Firing Line: Jason Butler

Jason Butler, the founder of Bloomsbury Financial Planning, is having a kind of epiphany.

For years, he has been running London-based Bloomsbury, building up a client base and making a successful business. But now he has sold out of his company and is busy pursuing his passions.

One of his choices has been to become a motivational speaker, visiting schools – preferably in the state sector. He said: “My number one message is this: you can define your outcome to your life – it’s where you’re going that matters. You have a choice to make about what you do with your money, time and energy.

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“You can choose to spend your money on stuff, or on making yourself better. You can choose to take or you can choose to give; it’s got nothing to do with how wealthy your parents are, it’s how you deal with or respond to your circumstances. You need to be the best version of you.”

Mr Butler believes he has a compelling personal story to back up his message. He came from a single-parent household with three siblings, and there was very little money.

He said: “We had no money, we had debt collectors coming round, we couldn’t afford investments, and I taught myself to play the piano.

“I could have gone one way, but I fell into financial services, and found an intellectual outlet.”

After going to night school to make up for the gaps in his education, he found himself at home in the financial services industry, starting in direct sales at Howson Investments, an appointed representative of Cornhill Life. Over the next five years he moved to an IFA business, taking the AFP qualification. He was charging fees by 1994, and became a certified financial planner in 1998.

He set up Bloombsbury Financial Planning in 1998, and the business initially did well, but in 2003 the company nearly went bust, because, Mr Butler said: “We had too many clients; too much overhead. The technology wasn’t good enough and it didn’t fit together.”

So Mr Butler sold the business to a consolidator, the company that became Thinc Destini, then bought it back a year later, paying in instalments over many years.

He said: “We almost ran out of money. I learned the hard way to always make sure you’re spending your money wisely, and the promises you make you can deliver on.”

In Mr Butler’s excursions around the UK, he plans to use his life experience to tell schoolchildren to adopt a sensible attitude to money.

His message will be: “Don’t spend your money on crap. Save 10 per cent of what you earn, or 50 per cent of your pay rise. What matters is how much you spend. If someone had told me that when I was young, that would have stuck in my mind.”