Iona Bain is 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 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. Now that Iona is in her 30s, she’s rebranding the blog as Young(ish) Money, a site for informed, grown-up and constructive conversations about money (albeit one that doesn’t take itself too seriously!)
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. Iona is BBC Morning Live’s financial expert, appearing on the show every week to give viewers helpful information about all things money.
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. Other appearances have included Newsnight, ITV Tonight, BBC Breakfast, The One Show and Channel 4 News.
Iona writes a biweekly column for the Metro Newspaper 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 appearances including VICE UK, Stylist, British Vogue and Refinery 29.
Podcast appearances range from the Spectator’s flagship Edition show to Alonement with Francesca Spector. 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 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 has written two books – the latest, Own It, was published in 2021 and 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 Moneyweek’s annual conference and FT’s Women at the Top Summit. She is an ambassador of National Numeracy and works hard to raise awareness of dyscalculia, a condition she was diagnosed with at school. She is also a a long-standing supporter of Future Asset, a charity that encourages young women to consider careers in finance, and has judged various awards, including 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.