Sarah Kocianski

The general rule or conventional thinking is that women save more, men risk more. I don't necessarily think that's true.

Sarah has been able to find her passion and strengths working in a broad spectrum of roles within Fintech companies. After years of building a strong base of knowledge, her talents led her to 11:FS, a leading challenger consultancy and premier podcast producer. As Head of Research, she does invaluable work in allowing 11:FS to have the presence it does, in leading the charge in the rise of digital banking. She’s contributed to Forbes in print, been a guest Speaker at Imperial College London, Money 20/20 Europe, MoneyConf and Web Summit. 11:FS and Exo have collaborated on numerous podcasts in the past few months and, knowing Sarah ourselves, we can speak for her incredible insights into the industry, which she delivers with a brilliant directness.

Q & A

Q. What would you see as your main financial life goal?

A. To have enough money to maintain a lifestyle that makes me happy both now, and in the future, and fundamentally that means not having to worry about money. I like to be able to go away for the weekend every now and again, to be able to go out for drinks with friends, to splurge occasionally on something that I don't "need", while still putting money away for the future and being able to comfortably pay my bills. I'm aware to some this way of life might be perceived as "extravagant" and to others fairly simple, but for me it's all about eliminating the "worry" element.

Q. What does financial independence mean to you?

The freedom to do what I like, when I like (within reason!). To know that I can survive if something unexpected happens and I lose my job. To understand my money — how much I have, how to make the most of it, how to ensure I have enough in the future.

Q. What is the best thing investing can do for someone in the long term?

A. Not to sound too whimsical, but it can teach them how the world works — the global economy is based on investments. It's a doorway to understanding how geopolitical events can impact the value of companies, currencies etc.

Q. What do you think is the biggest mistake first-time investors make?

A. To take their money out too soon. Either to be viewing investment as a short term win or to panic when there's a dip.

Q. What would be your best piece of advice to a first-time investor?

Don't invest anything you can't afford to lose.

Q. What do you see as the biggest issue in the investing world at this time?

A. Many people are either afraid or it, or see it as a way to "win big quick". For the majority, investing should neither be scary, nor viewed as a fast way to get rich.

Q. If you could change one thing about the investment world what would it be?

A. More outreach and education. I think the big investment firms could do a world of good by offering educational programs to a broader demographic and to actively seeking out demographics that don't naturally flock to them. If they do so in a thoughtful way and take onboard any feedback they get along the path, then they will benefit in the long run.