We interviewed MagnifyMoney co-founder Nick Clements to hear a little more about the origins of MagnifyMoney and what Nick does when he isn’t looking to help save people money.
Why did you start MagnifyMoney?
When I was working in London, a man named Martin Lewis inspired me. He started as a personal finance reporter, and has an absolute obsession with finding people the best deals. He later built MoneySavingExpert.com in the UK – the premier destination for anyone who is confused by complicated financial products or wants to save money.
I think he did two things brilliantly:
1) He made it easy for people to make better financial choices
2) He was not afraid to speak up when he thought products or practices were unfair.
When I ran the largest consumer credit card business in the UK, his words would be listened to and acted upon.
I am thrilled that I have the chance to build something like his business here in the US.
How did people react when you told them about your career change?
I was surprised by the reaction. I thought people would be skeptical. I was lucky to have reached a very senior position at a young age – so why walk away so soon?
But the overwhelming reaction has been support and enthusiasm. Some people still think I was nuts to away from my job, but most people have been incredibly supportive, and not surprised that I took a risk.
How many places have you lived?
Too many. In the US I have lived in 6 states. I have also lived in England (London and Manchester), Switzerland (Zurich), and Russia (Moscow).
And, when I was a student, I spent most of my junior year in Florence, Italy.
Which three are your favorites?
An impossible question to answer! I liked all of them for different reasons.
For best weather, nothing can beat southern California. And I am always happy to visit my mom in Laguna Niguel and enjoy the sunshine and beach.
London was just a wonderful place to live. A beautiful city to live in, and it is so easy to explore Europe on weekends.
But Italy still holds a soft spot in my heart. Who doesn’t want to be surrounded by rolling Tuscan hills, bottles of amazing wine, plates of incredible food and a culture that slows down life a little bit – and focuses on friends, family and the value of time together. (It may have helped that I was a student when I lived there!)
Can you remember the first thing you ever purchased with your own hard-earned money?
I can! When I was in grade school, I started a dog walking business. It slowly morphed into a dog-watching franchise. I would “sub-contract” and play a supervisory role, and had other reputable dog-watchers working for me.
I remember having a few hundred dollars in cash at Christmas time. I was so proud to be able to buy Christmas presents for my family, with my own money.
What was your first credit card?
Wells Fargo for Students. They had a deal with my university, where I could get a totally free checking account and a credit card that came along with it.
I remember enjoying the picture of the stagecoach on the plastic, and the sense of history that Wells Fargo had in their brand identity. (That is a true story. I have always been a nerd when it comes to finance and branding).
Do you still use it?
Absolutely not! I soon learned that you shouldn’t choose credit cards based upon the picture on the plastic. And, bundled products (you have a checking account, and now I sell you a credit card) usually don’t give you the best deals.
You need to look for the best individual product – and I am now earning great rewards!
If you had to spend all your credit card rewards tomorrow, what would you purchase?
I still have an insatiable desire to travel. I would see how far I could go with my points, and then I would go there.
How do you spend your time outside of the office?
Walking, running, eating and reading.
I have two rescue dogs, and my wife and I love our long walks in the park (weather permitting of course). During the weekend, we usually spend at least two hours with them outside.
I love to jog. After a nice run, I am energized and usually have better ideas than when I started.
I love a good meal with amazing people. Italy really taught me that there is nothing better than a few hours sharing food with your friends and family.
And I have always been one to bury myself in books.