TV presenter Yvette Fielding once bought an Aston Martin for £95,000 – and sold it six months later for just £60,000.
Fielding, 52, the youngest person to present Blue Peter, in 1987 aged 18, says she and her husband, TV producer Karl Beattie, 58, also bought Ferraris and Bentleys with the money they made from their popular TV series Most Haunted.
She now lives in a former gentleman’s hunting lodge on a sprawling 20-acre estate in Cheshire and says her biggest regret was not buying a second home in Cornwall sooner.
Her ghost-hunting novel, The House In The Woods, is published on Thursday.
What did your parents teach you about money?
That you should try to get ahead and be your own boss. Both my parents worked full-time.
My mum was a receptionist while my dad was an entrepreneur who built a boring and drilling business. He worked seven days a week. He taught me that you get out of life what you put in.
Money wasn’t tight because my parents worked so hard. I wasn’t spoiled, but I had a pony and lived in a nice house with central heating and carpets which was a big thing in the late 60s and early 70s.
I went to a private stage school in Cheshire. I loved it and had my first audition at the BBC at age 13 – and that was it, my career had started. I honestly thought I was the luckiest person in the world.
Have you ever struggled to make ends meet?
Yes, in the 90s after I was fired from a TV show – which was not Blue Peter – because I had just had a baby and I wasn’t considered sexy enough. If it happened today, I would have taken them to court. It was outrageous.
I really struggled. I was on my own bringing up a young child. I couldn’t pay the mortgage, so I ended up having to sell my house and move back to Cheshire. I moved in with my mum and got a job selling dresses to shops. The shop assistants I met would say: ‘Oh my god, it’s the girl off the TV.’
I felt embarrassed. Sometimes, I look back on that time and it brings tears to my eyes. I’ll never forgive the people who got rid of me.
Then, after about six months, the phone rang. It was another TV channel and they asked me to do a show. After that, the work just came flooding in.
Have you ever been paid silly money?
Yes, when I did I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here. When they told me how much they’d pay, I did a little jig around the kitchen.
It was an astonishing sum, but when I was there and eating tarantula slop and the hairs of the tarantula were sticking in the back of my throat, I no longer cared about the money. I just wanted to go home.
What was the best year of your financial life?
It was 2005, the year we paid the mortgage off on the house we still live in. I was 36.
By that time, we had established our production company and were making Most Haunted which had become a global hit. It was sold to more than 100 different territories.
The most expensive thing you bought for fun?
It was a silver Aston Martin Vantage for £95,000 in 2005. I sold it six months later for only £60,000.
It was an amazing car and I absolutely loved driving it, but I decided to sell because I wanted to use the money to build stables for my horses.
Even though the Aston Martin lost its value so quickly, I don’t regret buying it. My husband and I have owned some ridiculous cars such as Ferraris and Bentleys over the years and loved every minute driving them.
The best money decision you have made?
Buying our home in Cheshire, a former gentleman’s hunting lodge, in 2003 for £725,000.
We were scared to death to do it because we had to take out a huge mortgage. But we fell in love with it when we saw it and nervously took the leap – and I’m so pleased we did as it’s definitely gone up in value.
It’s a really old, quirky five-bedroom house with foundations dating back to the 1400s. We have 20 acres of land and a lake.
What is your biggest money mistake?
We are buying a second home in Cornwall, a two-bedroom cottage by the sea, and I wish we had done it sooner. Investing in property is the way forward.
Do you save into a pension?
Not any more. I started saving into a pension when I was in my early 20s and invested a lump sum in the early 2000s.
I stopped because I reached the maximum I wanted to put in. I took one out because I want to be able to pay for my own care later in life. I don’t want my children to have to worry about that.
Do you invest directly in the stock market?
No. It’s too risky for me. I don’t want to gamble with my savings or the money that I have earned from hard work.
The one little luxury you treat yourself to?
I love a massage every few months. I usually go to an all-day spa, either with my mother or daughter Mary who is 21. It costs about £250 in total for two people.
If you were Chancellor what would you do?
I would get rid of inheritance tax and increase funding for repairs on stately homes. There are all these big beautiful stately houses around the country that hold our history.
Often, the families who are living there can’t afford to do them up and they are falling into wrack and ruin. I think it’s a disgrace.
What is your number one financial priority?
To make sure my family are looked after. I’ve always encouraged our children to go off and chase their dreams and work hard, like I was taught.
But at the end of the day, you want to make sure that if anything awful happens – like another pandemic – your family is safe and you can look after them.Internet Explorer Channel Network