Kelly Holmes: "Money gives you freedom"

Donna Ferguson
Dame Kelly Holmes won BBC Sports Personality of the year in 2004
Dame Kelly Holmes won BBC Sports Personality of the year in 2004

Lewis Hamilton has just won BBC Sports Personality of the year. But for former winner Dame Kelly Holmes - who set a new British record when she won gold in the 2004 Olympics for both the 800m and the 1500m races - last night's ceremony was merely the 10th anniversary of her own memorable win in 2004.

So what's she been up to since then?

Now 44, Holmes has become a motivational speaker and property investor - and has just opened her own cafe in her hometown of Hildenburgh, naming it Cafe 1809 after her Athens Olympic number.

Here, Holmes who was born into a working-class family, talks to AOL Money about the remarkable difference that money and success has made to her life over the past decade.

What's the biggest difference that money has made to your life?

I can help my mum and dad out. I bought a place for my mum and I've done my dad's place out. Money gives you a bit of freedom to do things you like or passionate about.

I've worked hard for what I've got. I have enough to have a nice house [worth £2.3 million] in Kent - and not to have to worry about money every day, because I've been in that position and it's really hard.

Sure, I have more money now than I used to, but at the same time, I've always looked after my money. For example, in the military I didn't spend a lot, so I always had savings. And when I was an athlete, I knew I could get injured and then I wouldn't earn any money, so any money I did have, I saved.

What's the most expensive thing you've ever bought (apart from property)?

It would have to be the Range Rover sport I had. I'm not an extravagant person, really. I just don't spend a lot of money. I invest my money instead, either in property or in my business.

What's your biggest money regret?

Loaning a friend money from a sale of a house and him going bust! If friends do that then anyone can do it. Nowadays I don't take risks like that with money. I learnt: Don't trust other people. Look after your own money.

What's the first tax you would get rid of if you were Chancellor?

Inheritance tax because people have earned and paid for it already. If people have paid a lot of tax, they shouldn't be penalised by paying even more tax [when they die], it should be all relative. I also think that, just because some people earn a lot of money, it doesn't mean they haven't worked hard for it. But I don't mind paying a higher rate to keep the economy going - if

you earn more, you can afford to give more to society. I absolutely understand that. I grew up on a council estate so I've been on both sides.

What's the best financial advice you've ever been given?

Property is a good investment. And that you can't take it with you when you die so enjoy it while you can - but make it last. I don't blow my money on things I don't need just because I have money in the bank.

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Lewis Hamilton Crowned BBC Sports Personality of the Year
Lewis Hamilton Crowned BBC Sports Personality of the Year