Some personal news...

I'm launching a new project

This introduction is perhaps the hardest one I’ll ever have to write, but here it goes.

For the last decade, you’ve probably seen my name on articles at the intersection of food, travel and the occasional drink. That is about to change.

Today, I’m introducing a new project: Money Talk, a newsletter on personal finance.

Most of you will stop reading at this point. And that’s OK. I’ve prepared for that.

But if you’re still with me, let me take a moment to discuss the whys: why I’m pivoting to personal finance, why do I think I’m qualified to write about it and why I need your help.

Why I’m going down the personal finance route

The last couple of weeks have been a bloodbath in the journalism industry. Hundreds of people have lost their jobs, and it’s a situation that’s not going to improve for some time.

I’ve been lucky so far - I’m currently on furlough from my day job as a travel editor. It means, for now, I still have an income.

But furlough is also a holding pattern full of uncertainties. The longer the limbo, the greater the anxiety and the harder it is to keep the worry from seeping in.

There’s no guarantee that I will have a job to return to when the furlough scheme ends. And even if I do get to go back to work, my job - a short contract for maternity leave cover - has a prescribed end point in sight.

The road ahead looks bleak. For me, there’s no time like the present to diversify and hustle.

But why personal finance?

You probably think money is a leap from fluffy subjects like food and travel. And it is. But it’s not plucked from thin air.

I studied philosophy and economics at university - basically, I spent three years thinking about money in different ways. While most of my peers went on to think about money for a living, I took a tangent into journalism.

I haven’t stopped thinking about money though. If anything, being a journalist reinforces the importance of being savvy about money.

Freelancers divide their time between feast and famine. You can’t underestimate the importance of building up a financial buffer for the fallow periods, if you can. And it’s doubly important in an industry where you might not get paid until a year later for your work.

Even in travel, you end up writing on the peripherals of personal finance. How to get a holiday refund for example. Or what your options are for travel insurance.

This newsletter isn’t a preach about what you should be doing with money you don’t have, though. Instead, it’s about your options - what they are and how you can make the most of them.

For me, it’s also a way to explore how I can shore up my own finances. Should I be merging my pension pots for example. And is there any point in saving when banks have lowered interest rates to less than 1%?

You can find out more about the format of the newsletter on the about page.

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Why I need your help

Well, I’m glad you stayed with me to this point.

Like all projects great and small, this one needs support. You can do this in one of three ways.

First, send me your feedback. I’d love to know what you want to read about in this newsletter and what I could do better. Here’s a dedicated form if you have time. You can also tell me I’ve missed the mark with this one.

Second, and this will only take a second, please do me a huge favour and tell your friends. Money Talk might not be right for you but it could be perfect for a friend. Even if you just Tweet it once or forward it to one person, it would be a huge help to me.

Finally, become a paying subscriber! It’s the price of a fancy coffee (£3.65) a month and you can cancel any time. It’s hard to ask for money so bluntly but here’s the thing: This is a side-hustle for now but I could end up depending on it sooner than I’d like.