Iona Bain is a Scottish-born musician turned financial journalist who has become the UK’s go-to voice on millennial money. She founded the pioneering Young Money Blog in 2011 and has since gone on to become an award-winning journalist, broadcaster, speaker, and author specialising in personal finance.
Previously a musician and music writer, Iona founded Young Money Blog to help her generation get to grips with their finances. It was prompted by an unfortunate incident in which all of Iona’s gig earnings were stolen from a piggybank in a burglary! Writing the blog helped her get back on her feet and she quickly found an audience with her down-to-earth, witty and helpful analysis of the financial problems facing millennials. The blog went onto be named Money Blog of the Year by Santander and is now widely
recognised as one of the UK’s best financial blogs.
Young Money Blog celebrated its ten year anniversary in May 2021 and is officially the UK’s first and longest-running blog about personal finance for young people. No wonder Iona has been rated as one of the UK’s top “cash queens” by the Sun’s Fabulous Magazine, and has been named one of Onalytica’s top 20 most influential women in finance.
Whether it’s Question Time or Women’s Hour, Iona has been flying the flag for young people’s financial rights on the airwaves for 10 years. As well as being a regular pundit on BBC News programmes and podcasts, she is Radio 1’s Money Hacker in residence, helping young listeners on the station’s flagship advice programme Life Hacks, and has presented special editions for Radio 4’s Moneybox on subjects like financial education and fraud. She also joined the economist Paul Johnson for a special four-part Radio 4 series, The Austerity Audit, in 2020, and is a roving financial reporter on Steph’s Packed Lunch, with one memorable item on crypto currencies featuring carrots and a certain Denise Van Outen! Other appearances have included Newsnight, ITV Tonight, BBC Breakfast, The One Show and Channel 4 News.
Iona also writes a weekly column for the i paper and is a regular contributor to the Financial Times. Her journalism and commentary have appeared extensively in both national and regional titles, and she is also a staple of online youth and female-focused media, with recent appearances including VICE UK, Stylist, British Vogue and Refinery
Podcast appearances range from the Spectator’s flagship Edition show to Free the Geezer with rap group The Manor. She launched the first season of her own podcast, Own It, in early 2021, with future podcast work in the pipeline.
She has fronted numerous multimedia campaigns for partners as varied as Natwest Banking Group, Young Scot, Post Office, Birdseye/Iceland, Baillie Gifford and Banardos. Highlights include a collaboration with BBC Bitesize to produce a series of educational videos for teenagers, teaming up with Scottish Investment Trust and the filming team behind Outlander for an Edinburgh-set odyssey into the history of money and working with Lloyds Banking Academy on its Your Future Finances initiative, the first educational programme in the UK to be fully sign language enabled. She is sought-after for her communication skills and insights by clients including BNY Mellon, LinkedIn, Legal & General and the Financial Services Forum.
Iona published her first book – Spare Change – in 2016 and her second book, Own It, published in 2021, has been described by The Times as a “gem” for young people trying to navigate the complex but fascinating world of investing.
She is an experienced and regular speaker, with engagements including the Henley Literary Festival, Moneyweek’s annual conference and FT’s Women at the Top Summit. She is the youngest-ever governor of the Pensions Policy Institute and is particularly proud of her educational work. This has included a long-standing relationship with Future Asset, a charity that encourages young women to consider careers in finance, as well as judging the Lloyds Money for Life Contest and the London Institute for Banking & Finance Young Financial Journalist Competition.
Iona was shortlisted for a UK Press Award in 2020, where she was nominated by Women in Journalism for the Georgina Henry Award, and was named IPSE’s Freelancer of the Year in 2018. With a rare combination of accessibility and authority, she is often credited with bringing millennial money issues firmly into the mainstream.