Gill Fielding is annoyed that the UK does not teach its children to be money and wealth creation savvy before they leave school.
The landlord, property educator and former chartered accountant, who runs the UK’s only AQA Unit-accredited property course via her company Fielding Financial as well as money education charity Money Mum, is annoyed that so many people end up in debt rather than building up wealth.
During a career in property spanning 40 years, Fielding says she has always wanted to – and continues to – ‘light the spark’ of imagination among as many people as possible to get thinking about how to manage their money better, and create long-term wealth.
“The road to that is really a motorway with different lanes and the more sophisticated you are, the more lanes there are – pensions, property, stocks and shares and starting your own business are all options,” she says.
“But the easiest in the long run, certainly to understand for most people, is property – because we’ve all rented or owned a property at some point.”
Fielding’s own journey to wealth was more accidental than planned. After a childhood in a poverty-stricken area of London’s East End, and after leaving school to begin work, she then gained a place at Sussex University.
Before starting her course, she saved up £4,500 while working five different job (not realising that students rented together in halls or houses) to buy a property for £7,000 in Brighton.
“So instead I rented it out while I was a student and sold it after graduation for three times more than I paid for it – and used the profit to buy more, and then a lot more properties, later getting into HMOs,” she says.
These days she is more of a passive property investor – entering joint ventures, funding whole developments or helping provide finance to people who do her courses.
“I still have a handful of buy-to-lets and HMOs – it’s been a very varied journey,” she adds.
“It’s a life mission – if I go and sit on beach on Barbados and then come back, what am I supposed to do the next day? There’s no fulfilment in that for me.
“I decided about 25 years ago – after a life crisis following the birth of my third child – that I wanted to help as many people as possible light the spark of financial possibility during my life, particularly through property investment. And that’s how all my different initiatives started. And I still believe investing in property is one of the keys to wealth creation.
“Of course being a landlord should not be taken lightly in today’s highly regulated world. But if you do it properly the rewards are significant – it’s all about education.”