Former Special Forces soldier Ollie Ollerton doesn’t think it’s worth investing in pensions or real estate, because that’s not the way to wealth, either.
Instead, Ollerton, star of Channel 4 TV show SAS: Who Dares Wins, prefers to invest in his own companies and designer watches. He does not save in a pension and rents his own house despite a six-figure salary.
The 49-year-old spoke to Donna Ferguson from his Shropshire home, where he lives with fiancé Laura, 40, and her son William, 11. His latest book, Battle Ready: Eliminate Doubt, Embrace Courage, Transform Your Life is out now.
Time is money: former SAS member Ollie Ollerton
What have your parents taught you about money?
Little. I came from an affluent family. My father had an engineering firm. When I was about eight years old, he lost his business overnight.
It went from a rich lifestyle, where I went to a beautiful private school, to a more normal education where I went to a state school. We had to move with my grandparents. My mother, who was a manager at a brewery, became the sole breadwinner. When I was 13, my dad ran away from us, which gave my mom an even bigger financial burden.
She became a single parent and raised two children, so the money was very tight. I was still young, so although there was a clear difference in how we lived, I still wanted the best of everything and lots of “things.” This turned out to be a catalyst for the financial problems I faced later in life.
Have you ever struggled to make ends meet?
Yes, after I joined the Royal Marines. You get paid almost nothing and I just couldn’t live within my budget. I had a carefree attitude to spending. I took a loan to buy an MG car and spent a lot of time socializing. I was unable to afford my lifestyle and was in debt of £ 15,000. That was an annual wage for me at the time. I ended up defaulting on the car loan and they took my MG with them.
I risked my life for work, but I was more concerned with how I would pay my bills every month. It caused a lot of stress. The last thing you want is to serve your country and worry about cash.
Have you ever been foolishly paid money?
Yes, after I was promoted to the SAS, I went to Iraq and earned £ 13,000 a month as a civilian contractor. Since it was a war zone, everything I earn was tax free. But I spent it all. I still had no money because I didn’t know how to live with my resources. Money controlled me, not the other way around.
I made an absolute fortune, but it was not worth the sacrifices I made. People were shot around me. Friends died and were kidnapped. After living there for five years, I had to leave because my mental health deteriorated.
What was the best year of your financial life?
Ollie Ollerton owns a £ 5,500 £ James James Omega watch
Last year. I now have five companies, including a company training company and a veterans academy. I also make money with mental courses, a fitness app, the TV stuff I do, my best-selling books, and personal gigs. I don’t want to say exactly how much I made last year, but it was definitely six digits.
What’s the most expensive you bought for fun?
It was an old Honda cafe racer engine for £ 12,000. I saw it and had to have it. It is a 1971 CB750 Four that is custom built. It’s my pride and joy and I’m constantly spending more money on it to make it look even cooler. I also have a £ 8,000 car that looks like an armored tank – it’s made for a movie set.
What is your biggest money mistake?
With the help of a loophole, I withdrew my entire pension – £ 50,000 – early and devoted it to furnishing a house I did not own. It was my ex-girlfriend’s house, and when the relationship failed, I lost all that money.
The best money decision you have made?
Turns on TV. In fact, it was like getting a lot of free ads for my businesses that have been continuously expanded and evolved ever since. But I always thought I’d earn so much – I had already thought about it. I will also earn a lot more in the future.
Do you save in a pension?
No. If I have to rely on a pension at some point, something has gone wrong with what I want to achieve. I rely on my companies and my assets. I think pensions are a lot of nonsense. I don’t trust it. Suddenly there can be a shift and your pension is worthless. How can you trust a system dictated by someone else?
Do you own a property?
No, I rent. I had a few properties – one in the UK and one in Australia. I calculated how much I paid, including mortgage interest, and it was not a good decision at all. People are selling the dream that buying a house is the key to wealth – it is not. The only way to make money from real estate is to buy something and rent it to someone else or use the land to make a profit.
I am currently looking for a large property with a lot of land that I can use for my business.
What is the only little luxury you treat yourself with?
Designer clothes and watches. I have eight watches, including a £ 5,500 ‘James Bond’ Omega watch, which marked the film’s 50th anniversary, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. The ones I buy are good investments and nice things to have on hand.
If you were chancellor, what would you do first?
I would fund more mental health and financial support for veterans of the armed forces. They have risked their lives for this country and we owe them all the support they need in return.
What is your number one financial priority?
To ensure that the people who work for me are paid. Many of my public speaking and business training courses have been canceled due to the corona virus. We have been hit hard financially, but we have not fired anyone. We can get through this without having to distribute government resources.
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