TV presenter Kate Garraway: “What I would tell my 20-year-old self about money”

Kate Garraway

As part of a feature called, Women: what I would tell my younger self about money, in which Moneywise readers share their tips, we asked TV presenter Kate Garraway, who hosted our Moneywise Customer Service Awards 2017, what she would like to tell her younger self. Here's what she said:

I have been thinking about this question a lot recently because I am turning 50. It’s a big birthday that definitely makes you look back at your life and wonder if you should have done things differently and also wonder what the next few decades might hold.

I even wrote a book about it, called The Joy of Big Knickers (Or Learning to Love the Rest of Your Life), in which I get the best advice from experts and celebrities and face my own fears about getting older. I put in a whole chapter on money, because research shows being poor is second only to feeling lonely and invisible in the top things we fear about ageing.

So what would I do differently? Well, in my 20s I lived life for the now. I didn’t have a mortgage, a pension or a savings account, so I wasn’t financially investing or planning for my future. I did, however, work very hard, long days (and nights!), grateful to have got a first job in the industry I loved and determined to make the most of it. And in one way it paid off.

At the moment, I’m lucky enough to have a job in TV and a job in radio. So by most people’s standards, I’m Richard Branson. Only it’s all a bit of an illusion. I’m one of those people who appears to inhabit a glittering world, where thanks to my job I travel to every corner of the planet and go to all the latest shows and movies, often for free. I’m invited to fantastic parties. I get a ready-made social life out of it.

But while I am definitely wealthy compared to many, the reality alas doesn’t match the fantasy. Our car is 10 years old. Like so many people I’ve not paid as much into my private pension as I should have. We still have a big mortgage on our house. And, let’s face it, I’m unlikely to carry on earning what I earn now until the new retirement age – how many 65-year-olds do you see on TV?

So the advice I would give to my 20-year-old self is: Yes, live your life; work hard and party hard because that is how you will become you. But do put some financial foundations in place while you can. Get yourself a pension, even while you are still studying. Money put in when you’re younger is worth much more and before you have a family or other commitments, it’s easier to save.

Start a savings account as soon as you start earning and set up a direct debit to whisk it away the second your pay cheque is in, so you don’t ever see what you’re missing. It may not be much to start with but locked away it will build up and will be a very good start when you want to find a deposit for a house. And try to remember even if now 30 years old seems ancient, in a blink of an eye you will be 50 and glad of what you did back then.

Moneywise has three copies of Kate Garraway’s book, The Joy of Big Knickers (Or Learning to Love the Rest of Your Life), to give away. To win a copy, email editor@moneywise.co.uk, telling me your favourite quote about money from a celebrity or famous person.

Published: 03 July 2017
Last updated: 03 July 2017

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