SMUG MONEY: Andy Murray is baring all – why you should too

Written by Rebecca O'Connor on 1st March 2016

Andy Murray has partnered with equity crowdfunding platform, Seedrs.

Reserved Brits are not hot on revealing anything about their own money, even, sometimes, to their closest family members. This is partly because one’s own finances and how successfully we accumulate and manage money can be a source of social anxiety, shame and fear. We are worried that we will be judged as bad at it.

One of the potential benefits of being GOOD with your money – by investing small amounts into renewable energy projects, for example, or opening a cash junior ISA where all the money goes to social enterprises and charities (but still delivering interest to you) – and one of the reasons we set up this site – is that it might just start helping people to break down their own silence on money. Here’s how.

Without getting too touchy feely, sharing heals. If you are in loads of debt, the first step to getting out of it is to tell someone. Bringing money problems out into the open and shining a light on them enables people to help you find a way out.

The secret to the success of Moneysavingexpert was and is the forums – for the first time, people had a way of sharing their money management tips, gathering information from each other on the best credit cards, loans, and mortgages warning others about bad service or unfair terms and conditions – to the point where some of the forum contributors on the site have offered thousands of posts – all with the purpose of helping others manage their money better.

This openness is more and more evident at the wealth accumulation end of the equation. Investment forums on Motley Fool and Interactive Investor, among many others, provide a place where active investors trade tips and information to help each other as well as stocks.

But this new openness, as far as it goes in the forums, has not yet reached its full potential. We still don’t discuss how much we earn, whether it is very little or millions, because of the effect it can have on our relationships with others – inspiring jealousy, or suspicion or pity. And to a large extent, that’s fair enough.

Focus on quality of our money, not its quantity

Rather than focusing on amounts: how much is our credit card debt, how much is our house worth, etc, etc. One thing we might feel more comfortable discussing is what our money is doing.

Andy Murray’s ambassadorial role at Seedrs is an example of this emergent trend. He’s telling us what companies he has chosen to back on the equity crowdfunding platform on whose Board he also sits, but not the amounts. It’s quite a cool list, from ice cream company Oppo to Readbug, a magazine curating app.

We predict this focus on the quality of what people are investing in rather than how much money they have will continue. New DIY investor platforms, such as Swanest, will enable users to build portfolios by copying portfolios of other users they like the look of. They will be able to discuss with each other the merits and disadvantages of certain stocks, which in the absence of a financial adviser, allows them to arrives at a kind of crowdsourced investment decision.

I can hear the IFAs shouting out now that this is risky. And yes, for sure, putting your money into Oppo just because Andy Murray has would be foolhardy. However, a cautious assimilation of information on what “the crowd” is doing with its money, along with information gathered from other sources (which might still include an IFA, of course) brings a new, more interesting, potentially even risk-reducing dimension to investing.

One thing it does do is enable people to bear witness to some of the non-financial reasons people choose to invest in certain things. Andy likes supporting British businesses. Presumably, he also likes the taste of Oppo “healthy and luxurious’ ice-cream.

Over in our “people, planet, profit” corner, we like investing in things that also solve environmental and social problems. We certainly don’t like things that do more harm than good, whatever return they might pay out.

We know for sure there are plenty of folks out there who agree with us, but whose voice is little heard by the investment industry.

Andy Murray’s step out of the investment shadows and the increasing opportunity to humanise investment that his move illustrates gives us hope that all the responsible profit hunters out there will finally see that their voice, through their money and through the transparency of platforms showing what they are doing with it, is heard. And that it can inspire other investors to do the same in a gorgeous and self-perpetuating cycle of money goodness begetting money goodness, giving people the confidence, through the similar investments of others, to say: “look at my portfolio, how proud of it I am, look at all these great businesses I am helping.” Through this openness, it might even make all of us more successful investors, too.

So well done Murray, we think your decision to open up about your investments is just ace.

Do you have a desire to bare all when it comes to your cash? Even just knowing more about it might be a good place to start. If so, our weekly newsletter can help! Sign up here on our home page at www.good-with-money.com