Arriving at my East London flat suited and booted Tim Carter is the vision of a young banker. Working in the Square Mile in the country’s most thriving financial district is a demanding career for a young man, especially a young man who’s social hobbies include; camping, shooting and going to music festivals. He reminds me of Banana Man, leading a double life. You see, for anyone who doesn’t know Tim there are two very different people that you could run into. The first, most commonly seen at the pub with his friends, is a free spirit, leading the way on an outlandish ‘man challenge’, or partying in the middle of a field into the early hours of the morning. The second is a slick young banker, racing through the ranks of his firm, keen to prove himself as a serious and dependable business man.
Growing up in North Hampshire, in the particularly affluent Hart district, Tim’s young childhood was that of a typical nuclear family. From the outside they did everything you’d expect from a traditional family doing well. “My Dad sort of lived by the ideal that he wanted a big house and a nice family.” Tim and his sister went to a Catholic school even though they weren’t particularly religious, being seen as the perfect family was something that was important to their father. The Carter’s moved a handful of times between nearby towns in the area. They lived a drive away from his classmates which was isolating and made it more difficult to be social with other children of the same age. Entering big school unleashed a potential for friendships that Tim hadn’t been exposed to before. “Until secondary school I was very shy, I hadn’t developed the social skills that other kids my own age had.”
When Tim was in his teens, a boy just finding his feet, his father lost his job and it became clear he was suffering from depression. He battled with alcoholism and mental health issues which were a huge strain on his family, the large house and the lifestyle he’d created for himself. This led to the breakdown of Tim’s parents’ marriage. His mother along with Tim and his sister, moved away to a neighbouring town. Enrolling at Sixth Form College, again not close to where he lived, meant that Tim was yet again, starting over. After taking a job at the local Waitrose he began making new group of friends, “I even went to lectures at the other college closer to home with friends I’d made there, the teachers didn’t seem to mind!”.
Tim and his sister have stood by and supported their mother throughout the trials of their father’s illness and the collapse of their marriage; sadly he died when Tim was only 16 years old. This left him without a father figure in a particularly crucial time in his life. “My mum feels guilty that she didn’t stick it out for longer, but at the end of the day if someone is going to be on a downward spiral they are going to drag everyone down with them. By the end of the marriage he wasn’t a particularly pleasant person to be around.” A year before his Dad passed away Tim had very little contact with him, he moved to the West Country hundreds of miles away from them, his alcoholism got worse and was sectioned for his mental health problems. Staying away was a self-preservation move for Tim, his mum and sister. After hurt and problems caused by his Dad’s troubles, it was time for them to start living their lives, especially his mum, “We certainly did the right thing, probably did it too late, she has coped extraordinarily well considering everything.”
It was around this time that Tim met his closest friends, there being a turning point for him at sixteen. ‘I’d brought a new moped which had broken down on the way back from college and met a complete stranger who walked with me all the way home, two hours, talking to him.” The two of them became firm friends and Tim was introduced to some very important people in his life. “If my moped hadn’t broken down that day I would never met Vicki”, his girlfriend now of six years. A whole friendship group opened up for him and he enjoyed some deserved childhood freedom after having a difficult home life. Going on his first lad’s holiday to the notorious destination of Newquay is a rite of passage for many a teenager. He describes this a one of his fondest memories, “we had fake ID’s , I’d just started driving and we were drinking for the first time, we have so many stories from that time, it was a brilliant summer”. Life-long friend Matthew Johnson, who although is four years older than him, has always remained a close companion. Going to their first festival together, getting drunk and sharing hobbies like shooting. Matthew and his brother are the only friends Tim still has from his early childhood. Now he has established a close knit circle mainly stemming from that day his moped broke down, who mean a great deal to him. “The friendship group I have now, I spend most of my social time with and they’ve been my core”. It’s evident how much he loves his friends; he is always full of anecdotes of their adventures together.
By day Tim is a Private Banking Manager for a multi-national bank. ‘I do command a certain amount of authority; I have an assistant who is four years older than me’. Tim is often told that he has done well for someone of his age and having had six promotions in as many years means that Tim doesn’t dwell on leaving certain things behind. His next step would be into senior management, where he would be responsible for a whole team of people. ‘I’ll probably stick with this job for the next couple of years but I’ve certainly go my eye on the next step, you’ve always got to look forward. Onwards and upwards!’ Managing a portfolio of clients means that Tim always stays motivated; picking up the phone creating relationships is what this business is about so he needs to be constantly engaged with the work he does. ‘I am happy in the sense that I get paid well and the job I do is nice’, giving financial advice is a satisfying pursuit for him, being able to show people when they can take that once in a lifetime trip, that they never thought they’d be able to afford. ‘Managing their worry is essentially my job and people really do appreciate what we do, being passionate is what will propel you through this industry’. However it’s not all plain sailing working in the current economic climate, ‘The finance industry is in such a mess there is always the looming prospect of possible redundancy’. Tim, being a ‘seize the day’ type of guy, he tries not to let this sort of thing get to him turning his attention to the importance of his private life. ‘I don’t think I’m the sort of person who would just do a job because they love it, I still need to be paid a decent amount of money as well’. The value the job can add to Tim’s private life far outweighs anything else. He strives for the personal freedoms that financial success brings.
Having just purchased his first home, just before his twenty fourth birthday, Tim is steaming ahead of his contemporaries. “I knew I needed to do something for a while, it was just a case of having the bollocks to actually do it!” He credits his mature career choices and discipline to his long term relationship with Vicki. He decided against going to university to study Egyptology in pursuit of nurturing his relationship with his girlfriend. “Maybe later on in life this is something I will pick up again, I don’t feel like I’ve missed out”. His relationship must have been a welcome change to the turbulent few years he had leading up to meeting her. “I’m proud of the person I’ve become, I think about where I was ten years ago and was about to enter the darkest period of my life, and that having a positive influence on me. I don’t regret anything.”
Even though there are two sides to Tim there is a common attribute that he takes into both parts of his life, enthusiasm. Making the best of any situation handed to him and a drive to achieve way beyond his years in the financial world. He has strong, close, passionate relationships with his nearest and dearest. If asked what is most important to him he replies, “Work is a just a job at the end of the day.”