to think about starting some investments even though it felt embarrassing and a bit dirty and a bit like shame filled.

Ian Dempsey (30:56):

I get it. It's completely normal because there's a real perception in the financial services industry that you need to have a lot of money to sit down and have these conversations with a financial advisor. Now, my view on it is I would have a conversation with anybody about financial advice and money doesn't necessarily mean that we're gonna become a client and work together because I'm also running a business as cost involved for doing that. But that doesn't mean that I can't help you make some of those decisions. And I think when you look at the FinTech, that's out there and some of the apps to kind of get you started, Starlings is a great one to kind of manage your money. You've got things like money box, you've then got circa 5,000.


These are entry level ways to get in, whereas historically you wouldn't be able to do that. Like, that stuff didn't exist when you were probably having your kids when you had all that money. They just weren't there. Like how, how would you have done it? And I think there's a perception of a financial advisor to be in a grey suit driving a dragon and not really interested in you as a person unless you've got 200 grand. Part of the challenge we've got is the average age of a financial advisor in the industry is 58 and those guys are gonna be coming out of the industry in the next 5, 10 years or so, which leaves a massive gap. There aren't enough people coming in at the bottom end. I think technology's got a big part to play, to service some of those people that need help.


But I think a lot of that experience disappears. A lot of the expertise goes and the financial advisors that are left will effectively be able to cherry pick their clients. And I think it becomes more challenging for people to get financial advice because as that market shrinks, which it is doing, then it can effectively pick who you're dealing with. And that price point might be nearly 200,000 pounds. So unless you've got 200 grand, you might not be able to have a conversation with a financial adviser. Now that's just my opinion, but I know others in the industry share that as well. I think there's a big gap. There's still time to address it on how people can get that information and have access to it. And a lot of the time it can feel like information overload.


Like if you are not necessarily financially literate, you understand how a pension works, you understand how a bank account, an investment or a savings account works, then how are you then gonna be able to take that to the next level? You'll probably spend a bit of time looking on the internet, doing some research, and looking at YouTube. But how do you separate the wheat from the chaff? What's the good stuff and what is absolutely nonsense because let's be honest, there's a lot of nonsense out there as well. I think we've got a big responsibility as an industry to do more to help people make better financial decisions. And that's certainly what I wanna do.

Dr Marianne Trent (33:46):

And you're doing it well. So, I feel like I learn a lot from following you on LinkedIn. Definitely. And that's definitely what people should do, isn't it? How could they find you on LinkedIn?

Ian Dempsey (33:57):

Just stick my name into LinkedIn. Ian Dempsey, I don't have a website. That'll probably come at some point in the future. I just, well, I mean when you first get going, you just need to get the wheels turning first and there's so many decisions to make. The thing for me was right, LinkedIn works, I know it works. I've spent a lot of time on there. I'm gonna carry on doing what I'm doing on there. It's educational stuff. It's helping people make better financial decisions. That's where I am. LinkedIn, just put Ian Dempsey in and this face will come up in your view. Let them see me there and see what I'm all about.

Dr Marianne Trent (34:31):

And honestly, I do. I'm not even just saying it. I feel like I've learned a lot and you pose really thought-provoking questions and ideas that do make me stop and think, the idea and even the word wealth, you know, it's safe to say the word wealth, and to think about how wealthy you might want to be one day. That's okay, isn't it? It's safe.

Ian Dempsey (34:58):

Of course it is, I mean people can dismiss it and say, well I could be dead in two years’ time. You might be, but you might live for another 60 years and do you really wanna be worrying about whether you can turn the heat on cause you can't afford it? And I think wealth means, it's a word that's very powerful. It's very emotive and it stirs up emotions in different people, like even, the people that are listening to this now will have heard that word wealth and would have instantly painted an image. It did for me as soon as you mentioned it, I painted an image in my head about what wealth looks like. But everybody's wealthy in lots of different ways. It doesn't necessarily have to be financially, it's about finding what's important to you and how you kind of move to get it, and building some financial wealth to help you get there is so important.


And I think the education system's got a point to play in that, which is starting to happen, which is amazing. It's about education, helping people kind of make better decisions. I think.

