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moneysaving

Martin Lewis (financial journalist)

Martin Steven Lewis (born May 9 1972 in Manchester, England) is a journalist, television presenter, website entrepreneur and author in the United Kingdom, who specialises in ways to save money. He is often referred to in the media as a "consumer campaigner" or "consumer champion" and goes by the title of "Money Saving Expert".

Career

Internet career

Lewis created and runs the website MoneySavingExpert.com. This is ranked the biggest consumer and personal finance site in the UK with over 4 million users each month and over 2 million receiving the Martin's Money Tips weekly e-mail.

TV and radio career

He has a prime time show on Five called It Pays to Watch! as well as presenting money specials for ITV1's Tonight, and is regular "Money Saving Expert" on several others (including a weekly slot on GMTV and LK Today). He also appears on ITV1's This Morning, Five's The Wright Stuff and often appears as a guest expert on many news and other programmes.

He has a regular phone-in on BBC Radio 2's Jeremy Vine show and BBC Radio 1's Jo Whiley. He had his own daytime TV series on ITV1 during December 2005 called Make Me Rich.

Print career

He has a weekly column in the News of the World; a fortnightly column in the Sunday Post and a monthly regional syndicated column in the Manchester Evening News amongst others. He has been a past columnist for the Sunday Times, The Guardian and the Sunday Express. All his columns are on the theme of saving money.

He is the author of two bestselling books, The Money Diet and The Three Most Important Lessons You've Never Been Taught and edited another, Thrifty Ways for Modern Days, which was based on contributions to a forum on his website.

Early career

His undergraduate degree is in government and law from the London School of Economics, and after graduating he spent a year as elected general secretary of the LSE Students' Union. After this he worked for London financial public relations firm Brunswick and did stand-up comedy part time. In 1997, he left to do a postgraduate degree in broadcast journalism from Cardiff University's Centre for Journalism Studies.

After graduating he went to work at the BBC Business Unit as a producer on BBC Radio Five Live business programmes and was then an editor of the BBC Radio 4's Today Programme business slot. This was followed by the satellite TV channel Simply Money where he developed the Money Saving Expert role.

After Simply Money ended in 2001, Lewis started writing a Deal of the Week column in the Sunday Express, and doing MoneySavingExpert slots on Five TV's Open House with Gloria Hunniford, BBC Radio 4's Money Box and as a business and personal finance reporter for BBC1 Breakfast News.

Campaigns

In late 2005, the issue of reclaiming unfair bank charges arose and a few small websites started to highlight the issue. Lewis was at the forefront of the media campaign to reclaim what are believed to be unfair and unlawful fees charged by UK banks (although this has still to be determined). He presented the first mainstream TV programme on how to get your money back (ITV1's Tonight) and in November 2006 published a step-by-step guide, including template letters, which speedily achieved its 1,000,000th download in February 2007 and by August 2007 had over 4,000,000 downloads as well as regularly appearing across the media to champion the issue.

In January 2007, he presented a programme Tonight on Council Tax Cashback, a campaign to get everyone in the UK to check and potentially challenge their Council Tax band, that first started on his website and led to thousands of backdated windfall payments.

Other large scale campaigns, with ensuing TV programmes, include reclaiming payment protection insurance (it is predicted that this may grow to the same scale as bank charge reclaiming), reclaiming mortgage exit fees and reclaiming credit card charges, all of which have had over 100,000 people using template letter downloads.

Petitions

Lewis launched two petitions relating to the advertising of secured loan products on television.

  • The first aimed to have the adverts banned from children's television and received 43,000 signatures.
  • The second appealed to Carol Vorderman to stop appearing in secured loan advertising. Lewis felt that Vorderman was seen by the general public as a credible figure because of her mathematical skill demonstrated in TV programmes such as Countdown. This petition was officially supported by the UK's two largest debt charities, Credit Action and the Consumer Credit Counselling Service. The petition had over 80,000 signatures and newspapers reported that she threatened legal action to try to stop it. Vorderman has since stopped appearing in these advertisements.

Both these campaigns were the subject of parliamentary Early Day Motions.

Recognition

Lewis was named in an Early Day Motion of the House of Commons.

Lewis and his website were cited as being at the forefront of the new virtual democracy as a 'remarkable new body' according the UK Government Cabinet Office report "The Power of Information".

Lewis became a Governor of the London School of Economics in 2008.

Personal

He is engaged to Five News weather presenter Lara Lewington.

References

External links

Articles

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