‘My best financial decision? Leaving the BBC’

Property aside, what’s the most expensive purchase you’ve ever made?

I had a dream when I was a kid that one day I’d go back to my school in a sports car and talk to the kids about ambitions and goals and how anyone can achieve anything they want if they work hard and stay focused.

Years later, when I could afford it, I bought that dream car, an Audi TT, for cash and I did indeed return to my old school to give a talk. I remember pulling into the car park and thinking: “Oh my God, I’ve made it!”

As it happens, I had to sell the car last year because I’ve now got a baby and it simply isn’t practical. I was slightly devastated.

What has been your worst purchase?

My first house. Everyone was telling me to get on the property ladder. I was in my early 20s and living in London. I couldn’t afford to buy there so I bought a house in Middlesbrough.

I’ve still got it; my friend lives in it. But it’s gone down in value since I bought it 15 years ago. I was a victim of the credit crunch.

What has been your best financial decision?

Leaving the BBC and moving to Channel 4 to present Steph’s Packed Lunch. I’m much better off now.

What has been your worst financial decision?

I honestly don’t think I’ve made any bad ones, the first house purchase excepted. I’ve got a pension plan. I’m very cautious with money.

So you’ve saved for your retirement?

I have. I’ve had my will drawn up. I’ve sorted out my legal power of attorney. I’ve planned what would happen to my daughter if anything happened to me. I’ve got a lot of different things I do: investing in stocks and shares, for example.

I was a financial journalist for so long doing business reports on the Today program and then becoming a business editor for BBC News that I’ve learned a lot along the way.

I’m not boasting but I’m really savvy when it comes to my finances. I’ve even invested in cryptocurrency; not massively but I do enjoy following trends. I’d never put my money in just one pot, though. I like to spread it around.

Do you take advice from anyone?

Oh yeah, I don’t think I know it all. I’ve just hooked up with Specsavers for an initiative called #GenerationWOW campaign – it stands for wonderful older wisdom – from Specsavers Home Visits, together with the University of the Third Age.

It’s intended to give older people a platform to pass on their skills and life experience to others.

My Dad, Eamonn, is a professional artist and he’s been teaching me some of the tricks of the trade. I always thought you either had the talent or you didn’t. But it seems that you can acquire quite a few rudimentary skills.

When you’re in the public eye it’s nice to relax with a hobby that keeps you grounded.

With Dad’s help, I’ve now painted one landscape that’s good enough to hang on my wall at home.

What has been your most lucrative piece of work?

Not painting, that’s for sure. I’d say it’s the corporate jobs I do. I host events for big corporations.

At first I dismissed the idea. I’m a broadcaster, I told myself; I didn’t want to get into any of that. But I was gobsmacked by how much you can get paid. And as it turns out, not only is the work lucrative but I really enjoy doing it. So it’s become a bit of a win-win.

Find out more at specsavers.co.uk/generation-wow


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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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