Exactly like you said, you've learned something from the stuff that I put out there. There’s a lot of jargon, there's a lot of kind of smoke and mirrors for a lot of organisations. Not intentionally. I think to a certain extent the regulator's got a part of playing that in terms of simplifying the information that goes out there. But I also understand that advisors run businesses, they need to make money, they need people to feed their family. So, it's a tough one. It's a tough one to balance out.

Dr Marianne Trent (36:25):

It is. And many of the people listening to the podcast will be working directly with people supporting their mental health. When it comes to benefits and you know, there's not enough money to go around and things being fair or not fair. Is the Citizens Advice Bureau still a thing? Is that still somewhere we can direct people to get, you know, reputable advice, Ian?

Ian Dempsey (36:48):

Yeah, absolutely. I think they do a great job. I guess the challenge is they're a charity, so they're a voluntary organisation. They offer debt counseling services. Trying to get in to get an appointment with them might be a challenge because there are a lot of people struggling at the moment. But they are there to help. And what you'll find is that there's a really great structured programme that these volunteers go through with Citizens Advice to be able to sit down in front of you and to give you the help and support from money. And what happens in the vast majority of occasions is these guys are maybe at the tail end of their career or they've worked in those particular sectors. They've got an incredible amount of knowledge that can give you help and support. So reach out to these people. There's another one which is, Christians Against Poverty. It's similar thing to Citizens Advice. You don't necessarily have to have Christian beliefs to be able to reach out for support, but they can certainly help guide you in the right direction. There's loads and loads of information out there as well.

Dr Marianne Trent (37:50):

British Gas and some of the banking organisations have started saying recently, you don't need to be one of our customers to call us and talk about not having enough money or fuel poverty and stuff like that. Is that anything you know about?

Ian Dempsey (38:05):

Yeah, absolutely. I think they're starting to kind of take stock of where their responsibility lies and how to help support people through difficult times. because let's be honest, in this country, we're all in it together. Like we've all felt the pinch and felt the squeeze over the last couple of years and things have got more expensive. The food shop costs a lot more, the supermarket shelves are empty sometimes when you go in there. That didn't happen 10 years ago, it didn't happen five years ago. But those banks can help, and it's going back to one of the first things we talked about Marianne, which was burying your head in the sand. Go and have those conversations with people, as difficult as those conversations might feel for you. The people that you sit in front of will have heard that a hundred times before.


There wasn't anything within banking when I certainly worked there, that shocked me, in terms of financials because I've heard it all before and if you've heard it all before, there'll be a route to help. Again, don't bury your head in the sand, If you need help, support, there's help and support out there. Citizen advice, your banks, Christians Against Poverty are all great. There are other charities out there that can help as well. And I think the conversation around money needs to be a lot more fluid. Talk to your family, talk to your friends. It's not rude having these conversations. You're not having conversations about how much you earn and what you spend your money on. It's like, look John, I'm in a little bit of debt. I dunno what to do. Is there anything that you would suggest? any of your close friends would be happy to help you. That's not necessarily lending you money to dig you out of a hole. That is, well do you know what John? I've been there and done it. I've never talked to anybody else about it, but this is what I've done in the past. But that conversation needs to be a lot more open than it currently is.

Dr Marianne Trent (39:53):

Priceless information there. Ian, thank you so much for taking the time to talk to us about this really important stuff. People, as I said, should definitely be following you on LinkedIn because I think your advice is golden.

Ian Dempsey (40:10):

Thank you very much. I've enjoyed it. I've loved coming on.

Dr Marianne Trent (40:13):

Good. Lovely. Well, it’s been an absolute pleasure and I'll look forward to connecting with you more on LinkedIn in future.

Ian Dempsey (40:22):

Awesome. See you soon. Thank you.

Dr Marianne Trent (40:24):

Wow. What wonderful advice. And I have to say that since recording this episode with Ian, I did try to move my business banking account to Starling, but they've turned me down. They said no, so yeah, I will consider my options, but I believe it is easier to get approved for Starling Personal Bank. So, I might well try that. It's never too early to start thinking about financial planning and as you know, there's no greater time than now. So, I hope you found it really useful and thought provoking.

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