Why I don’t need a PPE degree to talk or care about money

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Iona Bain

This week I got trolled on Linkedin because I dare to write about money issues affecting young people having studied music rather than economics.

This kind of silly talk is exactly what deters young people from engaging with money, standing up for their economic rights and feeling confident about these issues.

In case you weren’t aware, I attended a state specialist music school in Edinburgh for six years, working my butt off as a classically-trained musician, before becoming one of the first in my school to go to Oxford. I am proud of the fact that I studied music as my undergraduate degree. I think it has helped me to be a well-rounded person and writer who brings a different perspective to the world of money.

Young people have every right to study what they love, not just treat their degree as a means to an end. I loved composing, playing and talking about music, and wanted to do it at the highest possible level. What’s wrong with that?

After leaving university, I spent the best part of two years immersed in the Glasgow music scene, playing with bands, doing corporate gigs and generally trying to take care of myself in a competitive and scrappy music industry. The words “character-forming” don’t even cover it!

Young people have every right to take different directions in life. I evolved as my musical career came to an end. I decided that I wanted to learn about money, and that’s why I started my blog.

Some six years later, with an award and lots of traction for the blog under my belt, and I’m still learning on the job. I am no more of an expert than anyone else but the difference is that I know what I don’t know.

I work very hard to fill in my gaps but my main job is to understand the huge financial issues affecting young people today so I can empathise and do my bit to help them. I don’t do it to make lots of money (I could take another career or even a different approach to my blog if I wanted to that!) I do it because it matters and somehow, it seems more real and important if it comes from another young person as opposed to an old fart (no offence, old farts out there!).

Too often we’ve had “experts” lecture us with an insular, academic background and no real-world experience or empathy to make their insights relevant or engaging. People are now very resistant to the word “expert”, and with good reason when you consider how few have accurately predicted the outcome of major elections in the last year, to take just one very obvious example. And, among the MANY jokes associated with the field of economics, one of the most famous is that God only created economists to make astrologers and weather forecasters look good.

So young folk, don’t ever think “I don’t know enough. I’m not allowed to comment or take part”.  You ARE allowed to have a view and take part. Indeed, you must.

Just because you didn’t do a PPE degree doesn’t mean you don’t have a right to talk or care about money, and don’t let anyone ever stop you having YOUR say!

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