Money coach on a mission to boost financial wellbeing

Social innovator Anne-Marie Macken from Money Coaching Ireland is on a mission to make it easy for people to improve their personal financial wellbeing.

Over the past few weeks, we have been shining a spotlight on social enterprises, to share more about the fascinating world of social innovation and social entrepreneurship in Ireland.

Last week we spoke to Aoife O’Brien of Happier at Work and the week before that we spoke to Hair Together, which has created a new lease of life for vulnerable teens. Before that we spoke to David Beakey from Amplify about how the social innovation start-up is supporting climate-conscious shoppers. And prior to that we spoke to Fiona Descoteaux, CEO of Innovate Communities, who talked about the important role that social enterprise and innovation plays in Irish society.

“I wanted to combine the powerful tools of coaching with tailored financial education to make the financial wellbeing journey more personal, enjoyable and accessible”

This week we talk with Anne-Marie Macken, founder of Money coaching Ireland, who is on a mission to help people to embrace financial wellbeing.

Describe your business/ social enterprise in a nutshell?

I am the founder of Money Coaching Ireland. Money Coaching Ireland exists to bring ease to how people USE (understand, spend and earn) money.

We support your financial well-being – how secure and free you feel about money – through coaching, education and development.

How did your business journey begin? Where did the idea come from and how did you start?

After a 15-year career in Bank of Ireland, I retrained as a personal, leadership and executive coach and fell in love with the profession. I had found my passion but was still unsure how I could turn it into a viable business.

I was also reluctant to leave behind all of my financial skills, qualifications and many years of experience in personal and business finance.

While many factors influence financial wellbeing, I feel that many people make things harder than they need to be when it comes to money. I wanted to combine the powerful tools of coaching with tailored financial education to make the financial wellbeing journey more personal, enjoyable and accessible.

How has Innovate Communities supported your business?

I was fortunate to get a place on the Incubate-4-Growth programme with Innovate Communities. Over 10 months, I received free one-on-one mentoring, desk space in the social innovation hub in Ballymun and access to a wide network of other businesses and relevant contacts. What I gained most from the programme is a sense of community and camaraderie. People to share the ups and downs of the start-up world – celebrating the wins and keeping you going through the tougher days.

Have you received any other supports along the way?

Yes lots! I have received crucial financial support by way of the Back-to-Work-Enterprise Allowance administered by the Department of Social Protection and Area Partnerships. I have availed of training and mentoring through my local area partnership, local enterprise office and the Skillnet Skills Connect programme. I completed two programmes with JobCare to clarify my next career move and develop my business idea. I availed of mentoring and coaching to bring that idea to fruition. Many individuals along the way have been so generous with their time and expertise to get me to this point!

Why is sustainability and having a social conscience important in business?

At its most basic, sustainability can be defined as the capacity to endure. A social conscience is having a sense of responsibility for societal problems and injustices. In business today, I believe the two are inextricably linked. If you are prioritising short-term profits and ignoring or even contributing to societal problems, your business will not endure into the long-term. You will not retain the support of customers, employees, investors and others needed for your business to grow and thrive into the future. At a more personal level, it is about having meaning and purpose in the work that I do. Knowing that my work has a positive impact on the people and organisations that I am fortunate enough to interact with.

What is next for you and your business in 2022?

I want to continue to build a community of people interested in holistic financial health; inform and guide people on personal and business finance.

I plan to reach more people who may otherwise not be in a position to avail of coaching through corporate, community and state organisations.

I trust that if I do that and do it well, my business will endure and thrive into the future.

John Kennedy
Award-winning editor John Kennedy is one of Ireland's most experienced business and technology journalists.