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Case study: Ken

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We first moved to the UK when I was 14 years old in 1998 and we first moved to Walthamstow, East London. Back then life was extremely challenging, we had challenges around culture, people and virtually a new language. And I remember one of the huge difficulties back then was that my parents’ qualifications had become virtually redundant in this country, they were really, pretty much starting all over again. And the real struggle there really was that my parents could not earn enough income to be able to ordinarily provide on a day to day basis for us as a family.

I studied maths, chemistry and biology as my A-levels and I did them because my dad had read medicine and I wanted to go down that same path but I eventually ended up going down a completely different path and ended up studying economics and accountancy at university. My first proper job was as a trainee chartered accountant and for the first time ever I had a real salary and for me I had more money than ever before and the focus then became about saving, saving, saving. When you talk about personal finance and talk about a career as a chartered accountant, they’re quite different things and not all accountants are necessarily good at managing their own personal finances.

When I started investing back in 2010 when the BP share price fell massively and I did it mainly because my friends were doing. I had been itching to go into investing but I hadn’t found the right opportunity and this seemed like the right one at the time. I had massive reservations about investing; I just feared losing everything, that potentially the money I had put in might just completely disappear into the ether. There’s just far too much choice out there in terms of what I could invest in. So I started to focus on learning about how I could actually reduce the risk tied to specific companies. I looked and started to research funds particularly around how I could perhaps improve diversification around the companies I was investing in.

I started my personal finance site at ‘Humble Penny.com’ mainly because there’s so much information out there for people and people get almost paralyzed by what’s out there to the extent that they make no decisions. The site’s there to help people demystify personal finance and demystify investing such that they can start to take steps to achieve their goals. One of my biggest investment learnings has been about the power of compounding interest. For me as soon as I discovered that, the practical action was really to decide on a fixed amount to invest to make sure that we invested consistently in order to see that power of compounding and really work for us overtime. My ultimate financial goal is to buy back time, growing up my parents spent a lot of time working mainly to make ends meet. For us, we’re looking to do life very differently and the focus really is on life design. So using the money we made today to invest, in order for that money to work for us such that we can buy back time to focus on doing family life and some of the things that we love.