Frances Cook is a reformed financial hot mess who now saves others from her money mistakes. She is a best-selling author, a columnist, a speaker and podcaster. Priding herself on clear, non-judgmental communication, Frances knows how to balance giving you the information you need while making sure you don ’t fall asleep. Frances Cook will be our guest speaker at RISE UP 2023 so we asked her a few questions.

How did you become a money expert?

I’m still not sure that I’d call myself a money expert! There’s always more to learn, more little tips and tricks to make life easier and better. What I’d definitely say though, is that I’m an “expert translator”. I talk to so many smart people from the money world, and they have a lot of wonderful knowledge that they’re dying to share, it’s just hard to translate that in a way that makes sense for people outside of the money world. That’s where I come in.

What is your favourite thing about your job?

I feel very lucky that I get to do work that I feel makes a difference for people. People will message me saying that they finally feel comfortable starting to invest, or that they asked for a pay rise for the first time in years, and got it, or they’ve managed to buy a house. It lights me up. These wins are huge for people, and I feel very privileged that I was able to help them get there.

What is your top financial tip for business owners?

Work smarter, not harder. There’s a trap that a lot of successful people fall into, that they’re used to working harder, and that means greater success. But there really is only so long you can do that for before you burn out, and actually start to hold yourself back. There’s great skill in understanding when you need to delegate, or implement systems that save you time long term. You can’t do everything yourself.

Do you follow all your own financial advice?

I try to! We’re all human, and all susceptible to thinking “but this time it’s different…”. Every now and then I fall off the wagon, particularly with investing, because it’s fun to dabble in the spicy side of investing and think that you’re the special one who can beat the rest of the market. Usually it just ends in a short sharp lesson in why I give the advice that I do, and I get right back into doing what I know is better.

What was your most recent splurge?

A house. Quite the splurge! We’ve just bought our first investment property, which is truly terrifying, but a fun step forward in our money journey.

What or who inspires you?

My family keeps me focused on what’s actually important in life. It’s easy to get caught up in working too much, and I’m lucky to have a lot of opportunities. Sometimes that feeling of being fortunate to be in this role can lead to saying yes to too much. But spending time with my husband and son, and also our wider family, reminds me of what’s actually important, and why I do all of this. At the end of the day, the only thing that’s really important is the people around you, and having a good life with them.

What three things can’t you live without?

My family, my phone, and a well-fitting pair of jeans.

Best book, tv show or podcast you’ve enjoyed recently?

Should I be naughty and plug my own podcast, Cooking the Books? In seriousness, I’m thoroughly addicted to the podcast Shameless. The tagline is that it’s “for smart people who love dumb things”, and it’s truly the perfect descriptor. It’s candy for the brain when you’ve had a long week.

Favourite holiday destination?

I love to go anywhere and everywhere. If it’s new, I’m keen for it. That said, I was just at a work conference in Fiji, and I had a wonderful time. It’s so nice to just be able to remove brain, relax, and have a nice time somewhere warm.

What would you bring to a bbq?

What type of barbecue are they using, and who is manning it? I take my food seriously, and it’s going to change depending on how much I trust them not to mess it up! If it’s someone who I think will do a good job, probably a venison steak. I love a slab of red meat. If I don’t trust them, it’s pretty hard to mess up pork sausages.

Follow Frances on instagram.