Lily Russell-Jones, Senior Money Reporter, The Times and The Sunday Times

In today's Money Talks, Headlinemoney Awards nominee Lily Russell-Jones describes the steep learning curve of developing a career in financial journalism, warns consumers to ensure they are getting value for money as a customer, and reveals her desire to learn Japanese.
Lily Russell-Jones, Senior Money Reporter, The Times and The Sunday Times

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What are the main beats you cover?

I cover all things personal finance with a focus on pensions, tax and crypto. 

What was your reaction to making the shortlist?

It’s exciting to be on the shortlist alongside such talented journalists! I’ll keep my fingers crossed. 

What made you become a financial journalist?

Money reporting is a great fit for me as it combines lots of the aspects of journalism I enjoy most. I love interviewing people about their money habits and helping readers get compensation is always rewarding. I also enjoy digging into data and looking for new ways to save readers money.

What is the story you are most proud of and why?

I recently wrote a story about the government spending £110,000 on legal fees to cut a widows’ state pension by about £2,500 a year after her husband died. I used multiple Freedom of Information requests to find out the government’s costs and confirm that thousands of widows are having their state pension cut every year. The article showed the lengths the government had gone to (spending £100k on an appeal as part of a 5 year legal battle) even though it was unlikely to ever recover these costs by reducing her pension. 

Which financial interview would you most like to arrange?

I want to interview the former chancellor George Osborne about becoming an adviser for the crypto exchange Coinbase and his views on crypto assets. George, if you are reading this - please get back to me. 

Tell us about the most surprising/interesting money story you have read recently:

My colleague Ali Hussain recently wrote about a customer who paid £10,000 in advice fees – despite not hearing from his financial adviser for 13 years. It underscored how important it is to make sure you're getting value for money as a customer and negotiate on fees. I also recently read a story in The Telegraph about how ghosts can affect the price of your house. It was a great read!

What advice would you give to someone starting out in financial journalism?

For me, getting into financial journalism has involved a steep learning curve - make sure you ask lots of questions and build your contacts in the industry.

What topics do you expect to dominate the news in the second half of 2024:

If Labour wins the general election it will have to try and balance high levels of government debt with the need to fund struggling public services. Keir Starmer has said Labour will not increase income tax, national insurance or VAT if elected, but we could see tax rules change in other areas. I imagine money journalists will be trying to help readers navigate these changes. 

If you could pick up a new skill in an instant, what would it be?

Speaking Japanese.

Describe your dream holiday:

Staying by a beach and swimming/going surfing. 

Finally, if you had to eat one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Dan Dan noodles with tofu. 

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