How to be a wizard with your wealth - Spend & Save - Money - The Independent

How to be a wizard with your wealth

Harry Potter heroine Emma Watson came into her fortune this week – so will a millionaires' course help her handle it?

Few parents know what to give an 18-year-old on her birthday. But access to £10.5m is likely to get a warm welcome from even the sulkiest teenager. Actress Emma Watson – better known as Harry Potter's fresh-faced companion Hermione – turned 18 this week, and was promptly handed the keys to her fortune.

Well, almost. Watson's parents, who have been safeguarding their daughter's growing riches for the past five years, reportedly insisted that she enrol on a "millionaires' course", in the hope that it would stop her squandering her cash.

Run by Coutts – bankers to the Queen, no less – the "Assets and Responsibilities" course is designed to teach super-rich 17 to 23-year-olds just how to handle their wealth.

While I may be a little older – and significantly poorer – than Watson, right, my frivolous spending suggests I could do with learning a thing or two about the value of money. I decided to give it a go, and enlisted the help of Oliver Woolley, one of the "academics and experts" who spent last summer tutoring 20 monied youngsters on Coutts' first course of its kind.

His "pupils" spent three days learning about spending and budgeting, investing, the history of the City, how to read the financial press and how to set up an enterprise. While I know lots about spending, I'm drawing a blank on the other components.

Mr Woolley, a partner with Envestors, an investment firm, didn't seem to think this would be a problem. "You don't need to know it all, you just need to know some things, have good advisers, and to ask them the right questions," he said cheerfully. After assuring me that the financial awareness of the kids on last year's course was "varied", Mr Woolley handed me a pile of printouts and we got started.

"The main thing is to have a broad portfolio – put some in property, some in safe stocks, and some in a high-risk early-stage investment," he said.

I have the attention span of a gnat when it comes to numbers, but luckily the course is designed for restless teenagers. Cash flow, patents, marketing and business plans are simplified using bullet points, big print and bright colours. One topic was illustrated with random pictures of citrus fruit, another with a quote from Mark Twain, encouraging me to "Throw off the bowlines". We played games from last year's course, including: "Design a venture for Heathrow's new Terminal 5". I suggested a baggage reclaim business.

"The kids last year glazed over when it came to tax, but they liked the investment and entrepreneurial stuff," said Mr Woolley. I don't blame them. VAT, PAYE, income tax, inheritance tax, corporation tax... the list is endless and uninspiring. The only moment of light relief came when Mr Woolley assured me "there is a difference between tax avoidance and tax evasion".

Thankfully, we eventually moved on to investments, which are much more exciting. I'm especially keen on early ventures – companies that are just starting up and haven't yet floated on the stock market – which are high risk but offer phenomenal returns. Apparently, so are the Tarquins and Arabellas who attend these courses, but they should be wary – four out of 10 of these ventures fail, and the minimum investment is usually £20,000.

"The massive returns are very tempting to young people who have just come into money. They are much less risk-averse than someone who is 40 and has built up their wealth gradually," warned Mr Woolley.

Apparently, if I'm to make the most of my money I need to start reading The Financial Times, and make sure I understand profit-and-loss margins, corporate structures, director equity, tax breaks and shareholder structures. Surely a rising star like Watson doesn't have time for all this? I asked my financial tutor to sum up his advice in a nutshell, and his answer was reassuringly simple: "Don't put all your money in one pot."

Independent Partners; request a free guide on NISAs from Hargreaves Lansdown

News
John Travolta is a qualified airline captain and employed the pilot with his company, Alto
people'That was the lowest I’d ever felt'
Life and Style
healthIt isn’t greasy. It doesn’t smell. And moreover, it costs nothing
News
peopleThe report and photo dedicated to the actress’s decolletage has, unsurprisingly, provoked anger
Property
Home body: Badger stays safe indoors
property
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
The programme sees four specialists creating what they believe are three perfect couples, based on scientific matchmaking. The couples will not meet until they walk down the aisle together
tvUK wedding show jilted
Arts and Entertainment
US pop diva Jennifer Lopez sang “Happy Birthday” to Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow, president of Turkmenistan
musicCorporate gigs become key source of musicians' income
Arts and Entertainment
You've been framed: Henri Matisse's colourful cut-outs at Tate Modern
artWhat makes a smash-hit art show
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
filmsDaniel Craig believed to be donning skis as 007 for first time
Sport
Mikel Arteta pictured during Borussia Dortmund vs Arsenal
champions league
Voices
Yes supporters gather outside the Usher Hall, which is hosting a Night for Scotland in Edinburgh
voicesBen Judah: Is there a third option for England and Scotland that keeps everyone happy?
Arts and Entertainment
Pulp-fiction lover: Jarvis Cocker
booksJarvis Cocker on Richard Brautigan
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Thicke and Pharell Williams in the video of the song, which has been accused of justifying rape
music...and he had 'almost no part' in writing it
Finacial products from our partners
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    Sales Executive

    £20 - 24k (Uncapped Commission - £35k Year 1 OTE): Guru Careers: We are seekin...

    Payroll & Accounts Assistant

    £20 - 24k + Benefits: Guru Careers: This is a great opportunity for an enthusi...

    SQL Developer - Watford/NW London - £280 - £320 p/d - 6 months

    £280 - £320 per day: Ashdown Group: The Ashdown Group have been engaged by a l...

    Senior BA - Insurance **URGENT**

    £400 - £450 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: **URGENT CONTRACT ROLE**...

    Day In a Page

    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
    These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

    Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

    Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
    Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

    Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

    His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    The Imitation Game, film review
    England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

    England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

    Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week