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 at age 18, says she and her husband, TV producer Karl Beattie, 58, also bought Ferraris and Bentleys with the money they made from their hit TV series Most Haunted.
Now living in a former gentlemen’s hunting lodge on a sprawling 20-acre estate in Cheshire, she told Donna Ferguson that her biggest regret was not having bought a second home in Cornwall sooner. Her ghost hunting novel The House In The Woods will be published on Thursday.
Trailblazer: Yvette Fielding’s early days on Blue Peter led to a lucrative TV career
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 mother was a receptionist while my father was an entrepreneur who had built up a boring and drilling business. He worked seven days a week. He taught me that you get out of life what you put into it.
Money was not 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 very popular in the late 60’s and early 70’s.
I went to a private drama school in Cheshire. I loved it and had my first audition with the BBC at the age of 13 – and that was it, my career had begun. I really thought I was the happiest person in the world.
Have you ever struggled to make ends meet?
Yeah, in the 90’s after I got fired from a TV show – which wasn’t Blue Peter – because I just had a baby and I wasn’t considered sexy enough. If it had happened today, I would have taken them to court. It was outrageous.
I really struggled. I was only raising a young child. I couldn’t pay the mortgage, so I had to sell my house and move back to Cheshire. I moved in with my mother and got a job selling dresses to stores. The shop assistants I met said, ‘Oh my god, it’s the girl from the TV.’
I felt ashamed. Sometimes I look back on that time and I get tears in my eyes. I will never forgive the people who get rid of me.
Then, after about six months, the phone rang. It was another TV channel and they asked me to do a show. Then the work just poured in.
Have you ever been given ridiculous money?
Yeah, when I did, I’m a celebrity… Get me out of here. When they told me how much they would pay, I went around in the kitchen. It was an amazing amount, but once I was there and was eating tarantula slop and the tarantula’s hairs stuck in the back of my throat, I didn’t care about the money anymore. I just wanted to go home.
What was the best year of your financial life?
It was 2005, the year we paid off the mortgage on the house we still live in. I was 36.
By then we had started our production company and were making Most Haunted, which had become a worldwide hit. It was sold to over 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 just £60,000.
It was a great car and I loved driving it, but I decided to sell it 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 over the years such as Ferraris and Bentleys and loved every minute of driving them.
The best money decision you’ve made?
We bought our house in Cheshire, a former gentlemen’s hunting lodge, in 2003 for £725,000. We were terrified 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 plunge – and I’m so glad we did, as it has definitely increased in value. It is a very old quirky five bedroom house with foundations dating back to the 14th century. We have 20 acres of land and a lake.
Young gun: Yvette Fielding was the youngest person to present Blue Peter, in 1987 at the age of 18
What is your biggest money mistake?
We are buying a second home in Cornwall, a two bedroom seaside cottage, and I wish we had done it sooner. Investing in real estate is the way forward.
Are you saving for retirement?
Not anymore. I started saving for retirement in my early twenties and invested a lump sum in the early 2000s. I stopped because I had reached the maximum I wanted to put into it. I took one out because I want to be able to pay for my own care later in life. I don’t want my kids to have to worry about that.
Do you invest directly on the stock exchange?
New. It’s too risky for me. I don’t want to gamble with my savings or the money I’ve earned from hard work.
That one little luxury you treat yourself to?
I like a massage every few months. I usually go to an all day spa with my mother or daughter Mary who is 21. It costs about £250 in total for two people.
What would you do if you were chancellor?
I would abolish estate taxes and increase funding for repairs to stately homes. There are all these great beautiful stately homes across the country that hold our history.
Often the families who live there cannot afford to refurbish them and they fall into disrepair and ruin. I think it’s a shame.
What is your top financial priority?
To make sure my family is taken care of. I have always encouraged our children to pursue their dreams and work hard, as I was taught.
Ultimately, though, you want to make sure that if something terrible happens — like a new pandemic — your family is safe and you can take care of them.
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