Money & Me: ‘I grow my wealth by investing in property and travel’

Lynsay Kilbane, founder of luxury household staff recruitment agency The Mama Consultancy, says her blue chihuahua is a cherished purchase

Lynsay Kilbane says Albie, her pet chihuahua, is a cherished purchase along with her handbag collection. Pawan Singh / The National
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Lynsay Kilbane worked as a governess in many ultra-high-net-worth households, which gave her an insight into understanding what it takes to help these families run their personal lives smoothly.

Drawing from 15 years of experience working in such roles, the Abu Dhabi-based Briton launched The Mama Consultancy, a luxury private household staff recruitment agency, in 2022 to provide elite staffing solutions for super rich and high-income families in the Middle East and globally.

She first moved to Abu Dhabi for a governess role with a local family in 2016 but moved back to London for a couple of years.

Then Ms Kilbane returned as a governess for another local family, a role she held until last year.

“I work with UHNW families taking care of their children. That's everything from day-to-day care, personal assistant duties, organising parties, managing their wardrobes, planning travel, liaising with their schools and their schedules, ensuring the children have great manners and implementing boundaries,” she says.

Ms Kilbane left school and started college, but realised it was not for her. She started working as a part-time nanny at the age of 18 and worked her way up from being employed by regular households to later supporting prestigious families.

She is a full-time business owner now and has been in the UAE for about five years in her second stint as governess.

She lives with her partner in Reem Island, Abu Dhabi.

Did wealth feature in your childhood? What did you learn from it?

My dad had his own business since leaving school at a very young age. He inspired me to work for myself and create something so I don't have to rely on others.

I come from a very stable household and never had any money worries, which, I think, has carried into my adult life because I do not see money as an issue. I do not think about it negatively.

I learnt that if you work hard and have a positive attitude, money will always come.

How did you first earn? What did your first job pay?

I have been working since I was 10. It was a variety of things such as dog walking, car washing and creating a magazine with my best friend.

I have always been looking for the thing that clicked for me.

My first job as a part-time nanny paid £250 ($317) a week.

Why did you decide to become an entrepreneur?

Working in a private household myself, I realised there are so many roles behind the scenes to help these families run their personal lives smoothly.

I am always approached by families asking if I can work for them or help find somebody like me.

I had always resisted because I thought it was a big responsibility being entrusted to look after children, as we are a big influence on them. But I ended up thinking I should give it a try and have not looked back since.

My company specialises in providing elite households with nannies, house managers, butlers and chefs.

Another part of my business offers a lifestyle concierge service for families. This could include booking them a luxury holiday somewhere or finding them a very rare puppy. I receive a lot of interesting requests.

My target audience is UHNW families across the world. I am based in the UAE but have clients in Kenya, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the UK. They are looking for elite household staff to manage either their main property or several properties across the world.

How do you grow your wealth?

A few years ago, I invested in a property in the town of Bicester outside London and then sold it at an amazing time. That was a way of growing my wealth.

I would like to be my own version of financially independent. I'd like to be able to have enough money to be present for my future family
Lynsay Kilbane, founder of The Mama Consultancy

I also think that travel is a way that I grow my personal wealth. Travel is incredible and it is where I spend a lot of my money.

We travelled yearly as a family. We always went to different destinations, for example, we went to Venezuela when I was 11 years old. So, my family gave me the opportunity to see the world and it ignited a passion for travel.

I travel minimum six times a year. I went to Fiji for six weeks and was volunteering on a remote island without electricity or water. It was humbling and it makes you see the value of money when you meet people who do not have it.

With my job, I also get to travel to the most luxurious places in the world where money is not an issue at all. So, you see it from that end as well, which is incredible.

Are you a spender or a saver?

Both. I love to spend on handbags, they are my weakness. I also love to spend on books and travel.

But I also like to save because I love having this safety net if anything happens.

Have you been wise with money?

I would say so. But there is always so much to learn about managing money and investing.

What has been your best investment?

My house that I sold in Bicester. It was an up-and-coming area and I really lucked out on that sale. It helped me to make sure that I had the safety net of retiring from nannying and going into my business.

Investing in travel is also worthwhile.

Any cherished purchases?

My dog, Albie. He is a blue chihuahua. He is just over a year.

Also, my handbag collection, which is something I have grown since I got my first pay cheque.

Any financial advice for your younger self?

Get into property investment earlier. I bought my first property at the age of 29.

What are your financial goals?

I would like to be my own version of financially independent. I would like to be able to have enough money to be present for my future family.

I would like to also add passive incomes to my main business, which would give me more freedom in terms of time. I have got several things in the pipeline.

What luxuries are important to you?

A really good cup of coffee. I like to make sure the small things in life, the everyday things are luxurious.

Life is too short to settle for average things.

Updated: May 31, 2024, 6:02 PM