For nearly 20 years Martin Lewis has supplied customers within the UK with monetary ideas and tips to assist them stretch their pay packets.
Now, as households face hovering vitality payments, the founding father of the MoneySavingExpert web site has discovered himself on the “frontline” of the cost-of-living disaster, mentioned The Guardian’s Zoe Williams.
He’s the nation’s “go-to man” on monetary issues, mentioned Metro, and is now “so standard that Amazon sells masks of his face for fancy costume”, mentioned The Sunday Occasions. However Lewis’s journey “from cash ideas curator to the UK’s most influential activist” took a few years, mentioned the Large Difficulty.
From comedy to shopper funds
Born in Manchester in 1972, Lewis was raised in Cheshire. His faculty years had been “capsized by appalling grief and anxiousness” after the lack of his mom, who died in a automotive accident when he was 12, mentioned The Guardian’s Williams.
“Grief derailed his training” for a number of years, mentioned The Sunday Occasions, and Lewis later turned an envoy and advocate for psychological well being and bereavement charities.
“He bought again on observe” learning authorities and legislation at London Faculty of Economics, the paper continued, the place, he advised Williams, “I simply exploded with life and confidence”. He even had a stint making an attempt out stand-up comedy.
However he “at all times wished to be the particular person on This Morning speaking about cash,” Lewis continued. He went on to check broadcast journalism at Cardiff College, earlier than bursting on to the buyer finance scene “like a canine with a extremely good-value bone”, Williams continued.
In 2002, Lewis appeared on satellite tv for pc TV channel Merely Cash’s Deal of the Day programme. The next 12 months he arrange the MoneySavingExpert web site from his lounge, for a complete price of £80, in accordance with the web site. It shortly loved what he described as “explosive development”, turning into “an Aladdin’s cave for the thrifty, which teaches customers every little thing bar tips on how to tie their laces”, mentioned the Monetary Occasions.
MoneySavingExpert.com’s “astronomical success” rocketed Lewis to nationwide fame, turning into a daily on TV exhibits and writing for newspapers, mentioned Metro. He went on to promote the location to cost comparability web site MoneySuperMarket for £87m in 2012 – the identical 12 months that The Martin Lewis Cash Present started airing on ITV.
Lewis “actually put his cash know-how to good use”, mentioned The Solar. The Sunday Occasions Wealthy Record estimated his web price to be £123m final 12 months. He offers generously to charitable causes, donating £2.1m to his Coronavirus Poverty Fund in 2020 alone.
The Guardian’s Williams mentioned Lewis’s “uncontroversial persona” is a part of his success. “A contented household man” with “a robust sense of justice”, in a 2015 ballot he was voted the UK’s most trusted voice on whether or not the UK ought to depart the EU, placing him forward of any politician on the time.
He has additionally labored to extend monetary training for college kids, and launched the Cash and Psychological Well being Coverage Institute in 2016, “the work of which is basically bug-fixing for society”, mentioned Williams.
Lewis has spearheaded campaigns to enhance shopper rights, saving as much as £928m of customers’ money yearly between 2007 and 2011 on unauthorised overdraft fees, in accordance with MoneySavingExpert.
He was awarded an OBE in 2014 in recognition of his companies to shopper rights and charity work, and final 12 months Lewis added a CBE to his quite a few accolades, awarded for his companies to broadcasting and shopper rights.
Now, the monetary guru has turn into a “champion for the huge sections of society being battered by hovering vitality costs”, mentioned the Large Difficulty. And “it’s laborious to think about a extra influential critic” of the Treasury’s dealing with of the cost-of-living disaster than Lewis, mentioned The Sunday Occasions.
Even so, the cash saving knowledgeable mentioned earlier this month that he’s “out of instruments to assist individuals now”. The husband and father has mentioned he’s “begging” the federal government to do extra to assist households with their payments, because the cost-of-living disaster has “plunged thousands and thousands into poverty”, mentioned the Large Difficulty.
Lewis is now performing a “delicate steadiness”, mentioned The Guardian’s Williams: “if he comes out in opposition to the federal government he loses his impartiality, which is partly why he’s so trusted”.
Nonetheless, “he has emerged from a sea of wilful political obliviousness as one of the trenchant and steadfast voices” throughout a time of financial uncertainty. And it’s clear that “he’ll keep and combat”.