Our Rooster Hero this month is Bobby Seagull, a school maths teacher and Cambridge University Doctorate student. Before moving into education, he was an investment banking trader at ‘Lehman Brothers’ & ‘Nomura’, and is a qualified Chartered Accountant from ‘PwC’. Alongside being an ambassador for the charity ‘National Numeracy’, he also presents an ‘Open University’ course on personal finance for young adults. Bobby regularly contributes to Radio Four’s ‘Puzzle For Today’ and is a columnist for the ‘Financial Times’.
To add to that, he is also the author of ‘The Life-Changing Magic of Numbers‘ (which reached #50 Amazon UK best-sellers over Christmas 2018) and co-presenter of the podcast ‘Maths Appeal‘. With his University Challenge friend, he co-wrote The ‘Monkman & Seagull Quiz’ and co-presented a BBC TV series ‘Monkman & Seagull’s Genius Guide to Britain’. Outside of maths, he is a long-suffering West Ham fan!
1. What’s your earliest money memory? 🍼
I used to have the NatWest Piggy bank where I would regularly collect loose coins into a ceramic nappy-wearing baby pig called Woody!
“I would regularly collect loose coins into a ceramic nappy-wearing baby pig called Woody!”
2. What did you want to be when you were a kid? 👶
I loved astronomy, reading books about our solar system, space and the stars beyond. So I wanted to be an astronaut.
3. What's your favourite sweet? 🍬
Can I choose ice cream? I love a good vanilla ice cream!
4. Describe your money personality 🤔
I’ve generally been more of a saver than a spender, though I did enjoy spending when I earned my first pay packet aged 18 during my gap year. I remember buying a West Ham season ticket!
“The moment when you see a student finally get a concept is priceless – you almost can see that light bulb switch on!”
5. What's the best bit about your job? 💼
I’m lucky enough to have a variety of roles, such as writing books and presenting TV programmes. However it is my part-time secondary school maths teaching that brings the most joy. The moment when you see a student finally get a concept is priceless – you almost can see that light bulb switch on!
6. Do you give your kids an allowance? And if so, what's the system? 💰
I don’t have kids but if I do, I will give them an allowance and would encourage them to use spreadsheets to budget (I’m serious here!)
7. Best piece of money advice you’ve ever been given? 🎓
You can’t take money to the grave.
“If you can show them how understanding money helps them directly, they’ll pay more attention.”
8. What’s your top tip for parents on teaching kids the value of money? 💡
As a maths teacher, students often ask what the point of a topic is. If you can show them how understanding money helps them directly, they’ll pay more attention.
9. How will we be paying for things in 2040? 🤖
Physical money will no longer exist and perhaps we might even be able to use our thoughts to sanction transactions.
10. Bonus: Favourite app on your phone (apart from RoosterMoney of course!) 📲
Love Island. I’m not ashamed to say I’m a fan of this reality dating show. I even wrote a Financial Times column on the maths of Love Island. Though this app is only used during summer!
“I even wrote a Financial Times column on the maths of Love Island.”
Anything else you’d like to add?
Sometimes people’s anxieties about maths and numbers spills over on their approach to money. For me, learning to feel comfortable about maths and numbers is a part of the process of feeling comfortable about money.