“Margaret Thatcher probably saved Showaddywaddy”
What is your most precious possession?
A 12-string Martin acoustic guitar. I rarely play it because I don’t want to damage it. It adorns a wall in my office, along with other guitars. It cost around £ 800 in 1975 and is now worth £ 5,500.
What was your best financial decision?
On behalf of the group, I made a deal with Demon Music Group covering Showaddywaddy’s catalog which was worth hundreds of thousands of pounds. It was completed about 20 years ago and has been lucrative. Demon has been wonderful to work with and has rejuvenated the band’s career. We’re about eight years away from the original contract expiration date, but we’re already discussing a renewal deal.
What was your worst financial decision?
I met a guy in the clothing industry while vacationing in Seychelles in the 1980s. He inspired me to invest in a clothing business. Quickly, I realized that things were not going well and that my investment was not paying much. He went to the United States and I found out there were charges against my property – it was a nightmare. I could have lost £ 40,000 but in the end it was only $ 15,000. It hardened me as a businessman and I learned from this experience.
Are you interested in pensions?
Yes. I took a substantial lump sum out of my statutory and general pension to help me invest in the real estate market rather than borrowing capital. But I made sure to leave enough in the pot to subsidize my current winnings. I set up the pension in the 1980s and would advise everyone to take a pension.
How else to invest?
I have an Isa but most of my investments are in real estate. My dad always told me that if I make money, invest it in bricks and mortar – and that’s good advice. Along with some friends, I invested in various projects, the first being a renovation which brought us a lot of money.
For a while, Cathy and I also owned a property in Madeira. We lived there for four years until we started vegetating. So we returned to UK in 2018. But it was a great experience and we still love the island – in fact we still vacation there regularly. At one point, we owned three properties in Madeira and one in Porto Santo, the neighboring island. We lived in one and rented out the others, but the rental returns were not great. So we sold the rental properties and put everything together in a lovely three bedroom house with ocean views not far from Funchal, the capital. When we decided it was time to go back to England we sold our beautiful house within 24 hours and walked away with a profit of £ 100,000.
When we first started buying properties in Madeira, the exchange rate was around € 1.66 per pound. But when we sold, the pound had almost bottomed out, which meant we made a substantial profit. Now we live in a four bedroom detached house in Nottinghamshire and own four other properties in the UK. We have done well in the real estate market and now Cathy and I have enough money to give ourselves the lifestyle we want; it’s about leaving a good nest egg for our daughter now.
Are you interested in stocks?
Not really. Although I’ve touched it over the years, it’s not something that I’ve really understood. Plus, I know too many people who have been bitten by the deed and deed game. I consider them too high a risk.
Are you afraid of fraud?
A little. I had a problem a few years ago when I found myself with an unscrupulous investment firm. Eventually I got my money back and damages (around £ 20,000) but the whole affair lasted for two years.
Are you using a financial advisor?
I had one for about 10 years in the 90s giving wise advice, which was a good thing, but it’s something that I cover myself now. I would normally advise people to consult a counselor every now and then but unfortunately there are so many snakes around that you have to be careful. We live in a more dishonest world now. In the 1970s a handshake meant something, but not anymore.
Do you keep a regular check on your finances?
Always. Although during the lockdown, when spending was much less, I only checked my accounts twice a week.
Away from music, you turned to writing books, didn’t you?
Yes, so far two have been published and a third, this time a novel titled Killer line, will be released later this year. I wouldn’t call myself a natural writer, but I can weave a good thread and ultimately have a great affection for writing.
Does money make you happy?
It can make everyone happy, but it can also lead to sadness and anger. Oddly enough, I don’t see a lot of excessively wealthy people who are happy.
What are your future financial projects?
I want to start paying more attention to inheritance tax. If you don’t you can lose a lot of money which will send me back to my grave. So, I have to start watching this.