Celebrity money secrets - Martin Roberts
Martin Roberts presents BBC1’s hit show Homes Under the Hammer, provides property-buying advice in his book Making Money From Property, and runs training courses and a website, martinroberts.co.uk.
His CV includes presenting ITV’s travel show, Wish You Were Here, and a 15-year stint as travel editor of Woman magazine, as well as being an experienced author. Roberts lives in Devon with his wife, Kirsty, and two-year-old son, Scot, with baby number-two on the way.
Moneywise asked him to share his money secrets and tips.
My spending weakness?
Antiques and collectables, everything from old clocks to typewriters, but specifically scientific antiques. I’m a sucker for car boot sales; I have a house full of random, absolutely useless stuff – I love anything with a bit of history.
The most I’ve spent on a single item...
A wonderful modern-art grandfather clock made by Mark Avis. It looks as though it has just been taken out of a Dali painting – as though it’s made of wax and has started melting. It cost me £10,000 a long time ago.
If I won £10,000, I’d...
Pay off the loan for that clock!
The one thing I’m not prepared to give up or cut back on...
Any expense on my son. I’ll cut back, but it’s hard for me to cut back on him – which he’s beginning to learn. We come back from car boot sales with our hands full of fluffy toys and games.
If I was chancellor for a day, I’d...
Force the banks to pay all the money back they have taken, and put it into businesses and provide individuals with finance. I’d force all credit card companies to put interest back to base rates, and I’d abolish inheritance tax and stamp duty. I would also knock through number 10 and 11 to make a nice living area.
How I’m feeling the credit crunch...
I have properties on tracker mortgages, so on the one hand, it’s great because I’m not paying as much back. On the other hand, new purchases are a nightmare; it makes raising any finance very difficult and it’s harder to gear money. It means I am more reliant on savings, which is tough. It’s swings and roundabouts. Now is the time people need advice – and that’s what I provide.
My first job and pay packet?
Stocking shelves for Kwiksave. I worked nine to five on Thursdays and Fridays, and eight to six on Saturdays, and was paid £16. But I saved up and bought a new bicycle.
The best financial lesson I’ve learnt...
Cash flow is everything. It’s not what you own but what you can liquidate quickly if you need to. Oh, and cheap definitely isn’t always best; beware of false economies.
How I’m teaching my children about money...
Well, my son’s two, and I’m doing a bad job so far. As I mentioned before, he comes to car boot sales with me and toy shops. He doesn’t yet understand that you have to swap those hard-earned bits of paper for the train set.
But when Scot’s older, I’ll teach him the thrill of buying things with your own money. My biggest tip to him would be the importance of cash flow – a bird in the hand is worth two in a tree.
My top money-saving tip...
Whatever you’re buying, do your research – and always get at least three quotes.
A hugely unpopular tax paid on property and share purchases. Stamp duty on property is levied at 1% for purchases over £125,000 (£250,000 for first-time buyers) which then moves up at a tiered rate. For property between £125k and £250k you pay 1%, then 3% from £250k up to £500k and then 4% from £500k to £1m and then 5% for properties over £1m. But unlike income tax, which is “tiered” and different rates kick in at different levels, stamp duty is a “slab” tax where you pay the rate on the whole purchase price of the property. On shares, stamp duty is charged at a flat rate of 0.5% on all share purchases. Figures correct as of May 2011.
The tax levied on the total value of your estate after you die. IHT has to be paid by the beneficiaries of your estate before they can receive any of the money from it. The money can’t be taken from the value of the estate _– it has to be paid before any money can be released. There is an IHT threshold – known as the “nil-rate band” – below which no tax is levied (£325,000 in 2011/12). Any amount above the nil-rate band is subject to tax at 40%. If your estate totals £600,000, there is no tax on the first £325,000; however your estate will pay 40% tax on the remaining £275,000, a total of £110,000. Prudent tax planning can reduce your IHT liability, so always consult a specialist solicitor.
Used by the holder to buy goods and services, credit cards also have a monthly or annual spending limit, which may be raised or lowered depending on the creditworthiness of the cardholder. But unlike charge cards, borrowers aren’t forced to pay the balance off in full every month and, as long as they make a stated minimum payment, can carry a balance from one month to the next, generating compound interest. As the issuing company is effectively giving you a short-term loan, most credit cards have variable and relatively high interest rates. Allowing the interest to compound for too long may result in dire financial straits.