Georgie Frost is GoCompare’s new consumer champion – a former BBC sports reporter turned award-winning financial journalist, she’s here to bang the drum for hard-pressed households and customers everywhere.
We caught up with Georgie to talk about her journey so far and the issues she’s looking forward to confronting in her new role…
Tell us about your journey from sports reporting to money…
It seems an odd move – how does someone with absolutely no background in business or finance leave what for many, is an absolute dream job as a sports reporter to talk about money?
Well, relatively early on in my sports journalism career I damaged my back. After a few years, it became obvious this was an issue that was not going away.
I was told if I didn’t stop driving (a big part of the job), I’d be in a wheelchair by the time I was 40. I like to say I’m the first sports reporter who had to retire through injury!
I was still able to do studio work, but I missed going to the matches and being in the thick of it.
In my spare time, I did a masters in political communication and media law and then decided it was time to leave the sports broadcasting game altogether.
So, I applied for some freelance radio work to tide me over financially. One job was at a new finance and business station, called Share Radio, which launched in 2014. I got a call asking if I’d consider being the presenter of what was to be a personal finance and consumer show.
With no background in finance and just a contacts book full of footballers – not ideal interviewees on matters of personal finance – I said no to begin with! But eventually said yes and presented the show until the station closed in 2017.
I went on to write and host the This is Money’s weekly podcast (the MailOnline’s award-winning money section), presented Jazz FM’s business breakfast, am a regular money commentator on talkRADIO. I’ve also been back on the BBC in a very different capacity.
Has it changed your own approach to money?
Before becoming a financial journalist I was rubbish with money. My pension was a disgrace and I didn’t invest. I’d never switched anything and I didn’t even use online banking.
I was like a lot of people – not stupid or lazy – just wilfully disengaged.
Getting on top of your finances is such a liberating feeling, and it’s something I’m really passionate about sharing.
I’ve interviewed too many people who have suffered as a result of debt. Money is the single biggest reason for divorce and so many problems are down to the way we communicate about money on a societal and individual level.
As a broadcaster, I try to demystify finance and make it engaging, accessible and entertaining. I never forget who I was back when my finances were a mess and the journey I have come on.
When I am on air talking about energy, or pensions, or whatever it may be, I always try to think what would ‘old Georgie’ think about what I am saying now. Would she understand it, would she be motivated into action by it?
If the answer is no, then I try again until I get the right answer.
How are you with money yourself? What’s your big financial vice which you couldn’t live without?
I’m still not perfect with money by a long way. I procrastinate far too much and spend more than I need to on books and coffee but I think it’s important not to be too hard on yourself.
I am all about making the most of your money and living within your means - but let’s not forget the ‘living’ part.
What was the last thing you switched?
The last thing I switched was my broadband – it took me a matter of minutes and I saved a fair bit!
What drew you to working with GoCompare?
The people. I can honestly say from the canteen staff in the Newport office café all the way up to the CEO of the company, Matthew Crummack, everyone I have met has been as lovely and genuinely passionate about helping others.
What one big change to financial legislation or regulation would you make if you were put in charge for a day?
Take action to make terms and conditions jargon-free and transparent.
When you’re not thinking and talking about personal and finance how do you unwind?
I have lots of interests, especially creative pursuits like baking, knitting, and painting portraits.
Exercise and sport are still big in my life, from watching live sport with my friends to Pilates and going for long walks. But not much beats the simple pleasure of reading a good book in a coffee shop!
Finally, what nugget of advice would you give our followers?
Start small and celebrate your successes. If you’ve never saved, even getting a piggy bank can make a difference.
If you put in a pound a day for a year, that feeling of reward you will get at the end of the year when you realise you’ve saved £365 can give you confidence that can spur you to take action elsewhere with your finances.